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Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood Speaks Out Against Brexit

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 12: Rock band Radiohead poses for a portrait at Capitol Records during the release of their album OK Computer in Los Angeles, California on June 12, 1997. (Photo by Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood published an op-ed in The Guardian about Brexit’s impact on musicians, especially young ones trying to establish careers. Of Radiohead’s early days, he said, “Like Hamburg to the Beatles, Europe was crucial to our growth as a band. It allowed us to see ourselves untethered from our UK roots and to imagine a life in music that could reach audiences everywhere,” he wrote in the piece.

Reports have surfaced suggesting that the UK rejected a visa-free deal for musicians. For lawmakers, the priority is to “taking back control” of British borders. In his op-ed, Greenwood recalls when traveling on tour was no trouble: “We made enduring friendships, toured with musicians from Europe, and dived deep into its clubs, festivals, record stores and music labels,” he wrote.

He wonders about all of the musicians who want to perform but don’t have the money to pay ridiculous fees for crossing borders. He continued: “It is time for the UK government to admit it didn’t do enough for the creative industries during the Brexit negotiations and look to renegotiate on the provision for touring in Europe.”

The article includes opinions and quotes from musicians and accountants he interviewed. Greenwood also mentioned crew members, saying, “They are our family on tour, many from Europe themselves, and need to be able to travel freely and work with companies across the world. All the incredible staging, sound and lighting companies from the UK that drive lots of the European festivals might find it that much harder to compete with EU alternatives.”

He finishes the article with the statement: “I am proud of my country and all the music it has exchanged with the world, and I am sure that pride is felt across all ages and cultures in the UK. It is the antithesis of the culturally pinched nationalism that is Brexit, and its diminishment would deprive us all.”