Philip James Selway (born 23 May 1967) is an English musician and the drummer of the rock band Radiohead. He combines rock drumming with electronic percussion. Selway was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Radiohead in 2019.

Philip Selway
Selway performing with Radiohead in 2018
Selway performing with Radiohead in 2018
Background information
Birth namePhilip James Selway
Born (1967-05-23) 23 May 1967 (age 56)
OriginAbingdon-on-Thames, Berkshire, England
  • Musician
  • singer-songwriter
Years active1985–present
LabelsXL, Nonesuch, Bella Union
Member ofRadiohead
Formerly of

In 2010, Selway released his debut solo album, Familial, comprising folk music. It was followed by Weatherhouse in 2014 and Strange Dance in 2023. He also composed the soundtrack for the 2017 film Let Me Go. In 2023, Selway played drums with the band Lanterns on the Lake.

Early life edit

Selway was born on 23 May, 1967,[1] in Abingdon, Berkshire.[2] He started learning to play drums and guitar at the age of 15 for "the social cachet and love of music".[2] His earliest influences were Joy Division, the Clash and the Velvet Underground.[2]

The members of Radiohead met while attending Abingdon School, a private school for boys.[3] Selway, along with the guitarist Ed O'Brien, was in the year above the singer, Thom Yorke, and the bassist, Colin Greenwood, and three years above Colin's brother, the multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood.[4] In 1985, they formed On a Friday, the name referring to their usual rehearsal day in the school's music room.[4]

After Abingdon, Selway studied English and history at Liverpool Polytechnic.[5] He also worked as a TEFL teacher, a copyeditor, and as a drummer in pit bands for touring musicals.[1][2]

Career edit

Radiohead edit

In 1991, On a Friday signed a recording contract with EMI and changed their name to Radiohead.[6] They found early success with their 1992 single "Creep".[7] Their third album, OK Computer (1997), brought them international fame and is often acclaimed as one of the best albums of all time.[8][9]

With their fourth album, Kid A (2000), Radiohead began integrating drum machines and other electronic percussion into their music. Selway said this widened his options and pushed him to create new dynamics, enabling him to express himself more creatively.[10] Describing the process of arranging electronic tracks such as "Idioteque" for live performance, he said: "Trying to give that sense of the electronic in the piece but doing it through your 'normal' instrument playing — that naturally develops your own musical voice ... Performing those songs live definitely affected how I sounded and how I would approach drum parts."[11]

Since 2011, Radiohead have performed with a second drummer, Clive Deamer.[12] Describing their collaboration during Radiohead's 2012 King of Limbs tour, Selway said: "One [of us] played in the traditional way, the other almost mimicked a drum machine. It was push-and-pull, like kids at play, really interesting."[10] Selway contributed drums to "Impossible Knots" on Yorke's third solo album, Anima (2019).[13] In 2019, Selway testified at an inquest into the 2012 stage collapse that killed Radiohead's drum technician, Scott Johnson.[14]

By 2011, Radiohead had sold more than 30 million albums worldwide.[15] They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2019. In a speech at the induction ceremony, Selway said: "We may not be the greatest musicians around and we're certainly not the most media-friendly of bands. But we have become very adept at being Radiohead. And when that connects with people, it feels amazing."[16] In 2008, Mojo wrote that Selway and Colin Greenwood were "surely the most inventive rhythm section working close to the rock mainstream".[17] In the same year, Gigwise named Selway the 26th-greatest drummer of all time, praising his "mathematical precision".[18]

Solo work edit

Selway wrote songs as a teenager, but concentrated on drumming after forming Radiohead.[19] He began writing again later in life, and decided to record solo as he felt the songs had a distinct character that did not fit Radiohead.[19]

Selway's debut solo album, Familial, was released on 30 August 2010.[20] It features Selway on acoustic guitar and vocals, and performances from the Wilco members Glenn Kotche and Pat Sansone and the 7 Worlds Collide artists Lisa Germano and Sebastian Steinberg.[21] Pitchfork described it as a collection of "hushed" folk songs in the tradition of Nick Drake.[21] Selway began a solo tour in 2011.[22] On 25 July, he released an EP, Running Blind, comprising songs left off Familial rerecorded with a full band.[23]

Selway's second solo album, Weatherhouse, was released on 6 October 2014, featuring more ambitious instrumentation and electronic elements.[24] In 2017, Selway composed the score for the feature film Let Me Go, directed by Polly Steele.[25] His third solo album, Strange Dance, was released on 24 February 2023.[26] He chose not to drum on the album, finding he was out of practice and "not in the right mindset", and enlisted the Italian drummer Valentina Magaletti.[27] He began a European tour that year.[28]

Selway contributed a cover of the Nick Drake song "Fly" to The Endless Coloured Ways – The Songs of Nick Drake, a tribute album featuring various artists released on 7 July, 2023.[29] Selway described Drake as an influence on his songwriting,[30] and said: "If I had to shrink my record collection to just one artist, then that would be Nick Drake ... Nick Drake is an artist that I feel speaks to me and for me."[31] On 8 December, Selway released a live album, Live at Evolution Studios, recorded with the string quartet Elysian Collective and the percussionist Chris Vatalaro in Evolution Studios, Oxford.[32]

Other work edit

Selway performing with 7 Worlds Collide, 2009

Selway is a supporter of the emotional support charity Samaritans, with which he became involved while a university student.[33] He volunteered as a telephone listener for years, including at the height of Radiohead's success, and said this "probably kept my sanity in that period".[27] He is also an ambassador for Independent Venue Week, an initiative that promotes small music venues.[27] In 2014, Selway and O'Brien signed an open letter protesting a ban on guitars in British prisons and stating that music was important for rehabilitation.[34]

Selway performed with the band Dive Dive in March 2005.[citation needed] For the 2005 film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Selway appeared as part of the wizard rock band Weird Sisters with the Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey of Pulp, Steven Claydon of Add N to (X), and Jason Buckle of All Seeing I.[35]

Selway toured and recorded with Neil Finn as part of the 7 Worlds Collide project.[when?] He drummed on their 2001 live album and provided drums, guitar and vocals on their 2009 studio album The Sun Came Out, for which he also wrote two tracks.[citation needed] Selway joined as a drummer, but was encouraged by Finn to contribute his own material. It was the first record for which Selway wrote songs and sang.[36]

Selway appears on "Rest on the Rock" and "Out of Light" on the album Before the Ruin by Roddy Woomble, Kris Drever, and John McCusker.[37] He played drums and percussion on the fifth album by Lanterns on the Lake, Versions of Us (2023), after the departure of their previous drummer, Ol Ketteringham. According to the songwriter, Hazel Wilde, Selway helped them create a "whole other version" of the album and restored their confidence in the songs.[38]

Personal life edit

Selway and his wife, Cait, have three sons and a daughter.[citation needed] Selway's mother Thea died in May 2006; Radiohead cancelled a concert in Amsterdam so that Selway could carry out his family duties.[39] They returned to Amsterdam in August to play the missed show. Radiohead's 2007 album In Rainbows was dedicated to Thea Selway.[40] As of February 2023, Selway had recently moved to London.[41]

Discography edit

Studio albums edit

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title Details Peak chart positions



Familial 185 8 7
  • Released: 6 October 2014 (UK)[48]
  • Label: Bella Union
  • Formats: CD, LP, download
46 25
Strange Dance
  • Released: 24 February 2023 (UK)[49]
  • Label: Bella Union
  • Formats: CD, LP, download
[A] 8 46

Live albums edit

Title Details
Live at Evolution Studios
  • Release: 8 December 2023
  • Label: Bella Union
  • Formats: Vinyl, download

Soundtrack albums edit

Title Details
Let Me Go
  • Released: 15 September 2017
  • Label: Bella Union
  • Formats: LP, CD, download

EPs edit

Title Details
Running Blind
  • Released: 25 July 2011
  • Label: Bella Union, Nonesuch
  • Formats: Vinyl, download

Singles edit

Title Year Album
"It Will End in Tears" 2014 Weatherhouse
"Around Again (The Acid Remix)" 2015 Non-album single

Guest appearances edit

Title Year Album
"Fly" 2023 The Endless Coloured Ways: The Songs of Nick Drake

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Strange Dance did not enter the UK Albums Chart but peaked at number 66 on the UK Album Downloads Chart.[50]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Irvin, Jim; Hoskyns, Barney (September 1997). "We have lift-off!". Mojo (46).
  2. ^ a b c d Fusilli, Jim (30 September 2010). "Radiohead's Selway Explores a New Station in Life". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  3. ^ McLean, Craig (14 July 2003). "Don't worry, be happy". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  4. ^ a b Randall, Mac (1 April 1998). "The Golden Age of Radiohead". Guitar World.
  5. ^ Hughespublished, Rob (9 October 2014). "Philip Selway: "It's a very intimate record."". loudersound. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  6. ^ Ross, Alex (20 August 2001). "The Searchers". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  7. ^ "Jonny Greenwood – 100 Greatest Guitarists". Rolling Stone. 18 December 2015. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Q Magazine: The 100 Greatest British Albums of All Time – How many do you own? (Either on CD, Vinyl, Tape or Download)". List Challenges.
  9. ^ "Radiohead's OK Computer named best album of the past 25 years". The Daily Telegraph. London. 22 December 2010.
  10. ^ a b "Phil Selway and the evolution of rock drumming in the digital age". Mono. 9 November 2014. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  11. ^ Randall, Mac (9 June 2023). "Philip Selway: Tidal Backstory". Tidal. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  12. ^ "Radiohead in Amsterdam: A Tour Opener Live Blog | Pitchfork". 20 May 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  13. ^ "5 Takeaways From Thom Yorke's New Album, ANIMA". Pitchfork. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  14. ^ Minsker, Evan; Hogan, Marc (10 April 2019). "Inquest into death of Radiohead drum tech ends". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  15. ^ Jonathan, Emma. "BBC Worldwide takes exclusive Radiohead performance to the world". BBC. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  16. ^ "Radiohead's Ed O'Brien and Phil Selway accept rock and roll hall of fame honour". Variety. 30 March 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2022.
  17. ^ Paytress, Mark (1 January 2008). "Chasing Rainbows". Mojo.
  18. ^ "The Greatest Drummers of All Time". Gigwise. 29 May 2008. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  19. ^ a b Rhythm (7 July 2011). "INTERVIEW: Radiohead's Phil Selway on going solo". MusicRadar. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  20. ^ "Radiohead drummer announces details of debut solo album". The Independent. Archived from the original on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  21. ^ a b Dombal, Ryan (26 July 2010). "Radiohead's Selway talks new solo LP, does not talk new Radiohead LP". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  22. ^ "Radiohead's Phil Selway Announces European Solo Tour". Spinner. 4 February 2010. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  23. ^ Young, Alex (4 July 2011). "Radiohead's Phil Selway announces new solo EP: Running Blind". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  24. ^ Fullterton, Jamie (18 October 2014). "Philip Selway – Weatherhouse". NME. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  25. ^ Garratt, John (3 November 2017). "Philip Selway: Let Me Go Original Soundtrack". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 13 June 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  26. ^ Qureshi, Arusa (26 October 2022). "Radiohead's Philip Selway announces new solo album 'Strange Dance'". NME. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  27. ^ a b c Jack, Malcolm (25 January 2023). "Interview: Radiohead legend Philip Selway takes us on a Strange Dance". The Big Issue. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  28. ^ Dunworth, Liberty (23 March 2023). "Radiohead's Philip Selway announces 2023 UK solo tour". NME. Retrieved 23 May 2023.
  29. ^ Brasil, Sydney (7 July 2023). "Nick Drake Tribute Album Features Feist, Liz Phair & More: Stream". Consequence. Retrieved 6 November 2023.
  30. ^ "This music made me: Radiohead's Philip Selway". MusicOMH. 19 January 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  31. ^ Lentini, Liza (10 February 2023). "5 Albums I Can't Live Without: Philip Selway of Radiohead". Spin. Retrieved 23 November 2023.
  32. ^ "Philip Selway & Elysian Collective Announce "Live At Evolution Studios" out 8th December via Bella Union & Share New Recording of "Picking Up Pieces"". Circuit Sweet. 20 September 2023. Retrieved 22 September 2023.
  33. ^ "Radiohead's Selway: being in a band can make you 'narcissistic'". The Independent. 10 October 2014. Archived from the original on 26 May 2022. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  34. ^ Grow, Kory (29 April 2014). "Radiohead and Pink Floyd Members Petition to Keep Guitars in Prisons". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  35. ^ Young, Alex (18 November 2010). "Break Yo' TV: Harry Potter's The Weird Sisters - 'Do The Hippogriff'". Consequence. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
  36. ^ Randall, Mac (9 June 2023). "Philip Selway: Tidal Backstory". Tidal. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  37. ^ "Navigator Records". Navigator Records. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  38. ^ Geiger, Amy (27 February 2023). "Lanterns on the Lake recruit Radiohead drummer Philip Selway for new LP". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  39. ^ Selway, Phil (11 May 2006). "My mum". Dead Air Space. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  40. ^ "In Rainbows". albumlinernotes. Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  41. ^ Lentini, Liza (10 February 2023). "5 Albums I Can't Live Without: Philip Selway of Radiohead". Yahoo!. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  42. ^ "CHART: CLUK Update 11.09.2010 (wk35)". Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  43. ^ Peak positions:
  44. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100: Week of 3 March 2023". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  45. ^ "Philip Selway: Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  46. ^ "Philip Selway: Chart History – Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  47. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Familial". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  48. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Weatherhouse". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  49. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Strange Dance". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  50. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100 | Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 March 2023.

External links edit