Matthew Friedberger has attempted to clear up some of the speculation surrounding his criticism of Radiohead, and the Harry Patch/Harry Partch mix-up that sparked the incident (which is now being referred to as Patchgate by no one, but has considerable potential in the –gate stakes).
“Like most creative musicians, Matt Friedberger is not a fan of Radiohead and most of their chart busters,” he said in a statement. “Of course, Matt and all the Fiery Furnaces family are great fans of all Tommys living or dead, so much so that lots of the Fiery Furnaces’ work is, because of the pun, dedicated to imitating the Who’s Tommy.”
“Back in the fall of 1996 or whenever that interview was conducted, the interviewer asked what Matt thought of the Radiohead song celebrating a WWI veteran. Matt naturally thought it would be interesting to pretend that they wrote a song about the celebrated American composer of a similar sounding name, hence his joking in the interview about Radiohead composing a song with something like 48 notes to an octave. It was easy and amusing to imagine Radiohead’s attempt to colonize that relatively arcane bit of our musical lifeworld. This is what they used to call, in some bohemian and advertising circles, ‘riffing’ or fooling around.”
“Matt has not heard the Radiohead song about Harry Patch, but if he did, he is sure he wouldn’t like it. No doubt Radiohead and their fans can ignore his opinion of this matter and continue with their triumphant artistic interventions. Matt would have much preferred to insult Beck but he is too afraid of Scientologists.”
So, it was all a joke after all, and while Friedberger’s words are mostly nonsensical, it does almost clear up some of the confusion. Don’t expect a statement from Radiohead anytime soon, although they could perhaps contribute to the whole affair by staging a few democ-rock rallies in an attempt to win Friedberger’s affection.