Features | Articles

"this show was unique and will take many weeks to replace"

By Dom Sinacola | 21 June 2012

As details are still emerging in what is undoubtedly a tragedy on all fronts, “Radiohead” the Entity today released a statement commenting upon the June 16th stage collapse in Toronto that resulted in the death of drum tech Scott Johnson.

The statement is here reprinted unchanged.


Hello everyone,

As you will probably have heard the roof over the stage collapsed at our show in Toronto killing crew member Scott Johnson and injuring three other crew members. The collapse also destroyed the light show – this show was unique and will take many weeks to replace. The collapse also caused serious damage to our backline, some elements of which are decades old and therefore hard to replace.

Whilst we all are dealing with the grief and shock ensuing from this terrible accident there are also many practical considerations to deal with & consequently we have to try and reschedule the following shows:

30 Roma Hippodrome Capanelle

1 Firenze Parco delle Cascine
3 Bologna Arena Parco Nord
4 Codroipo Villa Manin
6 Berlin Wuhlheide
7 Berlin Wuhlhedie
9 St Triphon Carriere des Andonces

We aim to announce the new dates for these shows on Wednesday 27th of June and will also supply information on how to obtain refunds on tickets if you cannot come to the show on the new date.

We will start playing live again at Les Arenes Nimes, Bilbao BBK festival and Lisbon Optimus Alive festival.

We will make every effort to offer the fans the very best show possible under the circumstances – thanks for your understanding and support.

I reproduce this here not to treat this terrible thing lightly, nor to exploit the grief of the band or the victim’s family and friends for the sake of easy blog content, but to simply ask an even simpler question: Really, Radiohead?

Moving swiftly past the most glaring pimples (random ampersand?) what’s left is an almost robotic “statement” addressing a tragedy with little to no actual condolences, explanation, or clarification regarding what happened and, more importantly, whom it happened to.

I also understand the reasons, I can only guess, of pointing out the destruction of their light show and backline, how the circumstances surrounding the event not just killed a man and injured three others, but will make for a long series of cancelled shows due to long-term losses of essential pieces of the Radiohead experience, but…so what? The whole first paragraph is a mess of misplaced priorities and borderline sociopathic diction. “Hey, Radiohead fans, you probably know, because we’re Radiohead, that a vital member of our road crew was killed by our monstrous stage show last week. But also, what you may not know? All of our shit was destroyed and we’ll have to get it specially made again. And also? Our backline is old so we’re going to have to spend considerable time and money in replacing it through specialized vendors and the like. Bummer, right.”

What is potentially most insulting about this STATEMENT FROM RADIOHEAD is that no one—not attendees of the cancelled shows, nor ticket-less fans, nor the casual observer—no one needs to be told why so many shows will be cancelled. A human being died. That is all there is to say in explanation. Relating in the same breath that all their expensive non-human-being crap is in shambles is mind-bogglingly classless, vulgar, and even surprising given the supposed mega-brains at work in and the millions of dollars behind the machinery of this band.

Granted, the victim’s family and the band itself should be given privacy to grieve. Simply mentioning that fact, or requesting that courtesy from listeners and the world, would have sufficed. But that’s not how these few paragraphs read. They are concerned with inconsequential details, riddled with sloppy writing and errors which, though ridiculous to fault them for in the grand scheme of things, imply a statement rushed out and shallowly considered. There is no privacy here, just cold obligation.

This isn’t just a poorly written statement, it’s a shameful one. You knew him better, obviously, than we did, Radiohead, but on our end it’s hard to believe Scott Johnson didn’t deserve better.