Before Radiohead’s Thom Yorke was a global superstar helping Iranian couples smooth over their troubled marriages, he was just another babyfaced bloke in an oversized T-shirt having a blast with his college band. That’s evident from archival video footage of Headless Chickens, the violin-augmented group he was in while attending the University Of Exeter in the late ’80s. In the newly uploaded clip, which was filmed by fellow musician Shaun McCrindle at the college’s venue, the Lemon Grove, the noisy troupe rattles through a shambling, brisk “High & Dry,” which later appeared on Radiohead’s 1995 album, The Bends. Although Yorke’s familiar falsetto is muted somewhat by his bandmates’ harmonies, he unleashes a rather-proficient electric guitar solo that’s just as incisive.
Incidentally, this clip isn’t the only Yorke rarity lurking on the YouTube channel, which is run by McCrindle, who sometimes plays guitar with U.K. rockers Blue Aeroplanes. There’s also a raucous clip of Headless Chickens performing a strobe light-aided encore of their single, “I Don’t Want To Go To Woodstock,” that very much presages Radiohead’s guitar freakouts, as well as McCrindle’s 1989 student film about new construction on the grounds of an abandoned hospital for the old and infirm. The creepy clip, dubbed “Exminster Grind,” contains music McCrindle wrote with Yorke that’s very much influenced by My Bloody Valentine’s grinding, noisy shoegaze. Watch all three clips below.