Thom Yorke is one of the last world-famous musicians one might expect to be interviewed on a late-night talk show, but then again, Stephen Colbert is no ordinary late-night talk show host. Radiohead appeared in an entire episode of his show a few years back, and Yorke returned Tuesday night for a chat with Colbert that was alternately weighty and humorous.
In fact, one of the most humorous moments came when Yorke walked out to show musician Jon Batiste and his band playing a rendition of Radiohead’s angular 2000 song “The National Anthem.”
The interview got underway with a typically amusing-and-not question from Colbert: “For decades, you’ve been writing music that is uneasy and anxious with regards to society, our government, technology, the general direction of the world. How does it feel to be right?”
After laughing, Yorke replied, “I guess I wasn’t thinking about the future — I was looking at what was happening at the time. It’s more overt now.” Referencing the group’s 2003 “Hail to the Thief” album, which was written in the wake of 9/11 and the onset of the U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, “That period of time, when [George W. Bush] got in, seemed pretty bad, and now we’re here!,” he said. “And it seems to have spread to our country as well.”
The conversation then shifted to Britain, Brexit and the country’s troubled new prime minister, Boris Johnson. The prime minister has lied to the queen, that is apparently not too cool,” Yorke began. “Can she chop off his head?,” Colbert cut in, to laughter, although Yorke replied seriously, “Apparently she was asking her aides whether she could get rid of him! It’s so crazy at the moment all sorts of rumors come and go.”
He also addressed the impeachment inquiry against President Trump. “You have at least a chance to push him off the cliff, just him,” Yorke said. “We’re tied to these guys, they’re tying us up, and they’re going to take us off the cliff with them. And as they do it, they’re saying it’s the will of the people. We live in strange times.”
Colbert later half-jokingly asked Yorke if he would like to be knighted. “I think of blown that chance!,” he replied. “When your current glorious leader got in, I put in an offensive enough message to… yeah, I’ve got no chance now.”
Watch the interview in full below.