Ed O'Brien in Blackpool, 2006
|Birth name||Edward John O'Brien|
15 April 1968 |
|Genres||Alternative rock, experimental rock, electronic music|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, percussion, drums, keyboards, sampler, organ, piano, bass guitar, synthesizer|
|Associated acts||Radiohead, 7 Worlds Collide, Kay|
Edward John "Ed" O'Brien (born 15 April 1968) is an English musician, songwriter, and guitarist for the rock band Radiohead. He is also responsible for harmony vocals during live concerts and on many tracks from the band's albums (occasionally with drummer Phil Selway). In addition, he has played guitar and provided backing vocals for the 7 Worlds Collide project.
O'Brien uses a large collection of effects pedals to help create Radiohead's distinct sound. Even on tracks that do not feature any guitar work, his pedals are put to use for other purposes such as altering Thom Yorke's keyboard playing (he and co-guitarist Jonny Greenwood sample Yorke's piano and vocals, respectively, with the Korg Kaoss Pad on live performances of "Everything in Its Right Place"). As well as being a self-taught guitarist, he is an accomplished drummer; though his only drum contributions for Radiohead to date have been tom drums on live performances of Hail to the Thief track "There There", a task he shares with Greenwood (though the part they play is put together on a synthesiser on the studio version)., and additional drumming on the b-side “Pearly*”.
Notable songwriting contributions to Radiohead include the opening riff on the song "Go to Sleep", and the riff that makes up the closing song on The Bends, "Street Spirit (Fade Out)". He has also written the instrumental "Meeting in the Aisle", "Lull", and the instrumentation of "Big Boots".
He mainly helps to expand on the musical framework created by Thom Yorke, and is known for his contributions to "Karma Police", (he created the effect that closes the song and his backing vocals during the chorus are an integral part of the song), "Lucky" (creating the effect that opens the song) and "Treefingers" (his guitar chords were processed electronically to sound like ambient music).
Work outside Radiohead
O'Brien made contributions to a soundtrack project for the BBC drama series Eureka Street before recording Kid A. During sessions for Kid A and Amnesiac, he kept fans up to date with an open diary posted on the band's website, providing the most in-depth look at how those experimental albums were recorded. His most recent collaboration outside Radiohead involved guitar work on an Asian Dub Foundation album; he played on "1000 Mirrors" (with Sinéad O'Connor), "Blowback" and "Enemy of the Enemy".
O'Brien has toured and recorded with Neil Finn as part of the 7 Worlds Collide project. He provided guitar and backing vocals on their eponymous 2001 live album, and reprised his role on their 2009 studio album, The Sun Came Out, where he also co-wrote two tracks.
O'Brien and bandmate Phil Selway had programming lessons with producer/engineer Phelan Kane at The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London in 2001, and the same two band members also joined the 7 Worlds Collide project.
O'Brien appeared on 16 April 2011 episode of BBC Radio 5 Live's sports punditry programme Fighting Talk in celebration of National Record Shop Day; also on the panel were Bob Mills, Dion Dublin, and Steve Lamacq.
At 6'5" (196 cm), O'Brien is the tallest member of Radiohead. O'Brien lives with his wife Susan Kobrin, who previously worked for Amnesty International, in London. The couple has a son, Salvador born in January 2004, and a daughter Oona (born in 2006). O'Brien studied economics at the University of Manchester.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (June 2012)|
- "Plank" guitar (custom built by Plank himself for Ed)
- Rickenbacker 360 (x2)
- Fender Telecaster (x2)
- Gibson ES-330 (60s)
- Gibson ES-335 (60s)
- Fender Stratocaster (white)
- Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster (black) (x2)
- Fernandes Native Pro
- Gibson Les Paul Goldtop (belongs to Johnny Marr)
- Line 6 Variax 700
- Epiphone Casino
- Gibson Les Paul Custom (used for The Daily Mail)
- Fender Jaguar (Johnny Marr signature used on the King of Limbs tour)
- Akai Headrush E1 and E2
- AMS Digital Delay
- BOSS CE-1 Chorus Ensemble
- BOSS DD-5 Digital Delay (x4)
- BOSS DD-7 Digital Delay
- BOSS FC-200 MIDI Foot Controller
- BOSS FS-5U
- BOSS FV-300L (now replaced with FV-500L)
- BOSS GE-7 Equalizer
- BOSS LS-2 Line Selector
- BOSS OD-1 Over Drive (Analog Man modified)
- BOSS PN-2 Tremolo/Pan
- BOSS PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch
- BOSS RV-3 Digital Reverb/Delay
- BOSS SD-1 SUPER OverDrive
- BOSS TR-2 Tremolo
- BOSS TU-2 Chromatic Tuner
- Catalinbread Super Chili Picoso
- Crowther HotCake
- Demeter COMP-1 Compulator
- Diamond CPR-1 Compressor
- Diamond Memory Lane 2
- Diamond TRM-1 Tremolo
- DigiTech Whammy IV
- DOD 440 Envelope Filter
- Dunlop Cry Baby
- Dunlop Stereo Tremolo
- Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Electric Mistress
- Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man
- Electro-Harmonix HOG
- Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail
- Electro-Harmonix Small Stone
- Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man w/ Hazarai
- Ernie Ball VP JR.
- Ibanez Tube Screamer TS-808
- Klon Centaur
- KORG A2
- Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler
- Line 6 Pod PRO
- Lovetone Big Cheese
- Lovetone Doppelganger
- Lovetone Meatball
- Lovetone Ring Stinger
- Lovetone Wobulator
- Marshall ShredMaster
- Mesa Boogie Footswitch
- Molten Voltage Molten MIDI 2 (programmable Whammy IV controller)
- Morley Bad Horsie
- MXR Dyna Comp
- MXR Micro Amp
- MXR Phase 90
- Peterson StroboStomp 2
- Roger Linn AdrenaLinn II
- Roland SP-303 Dr. Sample
- Roland Space Echo (used pre-OK Computer)
- Strymon TimeLine
- ToadWorks True-Bypass Looper
- Voodoo Lab Commander
- Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus
- Voodoo Lab Pedal Switcher
- Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive
- Whirlwind Selector A/B
This list of pedals is incomplete, but are most of the ones identified over the years. Not all of these pedals were used at the same time. In 2006, a MIDI Controller took the place of many delay pedals.
He also frequently uses an EBow.
- Vox AC30 (x2) (used for clean, modulation and delay tones)
- Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Trem-O-Verb (x2) (used for distorted tones)
- Line 6 VETTA II
- Fender Super-Sonic 112 combo, fed into a Super-Sonic 212 cabinet (seen used in the thumbs_down webcast)
- Fender Vibro-King (used since "The King of Limbs" live performances)
- He plays the cabasa on "Paranoid Android".
- Fender Rhodes on "In Limbo".
- A shaker on live performances of "Idioteque".
- Synthesizer on the studio recordings of "Like Spinning Plates" and "Dollars and Cents" from "Amnesiac".
- A tambourine during "Reckoner".
- Bass guitar when Radiohead covered "Ceremony" by New Order on the Scotch Mist broadcast. Also used with the Seven Worlds Collide project.
- Additional drums on "There There" and “Pearly*”
- Autoharp on the studio recordings of "15 Step" and "All I Need" from In Rainbows
- "New 7 Worlds Collide". Buzzmedia Music. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- [dead link]
- Youngs, Ian (12 March 2009). "Music stars call for more power". BBC News.
- Binelli, Mark. The Future According to Radiohead. Rolling Stone. 2008-02-07
- Craig McLean (10 December 2007). "Radiohead: Caught in the flash, part 1 | Music | The Observer". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- StringsReunited.com : Includes a regular blog by Plank giving technical information.