Philip Selway

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Philip Selway
Phil Selway.jpg
Phil Selway performing with Radiohead in 2006
Background information
Birth name Philip James Selway
Also known as "Mad Dog"
Born (1967-05-23) 23 May 1967 (age 49)
Origin Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England
Genres Alternative rock, art rock, electronic, folk rock
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Drums, percussion, vocals, guitar, piano,[1] drum machine, sampler, sequencer
Years active 1985–present
Labels XL, TBD, Bella Union
Associated acts Radiohead, 7 Worlds Collide, The Weird Sisters

Philip James "Phil" Selway (born 23 May 1967) is an English musician, singer, and songwriter best known as the drummer of English rock group Radiohead. In addition to drums, he provides backing vocals, along with occasional guitar and lead vocals, for 7 Worlds Collide. Selway is well known for his precision and proficiency in various styles and unusual time signatures,[2] being named the 26th greatest drummer of all time by Gigwise in 2008.[3] He has worked with Samaritans since 1991.

Selway has released two solo albums: Familial (2010)[4] and Weatherhouse (2014).


Main article: Radiohead

Before Radiohead became successful, Selway studied Literature, Life, and Thought (English and History) at Liverpool Polytechnic's C.F. Mott Campus near Prescot (prior to it being renamed Liverpool John Moores University). Before that he had studied maths and worked for various touring musicians and worked as an English teacher as well. In the early 1990s, Selway left Radiohead's early line-up (then called Shindig or On a Friday) to move to Ireland, and only returned to the band when a relationship fell apart.

His timing and varied drumming helps to give the band its sound. Whereas his technique on earlier albums such as Pablo Honey and The Bends corresponded to the classic rock feel of the band's original style, the more experimental and atmospheric feel of their more recent work has been complemented by Selway's transition to a more solid, repetitive technique, often featuring a motorik sound.

Apart from his regular band duties, Selway also occasionally sings backing vocals during live performances, especially notable on "There There", "2+2=5", "I Will", and "Go to Sleep".[5] Since the album Kid A, he has also contributed drum machine programming.

Selway has studied drums in London at Drumtech under the tutelage of Francis Seriau along with fellow Radiohead member Ed O'Brien.[citation needed]

Work outside Radiohead[edit]

Selway performing with 7 Worlds Collide, 2009

Selway has been associated with emotional support group Samaritans as a listening volunteer since 1991. He performed with the band Dive Dive in March 2005 and appeared in the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as a member of the band "The Weird Sisters" along with Radiohead bandmate Jonny Greenwood and Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker.

Selway has also toured and recorded with Neil Finn as part of the 7 Worlds Collide project. He drummed on their eponymous 2001 live album, and provides drums, guitar and occasional lead vocals on their 2009 studio album, The Sun Came Out, where he also penned two tracks.

He appears on two tracks – "Rest on the Rock" and "Out of Light" – on the album Before the Ruin by Roddy Woomble, Kris Drever, and John McCusker.[6]

In 2009 Selway was featured as a guitarist on Martin Simpson's studio album True Stories.

Selway released his debut solo album, Familial, on 30 August 2010.[4] The album features Selway on guitar and vocals, along with Wilco members Glenn Kotche and Pat Sansone as well as fellow 7 Worlds Collide artists Lisa Germano and Sebastian Steinberg. He announced a solo tour on 4 February 2011.[7][8] Selway's second solo album, Weatherhouse, was released on 6 October 2014.

Personal life[edit]

Selway was born in Abingdon, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire, England). He and his wife Cait have three children: Leo, Jamie, and Patrick (to whom Kid A, Amnesiac, and Hail to the Thief were dedicated, respectively).

His mother Thea died during a Radiohead tour in May 2006. The band cancelled one of their dates in Amsterdam so that Selway could carry out his family duties:[9]

Just wanted to say sorry to the people who were due to come to our show in Amsterdam last night, particularly those who made wasted journeys. My mum died suddenly in the early hours of yesterday morning and so I just wanted to be at home with my family. Mum was a big Radiohead fan, and was very proud of all we've done as a band. I love and miss her very much.

The band later returned to Amsterdam in August to play the missed show. The discbox, LP, and CD release of In Rainbows mentions a dedication to Thea Selway.


Studio albums

Extended play


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Radiohead man debuts new solo material". NME. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2009. 
  3. ^ "The Greatest Drummers of All Time". Gigwise. 29 May 2008. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Radiohead drummer announces details of debut solo album". The Independent. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "Shure WCM 15 Vocal Headset". 2003. Retrieved 26 April 2009. 
  6. ^ "Navigator Records". Navigator Records. Retrieved 20 February 2009. 
  7. ^ "Radiohead's Phil Selway Announces European Solo Tour". Spinner. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  8. ^ James Reed. "Consequence of Sound". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Selway, Phil (11 May 2006). "My mum". Dead Air Space. Retrieved 20 February 2009. 

External links[edit]