Radiohead Knowledge Base

Phil Selway (born May 23, 1967 in Abingdon, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire, England)) is the drummer of alternative rock band RadioheadSelway is well known for his precision and proficiency in various styles and unusual time signatures, being named the 26th greatest drummer of all time by Gigwise in 2008. Phil has been with Radiohead since 1985.

Before Radiohead became successful, Selway studied Literature, Life, and Thought (English and History) at Liverpool Polytechnic's CF 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 very early '90s, 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. Since 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.

Personal Life

Selway was born in Abingdon, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire, England). He and his wife Cait have three children: Leo, Jamie, and Patrick (to whom Kid AAmnesiac, 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:

"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.