Guitar Gallows Bio Information - Jonny Greenwood
Jonathan Richard Guy Greenwood (born 5 November 1971) is a BAFTA and Grammy-nominated musician and composer, best known as a member of English alternative rock group Radiohead. Greenwood is a multi-instrumentalist, but serves mainly as a guitarist and keyboard player. In addition to guitar and keyboard, he plays viola, xylophone, glockenspiel, ondes martenot, banjo, harmonica and drums. He also does work on the electronic side of Radiohead, working on computer-generated sounds and sampling. He wrote the soundtracks of the films Bodysong and There Will Be Blood, as well as serving as "composer-in-residence" for the BBC. He is the younger brother of fellow Radiohead member, Colin Greenwood.
Greenwood was ranked #60 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" list and #27 on Gigwise's list of the "50 Greatest Guitarists Ever". Citing his work with Radiohead, Channel 4 described Greenwood as a "significant creative force within the music industry."
Greenwood had begun studying at Oxford Brookes University when Radiohead predecessor On A Friday signed a recording contract with EMI in 1991. He left university shortly after. While Greenwood is the only member of Radiohead to have been classically trained on any instrument (he took viola lessons as a child), he is also the only band member without a university degree.
Greenwood's influence on Radiohead's recording and writing can be heard in many songs, as he usually takes the traditional lead-guitarist role. For a while, Greenwood wore an arm brace due to a repetitive strain injury attributed to his "aggressive" way of playing the instrument, often billed as "abusive guitar". He often still wears the brace. He has said that "It's like taping up your fingers before a boxing match."
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Greenwood is often credited as the second major influence on songwriting in Radiohead, next to Thom Yorke. He wrote the music for the closing tracks of OK Computer ("The Tourist") and Hail to the Thief ("A Wolf at the Door"). He also wrote the intro, chorus and outro sections of the song "Subterranean Homesick Alien" from the OK Computer album. According to Yorke the track "Just" from The Bends was "a competition by me and Jonny to get as many chords as possible into a song". An example of Greenwood's versatility is his use of the Ondes Martenot, which is featured on songs such as "The National Anthem" and "How to Disappear Completely" from the album Kid A, and "Pyramid Song" from the album Amnesiac. The song "Where I End and You Begin" from Hail to the Thief, which also features the instrument, was dedicated to the memory of Jeanne Loriod, a pioneer of the Ondes. It is also featured in the middle eight of "Bodysnatchers" on In Rainbows.
Greenwood and Yorke also collaborated on the song "Arpeggi" which is a piece in a classical style centered around arpeggios for voice, Ondes, and orchestra. It was performed with the London Sinfonietta and Arab Orchestra of Nazareth at the Ether Festival in March 2005; the song would later be adapted for the full band to play in 2006, rearranged for guitar. A studio version (closer to the full band version than the orchestral version) appeared on the album In Rainbows as "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi".
In 2003, Greenwood released his first solo album, Bodysong (2003), the soundtrack for the movie of the same title by filmmaker Simon Pummell. Bodysong also features contributions from his brother Colin on bass.
Jonny Greenwood was hired by the BBC as its composer in residence in May 2004, a job which gave him the opportunity to compose several pieces for symphony orchestra, piano and/or Ondes Martenot: smear, Piano for Children and Popcorn Superhet Receiver. smear premiered in 2004, and on 23 April 2005 Greenwood premiered his new work commissioned by BBC Radio 3, with music performed live by the BBC Concert Orchestra in London. The printed music for smear and Popcorn Superhet Receiver are available from Faber Music Ltd in London. smear has also been recorded by the London Sinfonietta conducted by Martyn Brabbins and is Greenwood's recorded debut in the genre.
Greenwood won the Radio 3 Listeners' Award at the 2006 BBC British Composer Awards for his piece, "Popcorn Superhet Receiver". The piece was inspired by radio static and the extended, dissonant chords of Polish composer Penderecki's "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima", it can be streamed from a BBC website. Upon winning the award Greenwood received £10,000 from the PRS Foundation towards a commission for a new orchestral work.
A fan of dub reggae, Greenwood released a compilation in collaboration with Trojan Records, entitled Jonny Greenwood Is The Controller in March 2007. This is the latest in Trojan’s Artist Choice Jukebox series, to which DJ Spooky and Don Letts have already contributed. Trojan Records provided Greenwood with its extensive catalog of songs, of which he chose 17. The title is a play on the first track on the collection, entitled "Dread Are The Controller", by Linval Thompson. The album contains tracks by artists such as Derrick Harriott, Gregory Isaacs, The Heptones and many more.
Greenwood composed the score for the 2007 film, There Will Be Blood, from director Paul Thomas Anderson. The soundtrack contains excerpts from "Popcorn Superhet Receiver". His work as the composer for this film was highly acclaimed by reviewers and earned him an award at the Critics' Choice Awards. On January 21, 2008, however, the score was declared ineligible for an Academy Award nomination under a rule that prohibited "scores diluted by the use of tracked themes or other pre-existing music." On 4 February 2008 it was announced that Greenwood had won the trophy for Best Film Score in the Evening Standard British Film Awards for 2007. In its 2009 end-of-decade round-up Rolling Stone magazine named the film the best of the decade and cited Greenwood's score as a major element in its success, "Redefining what is possible in film scores".
In late 2008, Greenwood collaborated with Israeli rock musician Dudu Tasa on Tasa's Hebrew-language single "What a Day".
In February 2010, Greenwood debuted a composition entitled "Doghouse" at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios. In an interview following the performance, Greenwood and conductor Robert Ziegler revealed that the composition would be extrapolated into a score for the upcoming film Norwegian Wood directed by Anh Hung Tran, based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Haruki Murakami. Greenwood described the writing of the piece to the BBC, "I wrote this piece mostly in hotels and dressing rooms while touring with Radiohead. This was more practical than glamorous — lots of time sitting around indoors, lots of instruments about — and aside from picking up a few geographical working titles, I can’t think that it had any effect where, on tour, it was written." The premiere of the entire score is to be on 19 March 2010.
Greenwood is greatly influenced by jazz and classical music; his favourites include Lee Morgan and Miles Davis. He is a major fan of the Mo'Wax label (onetime home of Blackalicious, DJ Krush, DJ Shadow and Dr. Octagon). Along with other Radiohead band members, he loves Krautrock band Can and Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. Greenwood has stated that his all time favourite piece of music is Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony, a gigantic piece for orchestra and Ondes Martenot, which he discovered as a teenager. According to one of his entries on Radiohead's blog Dead Air Space, Greenwood has become a dub reggae aficionado, listening as of late 2005 to little else.
On the last date of Radiohead's summer 2008 tour with Grizzly Bear in support, Greenwood spoke of his love for them on stage, saying they are his "favourite band in the world". Greenwood has also stated that John McGeoch is one of his favourite guitarists.