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Radiohead Gripe demo 7
Courtesy Omega Auctions

Radiohead’s school band demo is up for auction

The cassette features three unheard tracks by the group – known as On A Friday at the time – and includes handwritten notes by Thom Yorke

An early demo by Radiohead – titled Gripe and recorded when the band was still at school – is going up for auction.

The cassette tape, which was given to a friend of the band in the 90s, features six tracks, three of which are previously unheard – “Promise Me”, “Body In A Box”, and “These Are The Chains”. The other three tracks are “Happy Song”, “To Be A Brilliant Light”, and “Sinking Ship”. It also includes handwritten notes and a label design by frontman Thom Yorke.

At the time of the demo’s recording (1987-89), the band – whose members included Jonny and Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, and Philip Selway – were known as On A Friday, named after the day of the week when they rehearsed. The group met at school in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, and went on to become Radiohead after signing with EMI in 1991 – it’s believed the demo was recorded after they left school, but before they were signed.

Auctioneer Paul Fairweather said of the demo: “The tracks are raw but certainly suggest something of the fantastic potential that the band would realise in a few years’ time.”

Radiohead recently put a signed hat worn by Yorke in the band’s “Lotus Flower” music video up for sale on eBay. The hat, which sold for over £8,000, was raising money for Cahonas Scotland and Testicular Cancer Education and Awareness.

The Gripe cassette is part of Omega Auctions’ online Punk and Indie Auction, which will take place on January 26. For those hoping to get their hands on the demo, it’s expected to go for £2,000 – purses at the ready! You can bid here.