Jonny Greenwood is the lead guitarist of UK experimental rock band Radiohead.
Jonny Greenwood was born in Oxford in 1971. He attended Abingdon public school along with his elder brother Colin –later the Radiohead bass player.
The brothers started playing in school band “On a Friday” changing their name to Radiohead when they signed a contract with Parlaphone in 1991.
Jonny Greenwood left university to focus on his career with the band. Because he is a couple of years younger than the others, he did not get time to complete his degree and is the only band member without one.
Jonny Greenwood is the only classically trained musician in Radiohead having taken viola lessons as a child. He has written most of the band’s music including some of most memorable instrumental phrases such as the intro, chorus and outro sections of the song “Subterranean Homesick Alien” on landmark album” OK Computer.”
Next to Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood is influential in writing much of the band’s material and his attacking lead guitar style is instantly recognizable. He often uses a coin to slide across the frets as in “Exit Music” on the “OK Computer” album.
Jonny Greenwood suffers from repetitive strain injury from his “abusive” style of guitar playing and has worn an arm brace to deal with this, likening it as the equivalent of a boxer taping up his fingers before a fight.
Jonny Greenwood has worked on a number of musical projects as well as his work with Radiohead. He won the BBC Radio 3 Listeners’ Award at the 2006 BBC British Composer Awards for his piece, “Popcorn Superhet Receiver” and has composed film scores.
His first solo album “Bodysong” was released in 2003 and accompanied the film of the same name and he also wrote the film score for “There will be Blood” in 2007 for which he won trophy for Best Film Score in the Evening Standard British Film Awards for 2007.The Rolling Stone magazine named the film the best of the decade in 2009 and said that Jonny Greenwood’s score was a major part of the film’s success, “Redefining what is possible in film scores”.
Jonny Greenwood’s most recent film score work was in 2010 when he composed “Doghouse” the music used in the film “Norwegian Wood” directed by Anh Hung Tran released December 2010.
Other solo projects include a dub reggae compilation from Trojan records in 2007, a real labor of love because he is a huge reggae fan.
Jonny Greenwood has played in the band Venus in Furs along with Thom Yorke and Bernard Butler of Suede for the film “Velvet Goldmine”. He also played lead guitar with “The Weird Sisters” alongside Jarvis Cocker, on three songs to accompany “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” released in 2005.
Jonny Greenwood still lives in Oxford where he is married with three children.