Marillion's 10th Studio Album, Radiation is a single album originally released on 21st September 1998.
Current & Notable Release Versions:

The original CD release of Radiation is now out of print & was replaced by a new re-mixed version released in 2013. This new version also contains the original album mix as Disc 2 of the pack.

2013 2CD Version: 2013 remixed version of Radiation. This 2CD 'Madfish' edition is packed in a deluxe hardback digibook containing the 2013 remix & original versions of the album on 2CDs. The re-worked artwork is by original designer Carl Glover. OUT OF PRINT.
2013 Double Vinyl Version: A double Vinyl version of Radiation 2013 in Blue Vinyl packaged in a gatefold sleeve with re-worked artwork & an etching on Side 4 by Carl Glover.

2013 Download Version: 320kbps MP3 audio download version. Includes an Artwork PDF featuring lyrics & original album artwork.

Original Download Version: 320kbps MP3 audio download version. Includes an Artwork PDF featuring lyrics & original album artwork.
See below for a complete track listing & lyrics for the main version of this album

Costa del SloughLYRICS
Under the SunLYRICS
The Answering MachineLYRICS
Three Minute BoyLYRICS
Now She'll Never KnowLYRICS
These ChainsLYRICS
Born to RunLYRICS
Cathedral WallLYRICS
A Few Words for the DeadLYRICS
Costa del SloughLYRICS
Under the SunLYRICS
The Answering MachineLYRICS
Three Minute BoyLYRICS
Now She'll Never KnowLYRICS
These ChainsLYRICS
Born to RunLYRICS
Cathedral WallLYRICS
A Few Words for the DeadLYRICS
2CD Digibook Version
Radiation 2CD Digibook Version
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2LP 2013 Vinyl
Radiation 2013 2LP 2013 Vinyl
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Marillion eWeb Interview : 15 October 1998

Welcome to the first marillion eWeb interview. All questions were written by the subscribers of the mailing list, and were then compiled (due to sheer volume as well as duplication!) into this first fan-driven interview. Thanks to the Web UK's Vicki Harding for transcribing it.
The first question seems to be the one that everyone is asking: what's with the "new sound" on Radiation? Is this album a deliberate attempt by Marillion to ditch the "prog rock" image - particularly in the eyes of the press - and maybe get some new fans, or simply the direction the writing of the album took you?

SH - Well no, not a self conscious decision to get away from into or out of any particular genre. The whole progressive label is yours not ours in the first place. I think we took a decision at the beginning of the writing process that this album would change a few sounds - the guitar sound is something of an experiment as were a lot of the keyboard sounds and I suppose it is the radical difference in the guitar sound and the keyboard sound that have made the biggest difference of all not to mention some radical approaches to the lead vocals.

There have been many suggestions as to bands that may have influenced the way Radiation sounds - Radiohead being the most prevalent. To what degree is this true, and if so, what are the bands that have had the strongest influence?

MK - I think people are picking up on the Radiohead thing because of us saying that we have been listening to Radiohead and maybe there is a subconscious influence, but that happens anyway. The stuff you're listening to tends to sort of filter through in a subconscious way.

SR - There's no influence guitar wise for me, I wouldn't say. I listen to Radiohead, but not that much.

MK - Well I listen to Radiohead quite a lot, but they don't really use keyboards so there you go.

PT - I listen to Manic Street Preachers more than I listen to Radiohead and the Beatles still.

SH - Yeah, I think it is almost like you do it the other way round. You make the record and then you sit back and listen to it and then decide what it reminds you of really and you know 'Costa Del Slough' reminds me of Laurel and Hardy, 'Under the Sun' reminds me of Lenny Kravitz in places, 'The Answering Machine' to me that sounds like The Pogues in places and you know 'Three Minute Boy' and 'These Chains' are very heavily Beatles influenced. I can really hear that coming through and then the other influences are obvious, you know...

MK - The blues - 'Born to Run.'

SH - ...and maybe Francis Ford Coppola in 'A Few Words For the Dead.'

You have covered Radiohead's 'Fake Plastic Trees' and included it on the 'These Chains' single. What prompted you to choose this song, and is it a tip of the hat to Radiohead personally?

SH - I think it's a tip of the hat artistically 'cos it's a great song. I don't think we would have considered playing it live if we didn't all like it.

MK - it was the circumstances of the Walls gig as well, it was the lighthearted, low pressure gig that we decided to do a cover version and just happened to pick that one.

SH - Yeah it suits my vocal range. It's a good song. It's got a nice feeling about it and it worked well when we did it at the gigs so it made a lot of sense to put it on as a B-side. I think it was a self conscious decision in terms of throwing down a bit of a gauntlet and going "well there, what do you make of that then," but it is not a song we would have recorded specially for a B-side, it just happened to be a good live track.

In writing this album in particular, did you ever find yourself saying "This is too weird" or "This will really freak out the 'Freaks'"? In other words, do you ever keep the audience in mind, or find yourself concerned about what the die-fan will feel about the new songs when writing them?

SH - I sometimes think we are going to freak out the "Freaks", but I quite delight in the idea of that rather than out of any concern.

MK - Yeah, I think, not to say we don't value our fans opinions or fans, but we probably really don't consider what they might think at all really when we are writing it.

IM - We used to worry about it more.

SR - Well I think when you start writing music for your fans as such then you know, you are kind of severely limiting your possibilities, aren't you. I mean you've got to have the artistic freedom to go where you will as opposed to worrying about what everybody will understand what you're trying to do.

SH - I think that the chances of us as artists even knowing what our fans want are almost zero. I think to sort of try and imagine what you think they want and try and give it to them is a terrible mistake because you are trying to pin down smoke. All you've really got is your own instincts and your own taste and your own desire to try and push a certain boundary. That is what makes the whole writing and creative process worth doing. I think otherwise it's not really worth doing at all.

PT - I think it's good that you know we do allow ourselves to go down different avenues now and again. We do that much more these days than we ever used to.

MK - We just hope that people will stick with us.

PT - Really if you don't believe in what you are doing then you shouldn't be doing it anyway.

SR - The more albums you make the more harder it is not to repeat yourself - so it's obvious you've got to try and broaden your perspectives otherwise you are going to start doing that.

SH - It's also a precedent we've already set to some extent. I mean making an album that doesn't sound like the last one is not a new idea for us.

PT - Not at all.

SH - We've been doing that right down the line so I think any fans that are still around and still listening to us are already into that philosophy of the way we create. I don't think they're all sitting there going "Oh they're going to do another one just like This Strange Engine." They know for a fact we're not going to.

PT - Of course, the next one is going to be called "Brave II."

IM - Yeah, even if some of the press think we've made the same album every album.

PT - Well, they just think we sound like Phil Collins or Genesis.

SH - Well, they haven't listened to an album for a long time.

PT - Well they can't buy them in the shops and they don't get sent them, what do you expect.

There seem to be many 'lineup' changes on this album, the most apparent being the lack of John Helmer writing lyrics. Was this by choice, and is this the end of an era?

PT - Well that doesn't sound like many to me.

SH - No, it wasn't by choice. We recorded and mixed two songs which were based around lyrics by John and at the last minute we decided not to master them due to musical reasons, nothing to do with the words and they may well reappear on the next album so no this doesn't represent any great change. You know, you never know, but there is no great purpose behind it.

Were the lyrics to 'Three Minute Boy' based on anyone specifically (maybe from Manchester?), or is the Liam Gallagher/Patsy Kensit split merely coincidence?

SH - Yes and no. Obviously when I said "She made a movie / he almost remembered" I was thinking specifically of "Absolute Beginners" and Patsy Kensit of course, but at the same time as that being a direct reference I was thinking of the kind of girls who have been in movies that the kind of guys that are in bands might almost remember, so I was really thinking of the kind of fame that isn't really associated with any great talent.

MK - And that's not really a slur on the movies because blokes in bands don't remember much.

SH - Well, that's true, but you know what I mean. Those kind of girls who are famous for either being a model which requires questionable talent, good looks of course, or having been in some film, some B-movie or something. So yeah I was thinking of Patsy as I threw that line in, but then I was thinking almost of different characters from one line to the next. That song is about Rock and Roll anthropology really. It's about all of us and all of them and it's a cocktail of all my earliest memories of seeing John and Yoko in the registry office and Paul and Linda and Mick and Marianne Faithful, all those kinds of early bits of films I used to watch when I was a kid and everything that has gone on since. And the fact that famous people do live their lives according to a set of rules that have already been laid out in magazines they read earlier on and there's no better example of that than Noel Gallagher who is busy trying to re-create Graceland round at his house in the image of the Beatles. So it's really a generic thing and of course I'm wound up in it too. Some of my emotions and thoughts and memories are wound up in it of course.

This is also the first album in some time that hasn't had Dave Meegan work on it in some capacity, and lists Stewart Every as co-producer, and Erik Nielsen as additional production. What was the reason for this choice, and to what degree did they influence the sound on Radiation?

SH - Well using Stewart as a producer was I suppose a natural step because he has engineered one or two albums for us now and he has also mixed various live gigs for us. He is also now mixing our out front live sound as well as having mixed the Rochester album and various other bits and pieces. He mixed 'The Last Thing' for me on the H album. We've all got a lot respect for his ears and his ability to mix so he was a natural choice really. We got Dave Meegan in to mix This Strange Engine, but we sort of bit our lips and took a risk with Stewart mixing this so it's good to keep changing.

MK - The co-production thing I think is not like having a producer that you employ as a producer because then they're steering the ship whereas with Stewart it's more he's there as a sounding board and as a check or somebody to go "Are you sure about that or what about this," but really we're sort of producing ourselves for the most part. Erik's involvement was that he was actually in the studio doing stuff like web stuff design and would occasionally make a suggestion here and there. The most radical one being to speed up and heavy up the arrangement of 'The Answering Machine'.

SH - Yeah, we felt we had to give Erik a credit for that one contribution really because it was such a radical contribution.

The instrumentation seems to be more extreme - harder, drier, more in-your-face than on previous albums. We have distorted vocals, fuzz bass, keyboard noises from outer space, and a "new" Steve R guitar solo sound. Was there a change in equipment that influenced the song writing and production on the album, or was there a desire for new sounds, which required different instruments (or both)? And what new "toys" do we see on this album?

SR - Well a desire for new sounds and a desire not to repeat ourselves and to fall into familiar patterns. So a conscious decision to try and find new guitar sounds, more natural and purer, less effects, variety of guitars. A slightly different approach I suppose really.

MK - Yeah, for me it was a desire not to use certain sounds I used an awful lot of in the past like synth string type sounds that are always a sort of fall back position when you can't think of anything else to do, you just stick some string chords on and it sounds okay. The JP8000 was the keyboard I used extensively which I hadn't used before so that probably contributed to my sound quite a lot.

PT - I actually went back in time because I was using an old Rickenbacker bass for most of the album which I was using for the writing and it's probably more evident in the writing side than the recording side because it's a double neck with a 12 string and a bass guitar so I could mess about on guitar as well as bass which was quite interesting. It's nice not to do the same thing every album.

SH - I used a cassette recording walkman for some of the vocal sounds which is why they sound a bit odd and scratchy here and there. That was just done by recording the vocal onto the cassette walkman and then playing it back out of its own loudspeaker. That's how we got the vocal sound on 'Costa Del Slough' and on the little 'These Chains' reprise that was a cassette walkman too recording piano and voice in the Walls restaurant one afternoon after everybody had left.

IM - I tuned the drums for this album!

SH - To D!

What is an Anorak, and where is it played on the album?

SH - Ah, now the anorak was the Brave anorak. It was actually a crew jacket that I managed to get hold of from the Brave tour and it's made out of black nylon and if you run your fingers along it it makes an interesting and buzzy, scratchy noise and so I put a take of like a shaker substitute which was just a fingernail scratching on nylon throughout the length of 'A Few Words For The Dead' and it was an irresistible credit so I felt I had to point it out.

You have included a lot of studio out takes and talking between tracks. Why did you decide to do this?

IM - It was time to lighten up a bit, let people know we've got a sense of humour maybe.

MK - Yeah, we always have fun recording and we usually cut out all the fun bits because we're sort of serious as well and we thought well why not leave some of the human element in and not make it sound so sterile, almost make the songs and the recording and the studio all became part of each other.

SH - Yeah, it all turned out to be Pete in the end as well.

MK - So Pete is the person.

PT - I'm the humour.

MK - He is that closing door, the Vic and Bob impersonations, no that was me, SH and Erik wasn't it?

SH - Yeah, that was already on tape though, wasn't it. That was just the backing vocal track running out. We could have faded 'Three Minute Boy' but we just left all the tracks running and that was the longest thing so that was the last thing.

What changed your mind between the original slow version of 'The Answering Machine' heard on the website earlier this year, and the fast rock version that appears on the album? Will we ever see the original demo version appear on a single or elsewhere?

IM - We played that one in Oswestry didn't we?

MK - It was a sort of compromise between the two wasn't it.

SR - I mean possibly if we do this acoustic album at some point in the future it would be a contender.

SH - We've been playing it live since at little acoustic sets and what have you so it's quite likely it will surface somewhere. The reason we radically changed it was because it was sort of treading a line between sort of feeling like Norwegian Wood which was partly what inspired the lyrics and sounding a bit like something from a middle period of Jethro Tull and we didn't want it to sound like Jethro Tull so it was that kind of worry that led Erik to burst into the room and say well "you know it's a great song, you don't want to can it because it sounds like Jethro Tull, you want to do this," and so it was a consequence of all of those really. Not wanting to sound like a one legged flute player probably.

PT - Can you say that before 9 o'clock at night?

Pete is listed as playing acoustic guitar on 'Now She'll Never Know;' was he a main writer of the song and wanted to do it all himself in the studio, or was Steve R in the toilet when they did the final cut?

PT - Oh, thank you very much for that question.

SH - Steve R probably was in the toilet actually, but that's not the reason.

PT - No, it actually started out as something on piano and Steve thought it was a bit ploddy on piano so I just picked up my guitar and said "well why don't we try it like this" and that seemed to work a bit better. I wasn't a main writer in it I just played the bloody thing.

SH - The two of us were working through it, weren't we in the room one day after everybody had left the room just trying to get the arrangement together. We happened to hit on the right arrangement while the two of us were working through it and that went down to DAT and when everybody listened back to it everybody liked the feel of it.

MK - Yeah, I think for me it's a very sort of simple and honest song and Pete not being a natural six string guitar player... there's a certain naivety in your playing which comes across and that really helps the song.

SR - It's fun as well in the same way as when I played the bass part in the first half of 'Cathedral Wall', it's like not what you're used to.

PT - That doesn't sound like fun to me!

SR - Well I mean it's not necessarily what you would have played or the way you would have played it. So that kind of gives it another dimension really which is fun.

MK - And that's why Ian played all the keyboards on the album!

What prompted you to put a chorus of 'Easter' in the intro to 'A Few Words For The Dead'?

SH - God is the honest answer.

IM - Divine intervention.

MK - Because we're so mean we don't always buy new tape, we reuse the old ones and that just happened to be one of the tracks on a live tape from the previous tour.

SH - Middlesborough, wasn't it.

MK - Yeah, so it was like the ambient mike recording which sort of crept onto the master by not being erased really.

SH - And so when we were mixing and we were actually opening up the various tape channels at the early stages of the mix there was a crowd roar and then there was a little chorus of 'Easter' that floated by as well, all of its own accord and they both sounded great exactly where they were so we left them in.

MK - 'A Few Words For The Dead' - the arrangement for that song sort of came together as a whole load of tracks of things going then which were then allowed to be listened to during the mix as opposed to the normal way of arranging a song. It was almost written really in the studio. It could never have been written unless we recorded it.

SH - It was arranged in the mix wasn't it. Normally we arrange in the room and decide what we put on tape after that. With 'A Few Words For The Dead' we put everything all the way through on the whole song and it wasn't until we mixed the song that an arrangement concept came for it which made it a bit of a nightmare to mix, but oddly enough quite a lot of people have picked it out as their favourite song.

MK - Apart from the people who said they just can't get it at all, but then that's good.

PT - They're not working hard enough at it.

SH - I've done a lot of interviews in Europe and they've singled it out as feeling it was the finest moment which confuses the hell out of me because I've been confused by it all along.

The upcoming tour to support Radiation seems to be shorter than tours you've done in the past. Many people worldwide have asked "Why can't you come to my city?" How do you choose what cities to play and how long to tour?

SH - We could have probably answered all these questions with money full stop. It would have probably been the answer to about ten of the questions. Dave Meegan - money.

MK - 'Easter' on 'A Few Words For The Dead' - money.

PT - When you ask that question do you mean Scotland?

MK - I think the answer to that is that we put the choice of cities and where we tour in the hands of our agents and promoters in each country and they base their choice on previous experience. So, for example, just to take the UK because it's easy to talk about and there's a good example there that on the Afraid of Sunlight tour we played in Glasgow, we didn't get that many people there and so on the following tour we weren't going to play there and we were hounded by people to play Glasgow so eventually we put a warm up date in there and of course we didn't get that many people there which was exactly what the promoter predicted and so on this tour we're not playing Glasgow because for the last two tours it has cost us money to go there. It's a shame because for the people that come to see us it's obviously not their fault. So that's what it comes down to really. Make of that what you will. The other option is we're finding new ways of doing things like for example we've done some fan club shows recently with a scaled down rig which seems to work well enough and obviously we take everything as hand luggage. Of course, we get excess baggage charges on the plane, but we get away with it. That's a possibility for the future to enable us to play places like Glasgow.

SR - So look out for us at Sauchiehall Street Station with our kazoo, xylophone and the acoustic guitar.

MK - Exactly, or North America.

SH - I think we're a good two years away from that.

PT - Mind you our complete PA's an awful lot of hand luggage.

MK - Especially when you're running it all on a car battery.

During your recent fan club shows throughout Europe, you have displayed a much faster-paced live set, with different arrangements of many songs. Also, no pre-Steve H material has been performed at these shows. Was this a decision to make the band more "current" and will we see the same things for the tour in November?

MK - The pre-Steve H material question is nothing to do with making the band more current and more to do with playing our most recent material really which is six albums worth. If you want to go back any further than that it would mean us playing much longer sets really.

SH - Yeah, if we played even two or three of the Fish era songs in the set we would have to weight that era of the band so heavily that era of the band effectively would be weighting the show in favour of that era of the band which is ludicrous of course after all this time. So it's just a natural selection process really. When you've made ten albums and you've only got a two hour show to put together it's natural that you're probably going to spend at least 35-40 minutes on the new album which leaves you less than 1hr 20min to cover the previous 9. So it's unlikely that the first two or three albums are going to get that much of a look in. It's got nothing to do with whether the singer changed or not, has it.

MK - The decision to play the faster paced set came about because we had the three fan club shows as a run up to a show in London which was a showcase for the new album we were expecting press to be there and obviously an audience that wouldn't be as attentive as our normal audience so we thought we'd give them something which hits them between the eyes from the first number onwards and we actually enjoyed doing it so we're probably going to carry that on through the tour.

IM - The new arrangements - there's 'Gazpacho' and 'Cannibal [Surf Babe]' which we really get off on. That's why we do them.

PT - And also you know the fan club shows that we were doing were in small clubs and I think people that go to clubs expect something a bit more upbeat than the usual sort of Marillion show.

MK - Also the last tour just seemed like a slower paced set and I suppose we're compensating for that in a way as well.

May members of the band have said that there are plans to get back into the studio quickly and record a new album. Is this due to a carry-over of the enthusiasm shown on Radiation or are there more business-related reasons to finish another album so soon?

All the band shout "Money!"

Are there are Racket Records releases scheduled soon - specifically, will we ever see the Oswestry acoustic show on CD?

MK - We didn't think the quality of the performance at Oswestry warranted a CD.

SR - Yeah, they are pretty much the arrangements we plan to put on an acoustic album at some point in the near future.

SH - That seems like a preferable plan really anyway to putting out that show live. We could have put out a more than acceptable CD of the Oswestry show, but it seemed a shame to waste those arrangements on a live recording when you could go back in the studio and do them properly and make an acoustic album. We put a lot of work into those arrangements.

There is a large interest in what everyone does musically, outside Marillion. First, there has been mention of Pete collaborating with Mike Portnoy [of Dream Theatre] on Mike's current solo project. Have you been approached, and will you be working on it?

PT - Yes.

MK - You didn't tell us!

PT - I've spoken to Mike a couple of times.

IM - That's always a good start!

PT - Yeah, there's a good chance we will. He's actually put the project back to help accommodate my schedule.

SH - To about 2050!

PT - When you've got various different musicians doing different things it can be difficult for your paths to cross, but hopefully we're going to do that and that will probably be before Christmas.

Mark, it has been several years that you have been talking about a solo project based on Dante's 'Inferno'. Are you still working on a solo project, and will we ever see this album? (And what's that thing on your head!)

MK - Yes I'm still working on a solo project, but it's changed quite a lot since then mainly because my musical taste has changed, well it was about three years ago I started it, so I suppose it's not surprising. I've started working with Erik on a solo project if you want to call it a solo project, I'd rather call it a collaboration and that will be more of let's say 'prog-dance,' put it like that and see what happens.

PT - And that thing on your head?

MK - And that thing on my head was a fake tattoo that I had done whilst on holiday in Turkey, but I'm thinking about getting it done properly for real, but not just yet.

SH - I'll be egging him on!

MK - Eggheading me on!

Steve R - you have mentioned that you have been working recently with Hannah Stobart on new material for the next Wishing Tree album. When might we see that?

SR - Oh, hopefully next year, next Septemberish.

MK - Oh, you're planning not to sleep until then.

After a successful (but short) tour with H in Europe, and the recent re-release in the US, will the H band be touring the States?

SH - Money!

And will we see another H album in the future, either with the same lineup, or another collaboration?

SH - Well nothing's impossible, but it's not terribly likely we'll be touring the States in the near future for two reasons. Marillion and unless somebody in America comes to me with a carrier bag full of dough then... don't take that seriously, don't start another fund! You'd have to start another fund basically to get the H band over there and it'd have to be a big one because they're expensive those boys.

Finally, Ian releases a solo concept album about the life of an orange, which tops the national charts, and he decides to quit the band. Two weeks later, the remaining four members receive a call from Ian's management asking you to become Ian's touring band for a huge sum of money, but you will have to wear orange jump suits on stage. What do you do?

IM - Well it's the money again, isn't it.

MK - Take the money.

SH - Yeah, I would say everybody would do it except Rothers.

PT - It depends on what shade of orange really, I think.

SR - Yeah, fair comment.

SH - It'd have to be black with a white T-shirt!

SR - Miaow.

MK - And then the band had a punch up so I'll turn the tape machine off now!


Marillion's 10th studio album. Due to an announcement on this website before the album's release, many suppliers and distributors incorrectly listed the album's title as either "Don't Try This at Home" or "Radiation Leak". Both were provisional titles.

The Japanese release of Radiation (on the Pony Canyon label) contains the bonus tracks 'The Space (Live Acoustic)' and 'Fake Plastic Trees (Live Acoustic)', both taken from the Racket Records album Unplugged at the Walls.  

The US release of Radiation (on the Velvel label) contains the bonus tracks 'Estonia (Acoustic)' and 'Memory of Water (Big Beat Mix)'.