Philip Selway

What do you call a guy who hangs out with musicians? A Drummer.

What’s the last thing a drummer says in a band? “Hey guys, why don’t we try one of my songs?”

Drummers in a nutshell

If you have spent any amount of time around drummers, you’ll know that they are an interesting class of individual. They serve a separate function from the rest of the band — beat rather than melody — and often times they’re quirky personality has them positioned slightly away from the social relations of the band too.

Before any drummers become offended. This is not a bad thing. Whereas the writers of the group (guitarist, bass player, singer) tend to commiserate often — I’ve found that drummers have vibrant social lives outside of their band.

No pun intended, but they truly operate to the beat of their own drum. I base my opinion on not only the drummers I’ve dealt with, but the drummers I’ve known in other bands too.

From a personality standpoint, drummers are unconflicted. The drums seem to attract free spirited individuals, who appear to have zero sense of internal struggle. This is good thing — and also a bad thing. They can be laid back to a fault.

I was in a touring rock band with some pretty wild guys. We had the opportunity of opening for quite a few (now mega-famous) acts, like The Killers and John Mayer. Of my 12 years in that band, the craziest stories surrounded the singer — and the most puzzling, head-scratching stories always involved the drummer.

(Note: Coming up for Air is my premium content. Be sure to check out my Radiohead arrangments as well.)

How to play Philip Selway’s ‘Coming up for Air’ for classical  guitar

Radiohead’s Philip Selway would probably be the antithesis to every thing I just exclaimed about drummers. It’s obvious that he’s a complete musician in the truest sense of the form. Maybe even more so then his band members.

After listening to his new album Weatherhouse, you’ll realize this is not just another solo project. Philip Selway is a masterful song craftsman, and should stand alone in his own right, away from the umbrella of Radiohead.

On the same token, his contribution to Radiohead is obviously greater than anyone would realize.

Coming up for Air begins like a pulsating Thom Yorke song, but has an uplifting and refreshing chorus. In fact, most of the album is the Radiohead record that you secretly wish would happen. Where they let off the gas of innovation just enough to give you a chorus section from The Bends.

Coming up for Air translated well to classical guitar. The guitar tab is beautifully written on only two pages. My order of play goes like this: Intro, Verse, Pre chorus, Chorus, Post Chorus — Intro, Verse, Chorus, Post Chorus, Outro. All sections are indicated in the guitar tab.

Overall, Coming up for Air doesn’t contain any difficult chord shapes.  I would categorize this is easy to play — though the timing of certain sections might be a little tough for beginner and intermediate guitar players.

Enjoy, the tab is available below:

Coming up for Air is played one whole step down. Your tuning will look like this from low to high: D G C F A D. 

Coming up for Air for classical guitar


Written by:

Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, film composer - Broken Noons, creator of modern content for guitar.