Friday, November 11, 2011

Coldplay are self taught musicians. Until a concert this summer at the Lollapalooza Festival, it had been 2 long years since the British band had played America. Their last album climbed to number one in 20 countries and produced the global mega-hit La Vita Loca with it’s sing-a-long chant the band leader’s favorite song to date since all audiences all over the world join in the singing.
In about a decade of recording Coldplay has sold 50 million records and brought home 7 Grammy awards. The 4 members of the band met as undergraduates at London’s University College in the late 90’s. Lead singer and pianist Chris Martin connected with guitarist Jonny Buckland when they heard each other practicing in their dorm rooms.
Guy Berryman joined to play bass guitar and Will Champion played drums. The band’s original name was Starfish. They only had an hour before their first performance to decide a name and by the time of their next gig they already changed their name to The Coldplay. By the time of their third gig they threw the The away before Coldplay.
The band’s massive success came quickly. Their first album “Parachutes” would include an unexpected hit “Yellow.” They tuned the guitar differently and played one finger chord groups and played it all over the frets of the guitar. Chris admits that he wrote this song in the bathroom while taking advantage of the great acoustics echo found in rooms where the sound can bounce off hard surfaces.. It sounded good and later they asked trained musicians to tell them exactly what chords the finger patterns were.
Chris does not read sheet music. His last piano lesson was when he was 7 years old but he never stopped playing with different combinations of sounds that he thought blended well. Maybe that is why his songs sound different and refreshing since some of the traditional chord structure from playing other people’s music has never been taught to him.
He is the 34 year old centerpiece of the band being the songwriter and front man on stage. He considers his life hard work that you don’t have to work hard at. The band’s London headquarters is a former bakery turned into practice and office space. They design their own art work for their albums and has a new album soon to be released called Myloxyloto.
The saddest moment for the band was when in 2005 Jon Pareles of the New York Times wrote that “The Case Against Coldplay was the grandiose, calculated self-pity of the decade’s most insufferable band.” He was so taken back by being called the most insufferable band that he never read a review again. Since then he has found his inner strength and hurls the criticisms right back and he becomes stronger.
Chris Martin is also the father to 7 year old Apple and 5 year old son Moses. The mother of his children is the Academy Award winner actress Gwyneth Paltrow. They met backstage after a Coldplay concert in 2002. She was a fan of the band. The family does not practice any formal religion. He admits that he has had only one serious relationship in his life. He said that he was a looser that all of a sudden was seeing a Oscar winner. It was like winning the lottery. Everything good in his life came from the band. The couple rarely appears in public together. They decline joint interviews. He wishes to keep his private life private.
The band is his best friend not his wife and the live performances are the fuel that propels him forward to write more. He will not watch the criticism on You Tube either. They are on 200 road trips each year. They signed with someone who at first rejected the band but then took the band . Chris would not attend the meetings. Presently, they don’t own hardly anything and will not own the proceeds from the recordings for another 20 years in their contract.
His music is different and his writing style is different as well. For Viva La Vida, he had 55 pages of lyrics written down, wrote his final draft on his hand and then typed it into his phone. Clocks was written in 2002 in Liverpool in 15 minutes. The opening arpeggio came first then the guitarists played chords under it and made sense of the song. His greatest influence was the music of Bob Marley.
Speed of Sound he thinks is a bad recording and will not play it in concert. He won’t listen to it or play the album. The Green Eyes song was written before he met Gwenetth . In 10 minutes he wrote a song for the winner of a TV show but decided to keep it for himself called Paradise that represents all the things found in your head.
Recently he was asked and played for the Steve Jobs memorial service. He will also play at your wedding or party for about 1 million dollars.. Honey, book the band, they don’t read music anyway. Take a chance.

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