Live at Newcastle University Student’s Union supporting MUSE + Interview

Two nights into their short tour supporting Muse, Coldplay were preparing to welcome a haul of new fans in Newcastle. ALAN SMITHEE spoke to Will Champion (drums) and Guy Berryman (bass).

Leading up to their second ‘proper’ single, YELLOW, both the band and the fans are eager for the release of ‘PARACHUTES’, the debut album, on July 10th. WC: ‘It was co-produced by us and a chap called Ken Nelson, who we work with, and it was recorded in spits and spats, in four different studios around the country, Wales, Liverpool, London, mixed in New York. It’s called Parachutes after a short song on the album, and it seemed to fit quite nicely.’

It had been said that there would be 10 tracks on the album plus an extra surprise at the end, and there was no way the band were going to reveal it! GB: ‘It wouldn’t be a surprise if we told you!’ WC: ‘Who told you that anyway?’.

WC: ‘(the recording) was quite stressful, a lot of things took a lot longer than we’d thought.’ GB: ‘There was a lot of times we thought we’d got it then we’d listen to it a week later and it was no good, there was a lot of going ’round in circles, but eventually the end product we’re happy with’.

Recently Coldplay filmed the video for YELLOW, although things didn’t quite go according to plan. WC: ‘Yeah we had a script and it was gonna be on the beach and we had loads of extras, there was gonna be loads of people sitting around on the beach but in the end it was pouring with rain, so Chris did it by himself’. GB: ‘Apparently it looks like Bittersweet Symphony, on the beach, in the rain!’

On June 8th, after a multitude of support slots and co-headliners, Coldplay start their first headline tour. How does that feel? WC: ‘Great! It’s really cool ‘cos this tour’ll be really good for us ‘cos a lot of Muse’s fans have actually heard of us and quite like us too, and the two gigs we’ve played already have been really really good so we’re definitely looking forward to the headlining.’ GB: ‘This is more of an event than the headlining, people come to see both bands.’ What about the dates recently confirmed for Europe, Australia and Japan? WC: ‘Yeah, definitely, you’d be mad not to (look forward to them) really!’ GB: ‘Especially Australia ‘cos we’re out there for six days and we’ve only got six days to play so we get some time there’. The band are confident of a warm reception, GB: ‘We’ve done alright so far, we released our single, the BLUE ROOM EP and it’s done very well apparently.’

WC: ‘ When we’re not touring we’re either recording or doing interviews or doing photos or videos (laughter), but when we’ve got time off we just sit around in the flat and… relax! GB: ‘Relax!’ WC: ‘It’s been very stressful, or whatever, so it’s just relaxation and going out and having fun!’.

This year Coldplay are really starting to ‘get noticed’ and their fanbase is snowballing, even after a somewhat disasterous session on LATER WITH JOOLS HOLLAND. WC: ‘Yeah the TV was a bit… we weren’t really happy with the Jools Holland thing.’ Was there something wrong with the sound there? WC+GB: ‘Yeah!’, WC: ‘It was just appaling. Worst sound I’ve ever heard. On any band, ever! (laughter) Yeah that was really annoying but it didn’t really do us too much harm ‘cos more people seemed to hear us’. You still seemed to pick up a few more fans after that. WC: ‘Yeah! That’s the plan! So yeah, I don’t think it did any harm to be on TV at all, we just would’ve preferred to be a bit better, that’s all’.

So how are Coldplay getting on with Matt Bellamy and co.? WC: ‘They seem really cool, the first gig was two nights ago, they came into our dressing room and gave us a couple of bottles of champagne, as a ‘Hello!’ sort of thing. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to getting to know them a bit better’.

What would you say was the best gig you’ve ever played?
GB: There’s a few that stick out…
WC: The one last night was quite enjoyable
GB: Yeah
WC: The Catatonia one was great
GB: Yeah!
WC: ‘Cos that was sort of like a landmark, our first big support, it was ages ago, last April, over a year ago, that was good. But yeah, hopefully we should get better every time we play, so hopefully tonight should be the best gig we’ve ever played!’

You’ve been labelled the new ‘nicest guys in rock’, how do you feel about that?
WC: It’s alright!
GB: Fine!
WC: It’s cool!
GB: It’s better to be labelled ‘nice’ than ‘tosser’! (laughter).

Last time we spoke, you said Chris got recognised because he had funny hair, has been recognised in the street since his haircut?
(laughter)
WC: Not in the street, but outside gigs he always gets little girlies flocking around him.

In Melody Maker, Chris said he’d like a one-night stand with Hillary Woods from JJ72, did anything happen there?
WC: (laughs)
GB: What’s that?
WC: That thing in Melody Maker at the MTV thing, five-night stand that guy asked about one-night stands, if there was anyone in the pop world he’d like to have a one-night stand with, and Chris said, holding his hand over the tape recorder, and basically said the bass player from JJ72s really pretty, and they printed it!
GB: (laughs)
WC: It’s just one of those things, one of those spur of the moment things I think!

What bands do you love and hate?
WC: Bands we love is just massive, just hundreds and hundreds of bands we love, and equally probably bands we hate aswell, it’s more types of music, well no that’s not right, there’s a lot of pop crap, it’s not even hating it, it just doesn’t even merit a response, but bands we love there’s just thousands and thousands and thousands.

Pet Hates?
WC: Pet hates? People who don’t look where they’re going walking on the street and then stop in front of you and don’t realise you’re walking right behind them and stuff like that, just a general lack of awareness for other people. That’s my pet hate.
It’s like that in supermarkets aswell.
WC: Yeah! People who’ve got no concept of other people. Terrible.

Again last time we spoke you said Will did a great impression of Michael Owen. Apart from that, can you tell me one question the UK doesn’t know about you or another band member?
(laughter)
WC: Dunno!
GB: There’s probably a lot of things the country doesn’t know about us, but it’s probably best left unsaid! (laughter)
WC: Can’t think of anything printable!
GB: Apart from really boring stuff which people wouldn’t be interested in like Chris’s middle name or something! (laughter) Which really isn’t interesting so…
WC: Can’t think of anything!
GB: Not interesting to write.
WC: Not without offending anyone!
Do you not just want to offend someone then???
WC: Not really! It’s not in our gameplan!

“We should get better every time we play, so hopefully tonight should be the best gig we’ve ever played!” – Will

That may well have proved to be true.

“We’ve had a really shit day so we just want to enjoy this as much as possible”, singer Chris Martin informs an angry, restless crowd of Muse-Os. The band get off to a breathtaking start with the best song of the set with the beautiful-groovy-beautiful SPIES. It was greeted by a great roaring cheer, to the delight of the band.

This was followed by a smooth yet lively rendition of DON’T PANIC, one of the two BLUE ROOM tracks of the evening, (the other being HIGH SPEED), although the version played was the ‘new’ version set to feature on the new album. The harmonica went down a treat aswell.

After another roar from the crowd, Chris shouts “Have any of you actually heard of us then?”, the response was yet another roar. A couple more roars later, including one after new single YELLOW, Chris takes a seat at the keyboard. “This one’s called TROUBLE. Come on you can do better than that I said this one’s called TROUBLE!”. The crowd were at his mercy. This beautiful song was another standout.

The other standout was the previous single. “This is the only one you might actually know, this one’s called SHIVER”. For the majority of the crowd this may well have been true, but I doubt there was one person in the house who didn’t themselves shiver when Coldplay let rip during the powerful crescendo.

As their fanbase increases, so does their confidence, and that night Coldplay played the perfect support set with absolutely no inhibitions, and it payed off big time.

Setlist
Spies
Don’t Panic
High Speed
Yellow
Trouble
Shiver
Everything’s Not Lost

ALAN SMITHEE