Chris Martin is an extraordinarily talented and affable chap. Just don't ask the singer how Coldplay became the biggest band in the world, writes my SA entertainment. "It makes my brain melt," said Martin, who said he really doesn't agree with the premise. Not to mention that a recent Bruce Springsteen concert blew him away and reminded him pecking order is irrelevant. "It really doesn't matter who's biggest today."
Coldplay makes its first San Antonio appearance at AT&T Center on Wednesday. Snow Patrol opens. OK, so maybe the Grammy-winning band didn't start out wanting to rule the world, but how does one handle it when it happens? "I have a hard time believing it," Martin said. "Maybe it's because I'm British or because I'm too religious. I feel lucky."
But quite astute is Martin's reasoning on how it happened: "When Radiohead went less commercial."
Coldplay is known for epic-sounding albums and big hits "Yellow," "Clocks," "In My Place," "Speed of Sound," "Fix You," "The Hardest Part" and "Viva La Vida," as well as for Martin's marriage to Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
There was also that blip last year when rock guitarist Joe Satriani sued the band for copyright infringement, claiming that "Viva La Vida" was too close to his 2004 song "If I Could Fly." Coldplay has denied the charge. But Brian Eno's work on "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends" — this year's album of the year — elevated an already Grammy-winning band that includes guitarist Jon Buckland, drummer Will Champion and bassist Guy Berryman.
"It's like going back to school and tearing up all the rules," said Martin. "He guides you down the path. He doesn't care about 'Yellow.' "
Martin acknowledged Eno's ways took some getting used to. "He doesn't treat you like you're famous," he said. Martin's kept that angelic voice in shape for the last 10 years with the help of "a funny lady in England named Mary."
Onstage, Coldplay brings "a spectacle" that Martin says depends on a huge crew. "What worries me is that I don't know how to plug anything in anymore," said Martin. "I'm powerless." But he'll take the entourage over the old days. "I can play piano at home any time," he said.
One thing you can't do at home is getting to hang around with Jay-Z and Paul McCartney. "Jay-Z is one of my musical heroes. He's a personal hero the way he conducts himself," said Martin. About their musical association: "It's part of my education."
McCartney is another kettle of fish. They crossed paths at the Grammy Awards where the band performed in colorful outfits reminiscent of the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper"-era uniforms. "He's almost a saintly figure in England," said Martin. "It's hard to not think of him as a mythical figure."
Martin joked that Sir Paul is a little grudging with doling out praise. "He'll give you a nod and doesn't leave," said Martin. "He called us a 'good little band.' "
Hey, isn't that how McCartney describes the Beatles? "Yeah, I know," said Martin.
Join the discussion for the San Antonio show at the Coldplay Live forum here. The show takes place at the AT&T Center, East Houston Street at AT&T Center Parkway and also features Snow Patrol and Howling Bells.
Chris Martin at DTE Energy Music Theatre, Detroit, MI (2 June 2009):
Pictures: by ashleylouwho @ http://ashleylouwho.livejournal.com/