As part of Coldplaying's Erasmus boat trip excursion for Coldplay's Christmas Lights video last month, Coldplay roadies Matt McGinn and Miller, along with fifth member Phil Harvey were able to provide some excellent online Q&A to Coldplayers who were on the boat (and some who weren't). First up to answer our questions, is long-time roadie Matt McGinn, who answers questions on Pretty Woman, the music industry, guitar strings, new instruments for LP5 to name but a few. You can discuss the Q&A here at the Coldplay forum. Phil Harvey's answers will be published on Wednesday at 3pm GMT in that thread first. Read on for Matt McGinn's answers. [thanks Debs Wild]
Q. I really enjoyed Matt's book Roadie: My Life On the Road With Coldplay. I was intrigued when he talked about the riff he invented while talking to Chris, that eventually landed on the cut "Square One" from X&Y. That is one of my favorite Coldplay songs (and favorite album) and I was wondering which riff in the song was Matt's? - Jill Finan
A. Thanks, I'm chuffed you liked the book, it really means a lot that people are digging it. The riff is the quiet three-noter in the choruses. We actually had a lively debate in the studio recently about favourite riffs we'd all had a hand in; Jonny mentioned the one at the end of 'The Scientist' while Brian Eno cited Carlos Alomar's Bendy Beauty from David Bowie's 'Heroes'. My personal favourite though is from 'Adhesive' by The Duty Prefects, my school band circa 1981, which definately takes the cake!
Q. Well I was curious if any of the guys keep their own personal tour diary? We get perspectives from Roadie 42, the oracle, and anchorman, but I wanted to know if they ever wrote down their own memories just for themselves not to be shared with the public. Do ya'll do the same? Maybe not necessarily a tour diary but when something momentous happens, do you write it down? – Kimberly
A. Not sure about the band but when I was writing the book (see above) I had loads of scribbles on gaffer tape and airline napkins - you never know when an idea will strike, do you?
Q. I bought one of Jonny's thin lines in the auction and want to know what brand of strings he uses - Angie Castille
A. Well done, which one did you get? Forty, blacky or cheapy? They're all lovely in different ways and we do miss them! Jonny uses D'Addarios, but I hear guitar strings grow on the same trees these days. We'd happily use Ernie Ball, for instance, if we had to.
Q. How many times have you seen Pretty Woman, to be using that quote in your book?
A. At least twenty-three. I like the bit where he snaps her fingers in the jewellery box. I honestly don't think she knew he was going to do it.
Q. My question is a bit selfish, but I was wondering if you'd be able to give any advice to someone looking to work in the music industry, particularly in the more administrative/managerial side of things, in the coming years. I'm just about to graduate university, and I'm deciding what steps to take next in order to get closer to my dream of working for a band much as you all do, and was wondering if you had any advice. Thanks! - Chelsea Gilchrist
A. No, not selfish Chelsea, just tough to answer. Personally, I just blindly kept going with music, because I didn't know what else to do. Then I got lucky, met Coldplay and held on for dear life! Seriously though, if you're off to college, why not get to know the Ents people and dive into putting on shows and stuff while you're there? Lots of music business people get going like that, it's a great way to cut your teeth and make contacts. Good luck.
Q. Some of the instruments used in Viva La Vida sound distorted, or a combination of instruments that the band don't always play. The piano throughout the song sounds either treated or an earlier version of the instrument, and the extended instrumental section between the chorus and verse (1:38 onwards) sounds like a combination of electric guitar with distortion pedal, steel guitar or distorted/treated harpsichord? What instruments were used / treated for Viva La Vida? - Phil Stewart
A. This is one for Rik Simpson really, though I think an Eventide H8000 was used a fair bit. It's not your run-of-the-mill piece of recording, that's for sure. All I remember is it nearly didn't make the record. Amazing, eh?
Q. What is your most memorable experience working with Coldplay so far? – Deshani
A. Getting drenched in Abu Dhabi. The wettest gig of my life. I had local crew with umbrellas all around me at stageside and had to give Jonny a massive towel to dry the guitars as I passed them to him. We then flew out through the storm, the same night. Ghastly. It's either that or dressing as Elvis and miming violin on Top Of The Pops!
Q. For this album, are you using new instruments on this record? Has one or more instruments influenced this album's sound? I'm asking this because, I liked how you used new instruments on the last album such as the violin, tabla and Middle Eastern sounds on Yes! - marie lamensch
A. Jonny's really got into playing stratocasters lately, a big departure for us both, having favoured telecasters for years. Also there's an amazing acoustic instrument Guy really likes playing called the Epiphone Inspiration. It's a four-stringed sort of tenor axe the size of a banjo from who knows where or when. We seem to have the only one anyone's ever seen.
Q. What would you like for christmas? - emily parker
A. Just a huge cuddle from my little daughter. And some big fat Norwegian socks!
[thanks to Coldplay Roadie Matt McGinn for answering our questions!]
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