Coldplay secured a permanent position in Britain's music elite by writing beautiful,simple songs that gently pulled at the heartstrings of a nation. Somewhere in between the confident, vulnerable guitar playing of Jonny Buckland, the melodic bassline of Guy Berryman, thoughtful drumming of Will Champion, and lead Chris Martin's stark, tenor vocals are answers for the soul. Although melancholy stands behind every Coldplay song, each one is also steeped in an unusual and sincereoptimism rarely found in English bands. Songs face an inevitable sadness and yearning - a little thing called being real - to get to a better place where the truth held firm in pure emotion is pivotal. Songs like the remorseful "Trouble," with its memorable piano-line, the lonely "Spies" and mega-hit single "Yellow" reveal a hybrid of lyrics that can only be described as joy and remorse, all wrappedinto one. "We just want the songs to reflect reality," says Chris.
In doing so, Coldplay may well be the most profound British act to emerge out of the millennium thus far. No one is more surprised by their popularity than the band. Who knew such an austere and tactile musical existence would lead to such greatness? Yet it has.
It all began when the members of Coldplay met in 1996 - theirfirst week of college (University College London). Two and a half years later, they had their first official band session - a rehearsal in Jonny's bedroom in January of 1998. Jonny and Chris had been working on songs since they met, but the other two members hadn't really been around much until Guy joined the band to play bass just before dropping out of engineering school. The other two stuckwith their studies, while also pursuing music.
Will, also still in school, loved playing guitar but was persuaded to become Coldplay's drummer so the band could play their first gig (at a Cuban Caf?at a festival for unsigned bands called "In The City" in Manchester) in late 1998. They had just six songs written including "Don't Panic" and "High Speed" - now found on Parachutes. They soon released500 copies of an EP called Safety (financed by their now manager, Phil) and released the single "Brothers And Sisters" on a small English label called Fierce Panda, after which the UK label Parlophone signed them in 1999 just before final exam time. As they say, the rest is history, or in the stars, or whatever. In any case, another EP on Parlophone, The Blue Room, followed, as did the single"Shiver."
Before the band, lead singer/guitarist/pianist Chris Martin grew up in a close family from Devon, England. In fact, he still lives at home as the eldest of five kids raised by a teacher mum and accountant dad, where he started bashing out tunes on the family piano at an early age. Typical of the first-born, he is an over-achiever and self-proclaimed worrier. Although anything to do with"injustice" will rile him up, no one can accuse him of being the typical tortured and drunken English musician since he rarely drinks, never smokes and admits life can be pretty damn good. He's a shy product of boarding school where he soon graduated to the guitar and has been in bands since the age of 15. He considers the big three in music to be: Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Tom Waits. Oh, and theFlaming Lips aren't bad either.
Lead guitarist Jonny Buckland doesn't think he's a very good guitar player, but the rest of the world begs to differ. He was born 22 odd years ago in London, then his family relocated to Mold, North Wales when he was just four. Jonny first picked up a guitar at the tender age of 11, encouraged by his older brother who was a huge My Bloody Valentine fan. Both...