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BACKSTAGE: Pouring Coldplay water on it

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Chris Martin talks to Elton
Sunday 30 November 2003 @ 11:55 - GMT

Elton turns to be reporter and talks to Coldplay's Chris Martin for Interview magazine on August 1, 2003:

Elton: You just played Madison Square Garden last night, right? How was it?

CHRIS MARTIN: It was amazing.

EJ: The Garden is my favorite venue in the world to play. The floor bounces-you must've noticed that.

CM: Well, we're kind of soft rock. No one really moves.

EJ: Oh. please! I saw you in Atlanta, and you're not at all. But listen, you must feel as if you've come a long way as a live band.

CM: Well, we have a lot more smoke and mirrors. Also, don't be shy-Atlanta was the concert where you came up onstage and played with us.

CM: Really? I don't believe you.

EJ: Yeah. It was great to play with you guys. And it blew me away that the whole audience knew every single word to every song of yours. [laughs]

EJ: It was like going to an old Rod Stewart concert, where he never used to sing because the audience sang all the words. You must be thrilled about what's happening. You've made a giant leap from the first album, Parachutes, which was a great debut, to your second, A Rush of Blood to the Head [both Capitol]. And as a performer within a band, you've certainly got so much confidence. I like the fact that you play the upright piano.

CM: Thanks. We thought about a grand piano, but I don't think we could get away with it.

EJ: Well, you're so long and spindly that it really has a great effect, I think. It's a bit Charlie Chaplin-esque. And the sound is great too.

CM: Thank you. It's been fun, everything that's happened to us. Today I'm feeling relaxed because we've finished touring America for this album. But when I think about where we were a year ago, it's totally bonkers, really. When you're on tour, you get caught up in the whole thing. You're worrying about day to day, and then you sit back and go, "Wow, we went from that to this."

EJ: When I saw you, I thought, "Oh, my God, I haven't seen a band like this since I saw U2 a long time ago." [Martin laughs] I know it's big shoes to fill, but I felt--and everybody with me that night said--"God, this is a big band."

CM: We just wrote a song called "Monday, Bloody Monday." We reckon it's going to be massive. [John laughs] It's weird: You must have had comparisons too, but we've had so many now that we're not sure who we are.

EJ: Yeah, well, you're uniquely yourselves. I get the feeling that you're all close.

CM: I hope so.

EJ: Because being in a band, you've got four different personalities going on, and you're. with each other a lot of the time, and you drive each other crazy. And that leads to friction, which sometimes leads to great bands not seeing their life span through because of the personal things that go on.

CM: Right, right. Well, it's hard for us to be unhappy at the moment. All we're thinking about now is writing new songs. After a year of promoting one album, you stop going at it. We stopped at the beginning of the new record's release because we were all very tense about releasing it, and I'm sure we will be on the next one as well.

EJ: So, are you going to do an album fairly quickly?

CM: No, no, no. We're going to try to reinvent the wheel.

EJ: Do you get homesick when you are on the road?

CM: A bit, but our families and our girlfriends will be with us a lot on this tour, so we're basically having the time of our lives.

EJ: I'll bet. Have you been to the cinema? What do you like to do when you have any days off?

CM: That's a good question. The main thing I like to do is write music. And vie watch a lot of films, I suppose. I used to love going bowling, but then we stopped because we thought it was pretty cheesy. We play football. We do everything your average young man does.

EJ: Do you guys travel by plane or by bus?

CM: We have a sort of hodgepodge. We don't have our private Elton jet yet, but we occasionally get flown.

EJ: A lot of bands really like going on the bus because it gives them camaraderie.

CM: The other day we spent four hours on the bus watching The Osbournes. I was really suspicious about the show when I first heard about it, although it must be weird for them to have cameras around all the time.

EJ: Invasion of privacy is a complex thing to deal with. You must be having to confront it now, what with the band's success and everything else. For example, everyone knows who you are going out with. When I saw you, I didn't even mention it because (a) it's none of my business and (b) it's something very precious to a person.

CM: I never talk about it. [About the paparazzi]--there're worse things going on in the world. But sometimes you see your potbelly in the paper--it's annoying.

EJ: In a very public life, privacy is very important. But back to The Osbournes--with something like that you get used to the cameras. David [Furnish] did a documentary on me once named Tantrums & Tiaras, and it was a year of him following me around with a handheld camera, and I just didn't realize it was there after a while, which was really good.

CM: How did you feel about that film?

EJ: I loved it. Because I know the behavior; people thought it was a bit outrageous.

CM: People love that, though.

EJ: And some of the temper tantrums; but that's how I am, and it's the most honest thing I could do at that stage in my life. I wanted to do something that wasn't too reverent; I wanted to show the side of the beast that sometimes isn't so nice, and we all have it in us. We can be so self-destructive, and, you know, at the wrong time, when we're tired and when we're irritable, we're completely irrational, and that must happen to you as well.

CM: I can be a total c--t.

EJ: I think every creative person is capable of that.

CM: I agree, but I think every person is capable of it.

EJ: I know that you guys have causes that you really care about.

CM: The main thing that we've been trying to talk about is this website called maketradefair.com [Oxfam Trade Campaign]. This whole idea--well, not the idea, but the fact that so much of the way that world trade operates is completely unjust, and the balance is very wrong: It's all favoring England and America and France and really screwing over a sugar grower. It sounds like we're trying to be very virtuous, but we're just trying to talk about--

EJ: --Fairness.

CM: Yeah, it's just, if you do a record, in the same way like when Metallica kicked up a fuss [about on-line song piracy] or whatever--although that's slightly cringe-worthy--if you spend three months growing some cocoa and someone rips you off on it, then you're going to be annoyed.

EJ: And we're okay, even if our records are downloaded--we still do okay.

CM: Yeah, exactly. What does it matter?

EJ: The other kind of thing is life and death to a person in a way, because it's their livelihood.

CM: Yeah. We thought rather than advertising a product, we'd rather advertise the website.

EJ: I have a feeling that these days there is more camaraderie between bands--swapping ideas, playing with each other.

CM: Well, it's fascinating to me that however glamorous or unglamorous [my] life gets as a musician, the thing I still like to do most when I meet people is just sit and talk about bands all day.

EJ: I do too. So have you heard any new music that you really like lately?

CM: Oh, yeah, man. It's funny, because when you come to America, it reminds you of all the English bands that you love. Like our favorite band right now is probably Ash, you know, from Britain.

EJ: From Northern Ireland.

CM: Exactly. And I've been listening to some Bob Dylan. My uncle used to sing me this song called "Froggie Went A-Courtin'," and that's what I'm listening to at the moment.

EJ: What do you think of the White Stripes?

CM: I think they're totally brilliant. And Ron Sexsmith--he's been touring with us--and this band called Eisley. And I've been listening to the new Radiohead album and the new Blur album. There's a song on [Blur's] called "Sweet Song," which has got the best melody of all time.

EJ: Have you heard the Flaming Lips album?

CM: We played with them the other day in Seattle, and that's one band you just can't follow. The Flaming Lips live is like having an injection of something nice. It's like a big party.

EJ: Every week something different comes out, something inspiring, like the Flaming Lips or you all or Radiohead or Ryan Adams or Skin, and I think, Christ, I hope I could do something as good as that.

CM: Don't be too hard on yourself, man. You did write "Rocket Man." [both laugh]