Bands are usually started when a group of friends or like-minded musicians get together and just start making music. Sometimes it is just for the fun of it all, to let off some steam after hours of school or studying, and other times the goal is to become stars.
What happens, thought, when you join a band and they already have someone who plays the guitar and the piano? Well, then that is when you decide to learn the anatomy of a drum kit and quickly! That was the case for Coldplay’s drummer Will Champion and he has never looked back.
Meet the band
Coldplay was formed between 1996 and 1998 at University College London. The founding members Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland met each other during their first week of school. For the rest of that year, the two began plans to start their band which was initially called The Pectoralz.
It was only later that Guy Berryman and Will Champion joined the group and changed the name to Starfish before finally settling on Coldplay. The year is 1998, the band has finally been formed with Chris on vocals and piano, Jonny on guitar, Guy the bassist and Will finally learning to play the drums.
There have been rumors of a fifth band member, and those rumors are true. Only thing is, this member doesn’t get up on stage with the rest of the band because he is the creative director, Phil Harvey. While Phil didn’t attend school with the rest, he was a longtime friend of Chris and accepted the role as the band’s manager.
The band did not only sign recording contracts, in fact, but had their own internal contract regarding hard drugs. It all happened after Will was fired from the band while recording EP “The Blue Room.” Chris was plagued with guilt and begged Will to return even though he was the one to kick him out.
Chris couldn’t handle the guilt and went on a drinking binge which really affected the dynamic of the group even though Will had agreed to return.
Once they were all sober and done licking their wounds, the band decided to work as a democracy. They followed in the footsteps of U2 and R.E.M and declared that anyone using hard drugs would be kicked out of the group immediately.
This is not the only time that the band referenced U2 and R.E.M in interviews. Coldplay often refers to the above-mentioned bands as a huge inspiration to their sound and image. The Scottish band Travis is also credited for playing a role in the early days of Coldplay while they were finding their feet.
As far as British groups go, Coldplay has really managed to follow in the steps of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, managing to break free of only the British market and become international superstars.
They have won many awards such as the Brit Award, Billboard Music Award and the American music award for Best British Group. In 2009 they were nominated for seven Grammys and walked away having won three of them. This still stands as the most successful year for the group.
In total the band has sold over 100 million albums around the world making them one of the most popular British rock bands of the 2000s. Chris has dubbed their genre “Limestone Rock” rather than “Hard Rock” just to prove that his British wit is still alive and well even after traveling the world.
Their success is not only measured in the number of records they have sold but also in the number of times they have gone on tour since they began in 2000. Imagine Dragons has gone on seven tours, some of which spanned over more than one year, leaving only gaps for short holidays and studio time.
Coldplay managed to go from college band to international, award-winning band. And they have managed to maintain their status for the past 19 years and it looks like there is no stopping them.
It goes to show that bands are very much like family, as long as there is a certain level of understanding coupled with a few ground rules. The sky is the limit for what you can achieve. They have been there for each other through it all and as they have grown so too has their work. A great lesson not only for musicians but all artists trying to make it big.
In case you missed it, be sure to check out our other articles in this series:
The Doors: Inspiring Stories About Famous Musicians and Bands Who Started to Perform in College
Korn: Inspiring Stories About Famous Musicians and Bands Who Started to Perform in College
Queen: Inspiring Stories About Famous Musicians and Bands Who Started to Perform in College
Imagine Dragons: Inspiring Stories About Famous Musicians and Bands Who Started to Perform in College