Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Writing about Coldplay is like dancing about architecture

Most interviews with musicians don't serve a purpose.

Give me two simple things: sounds like [insert known reference point] and any story behind a song. Then step back, and let me listen. I have a similar philosophy for my bartenders.

What I can't stand? Musicians who say 'our music is hard to describe. It really doesn't sound like anything.'

Give me any song, 10 minutes, and I'll chart a 'six degrees of separation' that doesn't lead back to Kevin Bacon.

The second unbearable? Musicians who don't give a straight answer to a sincere question.

Here's a story. Coldplay plays Austin City Limits. Prior to performing, they hold a press conference for what appears to be young, eager-to-learn reporters. Not professionals.

One scribe asks - 'Where'd you get the name Coldplay?' A band member responds, sincerely, 'We stole it.' And then, a not-so-sincere Chris Martin chimes in, 'Yeah, we saw a band walking down the street with the name and [insert condescending comment].'

Next question. And thus, the kid's left with a what-the-fuck? expression.

The clip below includes this scene along with one of Martin saying, at the end of an official interview, something about Austin City Limits, like KCRW, shares the band's ideals and so they are happy to come and [insert sincere sounding comment].

Early Dylan was one of the worst criminals of this.

Click on exclusive 1o-minute video here.


**True origin of the name, found on Coldplay's site:

"Chris, Jonny, Wil & Guy were called "Starfish" originally and their friends were called "Coldplay". When they didn’t want the name anymore, "Starfish" asked if they could use it instead. The original Coldplay took the name from a book of collected poems and can still be found on Amazon today."


Check out CHW's post for all the good things about Chris Martin's appearance on Austin City Limits that I failed to mention.


At 8:56 PM, Blogger jsbankston said...

They should've gone with "Chocolate Starfish." Would've brought in a whole new listening demographic.

And did you hear that Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow are planning to name their as yet unborn new son "Capone"?

But apparently there is a precedent for naming kids after outlaws. Merle Haggard named his youngest son after Bennie Binion, who was a violent gun-toting Texas club owner before becoming a Vegas casino owner. Jon Bon Jovi jas a son named "Jesse James," and had Jade Jagger been a girl Mick and Bianca planned on naming him "Jesse James Jagger."

And as I've said before, if I ever have twin boys I wanna name them "Richard Milhous" and "Lee Harvey Bankston."

At 10:47 PM, Blogger CHW said...

Thanks for the plug, amigo.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Satisfied '75 said...

You are spot on about Dylan. He was so elusive and condescending to reporters in his early years.

nice post btw.

At 6:07 AM, Blogger jsbankston said...

I've never understood why so many musicians take this attitude. Back in the fall of 1989 I had just moved to Austin, and I encountered a trio of college students who performed every week for free on the West Mall in front of the UT student union. I later saw them in concert inside the union.

They went by the unfortunate name of Twang Twang Shock-A-Boom. Their lead singer was David Garza. I told a friend about them, who immediately wanted to use them in an upcoming film project, and he told me to approach Garza with this.

So after an outdoor concert one evening, after the fans thinned out, I approaced Garza, and he couldn't have been more aloof and spaced-out. He didn't seem to be paying much attention and was really copping a major "sensitive artiste" with me.

Afterwards, one of his female friends, who had witnessed the exchange, sensed that I was disappointed and frustrated, and she tried to explain, "Well, David lives very much inside his own head."

It reminded me of a story I heard about Brian Dennehy. He was directing a boxing movie called "Gladiator" (not to be confused with the Russell Crowe sword and sandals epic). The star of the movie was "Twin Peaks" vet James Marshall, who spent much of the movie acting like a huge prima donna.

Finally Dennehy said (and I wish I had the exact quotation in front of me), "James, we all know you're gonna be a great big star one of these days. But you're not one yet, so shut the fuck up!"


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