Will Cham­pion, drum­mer with the world-dom­i­nat­ing nom­i­nees, on a di­ary full of highs, from the Su­per Bowl to Glasto.

The Su­per Bowl, a Glas­ton­bury headline gig and three sold-out nights at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium: busi­ness as usual. IN­TER­VIEW: NIALL DO­HERTY

Q (UK) - - Contents -

Cold­play started 2016 as they meant to go on. Their per­for­mance at the Su­per Bowl half­time show was a kalei­do­scopic ex­trav­a­ganza that set the tone for a year of eu­phoric sta­dium shows. Af­ter the low-key dates around their 2014 al­bum Ghost Stories, 2016 was about re-es­tab­lish­ing them­selves as one of the world’s biggest bands. Their Su­per Bowl stint was watched by up­wards of 115.5 mil­lion peo­ple and fea­tured guest ap­pear­ances from Bey­oncé, Bruno Mars and Mark Ron­son. They fol­lowed it up by il­lu­mi­nat­ing gi­gan­tic venues around the globe with the flash­ing “Xy­loband” giz­mos they hand out to the au­di­ence, res­cu­ing Glas­ton­bury from a post-Brexit stu­por and head­lin­ing three nights at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium. Drum­mer Will Cham­pion is a lit­tle dazed as he re­flects on all of this from the homely com­fort of his Lon­don kitchen. He is cur­rently on some down­time be­fore the band be­gin the next leg of the tour. “It’s been a good one,” he says, “but it’s dif­fi­cult to work out what hap­pened when and to re­mem­ber that all of this hap­pened in one year…”


“The Su­per Bowl was such a sur­real, whirl­wind ex­pe­ri­ence. It took up so much of our brain-space for the six months lead­ing up to it and for the two weeks be­fore­hand we were there re­hears­ing and ev­ery­thing had to go like clock­work. It was the most Cold­play-type show that we could get away with in terms of do­ing some­thing that’s on prime­time telly. I was re­ally happy with the way it went. It was so much fun, we got to know Bey­oncé and Bruno and his gang and it was so nice to hang out with those guys for a few weeks. There were a lot of things Chris had to re­mem­ber, like marks on the floor at

cer­tain points and being in the right place for a big cam­era swoop to come in. He did a bril­liant job.”


“We try and do a lot of tour­ing dur­ing the school hol­i­days so our kids can come with us. We had a great trip to South Amer­ica to start the tour and it was such a won­der­ful way to start. The shows were fan­tas­tic and the crowds were ex­tra­or­di­nary and we had our kids with us; it was a lovely feel­ing. It set the tone for the tour, that we’re all happy do­ing what we’re do­ing be­cause we’re pac­ing our­selves in a way that is sus­tain­able and we’re not away from our fam­i­lies for months on end. It keeps the mu­sic fresh and sound­ing good and we’re en­joy­ing being on tour.”


“It’s a real thrill to play in Lon­don and it does feel like a home­com­ing. You feel the warmth that peo­ple are re­ally happy to be there. Af­ter one of the shows, I did a run­ner straight from the stage. I had to get home with my kids and I was at home in 20 min­utes when peo­ple were prob­a­bly still stand­ing in front of the stage wait­ing to get out of the sta­dium. That was one of the weird­est mo­ments I’ve had ac­tu­ally, it was a re­ally strange feel­ing, to be back in my home help­ing my kids get into bed and then just being in a com­pletely quiet, empty house 20 min­utes af­ter hav­ing come off the stage at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium.”


“Ob­vi­ously, this year was strange be­cause of the tim­ing of the ref­er­en­dum. It seemed to cast a bit of a shadow over things and it was one of the rainier ones. Those are the en­vi­ron­ments we love play­ing in. It’s like a big foot­ball match when the weather is against you and form is against you and you wanna just play the best pos­si­ble match that you can and get the right re­sult. That kind of thing suits us per­fectly. I hit my­self in the eye­ball with a drum­stick on the penul­ti­mate song. I couldn’t see out of my left eye, so I was a lit­tle bit wor­ried. Af­ter­wards, everyone else was high-fiv­ing and say­ing, ‘It was amazing!’ and I was sort of cow­er­ing, think­ing, ‘I’ve blinded my­self…’ Dur­ing the song we did with Michael Eavis, I had to have my eyes closed for the whole thing cos my eye was bleed­ing. It was a lit­tle bit of a come­down.”

The drum­mer jokes that he is about to launch a line of Will Cham­pion Drum­ming Gog­gles to pro­tect his eyes in future. Af­ter three weeks off, he’s pre­par­ing to head to Aus­tralia and New Zealand for the next batch of sta­dium dates. He says that stag­ger­ing the tour has been the key to Cold­play’s tri­umphant year. “It’s made all this pos­si­ble, know­ing we’re not all go­ing to be burnt out,” he says. “I’m ready to go again. We’re hav­ing a great time.”

“I hit my­self in the eye­ball with a drum­stick.”

In the pink: “2016 has been a good one,” says Cold­play drum­mer Will Cham­pion.

On the up and up: Cold­play per­form­ing with Bey­oncé and Bruno Mars at the Su­per Bowl 50 Half­time Show, Fe­bru­ary 2016.

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