Martin’s recent revelations that he suffers tinnitus from playing loud music and regrets calling his band’s fifth record Mylo Xyloto both copped a flogging on all good sites where opinions rule.
He mock groans when told “Mylo Xyloto” and “stupid” are easily Googled.
“You say something stupid and someone tells you it is trending,” he says.
“How come no one ever trends about that time with those strippers? Me and my wife and those six strippers, no one trends that!”
Both of us laugh, knowing this will indeed trend and by the time the American and British gossip sites get a hold of it, a joke will have become a headline: “Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow‘s hot night with strippers!”
For all the earnestness ascribed to their brand of anthemic stadium rock, Coldplay’s frontman is one of the funniest chaps in rock.
He doesn’t miss an opportunity to complain that his wife has achieved a feat in Australia that his band cannot match.
Paltrow hit the top of the singles charts here in 2000 with Cruisin’ from the filmDuets.
The closest Coldplay has ever got to No.1 was with their biggest hit Paradise,which peaked at No.3.
The song scored high rotation during summer when it soundtracked promos forRevenge which has become one of the year’s small-screen hits.
“It f—ing took 12 years to get up there but the reason we keep going is so we can get a No.1 single in Australia one day,” Martin says.
“We’ll do anything that lets us keep coming back to Australia to go on tour there.
“We’re ready now but just need to lose a bit of weight and get our teeth in order.”
While they have always embraced the visual aesthetic of show business, Coldplay take it to yet another level with Mylo Xyloto and its world tour.
The album artwork, the videos, the concert backdrops and lighting are all integrated, as they have been since their third album, X&Y, but now all the artforms and imaging are even more aligned.
Martin credits the inspiration offered by their continued collaborations with creative mentor Brian Eno, who receives a credit for his “enoxfication” of Mylo Xyloto.
“We were always moving towards that but didn’t quite know how to do it. Working with Brian Eno, who is such a visual person as well, and getting our own space where we can paint a bigger picture helped us get there.
“If you came into the studio, the building looks like the record. We’ve drawn on the walls … it all looks like the beginning of what the record became.
“We wanted to present another visual image beside the four of us standing against a wall.
“And we’re not so good at the ‘walking’ photo. What we’ve learnt from Brian over the last five years is to have fun with it all.”
Fluoro is fun. Splashes and slashes of paint are fun. And for the band’s fans, there is an extra dose of fun at the concerts, thanks to LED wristbands that will throw bursts of colour around the stadium, synchronised with the music.
If you have seen the Charlie Brown video or checked out live footage of the tour, you’ll get just how amazing it will look in Australia in November.
The idea was brought to the band by a fan.
“It’s a little self-indulgent, but we love the way it looks when there are 15,000 or 40,000 or however many people all with those lights on them,” Martin says.
“The technology is still very experimental, so most of the money we’re earning on the tour is put into the wristbands.
“We have to figure out how to keep it going without going broke because it’s such a crucial part of the concert.”
They did think about asking for the wristbands to be popped back into a basket after each show for recycling. But that would have created an even bigger bill.
“You then have to clean everything in case someone picks up herpes or tuberculosis. Our lawyers told us we’d get sued and having been sued a few times, we’re not keen on that,” Martin says.
“We do try not to upset people, but we still manage to. We attract some really weird, nasty s— but that’s life.”
For every weirdo, there is a fan who has stayed the course with a band the critics love to hate and the comics adore to satirise.
Like Radiohead and Pearl Jam, Coldplay ignored those outside the tent and embraced the faithful on the inside, setting up an almost intimate internet relationship fed by regular contact via social media and free or limited-edition goodies offered online.
Martin says having the direct contact is a “blessing” and helps to defuse the sting of misinformation when it hits.
“Let me say that when someone comes and talks to you in the street, they are thinking ‘OK, this person is a rock star’ and they don’t have to engage in any understanding of your real life,” he says. “With the direct relationship, it gives a much more balanced reflection of what your music is meaning to people and it’s taken away a lot of anxiety.”
Rock stars and their anxieties. Age seems to have reduced Martin’s care factor about success.
During the last Australian tour, the frontman enthusiastically threw himself into the performance, spreading his infectious joy.
“Watching those heroes of mine, there was a common thread between them when they go on stage and that is they don’t give a f— about anything other than being totally in that moment,” he says. “Being English, that is slightly harder to do because you have this hurdle of insecurity and some kind of guilt as to why I have been given this job.
“So now every day before we play, I tell myself to let go. I know it looks silly but the only thing it has in its favour is it is genuine and passionate.”
But his fear returns if all he can see is fans frantically working their smartphones.
While those people may be tweeting they are at the gig of a lifetime, Martin equates the behaviour with boredom.
“The only thing I fear is texting. If they are texting, they are not enjoying the music. I remember when those phones first came in, we played a song and two people clapped and 2000 were just watching us and I thought we must have really f—ed it up,” he says.
“Then I realised everyone was filming. We asked if they wouldn’t mind clapping for just one song that night so we wouldn’t get paranoid.”