Coldplay Drummer Wants You To Know That There Are 12,000 Songs From Which His Band Could Have Copied For “Viva La Vida”

noah | May 8, 2009 2:00 pm
Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” has been attracting heat from a lot of musicians who feel that the British band ripped off their songs for the purposes of crafting the iTunes-shilling track. (A sampling of three songs that bear an undeniable similarity to Chris Martin & Co.’s track is above.) The band’s drummer, Will Champion, took some time out of his playing with drum machines to talk to Virginian-Pilot pop writer Malcolm Venable about the controversies, and how the problem isn’t his band’s lack of originality–it’s everyone’s!

Malcolm: So I read that there was yet another plagiarism accusation to come out yesterday. I read that you guys aren’t commenting on it, but do you care to now? Will: I don’t know…in general, we’re very…It’s tough when people accuse you of stealing something when you know that you didn’t. So, we accept that it’s part of the territory and know it is only for some reason, God only knows why, the successful songs that seem to be the ones that are accused of being stolen. So you go figure it out. (Laughs.) Malcolm: That can be kind of subjective too right? I mean, you can take a whole lot of songs and say, ‘Hey that’s the drum or melody from such and such.’ Will: Yeah I mean I think if everyone…there are elements of our music that I’ve heard in other people’s music but it’s kind of…I don’t know. It’s interesting but a very difficult thing to define. How can you…there are only eight notes in an octave and no one owns them. And there are probably about 12,000 songs that feature the exact same chord progression. I think it lies on an intent to steal, which we certainly have never done and never would. So it’s unfortunate but it’s the way people are. That’s that. We’re confident we haven’t done anything wrong.

So, there you have it. And I kind of like the video-maker’s assertion that these petty squabbles are not going to matter when we all get invaded by zombies anyway, so we should just enjoy the undeniably hummable melodies while we can, until the only sounds we’re hearing in our everyday lives are the grunts and groans of the recently undead.Exclusive: Will from Coldplay says we are not jackin’ for beats! [Malcolm Venable]Coldplay-Satriani-Verdes-Stevens Viva La Vida Plagiarism? [YouTube]