Coldplay frontman Chris Martin had a chat with Jo Whiley on her special BBC Radio 2 Glastonbury show this weekend.
If you missed it, read the transcript below;
Jo Whiley: You have an undeniably a special relationship with Glastonbury, as do I, but for you why do you love it so much and what is it about Glastonbury that’s so special for you?
Chris Martin: I suppose for us it’s the closest thing we have to a home town show and, because I come from the West Country too. I think also everything it stands for, where it is, the embracing of all types of music and all types of people and organisations it supports, it’s basically everything we believe in, I don’t know if we maybe just copied that from Glastonbury, or whether it’s coincidental, but it’s just right in tune with everything that we are as a band.
JW: What’s your memory of the very first time you went to Glastonbury? I think it was 2000 that you went there, and that you were performing.
CM: The first time it was 1999, we were on the new bands stage, if you’ve grown up near there, but have never been able to get there, it’s like getting into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, I was just astonished to be there and so happy. I mean we played like 20 minutes or something at about seven in the morning, to nobody – but we were great (no – we weren’t great!) and then I just went exploring. It’s just heaven the whole place, so my memory is just being in the place I dreamed of.
JW: Talking about exploring, I know you’ve carried on exploring for years and years every time you go to Glastonbury, where do you go to? Which bits do you like?
CM: I try and go everywhere, especially in the middle of the night. I like to walk around the perimeter. I basically treat it like a farmer looking at his sheep. I walk around the perimeter checking everyone is ok.
JW: Talking of farmers, I spoke to Michael Eavis earlier on this evening, he sends his love, he was talking about how you came to headline in 2002. I think that began with a phone call with Michael about playing the Pilton Party, can you tell us the story about that?
CM: Yeah, I was in Soho, and we played there that summer on The Other Stage and he said ‘Chris, The Strokes have let me down’, and I said that’s an amazing sentence to hear from Michael Eavis. All he meant was that they can’t make it to the show. I don’t think they tried to screw him over! He said ‘will you come?.’ So we scrambled everything. Johnny and myself played in Paris in the morning and then flew over to Bristol to do the Pilton thank you for the villagers. Then in the Land Rover I said ‘who’s headlining next year? I’m really excited’. REM I think and I forget who else. And he said ‘I thought maybe you’d do the Friday’, and I said ‘you thought what now?’ That was a big deal and still is. Every time we play Glastonbury it’s a huge deal.
JW: And as a band you’ve headlined on the Pyramid Stage. Just take me briefly how you prepare, how you get your head in the space for something like that. We were talking to Orbital this week and they were saying they literally threw up on stage just before they walked out on stage because they were so nervous and so scared. And that must be a feeling, it’s very rare, not many people get to feel like that.
CM: Yeah, I start about Christmas time, and I go and climb the Pyramid as nerdy as that sounds and in the middle of winter, I like to climb up the structure and just think about it, and that’s really true.
JW: You’re joking!
CM: No, I’m really not joking.
CM: I go and visit the farm in about December or January and they let me climb up the Pyramid, every time they say please don’t go any higher than that. I sit there and maybe I’ve convinced one of the other band to come up, and they say ok what are we going to do.
JW: Ok that seems very interesting. I know you go out and you see lots of the bands who are playing. It is possible to walk around and not get hassled by people. How do you do that, somewhere like Glastonbury where you are actually playing on the stage, how do you manage it?
CM: No one ever bothers me at all, and if it is, it’s always really nice. If you are in the craft field or something, they have no idea who you are anyway.
JW: Favourite moments of watching bands at Glastonbury?
CM: Funnily enough, I was just was watching Oasis’ first show in 1994 just to see how awesome they were. My favourite people I’ve seen – I loved watching Stormzy. Some of the things I like most are also weird things in little tents in the middle of the night – comedy stuff and even in the Kidzfield, you get these jugglers. Of course I loved watching U2 and I loved watching Beyonce and Jay Z was incredible.
JW: What you doing this weekend because Glastonbury is not happening, will you be watching it at all?
CM: I was already watching Glastonbury before you called. You just feel it in your bones. I better start watching Glastonbury this week.
JW: Michael Eavis had a message for you. He said that you are welcome back any time to Glastonbury because you haven’t turned up to do that milking the cows thing that you promised that you would do. So he’s expecting you back at some point in the future to milk the cows. That was his message – genuinely.
You can also hear the interview via BBC Sounds.