Greatest Article Ever…

About the Coldplay/Satriani lawsuit:

Seeing how he seems like a genuinely humble and all-round decent human being, let’s assume that Chris Martin is as horrified as anyone at the way things have unfolded, writes Vancouver’s

Imagine setting out to create something new and boundary-pushing, a reinvention, if you will, of a band that’s easily become the biggest success story of its generation. That’s what the boys of Coldplay did with 2008’s Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, a record that found them, for the first time, shooting for something higher than ball-less, housewife-friendly alternative pop.

And what happened with that ambitious rebranding project? Well, as every YouTube addict knows, it ended up getting the U.K. quartet sued for plagiarism. To add to the indignity, the plaintiff isn’t a beloved icon (e.g., Neil Young, David Bowie, or Lou Reed) that any self-respecting songwriter would happily cop to ripping off, but instead one of rock ’n’ roll’s most notoriously tasteless musical masturbators.

On the reviled-by-critics front, chrome-domed guitar noodler Joe Satriani ranks right up there with Carrot Top, Uwe Boll, and that French-Canadian skeletor who sang the Titanic song. Chickenfoot fans aside, no one gives a shit about “Satch” in 2009, including the birdhouse- and ashtray-builders who pissed away the ’80s by mastering every note of Surfing With the Alien on air guitar. Despite that, Satriani would have us believe that Coldplay shamelessly ripped off his “If I Could Fly” when it wrote the number-one single “Viva la Vida”.

Going after Coldplay was a brilliant career move. Pre-lawsuit, Satch was a largely forgotten ’80s footnote, primarily known as a perma-wanking penis with ears who never played one note when he could splooge out 20. Taking aim at Martin and company not only proved he wasn’t dead, but also got his name circulating among a new constituency. Suddenly, Satch is a household name in actual houses, as opposed to Whalley Airstreams occupied by people whose idea of formal wear is a T-shirt with a cartoon tuxedo printed on it. The only place where his argument falls down is that no one has listened to Joe Satriani since George Sr. was nailing Barbara’s bush in the White House, making the idea that his genius was somehow ripped off laughable.

Coldplay—which, in addition to Martin, includes those other three guys—was crystal clear about wanting to mix things up on Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. Hell, they even went ahead and enlisted producer Brian Eno, who, despite being every bit as overrated as Daniel Lanois, has somehow tricked the world into thinking he doesn’t make records as much as works of art.

The problem with Viva la Vida, though, was that it didn’t stray far enough from the blueprint that made Coldplay famous. If you’re going to seriously make a move to reposition yourself as musical mavericks, why not go fucking nuts and make something every bit as deliciously insane as the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus”? Or at least Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man”?

If you really want to freak out the yuppie normaloids who buy your records, ditch the high-school-marching-band Grammy duds that made you look like an Australian’s nightmare. Start dressing in Sprockets-brand black, and rip off the Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come.

Martin might just be able to pull off such a radical reinvention because, as noted, he is by all accounts a decent human being. For a start, he’s honest to a fault. If you didn’t get your wick dipped until you were 22, would you admit it in the pages of Rolling Stone, which the singer happily did? He’s doing his best to make the world a little safer for kids with, umm, odd names like Apple, Orange, and Kumquat, which, truthfully, are only marginally less out-there on the weirdo front than Gwyneth. And along with his bandmates, he not only donates 10 percent of everything Coldplay makes to charity, he does so quietly, which is more than you can say for that eyeliner-addicted blowhard from U2.

Unless he can really reinvent himself the next time, what’s his reward for all of this, besides enough Grammy-shaped doorstops to ensure no crapper portal ever blows shut at Chez Martin? At the moment, it’s the reality that his tombstone might end up reading “I ripped off a guy who once released a record titled Professor Satchafunkilus and the Musterion of Rock.” The indignity. Not to mention the horror.


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3 Responses to “Greatest Article Ever…”

  1. sandysays1 Says:

    Re-invent Chris Martin? Hmmm. Lotsa men tried, ‘n’, lotsa men died.
    Liked old Chris, but sometimes the corpse is best left buried.

  2. sandysays1 Says:

    Don’t want to leave you with the wrong impression. I did and do like him. I’m just remarking on the difficulty and pain it takes to rekindle a career in that arena.

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