He may not be one of the fastest or most technical drummers out there, but Will Champion is the perfect fit for Coldplay, with his delicate rhythms and stripped-down drumming style adding just the right touch to the band's subdued light-rock vibe. With a background as a multi-instrumentalist in everything but drums, Champion sat down at the kit for the first time when he met future bandmates Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, and Guy Berryman during his sophomore year at University College London. The band needed a drummer, and Champion was eager to learn if it meant being part of a fresh new outfit generating original material.
With Champion's natural abilities at the kit, Coldplay was signed to an independent label, Fierce Panda, in 1998, and released their first EP, Brothers And Sisters, the following year. After gaining serious momentum and much positive press in just one year's time, they signed a five-record contract with Parlophone.
Coldplay’s first major release came in 2000 with their album Parachutes, which featured the hit singles “Yellow” and “Trouble,” both of which were played frequently on the radio in both the U.K. and the U.S. The band was soon known worldwide, with 2002's follow-up album, A Rush Of Blood To The Head, taking home two Grammy Awards and proving to be their best-selling album to date.
In 2004 Champion and his Coldplay mates took a break from the road to begin working on their third album, X&Y, which showed a change in direction that pulled in more influences from electronic and experimental music. While sales were high, the album did not garner the same level of critical acclaim that had followed their previous releases. They once again embarked on an international tour and played numerous festivals, including Coachella, Glastonbury, and Austin City Limits Music Festival. They began working on their newest album, Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends, in late 2006, but took a break part of the way through to go on tour again, eventually picking up recording with producer Brian Eno at the helm. That album, released in June 2008, reached multi-platinum status and gained widespread acclaim.
Champion’s drumming in Coldplay ranges from calm and delicate to bombastic and loud. And while simplicity defines his approach, his style lends Coldplay’s sound an epic and building energy that has become a defining characteristic.