Tom Chapin, Keane singer, talks to U2.Com about how U2 move him and how Keane want to scale the same heights.
They were in a band together at school and used to play covers by Oasis, The Beatles and U2. Today Keane are among the UK's biggest selling rock acts and are about to set out on a second series of support dates on U2's Vertigo tour. The irresistible single 'Somewhere Only We Know' propelled their debut album Hopes and Fears to the UK No.1 spot, and it became the second biggest selling album in the UK last year.
U2.Com tracked down singer Tom Chapin to the band dressing room in Nice, just before they played the second of three U2 support slots in European stadiums this summer. Check out the following highlights from the exclusive interview conducted for the U2.Com Subscribers site
U2.Com: It was a pretty wet night in Munich to open up for U2, you got caught in a deluge!
Tom: Well, just the experience of being in that stadium, playing to that many people and supporting U2 was a magical thing for us. The weather was secondary! And there were lots of U2 fans singing along to our stuff which was great, singing along through the driving rain.
U2.Com: Did you get to see U2 play ?
Tom : I did and I was utterly mesmerised. It was fantastic from start to finish - just the sheer scale of it, such an ambitious thing. I never went on the ZOO TV or other tours but I've seen the DVD's and Tim (Rice-Oxley) and Richard (Hughes) have seen them live, so for me just seeing the ambition that they still have, to see so many new things and exciting ideas, it is inspiring for us as a band.
U2.Com: Many acts would love the chance to reach new audiences by supporting U2 but, given you have only released one album, you have already have a pretty big audience.
Tom: We didn't see the chance to support U2 in a calculated way, it's not about what it will do for our name or for getting us new fans - although that's all good. For me the most important thing is the learning curve, seeing how you do rock music on this scale. Just to be backstage on this tour is amazing: you get to meet the people doing the lighting, or meet the sound guy and you realise that if you took away all the production elements and stuck U2 in The Barfly in Camden they would still be amazing.
U2.Com: You have never made any secret that you would like to be big, that you don't want to be an indie act over there in the corner.
Tom: There is a weird credibility attached to always remaining indie, but I don't get that personally. Even when we weren't getting anywhere, we always felt like our songs could reach out and talk to people and we have been proved right as time has gone on. It has a universal appeal, whoever you are you can find something in a Keane song to react to.
I was watching a Joshua Tree documentary the other day, and Bono was saying that back in the 'eighties U2 were perceived as very uncool for making guitar music at that point. I can relate to that, we don't mind being out there on our own. Fashion is very fallible - you only have to look at Bono's haircut at Live Aid 20 years ago to realise it is not about haircuts. What stands the test of history is the songs, the music.
Keane will be playing with U2 from October 3rd to October 14th in Boston and New York. Find the whole of this interview on the U2.Com Subscribers site
Photo by Alex Luke