Famous Exeter Bands

Famous Exeter Bands

Exeter also has its fair share of famous guitarists and musicians, including Chris Martin (Coldplay), Thom Yorke (Radiohead) and Will Young! With Muse and Ben Howard coming from just outside Exeter we certainly have a good recent history of producing awesome rock and blues guitarist.

Chris Martin, perhaps Exeter's most famous musician, famed for being the singer of the world renowned band Coldplay, was born in Whitestone a small village to the south of Exeter. While attending Exeter's Cathedral School he formed his first band "The Rocking Honkies", which according to Martin were booed off stage during their first performance. However, things started to improve when Martin met his future Coldplay bandmates Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Guy Berryman at University College London. After two years of intense practicing and gigs Coldplay released their debut album, Parachutes, in 2000 to a warm international reception. The success of songs like Yellow, Trouble and Don't Panic propelled Coldplay to the forefront of English music, since 2000 they simply haven't looked back recording a further four studio albums, embarking on several sold out world tours and selling over 55 million records worldwide.

Thom Yorke, the lead guitarist and singer of the band Radiohead also attended the University of Exeter in the late 1980's studying English Literature. During his time in Exeter he formed the band the Headless Chickens and often worked as a DJ at Exeter Uni's Lemon Grove music venue. On A Friday, the band Yorke had formed during his pre-university days changed their name after Yorke's graduation to Radiohead recording their first album, Pablo Honey, in 1993. Despite the album poor initial sales, with the now infamous track Creep even being blacklisted by Radio One for being "too depressing", the album began to gain international recognition. This critical acclaim was confirmed two years later with the release of The Bends in 1995, and OK Computer in 1997 - Radiohead had secured their place as one of the foremost post-Nirvana alternative grunge bands. Nonetheless, Yorke did not react favorably to the bands fame, his famously cold and often rude persona is testified to by many celebrities that have been on the wrong side of one of his comments. Despite this Q Magazine named Thom Yorke as the 6th most powerful figure in music in 2002, with the Rolling Stones ranking Radiohead #73 in their 2005 "100 Greatest Artists of All time".

Muse, although hailing from Teignmouth 15 miles to the south-west of Exeter, can certainly be claimed to be band formed in Devon during the early 90s. Lead guitarist and vocalist Matt Bellamy met Muse's drummer (Dominic Howard) and bassist (Christopher Wolstenholme) during their time in Teignmouth Community College, forming several bands ranging in names - from Gothic Plague to Rocket Baby Dolls. After surprising themselves by winning the college's battle of the bands, destroying their equipment in the process the band began to take themselves more seriously. Bellamy took a year out after his A Levels to develop his voice, according to the locals his famously high falsetto singing was a reaction to the poor PA systems of many of Exeter's pubs - to get himself heard during gigs Bellamy sang a octave higher than normal. Heavy influenced by Radiohead's music, at time indistinguishably so, the band released their first album in 1999, dubbed Showbiz, following extensive gigging in London and Manchester. Muse's second album, Origin of Symmetry, with its far darker and heavier guitar riffs - as seen in Plug in Baby and Screenager - gained the Devonshire band international recognition, building on this success Muse's succeeding three studio albums became worldwide hits, staple albums for any rock guitarist. Bellamy still has the majority of his guitars made by Mansons Guitar Shop, based in Exeter. Muse's latest studio album, The 2nd Law, is scheduled for release on the 2nd October 2012! 

Photography: Christian Bertrand

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