• Rob Butterfield


For a couple of weeks anyway…

Me with Coldplay March 2009. Viva La Vida Tour, Asia.

I’ve been keeping this story under my hat for 10 years now. The legally binding confidentiality contract has finally come to an end and I’m now able to spill the beans on a 10 year old music industry secret.

Let me set the scene. It’s early March 2009 and I’m driving the short 30 minute journey back from Abbey Road Studios to my town house in Finsbury Park. I’d just spent the week laying down some bass on a Girls Aloud ‘Beatles tribute’ album (which was sadly never released due to a ‘cease and desist’ being served by Sir Paul). Anyhow, the phone in my car rings and it’s Larry Clementine, my Manager at the time.

“Oi, Robsi, who’s the bass player in Coldplay?” he barked down the phone in is his faux cockney accent (he was actually the son of a wealthy shipping magnate and was educated at Eton!).

“I haven’t a clue Larry” I replied.

“Correct answer treacle!” Said Larry. “No one knows who the fu**ing bass player in Coldplay is and that’s where you come in sweet cheeks!”

Ok, time to explain. Guy Berryman, the Coldplay bass player, had injured his hand in an arm wrestling incident in Auckland at the end of the Australasian leg of their epic ‘Viva La Vida’ tour and playing bass was going to be very much off the agenda for a few weeks. The big problem was, the band were due to start the Asian leg of their tour and they were unable to cancel or reschedule the end of March gigs for Singapore, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi. Management came up with the notion that as no one really knew who the bass player in Coldplay was anyway, they could get someone else in to replace Guy Barrowman and the public would be none the wiser. And that’s where I came in. For two weeks I would be Guy Borrowman, but no-one could be told and I’d need to sign a legally binding non-disclosure agreement spanning 10 years, by which time it was anticipated that Coldplay would be a distant memory on the music scene. To this day even my family and closest friends thought I was heading over to Asia for some much needed rehab following the week I’d spent in the company of Girls Aloud! But in reality - and the truth is now out - I’d be joining Coldplay for two weeks.

What a crazy couple of weeks it was too. I joined the band shortly before the first gig in Singapore. Chris Martin was a cool guy and the ‘other two blokes’ were decent chaps as well. To be honest I’m not even sure that the management had told the band I’d be standing in for Guy - there were no introductions, rehearsals or anything. I just turned up like I was actually the regular bass player. They‘d all just go ‘hi man’ and we’d crack on with the task in hand. As far as they were concerned I was Gary Perryman, or whatever his name is!

The two weeks and three gigs passed without a hitch and the real Guy would rejoin the band in time for the North American leg of the tour which started in May. On April 1st 2009 I flew back home. Exactly 10 years to the day that I’m publishing this story... April 1st... you’d be a fool not believe it, but there you have it. A little bit of my secret rock n’roll history.

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