Will Champion


Will Champion

Will Champion (born William Champion, 31 July 1978) is the drummer of the band Coldplay.

Champion was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England where his father, Timothy Champion, is professor of archaeology at the University of Southampton. Having two teacher parents led him to be musically inclined. As a youth, his musical influences included Tom Waits and traditional Irish folk music. He grew up playing guitar, but also had experience on the piano, bass, and tin whistle. Before joining Coldplay, he performed in a band called Fat Hamster.

He attended the Cantell secondary school in Basset Southampton and The Royal Hospital School, Suffolk before studying anthropology at University College London, where he met his future bandmates and formed Coldplay, despite having no experience on the drums. The multi-instrumentalist picked up the drums quickly and earned fulltime duties on the band. According to lead singer Chris Martin, “Will is like a human jukebox, he’s more a guitarist than a drummer. Me and Will used to sit on the stairs at our halls of residence and he’d know more songs than anyone. You name it, he’d play it.”

In Autumn 2004, Champion and Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman guested on a-ha keyboardist Magne Furuholmen’s first solo album, Past Perfect Future Tense.

Champion was the first Coldplay member to marry: He married Marianne Dark, a teacher, in 2003. Their first child, a girl called Ava, was born on April 14th, 2006.

Champion is a fan of Southampton F.C. and he is a season ticket holder at the South Coast team.



Yamaha Silver Sparkle Drums:

   – 24″ Kick Drum
– 16″ Floor Tom
– 12″ Rack Tom
– Maple Absolute 14″ Snare
– 2 x Brady 14″ Snare


“We’d just finished recording ‘Shiver,’ and we all went outside to just chill out. The sky was absolutely incredible. It was so completely clear, and there were like a billion, billion stars. The next morning Chris [Martin] had written a Neil Young-style, country-type song. When Jonny [Buckland] added his guitar riff, it became a bit more upbeat. ‘Yellow’ is a happy song because it represents a happy time for us. A lot of time in the studio was spent arguing and fighting, and sometimes it was very tense. But that day was a really good day.”

“We do work incredibly hard – we have spent a lot of time touring, especially in America – but we’re constantly surprised by how well things are going for us.”

“A lot of the time there is a lot of melancholy in the lyrics.”

“A lot of times when we play in countries where English isn’t the first language we get accused of being melancholy and miserable.”

“As soon as we played together, it was much better than anything else we’d ever heard.”

“I think I’m the best non-playing drummer in the world. No one not-plays like me.”

“I think people have difficulty judging and being self-critical and being honest about how good they think their music is.”

“So, if we’re happy playing the songs we have written, for as long as we can, then that is sort of the proof that they’re good songs as well.”

“Some of the really early songs we don’t enjoy playing anymore because they haven’t stood the test of time to us.”

“We started with 20 songs, enough for two albums basically, but we knew that there were no second chances-you don’t get a second chance to do a debut album-so it was a very specific selection process.”

“We’re very thankful for what we’ve got, so God forbid we start taking it for granted.”

“At the end of the day, we’re just trying to prevent each other from going mad.”

“Coldplay are just four friends trying to make great music.”

“I can’t do all that riddly diddly stuff. I’m not good enough. It’s all about not playing.”

“I think hopefully we’ve got enough brain cells left to decide if our music is really worth something.”

“I’m the best non-drummer in the World. Nobody can not-play like me!”

“Optimism is the key.”

“The first time we all played as a band, I think it was in January 1998, in Jonny’s bedroom.”

“Two weeks later, we played our first concert and had 100 people there. It was pretty cool.”

“We’re also passionate about music and very critical about the music that we listen to.”

“When you write something it has to hit the level that you accept as being good.”

Other projects

In Autumn 2004, Champion and Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman guested on A-Ha keyboardist Magne Furuholmen’s first solo album, Past Perfect Future Tense.

Personal life

Champion was the first Coldplay member to marry: He married Marianne Dark, a teacher, in 2003. Their first child, a girl named Ava, was born on 28 April 2006. On 7 May 2008, Marianne gave birth to fraternal twins Juno and Rex.

Will celebrated his 30th birthday doing what he loves. During the ‘Viva La Vida’ tour stop in Toronto, Canada on July 31st, 2008 a cake was brought out and 16,000 plus people sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him. Only one of the sparklers stayed lit on the cake, but it went out as soon as it was given to Will.

Oddly enough, Will also celebrated his 31st birthday in Toronto, Canada a day early at the July 30th, 2009 ‘Viva La Vida’ tour stop at Rogers Centre. Phil Harvey and ‘Bash’ (Will’s drum tech) brought out a cake and balloons, while the massive 48,000 plus crowd sang ‘Happy Birthday’.

On 2011, Will celebrated his 33st Birthday in Australia during a live performance at Splendour In The Grass festival which was streamed live on youtube for million of viewers. In the cellebration, Chris Martin stopped Life Is For Living to recall Will’s Birthday and Vicky Taylor (band’s personal assistant) brought out a cake and balloons, while the whole band and massive 60,000 plus crowd sang “Happy Birthday”. ColdplayTV later released a video of this epic moment: [1]


  • Roach, Martin (2003). Coldplay: Nobody Said It Was Easy. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-9810-8.

The Oracle on Will Champion

31 March 2014 / submitted by Forrest, United States of America

Q. How many pairs of sticks does Will go through each night on tour?


Bash – Will’s drum tech informs me that it’s usually about 4 these days though it used to be alot more.

June 3, 2013 – submitted by Jemma , Australia

Q. I just finished watching Game of Thrones season 3 episode 9, and I am 99% sure that I saw Will Champion playing a drum in the band! Was that him or was I just imagining things?

The Oracle replies:

Yes! After all the months of speculation about which episode he was going to appear in (we have talked about this here before), the episode featuring Will finally aired last night (June 2nd).

April 15, 2013 – submitted by Elizabeth, United States of America

Q. Hey Oracle,

Today, for the probably the 50th time, I watched Live 2012, which is my favorite movie of all time. In the credits at the end of the movie, under “Montreal Film Crew” “Camera Operators” one of the names listed was “Will Champion” – Is that a coincidence or was Will apart of the filming?! Please let me know!

Your #1 Coldplayer,


The Oracle replies:

Yes he was! When the guys perform the Stage C segment of the show, Will is recording on a hand-held camera before he joins the rest of the band – that’s why he has a filming credit.

February 4, 2013 – submitted by David, Canada

Q. Now that Clocks is number one on 6 Music’s Greatest Hit, what does Will think about it since at first he thought it was rubbish, like he said in the Q&A part many years back on the Nissan Live sets by Yahoo.

The Oracle replies:

Luckily for you, Will popped in to chat about that with Steve Lamacq when they announced the winner of the vote.

January 15, 2013 – submitted by Rowan , United States of America

Q. Dearest Oracle,

Does Will ever get bored sitting behind his drum set? Chris runs freely around the stage and interacts with the crowd. Guy and Johnny move occasionally. I just wanted to know if Will ever yearns to work the stage a little. Cheers!


The Oracle replies:

It’s not like many other bands where the drummer stays in the one spot behind his kit for the entire show so, no. Will gets to move to the front, X Stage, C stage (or whatever variation they’ve had on previous tours).

I’m sure he wouldn’t be a drummer if he wasn’t happy with the idea of being at the back. Or he could have chosen to stand up like the drummer in Jellyfish.

January 4, 2013 – submitted by Kidder, United States of America

Q. What kind of sticks does Will use, and how has he been taping them on the MX tour?


The Oracle replies:

Will uses Pro Mark 5b American Hickory wood tips and gets through 4 or 5 per show but I have no idea how they’re taped – sorry!

November 29, 2012 – submitted by Justine, United Kingdom

Q. Hey, Oracle! I’ve been wondering, is it just me, or does Will seem to REALLY love wearing scarves? It seems that so many of his pictures are of him with a snazzy scarf to along with the outfit – are they like a go-to accessory for him? Thank you!

The Oracle replies:

Ha! This made me giggle but you’re right, Will does like scarves. The band as a whole do tend to wear scarves during the tour even if the weather doesn’t seem to require one – good tip for singers.

October 3, 2012 – submitted by Pau, Argentina

Q. Hello there!

My question is simple as well as the answer I suppose.

After Glastonbury 2011 Will and Chris were interviewed and if I’m not wrong it was made very clear that Will doesn’t own a drum set. I mean, one to practice at home (?)

Did he already buy one?



PS: Besides he’s a terrific drummer, a master!, I don’t think he needs practicing when they have 180 shows each year uh? Top of all (his awesomeness) he’s my favourite but please don’t tell him what am I saying. GO TELL HIM! ;D

The Oracle replies:

Will did say that he doesn’t own his own drum kit but he wasn’t intending to buy one so he still doesn’t have one. If he wants to play or practise etc. he can just go to the studio…

June 6, 2012 – submitted by Abby, Philippines

Q. Dear Oracle,

In Coldplay End of Decade Clearout Sale, how and when did Jonny get into a neck brace? I’m just wondering. Thanks again.


That’s not Jonny; it’s Will. It’s just a foam neck collar for characterisation purposes only.

May 23, 2012 – submitted by Rachel, United States of America

Q. I was reading Will’s response to the twitter questions for #coldplaylive. Will said that his favorite opening act for them was Arcade Fire. I was wondering for which tour and dates that Arcade Fire was the opening act. I absolutely love Arcade Fire and Coldplay! I wish I could’ve seen them together.

The Oracle replies:

Technically he didn’t actually say that they were the opening act; he said they’d had the pleasure of sharing the same bill at festivals. I know that doesn’t exactly answer the question of who his favourite band they’ve toured with is.

April 3, 2012 – submitted by James, Malaysia

Q. Hello Oracle,

I was just wondering about what Paris said in the recent interview. He mentioned doing Will’s drumkits for the tours. But in the Glastonbury interview, I thought Will didn’t own any drumkits at all. Can you clarify the confusion?

Cheers from Malaysia!

p.s. When is Coldplay coming here? Massive fans here

The Oracle replies:

As Will didn’t start off as a drummer, when the band met him he didn’t have a kit. Obviously when they play live he is playing “his” drum kit – it’s not on loan or anything – but he’s never had a kit of his own.

Bless him, he obviously sees it as a band purchase but essentially that’s what he means about not owning one.

February 20, 2012 – submitted by Gaston, Argentina

Q. Hi Oracle! I was watching this interview and I saw that Will has a tattoo on his left arm. I’ve never seen that so I was wandering what is it?

The Oracle replies:

It’s a tattoo of his first born’s handprint.

Here is a slightly clearer picture of it.

January 26, 2012 – submitted by Mark, United Kingdom

Q. Hi Oracle, I am the drummer in Viva La Coldplay (A Coldplay Tribute Band from Liverpool/Manchester). I was recently given a pair of Will’s drumsticks (well used) and as a prized possession I wanted to make sure these are Will’s (given to me after a show), so my question is could you tell me what sticks Will uses and are they modified in any way? I’ve searched the internet with little joy! As a second part to my question, how often would will change his sticks? Kind regards Mark.

The Oracle replies:

Bash – Will’s drum tech – told me that Will uses Pro Mark 5b American Hickory wood tips. He gets through 4 or 5 per show. Sometimes they may paint a pair but there are no other modifications.

January 4, 2012 – submitted by Laura, United States of America

Q. Is the reason there is a tag about Will’s nose? Because your waiting for a question about Will’s nose?


Camila from Brazil asked me the same thing back on September 2, 2010.

I replied:

“Ah yes, it’s a mystery as to why that tag doesn’t take you to a bona fide Oracle entry. Will had a little mishap on the Viva tour when the end of the drumstick came off hitting him in the nose when he was whacking the bell during Viva la Vida.”

I now don’t know why that (& perhaps this) answer doesn’t appear when you click “Will’s nose”.

(I just tried and indeed it doesn’t appear. It’s baffling!)

October 25, 2011 – submitted by Rebecca, Japan

Q. Dear Oracle,

Could you please tell us why was Will absent from the Q Awards ceremony?

The Oracle replies:

As you probably know by now, Coldplay were named Best Act In The World Today in the public vote (thank you!) and all but Will attended the Awards ceremony in London yesterday (24th October).

Will had a day off with the family before they reconvened to continue with press & promo duties. It’s not the first time the whole band haven’t attended as the Q Awards always seem to be when the band are at their busiest. I remember Guy didn’t go back in 2002 when they had a show at Wembley Arena later than night.

Here’s a clip of Jonny & talkative Guy at yesterday’s Q Awards event.

January 13, 2011 – submitted by Nathalie, Brazil

Q. Hi Oracle

I love Will’s voice in Death Will Never Conquer. He is very talented!

Tell me, what is the possibility of Will Champion singing on the next album?

I know, there’s nothing wrong with Chris. He’s absolutely fantastic. =)



The Oracle replies:

I would say that as with Viva all four members will be singing but I can’t see anyone other than Chris taking lead vocals but hey, who knows? Death Will Never Conquer was brilliant by both!

October 26, 2010 – submitted by Mirko, Germany

Q. Hea Oracle

Why is Will on the ground at 1:25?

The Oracle replies:

I was there that day of their second Glastonbury performance in 2000. Will had been pacing up and down looking from the side of the stage out into the building crown. I would wager the lie down was a nerve busting rest in the sun.

FYI: At 30 seconds Emily Eavis says the band’s first appearance was Saturday; it was actually the Sunday!

September 14, 2010 – submitted by Shayan, Canada

Q. Hello Oracle, I recently read that you said Will had tickets to a Mumford and Sons concert (I really like them) I was just wondering how, like Will Champion would attend a concert without being bombarded by hundreds of people? I’ve been very curious for a while actually.

The Oracle replies:

As with most bands it’s usually the singer who gets most attention so Will, Guy & Jonny can usually attend gigs without much fuss. Generally people who do recognise them are very respectful of their free time and personal space so they don’t get bombarded.

September 3, 2010 – submitted by Suraj, Canada

Q. Dear Oracle,

Mr. Will Champion has spent his 2008 and 2009 birthdays performing live on stage with Coldplay in Toronto, Canada. Last year, in July 2009, my friends and I waited for hours outside of the arena and had the best seats in the house when we got in, front and center on the floor. Right before the band played Politik, we all began singing Happy Birthday to Mr. Champion, and the band laughed and waited in the dark for us to finish singing before they started. Do they remember this? It’s too bad Will did not get to spend a third consecutive birthday in Toronto, we missed him!


The Oracle replies:

Trust me, if they did hear that they will remember it; it was a special night. As you were there you’ll know that the band had a cake and balloons for Will and asked everyone to sing Happy Birthday to him. Looking back the footage available does show a slightly longer gap before the start of Politik.

September 2, 2010 – submitted by Camila, Brazil

Q. Dear Oracle, there’s something weird going on…

I was taking a look at the tags of your answers when I found the tag “will’s nose”. I thought “-wtf?! this can’t be a tag” and, when I press the link it said that there’s no item tagged as “will’s nose”. So, why is this a tag?? This made me laugh haha 😀

Is it some joke?

greetings from Brazil <3 The Oracle replies:

Ah yes, it’s a mystery as to why that tag doesn’t take you to a bona fide Oracle entry. Will had a little mishap on the Viva tour when the end of the drumstick came off hitting him in the nose when he whacking the bell during Viva la Vida.

July 28, 2010 – submitted by Alina, Canada

Q. Dear Oracle,

Knowing that Will celebrated his last two birthdays in Toronto, do you think he’s gonna try and keep up that little “tradition” and come back there again this year?


The Oracle replies:

It’s not really been a tradition but more of a coincidence through touring. As you know they aren’t currently on tour so there’s no reason to be in Toronto (other than one of tradition if it were so).

As far as I know Will travels back to the UK in time for his birthday so is probably spending it at home with the family.

July 26, 2010 – submitted by Aaron, United States of America

Q. Dear Oracle,

Why does Will look like he’s about to knife someone in almost every band photo?


The Oracle replies:

I laughed out loud at this question! There are photos of Will staring and so I can see your point but to be honest, there was a phase of him blinking as the picture was being taken so he tends to over compensate for that. There are some great photos of Will where he’s not doing the stare but either way he’s such a lovely person and has great presence but I can assure you he’s not the least bit scary.

July 20, 2010 – submitted by Indraja, United States of America

Q. If the members of Coldplay were sorted into the houses at Hogwarts (from the Harry Potter series), which house would each member be in?

The Oracle replies:

I’m going to put them each into separate houses:

Chris in Hufflepuff, Will in Gryffindor, Jonny in Ravenclaw and Guy in Slytherin. You can sort yourself if you like…

July 2, 2010 – submitted by Melisa, Argentina

Q. Hi Oracle. Can you please tell me why the guys have a hand on their VLV jackets?? Does it have a meaning for them? Please answer… Thank you and Love for you all from Argentina!

The Oracle replies:

It’s only Will that has a hand on his jacket as it’s the same as his tattoo – of his daughter’s hand print.

January 19, 2010 – submitted by Sara, Spain

Q. Hello Oracle

I had found in the web an album of Will Champion called Crispy but I can not find any song.

Is it an album of Will?

Thanks Oracle

The Oracle replies:

It’s an album by Wil Champion not Will Champion. There are some sites that have the name wrong and therefore have wrongly linked Crispy to our Will but it’s a case of mistaken identity.

December 15, 2009 – submitted by Daniel, Brunei

Q. Hi Oracle!

I was watching the ad for the end of decade clearout sale and I saw Will is wearing a neck brace. Is Will had an accident or something?

The Oracle replies:

I can assure the many people that have written in to ask – and all those who didn’t – that Will is fine. It was all part of the sketch so his neck isn’t hurt.

September 15, 2009 – submitted by Jill, United States of America

Q. Hello Oracle. You’re great.

But enough about you, I’m wondering what inspired William to get a hand tattooed onto his left arm. Could you help me out?


Will’s tattoo is inspired by his first-born daughter whose hand print it is!

September 4, 2009 – submitted by Heide, United States of America

Q. Oracle, you don’t answer much questions about Will so hopefully you answer this: I recently saw a video on youtube of the boys performing “Billie Jean” in Munich, Germany. In the video Chris gave the mic to Will to sing but he would not until Chris begged him. I have to ask why? Is he shy or does he not like singing? It can’t be since he’s in the band! Thank you Oracle 🙂

The Oracle replies:

Will sings backing vocals on many tracks and has had a solo spot during the acoustic part of the show but on this particular occasion, it was the fact that Chris was asking him to sing the falsetto part of the song as reported by Roadie #42.

June 10, 2009 – submitted by Chris, Netherlands

Q. Hail to the Great Oracle,

Is Will Champion a man of few words or silent person? Sometimes his composure is so calm that it makes me wonder.

Best Regards,


The Oracle replies:

Will’s definitely not silent! The fact he’s calm, thoughtful and articulate makes him a perfect spokesman for the band. He may appear serious at times but I assure you he’s not a man of few words and great company.

March 30, 2009 – submitted by Lemonmint, Hong Kong

Q. Hi Oracle!

What I wanna ask is :

what’s that tattoo on Will Champion’s left arm?

And please tell him I love him so much!:D

The Oracle replies:

It’s a tattoo of the handprint of his first born daughter.

March 11, 2009 – submitted by Alex, United Kingdom


I never knew that Will was a Saints fan. Has he always been one?

Does he go to the matches often when in the UK?

Please post this as it is great news!!!

The Oracle replies:

Yeah he does. Will is from Southampton and has always supported the team.

February 2, 2009 – submitted by Elodie, France

Q. Hello Oracle !

How is Will’s nose since “the bell episode” ?

Thanks in advance…

Kisses from my Normandy !

The Oracle replies:

He has a small mark on the side of his nose but it’s barely visible; he’s fine. Thanks for asking one and all.

January 26, 2009 – submitted by Lisa, Germany

Q. Hi Oracle,

My question is:

at the show “wetten dass…” on Saturday night, Will hurts himself. What is happend? Sorry for my bad school-english and thanks for the answer!



The Oracle replies:

Roadie #42 is back! You can read his blog to find out what happened to Will. Your English is very good!

November 20, 2008 – submitted by Melisa, United States of America

Q. Dear Oracle,

Why does the band refer to Will as “the frightening one”?

The Oracle replies:

He’s not frightening but Will does have a very sensible head on his shoulder and when it comes to making band decisions he’s really good at putting valid points across and keeping everyone focused. He frequently has the casting vote and his decision can sometimes override the consensus!

August 22, 2008 – submitted by Priscilla, Mexico

Q. How did Will ended up as the drummer when he didn’t even play the drums??

The Oracle replies:

Will’s amazing. He’s so musical and can play many instruments. His flatmate was supposed to record drums for their E.P but wasn’t in when the band turned up. They were desperate for someone and Will offered to help them out and that is how he became the drummer.

February 2, 2009 – submitted by Elodie, France

Q. Hello Oracle !

How is Will’s nose since “the bell episode” ?

Thanks in advance…

Kisses from my Normandy !

The Oracle replies:

He has a small mark on the side of his nose but it’s barely visible; he’s fine. Thanks for asking one and all.

August 19, 2008 – submitted by Colin, Netherlands

Q. Hi,

Who is the drumtechnician for Will Champion? And I guess people would like to know the guitarists technicians..

Hope you can tell me, very interested in the drumtech..

The Oracle replies:

Will’s tech is the appropriately named Bash. Hoppy is the guitar tech and both guys have been part of the crew since the very early days.