Keane on cricket
Keane frontman Tom Chaplin discusses his England memories, the forthcoming series with South Africa and an early taste of stardom during his student days.
By Rob Parrish - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsrobp. Last Updated: July 17, 2012 5:05pm
Life for Keane's charismatic frontman Tom Chaplin is pretty sweet at the moment as the band's fourth album 'Strangeland' has been met with widespread acclaim after a four-year wait.
Away from a hectic schedule of festivals and a tour which will take in South America, North America and Europe, Chaplin is also a dedicated cricket fan and admits he whiles away the hours while on the road catching up with how England are faring.
Andrew Strauss' side are currently ranked as the No.1 Test team in the world ahead of their three-match series against South Africa which starts at the Oval on Thursday, but know the Proteas can overtake them at the top of the pile with victory this summer.
Sky Sports caught up with Chaplin on Monday morning to talk music, cricket and how writing a series of puns onto a king-size sheet helped him earn a glimpse of fame and glory in South Africa several years ago.
Where are you in the world right now?
I'm in Portugal, which is probably my favourite place on planet earth to visit, so I'm pretty happy. We're doing a little festival just outside Lisbon in a coastal resort.
How happy are you with the new album?
We are all really happy. It took a long time to come to fruition. We spent a lot of time working on it and writing songs for it and trying to get the right vibe and the right sound and that took a long time. Maybe in the past we have rushed through the process of recording and preparing the record for release because we have been so excited about having new songs. This time around it was a careful process and we wanted to make sure that, six months down the line, none of the band was unhappy with a song, or the running order. In that respect we have released something that we are really proud of and in terms of how it has been met at the world at large has been amazing. We're completely over the moon.
Which tracks are getting the best response at festivals?
The two singles - Sovereign Light Café and Silenced by the Night - they are nice, big, anthemic songs live. There's a song called The Starting Line which seems to be quite a resonant song, I don't know whether it's because of the Olympics or because people are having a difficult time at the moment. It's about dragging yourself up from a dark place and dragging your friends up. People have responded to the hopefulness.
Can you make it to any of the Tests this summer?
I'm a little bit disappointed that I'm away for the first Test with South Africa, but I can keep up to date with Sky Sports. We do have quite a lot of down time on the road as we're waiting for the next sound-check, or the next gig or the next flight, so it's great to be able to tune in and catch a bit of the cricket. I can while away a few hours, which is probably one of my favourite past-times.
Test, ODI or 20/20?
I'm a total die-hard Test cricket fan. I'm a purist, but the other forms of the game are great. You see a lot of the 20/20 techniques creeping into one-day cricket. There's a lot more invention and it becomes a more interesting prospect. It's a shame there aren't more Tests against South Africa, I think it would be a more interesting challenge if it was a five-Test series. It's pretty clear that the Aussies are a team in a state of flux at the moment so I'm not as excited about the Ashes as I am about facing South Africa.
"After lunch Kevin Pietersen came out and took it to Brett Lee and it was one of the most incredible and memorable things I've seen in the theatre of sport, that 150 he made was a very special innings. That was a pretty awesome day; I don't think I'll ever top that."
Tom Chaplin Quotes of the week
Who is going to win the series?
I think England have got to be the favourites. There are a number of reasons, with home soil being the biggest of them. If the weather continues as it has done then the ball is going to be nipping around. I don't think there is a team in the world that would enjoy playing against this current England attack if it is nipping around; the control that those guys have got is absolutely fantastic. The batting seems to have strengthened, so that is a little less of a concern than it might have been in the past. The South Africans seem a bit under-cooked; they haven't had much cricket, which is never a good thing when you're coming to England. I would back England and if anything gets in the way it will be the weather. I'm going to stick my neck out and say 2-0 England.
Kevin Pietersen at The Oval in 2005
What are you favourite cricket memories?
In 2005 I caught every facet of that series. I went to Lord's and basically got to watch Australia bat all day, which was incredibly depressing. Then by a complete fluke our record company had booked a box for the fifth day at the Oval assuming that, as normal with England v Australia, it would be a dead rubber, but it turned out to be one of the best days there has ever been for English cricket. We sat down and had our lunch and still the entire series was up in the air and everyone was too nervous to eat or speak. After lunch Kevin Pietersen came out and took it to Brett Lee and it was one of the most incredible and memorable things I've seen in the theatre of sport, that 150 he made was a very special innings. That was a pretty awesome day; I don't think I'll ever top that. I still sit down and watch the DVDs back, the way it swept up people's imagination, the drama of it; there was something about that series that was fantastic.
"Growing up in the 80s Beefy was most kids' hero. I idolised him because he was such a star in every department of the game and brought such swashbuckling glamour to it."
Tom Chaplin Quotes of the week
You know it's not always been like that against Australia?
The first series I watched on TV was the 86/87 Ashes, when we won, so that set the benchmark for me - in my head England were better than Australia, and then I had to endure years and years of bitter disappointment. So to see the Aussies struggling and buckling under pressure when they were at their strongest in 2005 was amazing. It was such a sense of relief and an outlet from the years of enormous pressure.
Ian 'Beefy' Botham
Who were your cricketing heroes?
Growing up in the 80s Beefy was most kids' hero. I idolised him because he was such a star in every department of the game and brought such swashbuckling glamour to it. I loved watching him play and trying to emulate him in the garden at home, that fly-swatting hook shot that he had and the aggression that he had when he was bowling.
I never enjoyed watching Steve Waugh batting - I enjoyed watching Mark Waugh bat, he was fantastic and had a bit of glamour about him - but Steve Waugh was just like a barnacle when he got in. It was one after another with the Australian batting line up.
What are your favourite grounds?
It's hard to beat Lord's on a sunny day for pure enjoyment of the game, and Newlands in Cape Town is definitely up there, that's a beautiful ground. But I remember when I was out at Kingsmead in Durban to watch South Africa against Pakistan in 1998, and they had a banner competition. If you won the competition you got 24 crates of Castle lager and to me and my mates who were on our gap year, beer was a very useful commodity. Before going to the Test match we spent two days making this enormous banner out of a king-size sheet which had a load of puns about the South African cricket side. We winched it up before the Test and it was all over TV and we won the competition by a country mile. Then they paraded us with our banner on the back of a golf cart around the outfield and the boundary - we just felt like absolute heroes for a short while that afternoon. Then a week later at the school we were working at, 24 crates of Castle lager turned up. I've still got a photo to this day of one of the kids at the school who was half the size of this stack of lager. I have very good memories of cricket out in South Africa.
New single 'Sovereign Light Café' is released this week through Island Records, taken from the Number One album 'Strangeland': www.keanemusic.com.