More than 20 years later, Scottish rock band Travis has continued to inspire artists across genres citing the award-winning quartet as a major influence on their own melodic stylings and discography. But while reflecting on their impact two decades later for the BBC Radio Scotland documentary The Man Who at 20, the news agency misquoted frontman Fran Healy's remarks about Coldplay having "body-snatched their sound." In an exclusive with Healy for PopCulture.com, the Scottish singer-songwriter spoke out about the report, stating explicitly that Coldplay "didn't body snatch" their sound as initially cited, but rather the band's distinct look.
"[Coldplay] didn't body snatch. That's a misquote," Healy told PopCulture of the 2019 BBC report. "They body-snatched us. They didn't body snatch the sound. They took a bit of the sound, but Coldplay sounded like — to me, I never saw the similarities. But they body-snatched us. They looked like us."
Healy shares the time he walked past a newsstand and had to do a double-take over the sight before his eyes. "I thought we were on the cover of NME, and it was almost an identical picture. [Chris'] hair, the t-shirt he was wearing [...] because before when Coldplay came out, he had long shaggy hair," he said. "And then suddenly they just looked like the biggest band in the country at the moment, which was us."
The 47-year-old adds the thing he was trying to say was eventually misquoted. "Coldplay had done this thing where they shape-shift every album. If you watch them, they sort of went from us; then they went to U2, then they went to Arcade Fire, then they've gone into this — I don't know, sort of Euro-disco vibe. But I could never do that," Healy said. "I've got a lot of admiration for Chris that he's like, 'We need to fit in. We need to look like the wallpaper or the current wallpaper.' But anyway, yes. So, they didn't body snatch our sound. I'm glad you asked so I can put that to rest. They actually body-snatched us."
With bands like The Killers and Keane professing their love for Travis and rippling such an influence through their own music, Healy is most humbled by the admiration, whether from fans or fellow bands, stating he is still in disbelief most times. "Even though you get loads of followers on all these social things, you don't meet them all. No one ever tells you to your face and so I'm the biggest fan of my band in the world, but you sort of, you don't really realize [the impact]" he said. "It's really amazing for people when they come up and say, especially when they're in a band and you're a part of the ladder that they stepped on to get to where they are. And it's great."
Healy reveals Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl once shared something "really, really nice" with him and his bandmates, Dougie Payne, Andy Dunlop and Neil Primrose that he cherishes to this day. "I think he was talking to Dougie and our band, and he said that he felt like we're all singing one big song," he said. "And they were singing their verse at that moment when the Foo [Fighters] was really like the big band, and Travis was singing their verse when they were the big band, but we're all singing the same song. And we're all in it together."
With Healy and his bandmates getting ready to tour in 2022, he adds how he "loves meeting other bands," especially when attending festivals. "You run into old friends and you meet new friends, it's been nice because obviously when you're in a band, you do get a lot of flak from journalists, especially in the U.K. […] I made a documentary about us called Almost Fashionable. It was out like two years ago. It's really, really good and we took a journalist who didn't like us on tour with us," he laughed. "Just because it's like, 'What is there not to like?' And in the end, he was like, 'Oh, I didn't really realize you were like this. I thought you were like that.' So, it's nice when you meet other bands and other people that you realize, 'Oh my God, we've had an impact on them.' And they, in turn, have an impact on you."
As the impact of their music continues thanks to their albums now available on streaming, the band is celebrating the first-ever re-issues of their records, Good Feeling (1997) and The Boy With No Name (2007) to vinyl through Craft Recordings. While Healy admits there are "two sides" to the story behind producing the beloved records, it was an experience he is humbled by to this day. "The dogs running in the park analogy is a really good one. Like some days you don't get to run the park, but all this stuff is still there," he told PopCulture. "You still have fun. And you're going on tour, and you do all of that. But the songs, that's the thing that runs through it all — is the songs. And they're still there and they still stand up, a lot of them."
Praised as one of Travis' most eclectic albums to date with an abundance of critical praise, The Boy With No Name is available to order now and features the singles "Closer," "Selfish Jean," and "My Eyes." The first-ever vinyl re-issue also comes with a bonus 7" of "Sailing Away," a song originally hidden as a bonus track on the album's CD release. Good Feeling, which hit the Top 20 in 1998 and includes hit singles "U16 Girls" and "Tied to the 90's" is also available.
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