|Birth name||Thomas Oliver Chaplin|
8 March 1979 |
Hastings, East Sussex, England
|Instruments||Vocals, organ, piano, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, timpani|
Thomas Oliver "Tom" Chaplin (born 8 March 1979, Hastings, East Sussex, England), is an English singer-songwriter, musician and composer, best known for being the lead vocalist of British alternative rock band Keane.
Life and career
Chaplin was born to David Chaplin OBE and Sally Taylor, about one month apart from future band mate Tim Rice-Oxley's brother, also called Tom. Their mothers became friends and he started a friendship with the two brothers that endures today.
His father was headmaster of Vinehall School in Robertsbridge, so both friends were schooled there along with Richard Hughes, who would later be their band mate. With Rice-Oxley and Hughes, Chaplin then attended Tonbridge School. Studying there, they met Dominic Scott (who was an original member of the line-up but left in 2001). During his time at Vinehall, Chaplin acted in several school plays and was part of the school's choral group. He also played the flute while at school.
In 1995, the trio (Scott, Rice-Oxley and Hughes) started their first band, The Lotus Eaters. It was a cover band that played U2, Oasis and The Beatles at Sussex pubs. Tim Rice-Oxley invited Chaplin to join the band as an acoustic guitar player. A short time later, in 1997, the band's name changed to Keane and Tom Chaplin became the lead vocalist.
Tom fulfilled a lifetime ambition of performing with the remaining Queen members at the Prince's Trust Rock Gala, 17 November 2010. Tom sang "It's a Hard Life" backed by Brian May and Roger Taylor. He was also asked to perform at Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday event held at London's Savoy, where he performed "The Show Must Go On" as well as "It's a Hard Life" alongside May and Taylor.
Tom's family now run a charity called Rwanda Aid, with Tom helping to fund several projects in that country.
Chaplin was invited to join the band by Rice-Oxley, after he finally convinced the other two, in 1997, when the name The Lotus Eaters was changed to Cherry Keane, after a friend of Chaplin's mother. 'Cherry' was later removed from the name.
In July 1997, Chaplin went to South Africa for his gap year, during which the rest of the band members were preparing themselves for a gig. When Hughes went to collect Chaplin a year later, on 3 July 1998, his first words were, "We've got a gig in ten days." This would be the band's first performance at the Hope & Anchor pub on 13 July 1998. Chaplin then began studying for a degree in art history at the University of Edinburgh, before leaving to pursue his music career in London.
During their stint in London, Chaplin shared a flat with Rice-Oxley in Stoke Newington and they tried to get money for rehearsal time. Chaplin worked at a publishing company where his chief responsibility was to carry boxes.
With Scott in the line-up as the lead guitarist, Chaplin had to play the acoustic guitar. Since Scott left in 2001, he primarily takes lead vocal, but also plays the organ on "Hamburg Song" during some live gigs, as well as a distorted piano for newer songs on their second album. He also took part in Band Aid 20's re-recording of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in November 2004 doing a solo on the line "feed the world", something that had not been done on previous versions where all artists sang.
On 22 August 2006, Chaplin revealed that he was receiving treatment for drug abuse problems. He and his bandmates cancelled their North American tour for his rehabilitation after he left their hotel in Japan with no warning, choosing to fly back to Britain alone. He left the Priory Clinic in London on 6 October, but continued to receive treatment after leaving. It was reported at the time that Sir Elton John had telephoned him to offer advice, and also that Justin Hawkins of The Darkness and Pete Doherty were receiving treatment at the same branch of The Priory, but Chaplin later stated that this was not the case. He told The Sun newspaper in 2010 that he had been clean of drugs since late 2006 and still drank alcohol on occasion, but in moderation, "having got my fingers burnt with it before". He also added that he now preferred to play golf and cricket rather than party, inspired by reading Alice Cooper's story of his own recovery from alcohol and drug problems.
Chaplin uses a Hammond XK2 organ for "Hamburg Song" and "Nothing in My Way". Since May 2006, Tom has used a Yamaha CP60M for live piano parts in "A Bad Dream", "The Frog Prince" and "Crystal Ball".
He also has been playing the acoustic guitar in songs like "Your Eyes Open" since the 2006 UK tour, and during 2007 acoustic solos of "Broken Toy" and "The Frog Prince". He also plays guitar in Keane's third album, Perfect Symmetry. In all of the Perfect Symmetry live shows in many songs of the album or in covers of the band make in the shows and now he is the lead guitarist of the band. Tom plays three different Fender Telecaster guitars: one red, one white and one light blue.
In an interview with Keane Backline, Rice-Oxley stated that Chaplin had been interested in learning to play the theremin, but "couldn't be bothered to learn how to use it", also stating that the theremin "might be the only way of reproducing the musical saw sound" used in some tracks of Perfect Symmetry.
Chaplin married Natalie Dive in June 2011. They have a daughter who was born on 20 March 2014.
Chaplin has stated that he intends to make a solo record in the near future, during Keane's hiatus.
- "Call Me What You Like"
- "Closer Now" / Pattern of My Life" (Annie Lennox song)
- "The Winter in Me"
- "The Silence of an Alien"
- "A Bad Dream" (with Tim Rice-Oxley)
- "Time To Go"
- "Watching Your Back"
- "It's Over"
- "Love Wins"
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