‘Kill Your Friends’ author John Niven on how he ‘actively told Coldplay and Muse to get fucked’ instead of signing them

'Surely we've got the one Radiohead, we're alright'

Kill Your Friends and Kill ‘Em All author John Niven has spoken of how he was wrong to not sign Muse and Coldplay back when he worked as an A&R man in the ’90s.

The author used his experiences within the music industry as the inspiration behind the comedy-crime thriller Kill Your Friends, which later became a movie adaptation starring Nicholas Hoult as the murderous Steven Stelfox. A follow-up set in the modern day, Kill ‘Em All, was released this year.

In a new interview, Niven has opened again about the bands who ‘slipped through the net’.

“Muse and Coldplay… I actively told to get fucked,” he told This Feeling TV. “Now, I mean, it wasn’t like they were sat in the office, but I remember those demos doing the rounds back when I was an A&R guy back in 96-97’s-ish and my kind of feeling was, ‘does the world need another Radiohead’, because in the early days both those bands were quite sub-Radiohead and I thought, ‘surely we’ve got the one Radiohead, we’re alright’. Turned out, we did need the others as well.”

He added: “They’ve done alright. Meanwhile Mogwai were going to be bigger than Pink Floyd. I love them, I still do, I don’t always choose wisely commercially.”

Speaking to NME about his decision back in 2013, Niven said:  “I’m still not really a massive fan of either band, but I guess if my job was to predict the public’s interest in them then I failed.”

Assuming the sharp-tongued and cynical character of Steven Stelfox for NME in 2015, he said of Coldplay: “Lads, I won’t beat about the bush, there’s some tunes in here. But seriously, the lyrics? No fucker needs to be hearing you wanging on about all this mad eco balls or whatever. Look at U2. ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and all that politics got them what? A poxy few hundred thousand sales. Sack that, here’s ‘With Or Without You’, proper ballad, and bosh, 10 million albums and five nights at Wembley. Have you thought about doing a cover of something?”