Keane Singer Tom Chaplin Gets Sober, Releases New Album

By Seth Ferranti 10/14/16

The 37-year-old lead singer has regained sobriety after a brief relapse in 2015.

Keane Singer Tom Chaplin Gets Sober, Releases New Album

Keane frontman Tom Chaplin has been battling his addiction issues since before 2006 when he first entered rehab. With the band being the furthest thing from the “sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll” stereotype, it was a shock to fans. Keane's wholesome music, with Chaplin's choir boy looks and melodic voice, gave them the image of strait-laced rockers. But sometimes looks can be deceiving, and when you take a look under the facade things can get scary—especially when you’re a rock 'n' roll singer. 

“People probably saw us as earnest, fairly serious ‘well brought up’ boys,” Chaplin told the Irish Examiner in a new interview. “That creates an image of individuals who are all OK. Underneath that, this has never really been the case. In Keane we’re all quite weird. The three of us who were there originally are all strange human beings, as complex as anyone else. We were never any good of giving a true representation of ourselves in press and in public.”

The UK band hit the scene in 2004 to rousing success with the release of their first album, Hopes and Fears. In England, the group is held in the same regard as the Beatles, Oasis and Radiohead—pretty lofty company for the band. Keane’s signature sound centers on Tim Rice-Oxley’s piano playing and Chaplin’s vocals, but the singer always felt chaos swirling under his calm demeanor—a chaos that exposed itself in his addiction and now even more so in his subsequent sobriety.

“We were crippled by politeness,” Chaplin said. “By the idea that you better not say anything that is going to upset anyone or make you look silly or controversial. People had this impression of us being strait-laced and boring. And I have always been known for having this angelic voice and baby-face, that paints a certain picture. I wanted to unveil the darkness beneath all of that. It’s been very liberating.”

On his new solo album, The Wave,  the 37-year-old singer is brutally honest with himself and his fans. After falling off the wagon in 2015 and going on a three-day drugs and alcohol bender, Chaplin has regained his sobriety. With his wife threatening to leave with the couple’s baby, Chaplin once again committed to sobriety, and found the inspiration for his new album. This decision has not only affected his life and well-being, but it has affected his music as well. 

“My addiction has caused mayhem in my life,” he says. “It has nearly killed me on many occasions ... I almost feel I’m a new artist. It’s an unconventional thing: Keane are known for songwriting by Tim [Rice-Oxley] and singing by me. Our roles had become very clearly defined over the years.” With Keane on hiatus, Chaplin has started writing songs again. 

“It’s a chicken and egg thing,” Chaplin says. “It was my insecurities that drove me to be in a band. It’s no coincidence that a countless number of frontmen or artists are deeply flawed as human beings. Going out on stage is the only way they have of appearing okay with the world.

"On the other hand if you have the sort of deep emotional flaws I do, being in a band can accelerate that. I’ve not been equipped until quite recently to deal with it. But I have achieved a degree of self knowledge and writing my album has been a hugely important part of me getting there.”

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.