By People Staff
June 12, 2006 12:00 PM

WHY YOU’RE HUMMING THEM NOW: The English band’s “Somewhere Only We Know” is featured in the TV ads for the Sandra BullockKeanu Reeves drama The Lake House.

WHAT’S NEXT: Under the Iron Sea, the follow-up to their multiplatinum debut, Hopes and Fears, is out June 20.

▪ THE DOWNSIDE OF SUCCESS

Though pals since growing up in Kent, England, drummer Richard Hughes, 30, lead singer Tom Chaplin, 27, and songwriter-keyboard player Tim Rice-Oxley, 30, almost split after nearly two years of grueling touring. “We were getting sick of each other,” says Hughes. Adds Rice-Oxley: “I’d be in one bar, Tom would go off to bed, and Richard would watch a film. We weren’t communicating at all—a typical male thing.” They got past their “idiotic stubbornness,” he says, making Under the Iron Sea—a “dark” expression of their personal “struggle.”

▪ SPEAKING OF DARK …

A few years ago, Chaplin wrote a second rock star obituary for himself (he was about 8 when he penned the first), which read, “He died sad and lonely without a friend in the world.” Rice-Oxley once made fast money by testing a drug for schizophrenia. “My mum said, ‘You’ll become a freak,'” he says. “But so far, I’m just about okay.”

▪ BONDING WITH BONO

While opening for U2 in New York City last year, says Hughes, “we asked Bono, ‘Got any advice for making another record?’ He emphasized the importance of [creating] atmosphere in the way you order songs.”

▪ TOUR TIPS

To keep healthy on the road, they whip up smoothies. “We carry our blender in our equipment case so it doesn’t get broken,” says Hughes. And Rice-Oxley doesn’t often take wife Jayne along, so they can preserve “our sense of being a gang, the three of us against the world.”

▪ IT’S GOOD TO BE (A ROCK) KING

“I’m on the waiting list for an Aston Martin,” says Hughes. “I’ve always loved them.” Or is it? Says Rice-Oxley: “I’m slightly embarrassed by the idea of making money.”

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