Coldplay Officially Denies Stealing the Fine Songcraft of 'Moe Batriani'

You've heard the charges, you've reviewed the evidence, now hear the testimony: Coldplay issued a statement today insisting that "Viva La Vida" is in fact their own cloying anthem — not lifted from a 12-year-old melody by shreddy guitar legend Joe Satriani. Or, as the quartet so cleverly like to refer to him to their crowds (at least until he sued), "Moe Batriani."

Coldplay leader/interpretive-dance maven Chris Martin first invoked Satriani's complaint two months ago in a recently unearthed Q&A on Yahoo!, issuing the modest denial:

"When we finished the song 'Viva La Vida,' our only hit single, we knew that was good. And I will maintain that till my dying day, that it's not that bad. Although we are being sued by about 12 people who say that we stole it, though I promise we didn't. Including... I probably shouldn't say. [Laughter] I can't tell you, I can't tell you, but it rhymes with Moe Batriani."

Cheeky! Earlier today, meanwhile, not long after Satriani all but sobbed to MTV in tasty, typically arpeggiated triplets, the band made a more earnest appeal on its Web site:

With the greatest possible respect to Joe Satriani, we have now unfortunately found it necessary to respond publicly to his allegations. If there are any similarities between our two pieces of music, they are entirely coincidental, and just as surprising to us as to him. Joe Satriani is a great musician, but he did not write or have any influence on the song 'Viva La Vida.' We respectfully ask him to accept our assurances of this and wish him well with all future endeavours.

Translation: "Seriously, Moe — with the greatest possible respect, we're kind of partial to Ashlee Simpson." We'll see them in court.