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Mum just bought me the magazine! I love the interview, I lol'd at the bits about their arguments :chuckle: Matt- "it usually ends with him, like, holding my face on the ground or sitting on me, just pinning me down in a position until I calm down."

Dom- "I can hold him down, but he can get a little bit bitey. A little bit scratchy."

:D and the bit about Chris throwing the chair at Matt :chuckle:

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I don't think UD is the type of sound they mean...I'm pretty sure Matt said that it was just like an experimental song because they wanted to try something new to them.

 

When they say Pink Floyd, I'm think like trippy psychedelic space rock...kind of like space dementia or dark shines maybe

 

Nah, there was an old interview where the band said they liked UD, and the next album would probably head in a similar direction.

 

Of course nothing they say about the album's direction can be regarded as trustworthy. :LOL:

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:LOL: describing Foo Fighters as heavy metal. tbh, no matter how bad Muse get, I don't think they'll ever be as bad as the Foos.

 

DaveGrohl.gif

 

But seriously, I think the new album will have a larger taste of 70s prog rock then the rest. Chris' soberity will probebly mean he'll contribute more to writing so maybe we'll see him taking more important vocals. They might keep the barbershop style vocal multi-tracking they used on TR (I loved that:)). Doms drumming is becoming more BOOM BOOM style rather then ,say, assassin. Matts vocals are deeper and smother and his music is becoming much more classical.

 

So I think the first single will be Matt and Chris singing barbershop falsetto while Dom beats huge, slow beats to a cover of Ode to Joy and then burst into a Brian May style 10 minute guitar solo.

 

I'd buy it :D

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:LOL: describing Foo Fighters as heavy metal. tbh, no matter how bad Muse get, I don't think they'll ever be as bad as the Foos.

 

Heavy rock then. :phu:

 

But I digress - we can't say what the album's gonna be because Matt often says something different to what is actually produced, such as the fabled triple album Black Holes and Revelations was meant to be.

 

It could be a Pink Floyd style record, it could be a mellow album full of lullabies or UD-style songs, it could be a rockier record than TR or it could be something else entirely. Its too early to speculate really.

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Thank you for the scans :D. Must. Buy. This! I loved the staying sane guide, ironically delivered by Matt. Sane is hardly a word I'd associate with our lil alien meerkat :p.

 

I'm surprised Q did another feature on them so soon, they usually leave a bigger gap, especially as Muse haven't been 'on the scene' of late; they won't be back on the UK circuit for another two months for the R&L gigs. But twas interesting nonetheless.

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It is Friday the 13th and from the back room of the Big Sky photographic studios in North London comes an almighty crash. Seconds later, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy and drummer Dominic Howard emerge, wide-eyed, but unruffled. "A huge mirror just fell off the wall and nearly hit me and Dom," Bellamy announces. How huge, Q wonders? Seventy-years'-worth-of-bad-luck huge? "Probably," shrugs the singer. "But the important point is it didn't break."

 

In other words, there's very little chance of Muse's luck running out soon. Seventeen years after first coming together as a trio of grunge-obsessed, Devon-based teenagers, they have stealthily ascended to their current position as one of the biggest rock bands on the planet. As such, they can afford to take almost an entire year off. Aside from half a dozen South America dates with U2 in April, performing to over half a million people in total, followed by a handful of gigs in Russia and the US, 2011 is effectively one long weekend for Muse.

 

Today, however, there is work to be done, namely being photographed and interviewed by Q, chiefly to trumpet the trio's upcoming appearances at the Reading and Leeds festivals, where in an effort to top their 2010 Wembley gigs performing beneat a towering cube of video and light, they plan to mark the 10th anniversary of their 2001 album Origin of Symmetry by playing it in its entirety for the first time, amid an elaborate stage set based upon its artwork. They started rehearsing for the shows yesterday, working through songs they hadn't played in years. So, Q ventures: truthfully, how's it sounding?

 

"Hmm, it's alright," offers affable, perma-frank bassist Chris Wolstenholme. "We ran through Hyper Music for the first time in seven years. It sounded like a school band cover of Hyper Music, to be honest."

 

Reading holds a special place in the hearts of Muse members, since it was the first festival they ever visited together as 14/15-year-old mates. In 1993, they travelled there together from Teignmouth, camped together, got stoned together and moshed together to Rage Against The Machine.

 

"And it was definitely a place where a lot of my early sexual experiences were," says Bellamy, smiling at the memory of his formative in-tent fumbles. "I didn't lose my virginity at Reading. I'd lost it ust before, but I Definitely followed through and learnt a bit more how to do it there. I've got some pretty unsavoury memories which I'm not sure if I should be sharing…"

 

Oh, come on, do tell…

 

"Well, the guys would never want me to share this," he half-whispers, "but I remember one time when the toilets weren't functioning because it rained out and we had no choice but to find other methods of evacuating."

 

You're telling us you crapped beside a fence?

 

"Exactly! There were definitely some wild toilet escapades."

 

Given its literally grungy nature, too, the festival's crowd, of course, has a reputation for sailing horrible projectiles stagewards. Muse have some experience of this type of behaviour from the band perspective: there was the festival in Moscow where they were showered with coins, the one in France where glass bottles rained, the metal fest in Arizona where they served as moving targets for brown matter which they hoped was mud.

 

But, back in 1993, as punters at Reading, did they ever engage in the ritual of throwing a bottle of piss towards the stage?

 

"No, I haven't ever done that," says Wolstenholme. "I've been showered by a couple but I've never actually thrown one myself."

 

"I haven't thrown a ottle of piss, no," says Howard. "I wormed my way down to the front once, though, and got my head kicked in and sprinkled with piss."

 

"I can't say I've delved that far down," Bellamy states, erupting with gaspy laughter. "I definitely remember getting covered in wet bog roll in the moshpit at one point. I'm not sure what was going on, or exactly how it got to be wet…"

 

 

Muse have clearly come a long, long way. Ask them why they figure that - in their estimation - such an "uncool" band has become so humongously successful on a global scale and it prompts much initial headscratching. Then various theories are floated: Chris puts it down to them "having toured our asses off", Dom reckons it's because they're "outsiders", operating on the fringes of musical fashion.

 

"I dunno, really," Matt says. "I mean, I love the music. A lot of people have picked up on some of it being tongue-in-cheek. But to me it's only tongue-in-cheek when I'm listening to it. When I'm playing it, I believe it, man. [laughs]. I'm in there. I mean, Knights of Cydonia, I'm going with it into these strange emotions. So I can only assume that people get that feeling too. But, I have to say, sometimes when I listen to our music or I hear it in the distance, I go, Is that actually the band I'm in?"

 

"There are certain gigs you do which ump out as almost being a bit out of your league sometimes," admits Wolstenholme. "Like the stadium tour we did last summer. You feel like, Christ, we've really got up here."

 

At a table out on the photo studio's balcony today, where the three members of Muse will be interviewed separately, the bassist chains Marlboro Lights and rabbits away in his effusive, slightly edgy manner. Wolstenholme is tall (6'1"), well-built, lightly balding and the one member of the band for whom existence as an international rock star has had the least impact on his personal life, due largely to the attentions of his longstanding wife and five kids back at home in Oxshott, near Leatherhead, "where all the Chelsea players live".

 

Bellamy and Howard, meanwhile, might be brothers, such is their shared, comparatively diminutive stature (5'7" and 5'8", respectively), almost genetic facial similarities and identical choice of living arrangements, dividing their time between London and LA. The former talks rapidly and fidgets inside his stripy Vivienne Westwood suit, all piercing blue eyes and a slight "woo" to his "r"s. The latter is possesse of a certain rock star drummer cool, much like his former hero and now-friend Roger Taylor of Queen. With his subtly sculpted hair and impressively white teeth, there is the slight air of the playboy about him - he collects pieces of pop surrealism art and is single, or "relatively commitment-free", as he puts it.

 

In being purveyors of high-concept, over-the-top-of-the-top heavy rock, particularly on an arena and stadium level, Muse are operating in a field of their own and have thus reaped the rewards. Their last album, for example, 2009's The Resistance, topped the charts in a staggering 19 countries. By deploying huge helium-filled UFO balloons and flag-waving hordes marching across the stage, they've grown to become a live act that matches the epic proportions of their music. Thwarted stage set propositions for Muse live shows have included their notion to cover the entire Wembley audience with balloons dropped from a helicopter and their plan to fly the biggest zeppelin in the world over the crowd at the Coachella festival in 2010, both schemes deemed too costly or frankly dangerous.

 

In employing such ambitious staging, of course, Muse leave themselves open to the dangers of Spinal Tap-styled set malfunctions. Their US arena tour of autumn last year, for instance, saw the trio perform on individual hydraulic towers, beginning the show behind pillars of curtain that would dramatically drop at a crucial point in opener Uprising. On the second night at the Staples Center in LA on 26 September, however, before a crowd including representatives from the Grammys and a smattering of Hollywood stars, Bellamy's fell, nearly smothering him, and Wolstenholme's failed to drop at all.

 

"What I forgot," the bassist recalls, wincing, "was obviously there's cameras there, so people could see me on the screens going, What the fuck's going on? It was a bit humliating."

 

"Mine dropped and got caught on my head, so I just looked like a giant ghost," laughs the singer. "I was stuck in it. Halfway through the song, I managed to shake it off and so it was just me and Dom visible and then Chris's came down as the song finished. So it literally was Spinal Tap."

 

Not that it put off the Grammy organisers who subsequently invited Muse to perform at the 2011 ceremony on Sunday 13 February in LA. On the night, before an audience comprising such disparate heavyweight stars as Neil Young, Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Kidman and Lady Gaga, Muse waltzed off with the award for Best Rock Album for The Resistance. Having been warned even by their American managers that they stood "no chance" of winning it, they were stunned when they actuall did, as evidenced by Matt Bellamy's garbled speech.

 

"I'm definitely not a speech maker," he squirms today. "Terrible onstage as well. I need to go through that King's Speech therapy. I said, Thanks very much, wow, great surprise. It was just kind of vague. Barry Manilow was st just in front of me and I was distracted by his whole thing…"

 

Later that night, Howard threw a Mexican-themed post-Grammys party, replete with mariachi band, at his Spanish-style villa in the Hollywood Hills, one of the most notable features of which is a dark, wood-pannelled bar where Hollywood socialites danced the night away on top of his pool table.

 

"Lindsay Lohan was there apparently," he notes with a combinaion of mirth and insouciance. "I didn't see her. I'm surprised we let her in, actually."

 

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If there's something of the Hollywood glow about Muse at the moment, then it's not least due to Matt Bellamy's relationship with Kate Hudson - rom-com film star and daughter of Goldie Hawn - that has overnight attracted the attentions of the international paparazzi who otherwise would never have given the singer a second glance.

 

Theirs, he acknowledges, has been something of the classic showbiz whirlwind romance. Having met briefly in 2007 in Australia where Muse were on tour and Hudson was making a film, they got together at the Coachella festival in 2010. Twelve months later they were engaged. In July, the couple are expecting a baby.

 

At Coachella, the singer initially impressed Hudson with a display of chivalry: she'd lost her friends and he offered to help each other find them. "We bumped into each other and we remembered each other and sort of hit it off, y'know," he chuckles. "Pretty instantly, you could say."

 

Did it in any way remind him of his teenage Reading festival experiences? Did you invite her back to your tent?

 

"[Laughs] Oh what we did we have there? Little cabins. Caravan type things."

 

Now, of course, the gossip mags frequently depict shots of Bellamy and Hudson shopping or bike-riding in LA, wandering through airport corridors and canoodling at posh al fresco restaurant tables. Does this in any way bend the head of this former Teignmouth boy?

 

"Well, they're looking at her," he insists. "So it's fine. I don't like looking at it. Some of it filters back. Suddenly random people you've never met before start talking about gossipy things. You don't realise until you're in it how much is made up. There's been scating stuff as well and the whole legal side of it is strange. People can just make up lies about you."

 

For Howard, Bellamy's LA neighbour, his bandmate's sideline existence as a pap target is clearly the source of some amusement. "Yeah, pictures of Matt on the beach or walking around in his pyjamas," he grins. "It's a bit weird, but that's what happens when you get involved in the Hollywood world. All of a sudden it's a very different kind of thing for him to get used to. It's not something you ever get used to, really. But he's happy."

 

Bellamy says that hanging out with his future in-laws, Hollywood stars Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel, has given him some insight into how to counter-balance the warped reality of fame with a reasonably normal family life. "Goldie's an amazing woman. Incredibly down-to-Earth, family first and all that stuff. As a family they are unique from what I've seen, from people I've met out there. It's good not to take all of that glamour-y stuff too seriously. So it's been very nice to be around her."

 

At the opposite end of the scale, in terms of glamour and sophistication where his public profile is concerned, is the Facebook fan page set up in honour of Drunk Matt Bellamy, inspired by his wholly bladdered appearance at an awards ceremony in February. In a backstage interview that inevitably went viral, the singer blows raspberries in Howard's face as he attempts to give a sensible answer to a question, while coping with interections from Bellamy of the slurred "Who d'you think you are?" and "Fuck off, you cunt" variety.

 

"Yeah, that clip of me acting weird and drunk," the frontman notes, with little apparent shame. "Maybe the veil of the band was lifted briefly there. People saw what we were like for real."

 

 

Rock'n'roll takes its toll, however, as we know. On the darker flipside of these drunken shenanigans, last year Chris Wolstenholme let slip that until recently he had been a "raging alcoholic". Was that an exaggeration?

 

"No, not at all," he laughs, a touch nervously. "I'd always been a big drinker, pretty much from 16-, 17-years-old. But I think being in the band, having it around you all the time and then obviously having the stresses of trying to balance the band and the family life…it was probably around the time of The Resistance where it got quite bad."

 

As he candidly recounts today, in the manner of someone who has peered into the void and emerged anew, the bassist was killing himself with alcohol. He feels that this was in some way a throwback to the chronic alcoholism that killed his own father at 40. At his worst, Wolstenholme says he would start his day's drinking with a pint glass filled half with spirits, half with squash, before he moved on to an afternoon of constant beers, topped off with two bottles of wine in the evening and another pint of spirit-squash as a nightcap.

 

"I was actually losing my mind," he says. "I had to drink to get out of bed in the morning. It got to the point one Christmas morning where I was actually puking up blood. But you're so out of it. My rational thought at that time was, Oh I won't drink spirits today. I'll just drink beer. You just don't think properly. You don't really consider that you're killing yourself.

 

"Or even if you do," he adds, flateringly, "you get to the point where you just don't care about anything anymore."

 

Matters reached a head while recording The Resistance in 2008, when the bassist was largely absent or drunk in the studio.

 

"He was definitely a bit vacant around the time," Howard admits. "That was a bit tough on me and Matt. He was definitely a bit drunk doing some bass takes."

 

"The thing with him, though," Bellamy adds, "is he's such a good musician that his motor skills or something just aren't affected. So he would come in and play brilliantly and then we wouldn't see him for a bit. For us, we didn't always notice it as much as we should've. We'd have a great gig and we'd come off and he'd go off to his room and we wouldn't really know what was going on. So it took years actually to really notice that behaviour."

 

Both Bellamy and Howard found it hard to broach the subject with Wolstenholme, although they both say they tried.

 

"It's a very hard thing to approach someone going through that," says the singer, "because sometimes you approach them and they go the other way."

 

"We just didn't know how to deal with it," says the drummer. "Like, why is he taking himself to those kinds of levels and those kinds of excesses? Sometimes when people have got problems, it can be a bit of an avoidable subject. You want to skip around it. We did confront him with it a few times over the years, but it's something that you don't really know how to go about talking about. Because it can sound like you're just having a go."

 

For Wolstenholme, turning 30 in December 2008 prompted an emotional crash. "I had my 30h birthday and suddenly realised how unhealthy and unfit I felt. Literally one day something just hit me. I had a full meltdown really." Having on one level been self-medicating with alcohol to combat the panic attacks that he'd experienced since his teens, when the bassist quit drinking, his anxiety intensified horribly.

 

"I had about a week of hell," he admits. "Lying in bed, I didn't sleep for four days. Not quite Trainspotting, but it wasn't far off [laughs]. I genuinely thought, I'm fucking dying here. If ever I have moments where I think I want to drink again, I just remember that week and think, Well, either I start drinking again and drink until it kills me, or I have to give up again and go through that again."

 

When Wolstenholme announced to his bandmates that he'd finally quit drinking, prior to the release of The Resistance, it understandably caused a huge wave of relief within Muse.

 

"We're very happy for him now, very happy that he's come out of the bubble of booze," says Howard. "Because I think he's been living under a dense cloud for about 10 or 12 years, pretty much."

 

"It's something that he came to terms with in his own way," says Bellamy. "He's done very well, y'know. He's been off it for a long time now."

 

"I'm happier than I have been for a long time," says Wolstenholme. "And I think my relationships with the guys in the band, my relationship with my wife and everybody I know are a million times better. And apart from, y'know, maybe the one or two per cent of times where I get stressed out and feel like a drink, the rest of the time I'm actually very, very happy. So it's kind of a no-brainer really."

 

 

If from the outside, it appears that Muse have enjoyed something of an umblemished rise, the band members themselves admit that it's not always been the case. For all the stadium-proportioned highs, there have been plummeting lows. Howard points to the period around 2006's Black Holes And Revelations, "where we were all getting a bit excessive with our consumption of things and we were all just fucked at the end of it." Bellamy, meanwhile, thinks that 2001's Origin of Symmetry found Muse in their darkest days.

 

"That was the first time doors started to close," he notes. "We got dropped from the American record label and it wasn't doing that well in certain places, even though it did very well in England. Then we fell out with our manager and ended up going into legal stuff and lost a lot of money. That was a hard period."

 

"We were touring so much," Howard points out, "and just taking it all too seriously and getting really stressed out a lot."

 

In their anger and frustration, Muse would smash stuff up. Bellamy recalls one incident where the band were due to open for Gwen Stefani's punk ska mob No Doubt at an MTV Germany show and were unceremoniously dumped at the last minute. "We ended up trashing everything in the dressing room to the point where we built this weird pyramid of fridges and rider and tables and chairs and just rubbish. Then three or four days later the bill came through." At another gig around the same time, the singer furiously rolled his guitar amp into an onstage mixing desk, totalling it. "We got charged £15,000 for that," he reflects, ruefully. "And then we got banned from ever renting gear in the whole of Europe."

 

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Only on a few occasions have intra-band arguments spilled over into actual physical fights. There was the time at Sawmills Studio in Cornwall in 1998 while recording their Muscle Museum EP when intense bickering between the singer and bassist resulted in the latter throwing a chair at the former.

 

"It was like, Jesus Christ," Bellamy laughs. "I learnt at that point not to mess with that guy. Me and Dom have had playfights which have had weird things going on behind them that end up turning into almost real fights. But it usually ends with him, like, holding my face on the ground or sitting on me, just pinning me down in a position until I calm down. I'm pretty good with verbal fights, but then if I win too many of them, I'll find myself with my face on the ground."

 

Howard, meanwhile, is undecided as to who might be the top scrapper between himself and the frontman.

 

"It's probably reasonably even," he mulls. "I can hold him down, but he can get a little bit bitey. A little bit scratchy."

 

Chris could probably kick the shit out of both of you, right?

 

"At the same time. We don't pick too many fights with him."

 

 

 

 

Back inside Big Sky studios, the three members of Muse sit aroun a table, snacking on sushi and talking about the future. They want to record an "intimate", possibly more Pink Floyd-y sixth album; to perform a worldwide stadium tour (in the US they're currently stuck at arena level); and to take a trip on Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's day-tripping space shuttle.

 

"We're trying to blag a free trip on it," Bellamy says. "I'm gonna try to convince Richard Branson to let us make a music video or record a song up there. I think that would be cool. Would I be scared? I think I'll be alright."

 

And so, for the trio, it seems, even the sky is no longer the limit. Alongside Coldplay, Arcade Fire, The Killers and Kings of Leon, Muse are lining themselves up for the ultimate prize. Biggest band in the world, anyone?

 

Howard grins. "Well, U2 can't last forever."

 

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Only on a few occasions have intra-band arguments spilled over into actual physical fights. There was the time at Sawmills Studio in Cornwall in 1998 while recording their Muscle Museum EP when intense bickering between the singer and bassist resulted in the latter throwing a chair at the former.

 

"It was like, Jesus Christ," Bellamy laughs. "I learnt at that point not to mess with that guy. Me and Dom have had playfights which have had weird things going on behind them that end up turning into almost real fights. But it usually ends with him, like, holding my face on the ground or sitting on me, just pinning me down in a position until I calm down. I'm pretty good with verbal fights, but then if I win too many of them, I'll find myself with my face on the ground."

 

Howard, meanwhile, is undecided as to who might be the top scrapper between himself and the frontman.

 

"It's probably reasonably even," he mulls. "I can hold him down, but he can get a little bit bitey. A little bit scratchy."

 

Chris could probably kick the shit out of both of you, right?

 

"At the same time. We don't pick too many fights with him."

 

 

 

 

Back inside Big Sky studios, the three members of Muse sit aroun a table, snacking on sushi and talking about the future. They want to record an "intimate", possibly more Pink Floyd-y sixth album; to perform a worldwide stadium tour (in the US they're currently stuck at arena level); and to take a trip on Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's day-tripping space shuttle.

 

"We're trying to blag a free trip on it," Bellamy says. "I'm gonna try to convince Richard Branson to let us make a music video or record a song up there. I think that would be cool. Would I be scared? I think I'll be alright."

 

And so, for the trio, it seems, even the sky is no longer the limit. Alongside Coldplay, Arcade Fire, The Killers and Kings of Leon, Muse are lining themselves up for the ultimate prize. Biggest band in the world, anyone?

 

Howard grins. "Well, U2 can't last forever."

Thank you!!! :D

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Wow, I love this article! Very interesting and entertaining. Loved the part about Chris throwing a chair at Matt :LOL:.

I don't think the photos were too bad, except for the shiny-ness they added in (if you know what I mean).

From their reputation, I'm not sure what to expect from the next album, so I'm just trying to stay open-minded.

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