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Muse in Oor Magazine 2012.09.14


BabyBliss
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I just read it, really enjoyed it :) Nothing mindblowing about the songs, but some nice other info going on. Is translation being taken care of? If not I could help a bit :).

 

I was planning on starting on it, but if you could help out that would be great! :) Just let me know which pages you want to get started on and I'll pick another page.

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I've translated a bit I found interesting:

 

(Just after talking about playing OOS at Reading/Leeds)

 

You had already begun with The 2nd Law, did it have influence on the process?

 

It was a good moment for us to see who we are now. The new album was already underway at that point and going back to our starting point, we could actually sharpen the visor on the new things. Origin Of Symmetry was a very diverse album, much more diverse than Showbiz, our debut. Happen very strange things, Plug In Baby to Screenager, Megalomania and Citizen Erased. All very different numbers. We were not afraid of new things in our sound and that added strength to us that back in. not to shun. The deal was quite an end apart.

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Here's the intro (page 1)

 

Muse

 

Survival is an art

 

Album number six already, is named The 2nd Law and puts peoples urge for survival opposite an inevitable end. Heavy? Nah, we're used to that from Matthew Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dom Howard. Muse is big business in 2012, they are an arena-band in their home country of England and on the European mainland, while the larger stadiums are regular in America.

Three years ago, we found them on the shores of Lake Como, in their improbable subterranean studio complex. Since then, some things have changed: Bellamy no longer lives in Italy, is married to actress Kate Hudson and father of a son. The band's headquarters are in England again and on The 2nd Law we hear traces of funk and dustep in-between the familiar bombast of guitars, electronics and lots and lots of layers of sound. Plus, a real choir, a singing bass player and the recording debut of Matthews then-unborn child. Meanwhile, Survival was chosen to become the theme song to the Olympics in London, wherefore the trio was allowed to carry the olympic flame. OOR visits Muse in Amsterdam, where we talk about recent history with drummer Dom Howard and singer/songwriter Matt Bellamy takes us with him to a very gloomy future.

 

 

Page 3, part 1:

 

The beginning of july, the Grand, Amsterdam. Matthew Bellamy is sitting in the stately courtyard of the hotel and orders his lunch. Left and right from the entrance we find Chris Wolstenholme and Dom Howard, who are finishing up their morning round of interviews. Bellamy has to go a little bit longer, he started half an hour late and whatever happens, the band has to get on to Paris at the end of the afternoon. Everything's pushed closer together, and for twenty minutes we take place next to Bellamy under the parasol. It is a rustic scene, in the early afternoon sun. There are only a few small groups of civilized business-boys around us and the tables in the garden of the Grand are far apart as it is, so there's no lack of privacy. We don't have to worry about accidental passers, because the garden is not visible from the street and if anyone was aware of the presence of Muse in the city, they would have to get past the guards of the Grand first. Nevertheless, the record company has shielded Bellamy's table in the far corner with a VIP-seperation. Just because it looks posh, and you never know…

Even so, you get these people that don't seem to care about these subtle hints. It's the biggest annoyance of the modern day journalist: being interrupted during your already limited time by a fan of a well-wisher. And today is no different: we have only just sat down or a tall, grey-ish figure is walking towards OUR corner, steps blandly over the VIP-tape and reports at our table. There goes another two of your twenty minutes, which are pretty tight already because of the delay in the schedule. We are sharpening knives, even though it's the trick to get rid of these imposers friendly but strong-minded. Bellamy has spotted the figure as well and astonishedly looks up. The man stops and extends his hand. "I've been wanting to shake your hand for a while". A second of silence. Leave us alone, sir… But where do we know him from? "I'm playing in that new venue tonight, Ziggo Dome" the gentleman says. Huh? Slowly, I start to understand. Then Matthew looks up wide-eyed, starts laughing hard and quickly extends his hand.

 

page 3, part 2:

 

An hour earlier we are still sitting at a table near the entrance, where Dom Howard is eating a bowl of fruit as a means of late breakfast. On stage, Howard is the mouthpiece towards the audience, even though the someone-has-to-do-it is always written on there. In conversation, he's the one with the overview - where Matt always seems to be looking into the future or cyberspace, Dom knows how to construct the present from steps from the past. We are picking up where we left off during the press days at Como three years ago, when Howard was just looking at the stage designs of the upcoming tour. The plan was then to go in the round, just like U2, only Muse-style.

 

At the end of 2009, we did not see a round stage in the middle, but houses-high pillars with you on top. Why did you decide against in the round?

It began to look too much like what U2 was doing already and since we had opened shows for them in America, it all became too easy, or something. For the indoor tour of the Resistance they came with these enormous towers, which looked great and in which way we could more or less surround ourselves with people

 

It looked kind of dangerous, what if you're afraid of heights?

Like me… Really, I'm not a heights-person. And there where no fences surrounding it, it was an edge and beyond that an abyss. Terrifying. During rehearsals, it wasn't so bad. Back then there was some sort of cage surrounding me. But the argument was that the cages would hinder the view from the venue and furthermore, that it looked ridiculous. So they where removed from the image, and there I was… And that was relatively safe, Chris and Matt had to stand upright and there was barely any movement there the first shows. I don't want to thing about that at all. The scariest bit was when the pillars went up and then stopped. It went with a little shock, nothing violent but you would be wobbling on top of that construction for a few seconds. Like you where on top of a skyscraper and there comes an earthquake.

 

Are there plans for the up-coming tour? Or wishes?

I'm stuck in my head with the in the round-idea , even though there are no designs yet. It would be great to spin around for two hours, and I don't mean slowly, but really fast. You never see that. Or would there be a reason for that?

 

Page 3, part 2:

 

The last time you where in the Netherlands was in Nijmegen, two years ago.

Yes, at the (in accent-less Dutch) Goffertpark. Big show. We wanted to release the UFO, but the wind was too strong, if I remember it correctly.

 

In that same month, you where suddenly on stage with The Edge while headlining Glastonbury. How did that happen?

As you know, U2 had to cancel at the last minute because of Bono's back problems. Everyone felt it was such a pity, the band themselves, the organization and especially the audience. U2 hadn't done a festival since the eighties and they had prepared something really special, everyone was looking forward to it so much and then it goes wrong a week before the festival. We approached Edge, sort of as a thank you towards U2 because they always supported us as well. We learned to play Where the Streets Have No Name, Edge came over one time to rehearse with us, we listened back to it and thought it was fine and the second time we played together was in front of a hundred thousand people. But the surprise was complete and that way it was a patch on the wound for everyone.

 

Last year at Reading the audience got Origin Of Symmetry as a whole. How did that feel for you?

The album was 10 years old and it was our break-through record. Closing Reading is great, but we wanted to do something special. So it was logical to do it at that moment and even though we have gained a lot of support since then, I think everyone knows at least the hits from Origin Of Symmetry well. And among hardcore fans it's still pretty much THE album. So we where willing to take that risk and for us it was a lot of fun to look them up again, the songs that we've barely played since the tours of 2001 and 2002. It was an important time for us, we reached maturity as a liveband in 2001. Visuals, big music and a big setting, the concept of the big show started there. Before, we where quite introvert and static, during Origin Of Symmetry something sneaked in that paved the road to who we are today. Extravert an bombastic, haha. And look where it brought us?

 

You had already started on the 2nd Law at the time, has it had any influence on the process?

It was a good moment for us to look who we are now. The new record was on its way at that point and by going back to our actual starting point, we could look even closer at the new stuff. Origin Of Symmetry was a very diverse album, much more diverse then our debut, Showbiz. There was weird things happening, from Plug in Baby to Screenager, Megalomania and Citizen Erased. All very different songs. We where not afraid to add new things to our sound and that gave us strength to not shun it this time. Everything was allowed to be pretty far apart.

 

 

a/n: OK, apart from the last few sentences, that was the entire page! Now someone else can have a go!

Edited by BabyBliss
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Here's everything from the part 'TERUG NAAR DE VIP-HOEK' 'till the last paragraph. If you want to continue where Babybliss stopped: It's a bit lower on the page, so scroll down. After that, return back to this post :p.

 

[spoiler=Wall of text]

Back to the VIP-corner. Back to Matthew Bellamy. And Sting. Sting! We almost sent away Sting, unrecognisable in his daily scrubs, beard and grey pluck of hair on his head. Luckily the chat is only brief: He sends Matt’s wife Kate his regards, he is curious for the new venue in Amsterdam, Matt tells him he’ll be playing there with Muse this December and in the moment of silence which then occurs we actually get to say something: the story about the new Ziggo Dome in one sentence. Pearl Jam opened it last week, at last a big venue with a good view, sound and many facilities in town. Sting nods. Matt nods. Good to have such a good venue here, they both conclude this exceptional meeting. And more regards to Kate. Sting and Matt shake hands again, Sting friendly nods to OOR as a thank for our patience, Matt sits back down and starts to laugh uncontrollably.

Dom just started about Phill Collins, now Sting went by to shake your hand. What happened to Muse?

‘Hahaha! Funny you got to see this, but Sting and Kate know each other well. And now you just run him to him…. I’d love to go watch his performance tonight, but we have to go to Paris after this for some more interviews.’

You understand that this will be used for conspiracy theories. ‘Muse brainwashed due to mainstream popstars!’ Sound like a nice header…

‘The more the better! I can neither confirm nor deny that.’

What is your conspiracy at this moment?

‘I’m a little out of it at the moment. If you have ánd a band ánd a family, you barely have any time left to keep track of this stuff. Somebody told me a pretty nice one lately, though I haven’t been able to do any research about it yet. It’s about the Olympic Games and what sports can cause for effect in your brain. It appears that the desire to win, is output from the same areas in your brain that become active as the need to survive when you’re in a life threatening situation. And that the Olympic Games were back then not founded because of the sports, but to increase that competitive element within the brain. It seems that’s also the case for the crowd watching the games. It’s doubtable if this is all real, but I think it’s a nice theory. Our song Survival is also about this, the human soul’s desire to win and to survive.’

 

What are your views on December 21th, the end of the Maya Calendar?

‘Eh, I’ve got my underground bunker prepared, haha.’

Funny, while ago you actually had a real underground bunker, your studio at Lake Como.

‘I’m afraid I got rid of it too fast.’

A bit of a shame, such a nice studio, with everything on it.

‘Oh well, it’s still there and is still being used as a studio, it’s just without us around it. The person who was back then our assistant rules it now and there are mostly Italian artists. We recorded in London and Los Angeles this time and that went fine, especially for the other guys, we all live around the corner.’

Back to that Maya Calendar. Your European tour ends exactly two days before it ends.

‘More than enough time to escape! I’m not sure about those Maya’s. I can’t believe that something that has been calculated over such a huge timespan can be so specific. I think the question is, if the Maya’s calculate their time according to the sun, like we do, or according to something bigger, like the solar system. If it’s the latter, it could get interesting. The whole idea appeals to me. Our seasons depend on the Earth’s orbit round the sun. Could there be something like a Superseason, something that we can’t measure from the here and now, which lasts for 26.000 years? Look at the ice ages, those didn’t appear out of the blue either did they? If you think about it from the whole universe’s perspective instead of the sun that we always put in the centre… who cares. The sun, that’s something I sometimes worry about. Sunspots for example. There are instable stars in our solar system that are able to burst out gamma rays, enormous explosions of energy. That could seriously harm the life on Earth. A lot more than that Maya Calendar.

 

You could say we’re not doing so well, when you involve the second law of thermodynamics. Could you explain what it means and why it moves you?

‘The 2nd Law is a hard to accept law about how the universe works, in which mankind doesn’t do well. Human life is in a struggle against that second law, which states that all kinds of energy within an isolated system automatically decrease. Our bodies, the planet, the sun, everything cools down and slowly dies. Life is a tough battle against this inevitable fact. I put it in the perspective of the economic crisis. I wanted to understand what’s behind it, with this law in the back of my head. But in the economic environment in which we live, everything is about growth, growth, growth. This is not possible if the second law of thermodynamics states that everything will diminish. That contradictory between what life is and what sort of meaning we give to it got me thinking about the idea of the album. Everything counteracts each other, everything’s a competition, from relationships to economics, to the environment and resources. This competition is present throughout the whole album, from beginning until the end, in which we hear the hard truth from a scientific point of view. Conclusion: despite our resistance we are losing and there’s nothing we can do about it. The human soul keeps resisting but the end is inevitable and final.’

How do you come up with something like that? Not when you’re chilling on the couch with your wife and son.

‘Ehmmm, no, I write songs on my own anyway, in my mind. Once I’m alone it doesn’t really matter where or why… Sometimes you miss a plane, you unexpectedly have to hang out somewhere where’s nothing to do, pick up a newspaper and the ideas just come to you.’

And once again: how do you come up with that?

‘I read about the financial crisis and it got me thinking. I got the idea of Animals and Explorers, who both lead to Unsustainble, the ultimate finale, and that’s how I already had a frame, a general story that would be told through the album. The frowned eyebrow about the crisis eventually evolved to an all-embracing, worldwide apocalypse. But all the songs I wrote in the meantime, even songs about relationships like The Big Freeze, I could also link to it. Everything is connected to each other, even though it might not be a perfect concept album.’

 

In a period of one hour, you hear the band changing, from rock Muse, to funk Muse, to psychedelic Muse, to dubstep Muse…

‘Yes, it’s going to be a whole other entity. We have so many influences we never used. Look at the funk, the slap bass. Chris loves it, it’s just that previously we never could have done anything with it. Well let’s do it now then! It’s not only funk, by the way, also a lot of Primus. Les Claypool is a big hero from each of us and you’ll be hearing that. Unexpected, for everyone ‘outside’, but for us three it’s pretty logical. Just another path you choose.’

Big Freeze has got a huge stadium sound, almost like U2.

‘Actually it’s a very simple song , on which Dom decided to use the simplest drum beat thinkable. That made it a really simple/clear/obvious rock song. Next to all the experimenting it’s sometimes real nice to return to straightforward rock, as a counterbalance.’

The two songs that are sung by Chris have a really dreamy, psychedelic touch.

‘Well, he wrote them and they appeared to be very personal, so we let Chris sing them. I’m not able to give you information on the music on those, although I know Chris’s a great fan of The Beach Boys. The songs are about a struggle, in his case against alcohol. Another element of a human battle.’

And then we reach The 2nd Law: Unsustainable, an explosion of sound and trouble. Screaming guitars, dubstep beats, voices from news reporters.

‘Yeah. It’s kind of funny, previously we always converted regular songs to electronic songs. This time we had this dubstep-like piece and we wanted to approach it with specifically conventional instruments. To turn everything around, just for fun. It’s kind of ironic that it happens to be a moment filled with chaos and desperation.’

Very ironic, because it’s not really a happy ending.

‘But it does contain the key sentence, and it tells us everything: in an isolated system entropy can only increase. Or: energy decreases, everything gets weaker. The final sentence of the album is the solution for every problem in every song. You can link that sentence to the love songs: don’t stay on your own, keep in contact with people. Economic problems: work together. The more isolated, the worse and faster everything will go. Just as we’re isolated on this planet, so be careful.’

So as a listener, is there something we can do with all the information and prospects?

‘Oh definitely. You can use the cliché that everybody can have his or her own conclusions about this album, that it’s more of a rhetorical statement. There’s at least a message in it, some sort of solution, even when it’s temporary.’

 

 

 

The last paragraph is a bit down the page.

Edited by Cyndris
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I believe a small part is missing atm, between where Babybliss stopped translating and where I started. I'll do that part now :)

 

Edit: Here it is:

 

[spoiler=another brick in the wall]

 

Does your environment have any influence on Muse? Your compound in Como wasn’t at all like the Air Studio in Londen.

‘The most was recorded in London, in Hampstead, where Matt and I both live near. I could go walking to the studio now, three years ago I was a day in a plane, so this situation makes it a lot easier. In that sense, yes the environment certainly had an influence, because I was a lot more relaxed and had more rest than three years ago. I’m not sure about the content of the songs though. The Air Studio is a great place with up to date facilities and a nice sound in all the rooms. And the orchestral stuff were recorded in LA, but when we came there we already knew what we wanted to hear.’

What are you most proud of on this album? What is your biggest achievement?

‘Well, the Phill Collins drum fills of course, haha! The drumsound on Supremacy is massive, I’m really proud of that. Beefed up, robust, live, réal. I think Madness was our biggest performance as a band. It’s not a typical Muse song, when you look at Muse before we made that song. It’s a hard song to produce, but the result feels good. We never felt so good after completing a song as with that one. But still, when you listen to it now, it sounds like a really simple song. Maybe the simplest we ever made.

Simplicity is a lot harder for Muse than bombast?

‘Oh absolutely. We all have all been able to put our whims and fancies and experimental drive in it, and we’re not going to bother the listener will all that. Everybody wins. We should do that more often. Furthermore, I think that the diversity of which we spoke earlier is evident on all facets, while we still let flow through our usual load of emotions. People are going to hear a lot of new stuff, but it’ll always be clear who made it. Our audience can handle this. We are very thankful for that.

 

 

 

The last part:

 

[spoiler=not really a wall]

So does it end with a dot or with a question mark?

‘A dot. We could’ve opened with Unstustainable as a statement, but now we show the struggle in all its facets, and the album has a beginning and an ending. ‘

Because I thought when the album had ended: so now what?

‘There is nothing. At least, not in the theme of the album. It starts with a very optimistic statement about the combative human and you’re going slowly into the abyss. It erodes until nothing is left, and we just keep on fighting. A bit depressing, but it fits in the theory that fascinates me so much.’

So it’s not a personal belief?

‘No, the fascination with the theme is what drives the album. He brought the scenario in my head and the ending of it is hopeless. That’s what makes the story the strongest.’

Doesn’t seem like a good bedtime story for you son.

‘Hahaha, not at all.’

Do the changes in your life impact your musical life a lot?

‘Yes and no. I work and think about music still the same as ever. But for example Follow Me starts with the heartbeat of my then unborn son and is about the first weeks about the life of a baby. You’re so focused on protecting and helping such a young life. When you have kids you think a lot differently about the world around you. In what kind of world will he grow up?’

Did it make your world bigger or smaller?

‘Despite a tiny personal twist, it made it bigger. The big issues are mostly more important than ever, because it is all about his future.’

Look at this world in crisis: there are few bit acts that explicitly turn against it. Springsteen is most dominant, you are very outspoken, but that’s about it in the mainstream.

‘That’s depressing, isn’t it? Look, with a Vietnam or Irak you’re able to look and point at it from a safe distance. But when everyone’s having a bad time, like an economic crisis that concerns everyone around you, you probably don’t want to be dealing with it the whole time and you would want to have some fun when the chance is there. The majority of popmusic is hedonistic and is all about fun. So I understand that not the whole musical world stands up against the banks. But I do.’

People keep liking to hate on big institutes, you obviously have a clear point of view in your lyrics against the large political and economic powers. But you’re starting to become one of those big shots yourself, within music. Aren’t you afraid that they’ll be turning against Muse soon?

‘Hahaha. Against us? No. We’re not powerful enough for that. Right?’

 

 

Edited by Cyndris
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I believe a small part is missing atm, between where Babybliss stopped translating and where I started. I'll do that part now :)

 

Edit: Here it is:

 

[spoiler=another brick in the wall]

 

Does your environment have any influence on Muse? Your compound in Como wasn’t at all like the Air Studio in Londen.

‘The most was recorded in London, in Hampstead, where Matt and I both live near. I could go walking to the studio now, three years ago I was a day in a plane, so this situation makes it a lot easier. In that sense, yes the environment certainly had an influence, because I was a lot more relaxed and had more rest than three years ago. I’m not sure about the content of the songs though. The Air Studio is a great place with up to date facilities and a nice sound in all the rooms. And the orchestral stuff were recorded in LA, but when we came there we already knew what we wanted to hear.’

What are you most proud of on this album? What is your biggest achievement?

‘Well, the Phill Collins drum fills of course, haha! The drumsound on Supremacy is massive, I’m really proud of that. Beefed up, robust, live, réal. I think Madness was our biggest performance as a band. It’s not a typical Muse song, when you look at Muse before we made that song. It’s a hard song to produce, but the result feels good. We never felt so good after completing a song as with that one. But still, when you listen to it now, it sounds like a really simple song. Maybe the simplest we ever made.

Simplicity is a lot harder for Muse than bombast?

‘Oh absolutely. We all have all been able to put our whims and fancies and experimental drive in it, and we’re not going to bother the listener will all that. Everybody wins. We should do that more often. Furthermore, I think that the diversity of which we spoke earlier is evident on all facets, while we still let flow through our usual load of emotions. People are going to hear a lot of new stuff, but it’ll always be clear who made it. Our audience can handle this. We are very thankful for that.

 

 

 

The last part:

 

[spoiler=not really a wall]

So does it end with a dot or with a question mark?

‘A dot. We could’ve opened with Unstustainable as a statement, but now we show the struggle in all its facets, and the album has a beginning and an ending. ‘

Because I thought when the album had ended: so now what?

‘There is nothing. At least, not in the theme of the album. It starts with a very optimistic statement about the combative human and you’re going slowly into the abyss. It erodes until nothing is left, and we just keep on fighting. A bit depressing, but it fits in the theory that fascinates me so much.’

So it’s not a personal belief?

‘No, the fascination with the theme is what drives the album. He brought the scenario in my head and the ending of it is hopeless. That’s what makes the story the strongest.’

Doesn’t seem like a good bedtime story for you son.

‘Hahaha, not at all.’

Do the changes in your life impact your musical life a lot?

‘Yes and no. I work and think about music still the same as ever. But for example Follow Me starts with the heartbeat of my then unborn son and is about the first weeks about the life of a baby. You’re so focused on protecting and helping such a young life. When you have kids you think a lot differently about the world around you. In what kind of world will he grow up?’

Did it make your world bigger or smaller?

‘Despite a tiny personal twist, it made it bigger. The big issues are mostly more important than ever, because it is all about his future.’

Look at this world in crisis: there are few bit acts that explicitly turn against it. Springsteen is most dominant, you are very outspoken, but that’s about it in the mainstream.

‘That’s depressing, isn’t it? Look, with a Vietnam or Irak you’re able to look and point at it from a safe distance. But when everyone’s having a bad time, like an economic crisis that concerns everyone around you, you probably don’t want to be dealing with it the whole time and you would want to have some fun when the chance is there. The majority of popmusic is hedonistic and is all about fun. So I understand that not the whole musical world stands up against the banks. But I do.’

People keep liking to hate on big institutes, you obviously have a clear point of view in your lyrics against the large political and economic powers. But you’re starting to become one of those big shots yourself, within music. Aren’t you afraid that they’ll be turning against Muse soon?

‘Hahaha. Against us? No. We’re not powerful enough for that. Right?’

 

 

Thanks a lot for helping out! :D

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I've translated a bit I found interesting:

 

(Just after talking about playing OOS at Reading/Leeds)

 

You had already begun with The 2nd Law, did it have influence on the process?

 

It was a good moment for us to see who we are now. The new album was already underway at that point and going back to our starting point, we could actually sharpen the visor on the new things. Origin Of Symmetry was a very diverse album, much more diverse than Showbiz, our debut. Happen very strange things, Plug In Baby to Screenager, Megalomania and Citizen Erased. All very different numbers. We were not afraid of new things in our sound and that added strength to us that back in. not to shun. The deal was quite an end apart.

 

Hmm. So,the diversity in OOS was a key factor in the decision to make The 2nd Law very diverse. Given the amount of OOS fanpeople among long-term Musers, this may surprise/excite/confuse a few people on this board. :rolleyes:

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Hmm. So,the diversity in OOS was a key factor in the decision to make The 2nd Law very diverse. Given the amount of OOS fanpeople among long-term Musers, this may surprise/excite/confuse a few people on this board. :rolleyes:

 

Thing is though, OOS is diverse but all the styles flow well into each other really well because that album has a continuous style and sound all the way through it. It really doesn't sound like that will be the case with this album, this sounds like it's just going to be lots of different genres jumbled together.

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Oor & their journalists tend to take themselves very seriously. (Which is probably why I don't like the magazine very much) :rolleyes:

 

Exactly. I used to have a subscription (which I got in 2003 to get free tickets to an intimate Muse gig) but now I only ever buy it when I find the featuring bands really, really interesting. Usually that's not the case.

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