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This was in The Times newspaper, and to read it online I had to register with their website, so I thought I would copy it over here-

 

Meet Muse – the world’s unlikeliest rock stars

 

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How three geeky lads from Devon took on the pop world - and won

 

Lounging by the pool of a Sunset Strip hotel is a milksop, skinny-malink Brit tourist in bad shorts. His rodenty face sniffs the Los Angeles air, pondering food. It’s lunchtime, and he’s not long up. His spriggy hair, styled by hangover and pillow, wafts in the breeze. A fashion-backwards T-shirt hangs off his meagre shoulders. 5ft 7in in his terry-towelling socks and invisible if he turns sideways, this pasty Englishman won’t be going near the water lest one of the sunbathing LA hunks sits on him.

 

Meet Matt Bellamy, anti-rock star. Singer and songwriter, pianist and guitarist, fond of playing the latter behind his head. Sci-fi enthusiast, conspiracy theorist. A 32-year-old former painter and decorator (“It is,” he confirms, “all about the preparation”) so concerned by the threat of impending planet-wide doom that he’s stockpiled a two-year supply of freeze-dried emergency rations. He has it stored in the cellars of his villa in Lake Como in Italy. George Clooney is a neighbour.

 

His band, Muse, are the geeks who have inherited, if not the Earth, then at least the hearts, minds and concert-ticket money of the world’s youth. And, increasingly, the not so youthful. This month, the trio from small-town Devon (Teignmouth, pop: 14,413) also lay claim to a few hundred acres of prime rock-festival real estate: they headline the Pyramid Stage on the pivotal Saturday night at Glastonbury. It’s an auspicious moment for old schoolfriends Bellamy, drummer Dom Howard, 32, and bass player Chris Wolstenholme, 31. How will Muse, known for their concert spectaculars, top their normal shows for this special occasion? “We’re thinking we’ll get an orchestra,” says Bellamy.

 

It’s hard to imagine this stick-thin dweeb commanding the attention of 100,000 festival-goers. But put him on a stage – ideally backed by the lasers, towers, bells, whistles and occasional acrobats that have helped Muse become one of the greatest live bands today – and Bellamy gains in stature. They say television adds 10lb to those who appear in front of the cameras. Muse’s arena and stadium shows add a good 2ft, and a grandstanding aura, to their frontman. And now that Bono’s injured back has resulted in U2 pulling out of their Friday headline slot, the leader of the pomp-rock threesome – widely regarded as the biggest British band on the planet in 2010 – is the biggest rock’n’roller at this summer’s biggest festival.

 

Over the past year Muse have shot to the top of rock’s premier league. The Resistance, their fifth album, has sold 2.6 million copies, propelled by its lead single Uprising. They have recorded a song for the upcoming third Twilight film, making a hat-trick of soundtrack appearances in the vampire franchise. In 2007 they were the first band to perform at the new Wembley Stadium. They sold it out – twice. Muse played to 150,000 fans – and to some trapeze artists in balloons that they had anchored above the stage. In Muse’s view, if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing with giddy, over-the-top enthusiasm.

 

It is, in a way, the same with Bellamy and his attempts to act like a rock star offstage. Even when he dresses in a manner he imagines befits a millionaire pop idol (which he is to Muse’s hugely passionate fanbase), he gets it a bit wrong. He and his bandmates went out to an LA bar the other night and “ended up meeting” Rod Stewart. By unhappy coincidence Bellamy was wearing exactly the same outfit as the 65-year-old: pinstriped trousers, a waistcoat and a grey suit jacket.

 

Still, that sounds like an improvement on the trousers he wears during the week I spend with Muse in LA, at the Coachella Festival and then Mexico City: colour-flecked slacks seemingly purchased at C&A sometime in the early Eighties. And definitely an improvement on the clothes he once had to wear to the Q Awards after locking himself out of his house. “A floral shirt, a pair of red Adidas sweatpants and a weird silver hat. My summer civvies,” he recalls of the garb he wore to collect a trophy from the music magazine. “It gave the game away, actually. I’m not in a rock band at all. I’m just a pretty lame kid in funny clothes.”

 

If you find Radiohead too cool, Coldplay too soppy and U2 a bit past it, then Muse are the stadium band for you. They are Queen meets Abba, flamboyantly cod-operatic and absurdly melodic, and so unfashionable that they are, after years of outsider status, strangely fashionable. “Tom Waits and opera music – two of my favourite live environments, where the set design is just really theatrical and interesting,” offers Bellamy, a man who performs wearing flashing plastic children’s sunglasses. His other motivation for spending a fortune on stage presentation: “Not wanting to do something the same as everyone else.”

 

After Glastonbury, Muse are doing another world tour of stadiums. “We are making a giant pyramid with a video eyeball on top, and we’re playing inside it.” Bellamy will also be wearing a suit on which films can be played. The singer will be part guitar hero, part television. He’ll be the first performer ever to get his hands on such a suit. “Lady Gaga wants one but we’ve beaten her,” he confides proudly. Anything else? “A UFO is going to appear and give birth to an alien, over the audience’s head. I’m not joking.”

 

Muse have headlined Glastonbury before, in 2004. But even Wolstenholme admits they weren’t sure they deserved the slot. “We didn’t know if we were ready for it. And the press were going, ‘What’s this all about? Who do they think they are?’” There’s another shadow over Muse’s last Glastonbury appearance: shortly after watching the band’s set on the Pyramid Stage, Howard’s father collapsed and died from a heart attack.

 

“It was the best and worst day of my life in one go,” the drummer says quietly. “It’s a bit weird for me going back, really. People say, ‘You’re doing Glastonbury. It’s gonna be great, isn’t it?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, I dunno. It might be f****** s*** and I might not enjoy it.’ ” Wolstenholme remembers: “It was an extreme high and an extreme low. It’s gonna be strange going back, but maybe we need to be able to associate it with a happy memory. At the time it was probably the best gig we’d done. And unfortunately it’s not remembered for that.”

 

Glastonbury, then, will be a challenge on many levels. Howard’s mother and sister are coming this year. “It’ll be an emotional time for the family, for sure. But, you know, music’s a great thing to do. It can provide a great deal of positivity, playing and listening to it. That’s the only reason I’m going back: to play. I don’t think I’d go back just to hang about. That’d just be a bit strange. These guys are talking about hanging around for the weekend. But I don’t think I can really do that. But playing to a load of fans is gonna be the thing that makes me go there and get through it.”

 

Muse did not have a conventional route to success. While other bands rocketed up the middle of the rock road, Muse crawled up via the margins, doing their own thing. Failing to get noticed by the mainstream record industry, they turned to a Cornish recording studio to fund their first EPs. When they were finally signed, it was by a small record label.

 

In hip music circles, they were derided as over-earnest West Country bumpkins making daft songs with titles like Space Dementia and Apocalypse Please. They were pale copyists of Thom Yorke and co. They were prog-rock spods and had the fruity organ solos to prove it. If you liked Muse you also played World of Warcraft and were possibly bullied. If you liked Muse you were not cool. Bellamy, Howard and Wolstenholme knew this. They were not bothered. In fact they were almost proud of being unfashionable and being able to walk down the streets largely unrecognised. But still… why were Muse so unhip?

 

“Our music was just too weird,” says Howard with a shrug. “A lot of bands come fully formed: great first album, good songs, look cool, right attitude – they’ve got the whole thing. Whereas we were kids – from Devon! – who didn’t know any better. We were just learning step by step the whole time. We weren’t that Cool New Band. So we’ve always been on the fringes. It’s still like that.” As well as relishing their contrary-Mary position, Muse also embrace their occasional naffness. Ask Bellamy if summer 2010 feels like a golden moment in the life of this proudly off-message rock band and he replies: “Well, it’s always been sort of… beige.”

 

The names of the school bands that the three members of Muse separately played in – Gothic Plague, Carnage Mayhem, Fixed Penalty – did not suggest future greatness. But in 1994 Bellamy, Howard and Wolstenholme came together as a trio. They were Rocket Baby Dolls and tomorrow belonged to them. Except it didn’t. Rocket Baby Dolls quickly, sensibly, changed their name to Muse. The trio decided to forgo university places in favour of staying in Teignmouth and building on their strong local following. “Then all our friends f***ed off to uni and we had no fans,” remembers Howard. “We had to start from scratch. Doing as many gigs as possible in the local area. We did that for five years.”

Continued in next post...

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... Continued from previous post

 

They had to work hard. Bellamy points out: “We all came from nothing. People don’t think that when they look at us. They probably think we’re university boys or well-to-do middle-class guys. But all our parents have northern England working-class backgrounds.” Bellamy’s mum and dad divorced when he was “12 or 13”, and he has a brother in Leeds and a sister in Sheffield. “I know that our backgrounds are a bit more hardy than people would probably imagine when they look at us,” he continues, “especially when they see us on stage and the way we dress and all the b******s we talk about. But we have the kind of background that means we stick through rough times more than other people would.”

 

Muse forged a reputation as a hard-gigging outfit early on. Bellamy gave up his post-school career as a painter and decorator and abandoned his other pipe dream of flying paramotors, the jetpack-like motorised gliders with which he planned to become an “extreme cameraman”, filming concerts and sporting events. Instead, the band was everything. And still is. Muse are fiercely protective of their brand. When Céline Dion called her Las Vegas show Muse, the rock band sued her and won.

 

For Wolstenholme, this all-consuming lifestyle would take its toll. Partly this was due to his wife becoming pregnant with their first child just as Muse signed a record deal at the end of 1998. Because they weren’t the latest cool band from Manchester or London and therefore couldn’t rely on favourable press or radio coverage, “Our management and our record company just had us doing everything. You have no say over what you wanna do. And they don’t give a f*** about time off, or about family. All they give a f*** about is making as much money as possible.”

 

To compound matters, Wolstenholme became “a raging alcoholic”. He reveals this to me, unbidden and unprompted, at the end of our first interview, in the band’s opulent hotel in Desert Springs, a few miles from the Coachella Festival site. “I was worse on tour in the early days. But at home it got to a point where I realised I didn’t have to stay sober ’cause I didn’t have a gig to do. So it was just a licence to drink all the time. I was waking up in the morning and filling up a pint glass half full of whatever spirit I had in the house and then topping it up with squash so no one knew what I was drinking,” he confesses.

 

He’d follow this “breakfast” with a chaser of “10 to 15 pints during the day, even when I was at home. Then in the evening I’d go on to wine: two bottles of wine. Then I’d normally finish the day as I started it: take the pint glass up to bed, drink half, so there was always something by the bedside for me in the morning, ha ha,” he laughs, nervously.

 

Wolstenholme repeats this account of the depths of his addiction, almost word for word, when we speak again backstage at the Foro Sol stadium in Mexico City. His eagerness to tell all is a mark of the bluff amiability of the sturdy, tattooed bass player (he’s a good foot taller than the compact Bellamy and Howard), and of how Muse barely do any interviews these days; they don’t need to, and their heavyweight US management company, Q Prime (also shepherds to Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica), forms a ridiculously protective phalanx around them. After eight months on tour he’s perhaps starved of outside conversation. And, I suspect, Wolstenholme’s chattiness is also an aspect of the painful rehab/therapy process that he initiated midway through the making of The Resistance.

 

“I was pretty bad. But I had a realisation one day: my dad died when he was 40 from alcoholism. And I was well on the way to that. I was in such a bad way it’s questionable whether I’d be alive now.” Wolstenholme’s therapist told him that his drinking “was my way of dealing with any kind of negativity whatsoever in my life”. As he detoxed, “I had a good week of no sleeping, shaking, feeling like I was gonna pass out. It was pretty horrible. But luckily I had five months before going on tour to get all that out of my system.

 

“I felt like I was really getting somewhere with it,” Wolstenholme continues, clutching an iced coffee (“My new drug”), his fingernails bitten to the quick. “Then we started touring and it was like giving up all over again. I had to have the minibar in my hotel room cleared. I got my own tour bus so I didn’t have to be around [the band]. I didn’t want to be one of those killjoys. It’s my problem; it’s not fair to drag everybody else into it.” He says he still finds it difficult. “There is a lot of partying on tour. You feel a bit left out sometimes. You can’t join in. But you have to think about the more important things in life, like your family, your kids [a fifth child is on the way].”

 

Certainly, Bellamy hasn’t slowed down on the party front. When I talk to him in Mexico City he has a raging hangover. After three hours’ sleep, he is hiding behind expensive sunglasses, and despite seven weeks on tour in America and three days in Mexico, he is paler than normal. Last night he entertained 55,000 screaming Mexicans with a thumpingly epic baroque’n’roll performance. He wound down by drinking with the road crew until 8am.

 

During our second interview, at Coachella, Bellamy had talked about the books that had “seeped” into the writing of The Resistance, such as Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, which he says “gets right into the core of the dark side of warfare”. Accordingly, there’s “a certain fighting spirit, I suppose, in songs like Uprising. I’ve had a subtle interest in warfare through my family.” When I ask him what he means by that, he explains that his uncle and father were in the Royal Navy, and that “their other brother was very much a military guy. He was shot by the IRA in Northern Ireland.”

 

David Bellamy, reportedly a warrant officer in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, was killed outside an RUC station in West Belfast in October 1979. “It was quite a big thing at the time,” says his nephew, who was then 16 months old and hasn’t discussed it in print before. “From what I know, he was working undercover, and afterwards it was revealed he was in the SAS. It was very suspicious. He was machine-gunned 80 times. It was a statement.”

 

Bellamy has done his own investigations into the shooting. “I know people inside who have given me certain information.” Contrary to official reports, he doesn’t think the IRA was responsible. “It’s definitely something that had an influence on me. That’s what got me interested in things like false-flag operations [covert operations designed to appear as though they are carried out by others]. What goes on would shock most people. That Jack Nicholson quote in A Few Good Men – ‘You can’t handle the truth’ – it is true. The military are capable of taking out their own people if they want to. You can’t help but wonder.”

 

After Mexico, the Muse touring party – which numbers 80, but for the next stadium leg rises to 165 and has at its core a “family” of longstanding associates from back home in Devon – are scattering for a couple of weeks’ break. They then regroup for the festival and stadium leg of the 16-month-long Resistance world tour. Due to the volcanic ash cloud, Wolstenholme may have to rejoin his wife and children in Devon via a flight to Madrid and a hitched ride on a coach commandeered by tennis player Greg Rusedski. Howard lives in the South of France, but may be heading to Los Angeles. Bellamy has also been planning an LA sojourn. He’s been viewing real estate, including Christina Aguilera’s old mansion.

 

“I’m thinking of doing a six-month blow-out in LA. It seems like the right time to lose the plot and embarrass myself,” Bellamy says. “I’ll rent out some ridiculous Entourage-style house and lose it. Then come back to London and write a brilliant album.” But, as of this week, his holiday is on hold – “New York has come up.” There he intends to “hang out and relax and investigate new possibilities”.

 

Is this an unsubtle reference to Hollywood actress Kate Hudson? On the Sunday night at Coachella I sat behind Bellamy and saw him and a mystery blonde exchange greetings with Jay-Z and Beyoncé, then get cosy as they watched Gorillaz close the festival. Talking to me afterwards, he offered up the information that this was Hudson, with a grin. So, him, Kate, New York? “Ha ha!” he replies, trying – and failing – to keep it quiet. “Yeah, she’s sent her plane to come and pick me up,” he adds, jokingly. “She’s ordered me, ‘Come here. Come hither,’ ” he continues, I think not-jokingly.

 

He and Hudson first met “years ago” in Australia, “and we were both in relationships”. The actress was with her now ex-husband, Chris Robinson, singer with the Black Crowes; Bellamy was with his now ex-girlfriend, a psychologist he saw for seven years until they split last September. “But this time we met,” Bellamy beams, “and we weren’t.” I suspect he’s winking under those shades.

 

Muse headline Glastonbury on Saturday, June 26

 

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Thanks for this! I haven't gotten past the first paragraph yet, I'm laughing too hard...

 

Lounging by the pool of a Sunset Strip hotel is a milksop, skinny-malink Brit tourist in bad shorts. His rodenty face sniffs the Los Angeles air, pondering food. It’s lunchtime, and he’s not long up. His spriggy hair, styled by hangover and pillow, wafts in the breeze. A fashion-backwards T-shirt hangs off his meagre shoulders. 5ft 7in in his terry-towelling socks and invisible if he turns sideways, this pasty Englishman won’t be going near the water lest one of the sunbathing LA hunks sits on him.

:LOL:

 

EDIT, ok, done... and I suspect those last 3 paragraphs are going to cause an explosion of :srsb33f: around here :LOL:

Edited by dead-duck

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Thanks for sharing this one, it's great! So lulzy, though I got really sad reading about Chris's alcoholism. :supersad:

 

but

After Glastonbury, Muse are doing another world tour of stadiums. “We are making a giant pyramid with a video eyeball on top, and we’re playing inside it.” Bellamy will also be wearing a suit on which films can be played. The singer will be part guitar hero, part television. He’ll be the first performer ever to get his hands on such a suit. “Lady Gaga wants one but we’ve beaten her,” he confides proudly. Anything else? “A UFO is going to appear and give birth to an alien, over the audience’s head. I’m not joking.”

Matt the Telly. :awesome:

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“Yeah, she’s sent her plane to come and pick me up,” he adds, jokingly. “She’s ordered me, ‘Come here. Come hither,’ ” he continues, I think not-jokingly.

 

:LOL: Matt is absolutely her bitch now

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pretty personal...never seen them so open...hmmm

didn't know about chris alcohol addiction neither...really nice to hear he's fighting against

Edited by Lunatic59

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Amazing interview, thanks for posting it. I really like how Chris opened to the interviewer, it make me cry:( but it make me happy to know he is now fine:).

 

And, Matt and Kate:eek:?

:noey:, well, whatever makes him happy :happy:

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Wow. That was well worth a read. I found out a lot about each of them I didn't know before. Especially Chris. It's quite an eye-opener thinking you 'know' your favourite band/famous people in general and realise you don't actually have a clue what goes on in their lives or what they're actually like as people. Not that I ever claimed to 'know' them personally, lol. I felt bad for all of them at certain points reading that. Dom and Glasto, Chris and alcoholism, Matt and his uncle :(. Great journalism when someone can bring out something totally fresh even to 'older/hardcore/obsessive etc etc' fans and show a different side to the band.

 

The intro was hilarious, haha! There was a lot of focus on the fact that Muse are apparently 'uncool'/'unfashionable', which I definitely understand... they still seem to evade being slap-bang the centre of attention and yet somehow have been adorned with the 'Best British band of this generation' title by almost every level of media. I have no idea how they've managed it, but it's impressive and confusing all at once, haha!

 

9/10, top article. The sad thing is, the only thing a few fans will take away from this is the bloody Kate Hudson bit :rolleyes::LOL:.

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great article, but so much focus on the negative side of their lives.

 

im sorry to hear about chris and how hard it's been for him.

 

im hoping matt finds the plot again soon lol he sounds quite lost, to be honest.

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Thanks so much for posting this article jediknightanya. Nice pics of the guys also. I remember Chris saying something about cutting out his drinking, but we didn't know he had went through all of that. I guess it's why he didn't give up smoking for long. Good for him for tackling his drinking problem.

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That was a really great interview! Indeed, it made me :LOL:, :supersad: and :eek:.

that's true... it'll make you laugh, make you cry, make you fret... pretty much sums up my impression of muse in general recently :chuckle:

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that's true... it'll make you laugh, make you cry, make you fret... pretty much sums up my impression of muse in general recently :chuckle:

 

May as well add :vomit: also.

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Really great interview.. it's funny in some parts, but Dom's part is really sad, and Chris almost made me cry, it's great that he's fighting it over for the sake of him and his family :') we love you chris

 

And don't you think that Matt acted a bit like a dick? Especially compared to the other two

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I already knew about Chris's addicted to alcohol, but knowing the detail now, is really makes me worry. I'm glad he's fine now.

 

I agree to Dom about their gig in Glastonbury 2004 was the biggest.

 

Matt and Kate Hudson?? Yeah whatever, as long as he can still make good music, haha. :D

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That was a really great interview! Indeed, it made me :LOL:, :supersad: and :eek:.

 

Haha, pretty much this. That was a very interesting read, thank you.

 

I agree Matt sounds a little lost.

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Great read. Sad to hear about Chris's drinking, but really glad that he's gotten help. I've gained a new level respect for him, on top of all the others I had :)

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