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Muse interviews


Claudia O

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Posted (edited)

Feeling nostalgic

Quotes taken from interviews and articles in Kerrang! from 2001-2008   https://www.musewiki.org/Kerrang!

Do I ever want kids? "Well, Chris (Wolstenholme, bass) has got three already, and he's younger than me! When we did the festival run this summer he had all his kids backstage. There's no booze anymore, just kids' toys everywhere. It was good fun playing little games with them. I can definitely see myself as a family man one day."

Congrats to Matt and Elle on their newborn George Julien-Wade Bellamy joining Lovella and Bingham [shares with Kate].

Muse is my legacy. "You've got to make the most of what you've got here and spread as much influence as you can. I believe that you only live through the influence that you spread, whether that means having a kid or making music."

Great Expectations “When we were making our entrance [at Wembley Stadium in 2007] we got stuck on the lift that was supposed to be raising us into middle of the crowd,” grins Bellamy. “It was so Spinal Tap; we were just trapped there waiting to pop out. I was thinking, ‘Oh shit, this is terrible. It's all going to go wrong.’ I thought we were going to have to climb out!” 

 What's the worst onstage injury you've had?
"I smashed my face in Atlanta and had about three or four stitches in my lip - that was while playing the song 'Citizen Erased.' At the beginning of the 'Absolution' tour we'd gone from playing some massive venue in Europe to playing in front of about three hundred people a couple of days later. I got excited on the small stage but I slipped up, fell on the floor and the guitar smashed into my face. We ended up stopping the gig because there was blood streaming all over my face. That was pretty rough."

What's the worst onstage injury you've caused?
"I've injured poor old Dom [Howard, drums] in the past. I've thrown a guitar in his direction twice and on one of those occasions I split his eyebrow. He has to get a tetanus injection, which was quite funny. He had to bend over, pull his pants down and get a needle up his bum by a doctor. It was pretty humiliating for him and I felt a bit guilty but I must admit it was also pretty funny."

The songs that changed my [Matt's] life

Blue Valentines
Tom Waits
"These are some of the greatest lyrics ever written and they changed my life and the way I felt about relationships, and women in general. That song says it all about how I feel about the past. Dom and I went to see Tom Waits in New York and it was immense. He's a huge influence on Muse in a way that he uses sounds and textures to create atmospheres, even if you can't directly hear it in our music."

Voodoo Child
Jimi Hendrix
"The guitar solo alone. Unbelieveable. I don't know what it is about Jimi Hendrix but he genuinely sounded like he was on another way of thinking from everyone else, using a purely improvisational approach to music. You can tell he turned up, they hit record, he started playing and this came out. He's probably the best guitar player there has ever been."
 

Freedom
Rage Against the Machine
The best song for going mental in a pit to. That section at the end when the drums kick in with the guitar riff, he's shouting "freedom!" and they go into double t"ime? Well, it just makes you want to go out and kill everyone. I dont think anyone has managed to create something that makes you want to mosh this much."

Crossroads
Robert Johnson
"I was very much into blues when I started playing guitar at 11 - more of a White Stripes style, lots of slide guitar on an acoustic. I first listened to Cream doing this song, which then led me to this jaded geezer playing slide guitar and singing blues. And thats what really got me into the idea of guitar playing."

What'd I Say
Ray Charles
"This is the first song that I tried to work out and play on the piano when I was about eight or nine years old. I actually entered a talent competition when i was 12 and won it playing a rendition of this song without the singing. That was my first ever performance of music and the first time I saw a little group of about 30 kids clapping and I thought 'Great, this is the vibe'. And thats the moment I knew what I wanted to do."
 

Requiem (Grande Messe Des Morts)
Hector Berlioz
"If we're talking about life-changing music I have to throw in something classical, like this. The title refers to the death of our souls and its basically about Armageddon. It was one of the the biggest orchestral pieces of the 19th Century, with a 60-piece orchestra and and 80-piece choir. When Berlioz first performed it, people ran out screaming. It blew me away and started an interest in music as an experience rather than just 'tunes'."
 

Guilty Pleasure

Dancing Queen
ABBA
"ABBA wrote some of the most camp, woofter music ever made and 'Dancing Queen' is a particular guilty pleasure. They had great melodies, were a bit glam and listening to them always just makes me want to put on a cat-suit and move to Sweden."
 

Travels. "My best trip was visiting friends in Spain. We went to Salvador Dali's house [in Figueres, Girona Province, Catalonia], which was fantastic. It's a large building which he converted into his head. Everything was positioned so when you looked at it from a distance, it looked like part of a face. It had the sofa that looked like a pair of lips. I sat on that. Behind that were two paintings of his eyes."  Interview 2001.  Matt has also visited Bhutan and the Maldives among many other exotic locales.

Have you ever been in a school play? "I did a monologue if that counts? I played a blues singer who does a Robert Johnson song. I got an A* for drama!"

When was the last time you [Dom] were starstruck?
"Probably meeting David Bowie in the studio when we were recording the album around November last year [2005]. He just popped in to say hello, really - I think he liked our band but he also wanted to meet (producer) Rich Costey as well. That was pretty surreal because when he came in he said, 'Oh, the last time I was here I was recording something with John Lennon'. He was a nice guy, though - we'll have to send him a copy of the album."  Bowie reportedly listened to a rough demo of TaB and liked Invincible.

Do you [Dom] believe in God?
"Not in the traditional sense but I believe in some weird untold energy that surrounds the planet and the universe and brings weird harmony to life."

Jobs for the Lads  "Well-spoken, international jet-setting English gents they may be, but Muse have done their fair share of hard graft to get there. Before the band took, Matt cleaned shit out of campsite toilets, erected scaffolding, did painting and decorating and demolished a shopping centre. Dom, meanwhile, worked in a school canteen and packed Spice Girls T-shirts in a factory, while Chris worked as a golf caddy, in a guitar shop and drove an on and off ice-cream van."

Early Music Videos

Uno

Matt Bellamy (Guitar/vocals): "Oh dear. That was the first time we ever made a video and it's quite simply shameful! Disastrous. It should never be shown. The performance side is just us doing a souncheck for the song and someone filmed it, then said, 'Right, let's get in a car'. We went down to Tower Bridge and just stood there. And that was the video, just standing on Tower Bridge, like that - I don't know what it means"!

Dom Howard (drums): "It was terrible, it was like no thought had gone into it whatsoever and it's just embarrassing. We look terrible and they tried to go for some kind of time-lapse film thing. It was just a complete embarrassment".

Matt: "It was embarrassing 'cause I was standing on a box and seeing all these suits walking in the opposite direction. I was stood there singing and looking like a... I had a headphone of a Walkman in one ear and I was stood there singing while people were walking past me. They probably thought I was one of those people who dresses up and just stands still".

Dom: "People probably thought you were busking! I'm seriously embarrassed by those early days!"

Muscle Museum

Matt: "The one with all the crying... That was made while we were signed to Maverick in the States. We were out of LA, doing a tour with Red Hot Chili Peppers - and they tried to overhype it. We ended up making this ridiculous video that was extremely expensive. The whole thing ended up not working and we fell out with Maverick shortly after making our first album. It was all a bit weird over there because they saw us as this big thing - and we weren't, we were just a bunch of kids making dodgy indie videos on Tower Bridge"!

Dom: "Again, that was just quite an embarrassing video"!

Matt: "The original idea was pretty good. Everyone getting on with their daily menial tasks, and just breaking down. But when it came out, it was so shiny, LA pristine... it just didn't suit us. It wasn't supposed to be people crying all the way though"!

Chris Wolstenholme (bass): "I'm sure when we first read the treatment (original video ideas), I had the darkness of Soundgarden's 'Black Hole Sun' video in my head".

Matt: "The early days were quite difficult for us 'cause we were very young, and we were learning everything for the first time. I don't think we were happy with any of the videos we made on the first album, really".

Plug In Baby

Matt: "This was directed by a guy called Howard Greenhalgh. There's a theme to his videos - which is to get a load of models in. I'm not sure where the metal tentacle thing came from".

Chris: "Originally, it was supposed to be limbs, just an arm or a foot crawling all over us but for some reason that didn't happen - it was just another of those videos that came out completely different from how we imagined it. The original treatment was good, but it didn't quite work".

Matt: "You always believe in the treatments but you often realise that you can't afford to go through with them, so you end up making compromises. This was supposed to be a basic concept performance video with a few limbs crawling around, suggesting some kind of robotic, android sex-machines or something... it was alright, it turned out not too bad, hanging around some weird house with weird chairs with weird women".

New Born

Chris: "I think it was the first decent video that we did. We went to Prague. They kind of built this big set but the set was turned on its side, so the wall was on the floor".

Matt: "The idea was supposed to be that we were playing on the side of a wall. No one got that bit - everyone always thinks that the camera was at 90 degrees. I think it's because we didn't have the crowd there, we had to do the crowd separately on bluescreen and morph them together. Compromises were made. But we ended up with something reasonably good, I think.
It was directed by David Slade. He always used to make us wear a lot of yellow make up. He'd paint us all yellow and say, 'Trust me' - then we'd look in the mirror and look ridiculous. When you filmed it, it made us look golden. Our skin doesn't look all that unusual on screen, but we were completely fluorescent yellow for all the videos we've ever made with David Slade".

Bliss

Matt: "The reason I like David Slade is his ideas are way above and beyond what is even achievable withint the realms of the film industry. His idea originally for that video was a person falling through space towards earth. You think the person's gonna hit the ground and die but they just go through the centre of the earth and come out the other side.
It just sounded like a weird idea, so we ended up talking about trying to make a video that did that. But obviously, planet earth was a bit difficult to conjure up, so we ended up settling for a kind of 'Star Wars' Death Star thing. I spent the whole day strapped in a harness hanging from the ceiling. That was pretty knackering. It was just a mad idea, but we went with it".

Dom: "For the majority of the day, me and Chris just sat around doing nothing, watching Matt swing around on his harness. We were both in these weird little pods, trapped outside of the tube that Matt was falling through, going, 'No1 What're you doing?'. We kinda spun around for a bit, watched him falling and that was our only appearance in that video"!

Stockholm Syndrome

Matt: "We made this video ourselves. We did it in the place where we'd pretty much written the whole album ('Absolution'), a warehouse in Hackney [East London]. We went down there with a few thermal cameras - influenced by the film 'Predator', with the thermal shots where you can just see the heat. It was more of an excuse just to get the cameras out and have a little laugh with them, really!
It shortly just developed into Dom bending over a pool table, lighting a fart and filming it with a thermal camera. You'd be impressed if you were to see that footage. I really argued that we should put the shot in because people would never see what it was, they'd just think it was a dragon or something.
It was good fun mucking around with thermal cameras and throwing ice and water over yourself, 'cause obviously, if you do, that makes it look like you're dissolving your body".

Time Is Running Out

Matt: "I found 'Time Is Running Out' one of the most enjoyable videos to make because it felt like we weren't the only performers there. As we were performing there was a big group of people - 20 or so - who were doing this big synchronized dance manoeuvre around us. And I really enjoyed it 'cause it felt like we were part of it as opposed to the centre. It was really impressive watching them do all their stuff as well. The original idea was a bit different, though".

Chris: "The director had a picture of the war room from (classic Stanley Kubrick film) 'Dr Strangelove'. And he said, 'Let's get a load of naked women and see what happens'"!

Matt: "His treatment was pretty non-existant, it was just... a picture. It was a very loose thing. But we thought he sounded like a good person to work with 'cause he was very open to our ideas. I wanted to do something like 'Around the World' by Daft Punk - a synchronized dance that was going on around us but in the style of 'Dr Strangelove' - so that was the idea for the video, and that was what it ended up being".

Edited by muse samuse
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