Biography ( web page)

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A biography from the now defunct Taste Media website

BEST British Band at 2001's Kerrang! awards (and nominations in Best Live Act & Best Album), Best Live Act and Best Album nominations at this years Q Awards (winners still to be decided), Best New Band in the 2000 NME Carling Premier Awards. Nominations in the 2000 Q Awards for Best New Band and Best Album and in the Kerrang! Awards for Best New Band and Best Live Act.. A notorious record deal with Madonna's Maverick label in the States and equally impressive regional deals right across Europe. A string of successful singles, a debut album which has sold well over three quarters of a million copies world-wide, and the follow-up 'Origin Of Symmetry' topping that already since its release earlier this year with sales in the UK alone of 200,000 plus, more than 50 festival appearances in the space of summer 2000 plus support tours with the likes of Foo Fighters and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now the band head up UK Arenas of their own with London Arena finishing their November tour off in style! The facts speak for themselves. But they don't come close to speaking for Muse. Nope, none of this comes close to speaking for Muse. It barely whispers their worth. The only way to get your head around Muse is to get Muse around your head. Turn it on, turn it up and take in the full-throttle decadence until your arteries erupt and you run screaming from your home to paint your town red with blood. Yup, that'd probably do it. But first, some more facts...

MUSE are a rock band. No, not like Slipknot. More like Queen - an eternally evolving everything. A rock band who'll be still be around long after you've grown too old for rock music and started slipping on Berlioz requiems instead. And yet, oddly enough, a rock band who rather enjoy Berlioz requiems themselves. And anything from Belgium. A rock band who dream of the genetically-designed, organosynthetic suits which will one day send them into space. A rock band who believe there is a hidden symmetry in all chaos; who have adopted sleek, pure scientific theories as their own personal religion . And a rock band who came into being after Matthew began accompanying the invocational wailings of three local witches on guitar (again, you really ought to ask). Not Limp Bizkit, then. IT started with a diss. A diss to the local music scene which saw the band (then called Rocket Baby Dolls, which was at least better than the previous names, Gothic Plague and Fixed Penalty) come up against a host of fretwanking Jamirowannabes in a regional Battle Of The Bands contest. "We came out looking insane," recalls Matthew. "We caused a real scene, smashed up all the gear - just to take the piss out of the whole competition. It was supposed to be a protest, a statement. So, when we actually won, it was a real shock. A massive shock. After that, we started taking ourselves seriously."

Taking themselves seriously meant Matthew ditching the run of jobs which had barely kept his head above water or paid the rent on the flat above a porn shop . Goodbye to cleaning shit out of the toilets at a local camp site. Goodbye demolition and decorating job. And, eventually, goodbye to the South Devonshire [sic] town of Teignmouth, the place to which Matthew, Chris and drummer Dominic Howard had all relocated a decade earlier, after leaving their respective hometowns of Cambridge, Manchester and Rotherham.

And hello to Muse, their band.

"I remember a medium talking about muses," says Matthew, "how you could summon up muses when you were at a very spiritual point in your life. And... well, I suppose I summoned up this band."

STAGE one, you'll know about. After signing a management deal with Taste Media, Muse released two extremely limited EPs via Dangerous Records, 'Muse' and 'Muscle Museum' - 10 songs which combined rage and grace like absolutely nothing had before. Ten songs which devastated everyone lucky enough to hear them, shocked them into stupors of desperate enthusiasm - that rare, rare feeling that, if you didn't see this band soon, you'd look back upon your youth as a waste. Inevitably, those early shows (including triumphant appearances at 1998's "In The City" festival and New York's CMJ) were even better than the EPs had promised - the gasping, spitting wails of oversized babies clinging to umbilical guitar leads, squeezing their way out of tiny venues and into the limelight. Those were ecstatic times, the chance to spend a filthy, sweaty night with something way out of your league, and all for three quid and your bus fare home.

AFTER that came the inevitable record deals, and a string of singles across the world. In UK terms, that meant the stalking, Hispanic bitch-slap of 'Uno'; the pent-up catastrophe of 'Cave'; the nauseated recoil of 'Muscle Museum'; the fluttering crisis of 'Sunburn'; the fragile, co-dependent self-doubt of 'Unintended'; and a final re-release of 'Muscle Museum'. And, of course, a debut album: 'Showbiz', produced by John Leckie (Radiohead, Stone Roses, Pink Floyd) and hailed by critics as one of the finest albums of the year. You've probably played it at a party. And received some very strange looks. Next time, buy some Steps.

THEN something happened. Muse toured the USA with Foo Fighters and the Red Hot Chili Peppers in early 2000 and Matthew changed unrecognisably. "That tour reminded me what it felt like when we started out," he recalls. "I started running around the stage, having a laugh. That totally changed the way we played live."

More goodbyes then. Goodbye, little British indie band. Goodbye inhibitions. Goodbye to being a small time small town small turn. And hello to painfully exciting shows, shows where all three members of Muse would end up heaped on top of each of in a sprawling butcher's window mess of limbs and hair, where audiences left the venue dazed and dribbling, where the only thing not to get smashed onstage would be the world landspeed record (though put Matthew in a car and he'd often take a stab at that, too). And hello to Matthew's suddenly looking like a Smash Martian's sinister, little brother, dressed in a different shade of black or red each day; eyes boggling to keep track with his thoughts, mouth shooting off about pure mathematics and corrupt fantasies and man's evolution from spiders and the tenth dimension and swimming with sharks and flying on air currents and this and that and this again, no don't you understand, this, this, this, I mean this, get it? Get it? Right, good. Hello to the finest, fieriest rock star we have today. Hello, in short, to Muse Mark Two, which begins with...

"You know how it would be really cool if we could genetically engineer puppies that never grow old? 'Plug In Baby' is about that." - Matthew Bellamy, 2001

...'PLUG In Baby', the first taste of the Muse 2001 you never, ever expected. Someone described it as "Elvis swallowing asteroids". Looking back, he's not entirely sure he did the song justice. It's galactic music, a mechanical animus, laser-guided pop. Built round a coiling riff that's part Bach and a maniacal vocal that's all bite, 'Plug In Baby' is unquestionably Muse's strongest, rawest, most frenzied single to date. And, produced by David Bottrill (Tool/Deus), it might just put a few ropy nu-metallers in their place, too. "Maybe we're looking at that kind of music and thinking: 'It's all bollocks. Let's go and do it properly,'" suggests Matthew. "We've always played heavy music, but this album is all about that." Except, of course, it's not. As well the unapologetic, "out and out metal" which sprung from their session with David Bottrill at Ridge Farm near Gatwick, Muse's second album promised everything from "pure opera" to "sexy disco", courtesy of further sessions with John Leckie at Real World Studios in Bath and Pink Floyd's floating studio on the Thames. A studio which, incidentally, is rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of Charlie Chaplin. It's different. Extraordinarily different. "If you had to generalise," says Matthew, "I'd say we are definitely louder, heavier, better - but that's a sweeping generalisation. There's new songs will surprise everyone, songs which come from a totally different angle. We're choosing to do something a bit more special, to bring out music that's totally new and challenging. Fashion will have to come to us."

'Origin Of Symmetry' has spawned 3 singles already 'Plug In Baby' (No 11), 'New Born' (12) and 'Bliss' (19).

This year the band headlined the V2001 festival on the 2nd stage and played the main stage at T-In-The-Park. The band have toured Japan, the whole of Europe. They go to Russia, New Zealand & Australia before the end of the year.

They release a double a-side single on November 12th - 'Hyper Music' and 'Feeling Good.'

MUSE are...

Matthew Bellamy (vocals, guitar, piano) "This is the only language I'm fluent in."
Dominic Howard (drums) "I don't ever want to stop."
Chris Wolstenholme (bass, vocals) "I nearly choked to death on a Smarties cap."

For more info please call Mel at Impressive on 0207 722 8866

See also

Go back to Taste Media