Interview with Wolstenholme (200608 Reading Festival programme article)

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An interview with Wolstenholme in the 2006 Reading Festival programme.

Interview with Wolstenholme

Four albums in and Devon trio Muse are enjoying their best year yet. Three years on from their last record, ‘Absolution’, the band recently returned with the stunning ‘Black Holes and Revelations’ and received wide critical acclaim before the album crash landed at the Number One spot in the UK, most of Europe and Australia. It has since reached No 9 in the American album chart and been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Yet Muse are still taking it in their stride.

“We’re really excited to be back out playing live and we’re definitely pleased with the album” bassist Chris Wolstenholme admits. “Mainly just because we achieved what we wanted with it. The fact that everyone else likes it as well is really just a bonus …”

While still retaining the band’s utter uniqueness, the new record weaves typical Muse topics like the apocalypse and their fascination with space with a new brighter and more inviting sound. Have Muse gone and made a pop record?

“It’s quite a drastic change,” Chris agrees. “We have touched on the pop thing a little bit in the past but we would always do the obvious thing and rock it up a little bit. This time, the pop influences aren’t always hidden by guitars. They’re not always the main thing. While all our previous albums have always been influenced primarily by rock, this one has been influenced by older guitar music from the late 50’s and early 60’s. We’ve never really gone down that road before.”

At the same time, though, Muse still know how to rock live, and are looking forward to proving that when they headline the main stage at the Carling Weekend: Reading Festival.

“The festival is special to us because we went there as kids,” Chris explains. “I’ve seen some legendary performances there over the years, like Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer, back when the band had just started. We’d look at those bands playing on stage and dream about doing it ourselves one day. It’s performances like those that really inspired us and made us want to be in a band in the first place.”

This year, Muse are hoping their performance will go a little more smoothly that their first performance in the New Bands tent at Reading, when Chris’s train from Devon was delayed and they only had time to play three songs. In fact they're planning something quite special…

“Song-wise, there’ll be something from all four albums I think." Chris predicts. “We’re even thinking about fireworks, but who knows what we’ll do? Maybe we’ll all come out in Spiderman outfits. Stranger things have happened. It will be a good gig though, there’s no doubt about that.”

Chris is even hoping to go to the Reading site a day early and see as many bands as possible.

“I might take the wife and kids up on a family day out,” he says. “I’d like to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, my wife is really into them and has been wanting to see them for a while. And I want to check out Arctic Monkeys, The Streets and Dirty Pretty Things, who are all playing the same day as us.”

For Muse, it already looks set to be a highlight in a year they thought couldn’t get any better.

“When we used to go to festivals ourselves, we thought it would be such a pleasure even to be the first band on in the New Bands tent,” Chris remembers. “To be headlining is a dream come true”

It also might be a big day for the friends and the families of the band.

"My wife doesn't get very emotional often," he laughs. "But she's really proud of us, because she saw us playing to twenty people when we were teenagers and now we're playing Reading."

See also

Back to Reading Festival programme