Melody Maker 1999-12 – The Potholey Bible

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This transcription may be inaccurate as we have not seen an original copy.

An article in the December 1999 issue of Melody Maker magazine.

The Potholey Bible

Darkly intense rockers Muse, erm, Muse on childhood alienation, future deification and trashing toilets

"Aargh! F***!" yelps Matt Bellamy, Muse's singer/guitarist. "I've got a stalagmite up my arse!" It's not the most usual way to introduce yourself, but nice to meet you, anyway. Still, Matt and his gloriously dark, intensely intense band, Muse, should've seen a trip to a cave coming, after calling their last, "Cave." Besides, this idea's much better than the ones we had based around their new single, " Muscle Museum". Well it's a lot less sweaty, anyway.

"The idea for ' Cave' came from that rubbish American book, 'Men are from Mars, women are from Venus', explains Matt, lighting up a comforting cigar, after we abandon the West Wycombe Caves to their bats and waxwork dummies. "There's this bit about how men go into a cave when they get stressed and I think that's probably true, although, personally, I tend to let it out. I did have a bit of a tantrum in my hotel bathroom last night - but I managed to repair the toilet, so that's OK." You trashed a hotel toilet? "Um sort of. Everyone does that, don't they?" No. They don't.

Then again, not everyone's favourite hobby is flying Paramotors (like a jet-pack only far, far niftier), not everyone got punched in the nuts on his first day of school for being escorted by his mum and not everyone ruined their loved ones' lives back in their tender, childhood years. "That's my guiltiest memory, ' shudders Matt. "There was this massive mirror in our house, a really expensive heirloom. And I smashed it. I was swinging this bucket and spade around and it just shattered. My mum ran up to me and screamed: 'You've cursed this family for seven years!' The next year, my parents split up."

Growing up in Teignmouth, Devon, the three members of Muse (Matt, drummer Dominic Howard and bassist Chris Wolstenholme) found themselves shunted into childhoods where, if you weren't a big lunk, music was the only salvation. What made it even worse was that each of them moved to this rural vacuum from various cities at the tenderest of ages (Matt 10, Chris 12, Dom 9) setting them at odds with their peers. "We were in a tiny minority at school," remembers Dom, "The only people at school with long hair and stuff. People used to beat us up, going: 'Ugh! You look like a girl!' "So we became hash-smoking stay-in types and never went to the pubs", nods Matt. "They'd just be full of drunk, F***ing c***s - people who'd hang around looking for young girls to break in and young boys to beat up.

Good job they didn't get in the wrong way round really!" Small wonder then, that when the three of them eventually formed a band, it was little more than an excuse to scream like Kurt Cobain and trash everything in sight. On they trundled, playing cacky pub gigs and changing their name on a ridiculously regular basis ( Gothic Plaque, Carnage Mayhem and rocket baby Dolls) until, one day, Matt noticed the word 'muse' between 'muscle' and 'museum in the dictionary and the rest was histrionics. Wonderful emotional histrionics. "Not everyone saw it that way though," recalls Matt. "We got barred from most of the places we played for being too loud! Maybe we should go back and vandalise their toilets..." Or maybe Muse have got a bigger toilet to trash now.

Earlier this year, Muse signed to Mushroom (over here) and Madonna's Maverick label (over there). Since then, they've toured across Europe and the States, tasting morsels of the big time along the way. "It was shocking in France," grins Matt, "We did this signing and there was a massive queue of hot women lining up for autographs. Did I signed any breasts? It was France! There wasn't enough room!" Meanwhile, they recently released their debut album ' Showbiz', recorded with Radiohead producer, John Leckie - wich will doubtless exacerbate the Radiohead comparisons Muse have (unjustly) suffered since day one. "We've met enough people who understand that we're different to Radiohead not to worry about that any more," shrugs Matt, and rightly so.

Muse's only worry now is that their inevitable fame will f*** them up even more than obscurity ever did. Something Matt is all too wary of. "Either you just start hating your audience," he frowns, "or you start to think you're some godlike character. Either way you're f***ed. Would I make a good God? Oh no." "I'd like to be Zeus," hums Dom, happily, "and have all nine muses hanging around every day (They were his daughters- Greek Mythology) They were foxy, those muses." "Calliope, Euterpe," sighs Matt, dreamily. "But my favourite is Erato, the goddess of erotic poetry!" He's lying, of course. His favourite muse was always Muse.

Robin Bresnark

See also

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