Virgin Radio 2008-02-18 – Most Wanted with Ben Jones

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An interview with Matthew Bellamy on Ben Jones' Most Wanted, between 19:00 and 22:00.

Ben Jones: I have to say hello to all the Muse fans who are listening all over the world. We're getting E-mails from the Netherlands, from um, North South East West, from New York, from New Zealand uh, wherever you are, however you're listening to Virgin Radio this tonight, Muse fans stick around. You'll hero, your idol, Matt Bellamy on this show a little later.


J: We've had a phone call, Matt Bellamy is ready, to be phoned. We'll phone him very very soon. If you're a Muse fan, don't go away.


...and as promised, let's talk to the man of the moment, Matt Bellamy from Muse, good evening.

Matthew Bellamy: Hey, how's it going?

J: I'm very well, how are you?

B: Yeah very good thanks.

J: So where are you?

B: Uh, at the moment I'm in uh, some sort of weird, poncy hotel [laughs] in London. It's uh, it's uh, no I shouldn't say that actually. It's very nice. It's called Sanderson. I'm actually, I'm not staying here I'm just here to uh, uh to do some interviews I think. Yeah, so I'm sort of doing a sort of full day of uh, the rounds basically.

J: That must drive you crazy.

B: Ah, it's all right you know, it's uh, it's uh, you know, it's been a mellow few months really. I've been relaxing over the last few months at home 'cause we were on tour for about 18 months and we stopped in December and uh, so the last few months I've just been relaxing in Italy and just doing not much really, apart from getting fat on pasta. [laughs]

J: Nothing wrong with that, nothing wrong with that. Do you cook much? You live in Italy and you say you've been getting fat on pasta, I imagine with a fair bit of time of you're become a dab hand in the kitchen Matt.

Uh yeah yeah, well you've got to be in Italy really, I'm, I'm, I'm sort of, I'm not even near being a beginner, you know, at Italian cooking but, I'm definitely picking up a lot of uh, tips and lessons you know, I can make my own pasta from scratch. I can actually, I can do home made pasta and, make it from scratch with flour and eggs and cook it. Probably quick...

J: Wow.

B: Probably quicker than you can actually boil dried pasta but, you know.

J: Lloyd Grossman, he's got nothing on you.

B: [laughs]

J: I, I can see you sideline here, a bit like uh, what... what's his name, Newman did the salad sauces and uh,...

B: [laughs]

J: Lloyd Grossman did pasta sauces, there's Matt Bellamy pasta sauce.

B: [laughs] It's coming, it could be our next merch item.

J: Next to the t-shirts and the tour programmes, pasta sauces. There seems to be so much stuff to talk about. Re: Muse at the moment, despite you being away. There is loads of stuff going on. There's the V Festival and...and HAARP, the live album. We'll talk about that in a second, it is Brit Awards week, obviously, in the UK this week. You're currently holders of the best live act. Do you keep much of an eye, on, on who wins what and what do you think your chances are again, this year?

B: I, I can't believe we'd, we'd win again this year, 'cause I think we won it last year and I think it'd be uh, I think it'd be a, it'd be rude I think to win it twice. [laughs] So, I think we'd have to hand the torch to someone else this year, then hopefully we'll, we'll come and nick it back off them uh, next year.

J: I think, I think Take That are going to win it this year.

B: Yeah, there you go. Yeah, yeah. They, they deserve it. I think they, they've had a decent um, I'm not a massive fan of their music but I think they've, they've done a really good job you know, sort of with that Robbie obviously. So uh, you know I think they've pulled it off.

J: I thought also, stage show wise. I mean you guys are the kings of this. Visually, the Take That show is actually kind of, kind of cool.

B: Yeah, I, I haven't seen it myself actually, but I've heard about it and...and, we've got the same, we've actually got the same production manager actually, the guy who does our tour does their tour and uh, so I heard, I heard there's a few bits that, actually, you know there's a few bits that I wanted to do but we couldn't do for whatever reason and then they did it 'cause they did a free stage thing where it comes down I think? from the ceiling?

J: Yep, that's right.

B: Yeah and I always wanted to do that. Damn.

J: [?] I can't believe Take That stole, stole your thunder Matt.

B: Well, I wouldn't, I wouldn't go as far as saying they stole, well, it's a close call 'cause, 'cause I, I tried to get it going on our arena tour like, about a year ago and basically, we couldn't do it because we had too much equipment you know, 'cause they're obviously just uh, front guys, they don't have all the drums and amps and stuff you know so, it's probably easier for them to do it but, I actually wanted to do that ages ago but we couldn't get away with it 'cause we had too much heavy gear and it was unsafe and blah blah blah. Health and safety said no.

J: Boring. Bring it with you to the V Festival 'cause you're confirmed for V and you last played the V festival I think back in, I think about 2004. Is it a festival you enjoy playing?

B: Yeah it's nice. I, I find it quite um, you know it's a nice festival to actually be at you know, as uh, as a punter as well as playing at you know. I think um, it's, it's nicely laid out and I like all the, you know the grassy areas. It's, I think it's probably got the best backstage area actually I mean uh, not that I suppose maybe you want to get into that but you know, try and blag your way into there if you can 'cause it's uh, it's a really nice uh, nice hospitality there and all that, but I mean yeah, it's a nice relaxed gig you know and I get the chance to go up North as well.

J: Mm.

B: I've got a lot of family up there so, so it's nice to uh, play up North as well.

J: Do you take much interest in, in the rest of the lineup at a festival you play? Is that important for you in deciding which festival you're going to play at?

B: Um, yeah, I think, I think um, I'd be interested to find out who's playing, who else is playing around us you know. I mean really it's more a case of just knowing whether or not I'm gonna, you know, spent as much time watching other bands, you know.

J: Well listen wait there a second Matt, we'll chat more in a moment. First though, here are your V Festival headliners, here are Muse and this is Time Is Running Out.

[Time Is Running Out played]

From here is from the official transcription. This was ommitted from the broadcast. Parts of the transcription appear to have been cut and are inaccurate.

B: Yeah, its always nice to know, originally Coldplay were going to play I think, I’m not sure what happened to them…

J: I think there are still rumours kicking around

B: Yeah, yeah because I heard they might do it, and that was one of my reasons why I was tempted to play because there nice guys and we haven’t played with them in a long time, but I’m not sure who is playing now so…

J: The Verve

B: Oh there you go, The Verve, ok. Id be interested to know who else is playing Roundoff your know, I mean really its just a case of knowing how much time I’m going to spend watching other bands, you know

J: Were you a festival fan before you joined the band?

B: Oh yeah, defiantly yeah, well being from south-west Devon, no big bands ever came down to play for us you know, so…

J: You gotta go to them

B: Yeah so we had to go to Glastonbury festival, Glastonbury was where I sort of went and saw loads of bands that I loved initially, and Reading as well, probably form about the age of 14 to 18 I went to Reading and Glastonbury every year.

J: From what I hear, the V Festival is your only UK show your doing this summer, no I have been bombarded with, and I say hundreds upon hundreds of emails from Muse fans since the word was out you were coming on the show, they’ve all been emailing to say, please WHY, why only 1 UK show?

B: Well I think really this year we wanted to concentrate on making new music, maybe making a new album or releasing some stuff on the internet, and I think we all wanted to take a bit of a break because we’ve been touring for so long and then we’ve got his studio we’ve been working on and building and in the next few months well be hopefully doing some new songs, we’ve basically put in a few concerts, like we did one in Dubai for some reason, and well be doing a couple in south Africa, south America and just one or two, I think we might be doing one in Dublin and Belfast as well, but were not really touring this year, were just doing the odd gig here and there and I think that hopefully one of the things were going to try and do is a couple of new songs live before we record them, one of the ideas is, this years going to be sort of broken up between a couple of random gigs and in the recording studio making a new album I think.

J: Have you ever been to Dubai before?

B: No I’ve never been

J: Its mental, have you been to Vegas?

B: Many times

J: It’s kind of like Vegas, but even hotter and even sandier, with even more money, so I think your gonna have a good time in Dubai.

[Time Is Running Out ends]

From here is, again, an independent transcription.

J: That's Muse and Time Is Running Out. [?] This is Ben Jones, Matt Bellamy still on the show. Now, Muse are a band who...and we were talking about this in the office earlier on today, defy being pigeonholed. It's impossible to put Muse in, in a pigeonhole. I'm fascinated to know, as a musician who inspires you. Who inspired you to be in a band?

B: I suppose as a concept, it came from rock stuff like um, I suppose Jimmy Hendrix, I think when I saw him setting fire to his guitar at the Isle of Wight whenever it was. Groups like Zed Zeppelin, Queen, um, I suppose a lot of sort of, uh I think it was the first guitar music I ever heard was Cream you know, Clapton's Cream, that kind of stuff. So that was the stuff that made we want to sort of get in a band if you like, but in terms of what inspires me musically, I suppose uh, I've always had like, you know a lot of love for uh, sort of classical music and you know, jazz music and just, all, all sorts of genres really I've, I've always loved.

J: I've always thought that you were a band destined to play, sort of stadium shows and as you, as you just said some of the bands that have influenced you were the kings of stadium rock. Uh, let's talk about the Wembley shows. People say that this was Muse at their very best. Did the three of you feel the same, when you came off stage?

B: Uh, yeah, we came off, uh it was, it was definitely a defining moment for us. I mean we've had, we've had a few gigs like that over the years. I remember when we came off from first headlining uh, the Glastonbury festival. Uh, it was the same kind of thing really. Uh, it's, it's almost like every album we've done has like a certain gig that defines it you know. I think um, the first album, we did a gig in Paris that was our first sort of big theatre gig and I remember that as being like the best gig at the time and then, playing Wembley Stadium is probably, the equivalent of you know, the sort of, you know, it's changed the way we feel about playing live a little bit and it, it's given us an inspiration to try and do that more around the world in the future and um,...

J: How do you top it though?

B: Well, I mean within the UK it's gonna be tough I suppose you know, what're we gonna do. You know, we're gonna do, actually I'll tell you what. I can tell you there's another gig that I don't think anyone knows about. Um,...

J: Go on.

B: We're gonna do a gig in the Albert Hall I think. Um,...

J: Wow.

B: April. Um, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to say that but it's uh, it's a charity concert I think, for the Teenage uh, Teenage Cancer Trust.

J: Oh yeah co... well we do those gigs. So...

B: Well there you go.

J: ...I think it's alright for you to say that.

B: Yeah yeah, I'm not sure, I'm still not sure if it's been, I'm not sure if anyone knows that it's confirmed yet, but I think it's just the last couple of days I heard about it and I decided to do that. So that, that, that, uh, the reason I [?] that is, you know it's nice to go back to playing some of these, sort of more classic theatre-type venues, where you can get really close to the audience again, so, I'm pretty sure that's something we'll be doing in the UK a bit over the next few years, is playing a few sort of, you know, classic venues on the side you know.

J: So if people missed the Wembley shows you can now, you can now watch it one DVD and, gotta love DVD with all the extras and all that kind of stuff. The DVD is called HAARP, where does that title come from? 'cause it's, is it an acronym, of some kind?

B: Yeah yeah, it's an acronym for High [laughs] High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program. It's basically some, like Nichola Tessla came up with this weird sort of, theory or this idea um, to, to shoot electricity into the ionosphere and sort of create, make the ionosphere a sort of a large superconductor which can, distribute electricity anywhere around the world. But anyway, how that relates to the DVD, to cut a long story short, is you know, our set design um, you know all theses sort of antennas and um, sort of cables and, you know screens and stuff were sort of based on the same sort of layout as the HAARP's layout, you know.

J: You've gotta see that. Now, something we've been talking about on this show, the last couple of months, I was very lucky t... I was lucky enough to go to the set of the James Bond movie, a few weeks ago and watch it being filmed and um, we've set up this Facebook group, uh and it's all about Muse, for the bond theme.

B: [laughs]

J: ...because the title, Quantum of Solace, as soon as I heard that I thought; Muse.

B: [laughs]

J: They've got, they've got to do it. If ever a band could do a song with the title 'Quantum of Solace', it's Muse. What do you think, is it something maybe you would entertain?

B: I'd like, I'd love to get involved in the writing of it, I'm not sure if we could, we should perform it though. You've, you've got to have like a, you know, a, a real lovely diva to sing a, a Bond tune. Do you know what I mean?

J: I'm not too sure Chris Cornell was a, was a lovely Diva. [laughs]

B: Well no, no, I wasn't a big fan of that one to be honest, but I think...

J: No, me neither.

B: No. Yeah, you need, you need to get like um, you know, I like the one that U2 did with Tina Turner, you know. I think that was really good and um, obviously all the classics over the years um, with Shirley Bassey and stuff. Um, you know, I'm trying to work out who, who is the modern equivalent of that you know, the modern equivalent of, of a sort of, Female [?].

J: Well they're after Amy Winehouse, I guess aren't they.

B: Well there you go, yeah. Well there you go, she's brilliant, so yeah. No, I'd like, I'd love to get involved in the writing of it, you know, I suppose, 'cause I'm quite familiar with, sort of that sort of theatrical dramatic side of um, of uh, of music. You know and uh, so, but yeah. I, I prob... probably need someone with a bit more uh, um, Bond lyric... [laughs]

J: Okay, you write it and we'll get Kylie to perform it, how about that.

B: [laughs] There you go. Perfect, perfect.

J: Listen, if you do get the chance to have a look online, at our our little Facebook group, uh have a look 'cause there's already thousands and thousands of members uh, desperate to uh, to maybe, get you to, not perform, write the...

B: [laughs]

J:...James Bond theme. Have a look and uh and HAARP is out and it's a, it's a what, a two disc with a DVD as well, isn't it.

B: Yeah, it's actually, it's uh, it's sort of the best of both nights really. The Sunday night is the DVD and then Saturday night is the live disc so, anyone who came to either of the concerts will get to get a little bit of a sample of the day they didn't go to, you know.

J: Well listen, it's always good to speak to you and I'm really looking forward to the V Festival, you headlining it is just, wow; what a great way to end our Summer of live music. Matt, nice to speak to you.

B: Thanks a lot, cheers.

J: Take care, bye bye.

B: Bye bye.

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