Muse Answers (20081128 Official Muse forum feature)

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A series of thirty questions voted for by members of the official Muse forum in November 2008. Titles within headings were not part of the published questions, but are included here to aid navigation.

#1 (wanted questions)

Q: Many of these questions are getting repetitive so how about you tell us what kind of questions you have always wanted to be asked but no one has yet had the balls to say (or has been allowed to)?

A: Would you mind if I gave you a foot massage? Does my bum look big in this? What are your views on the Israel/Palestine conflict? Closely followed by: Do you think that America has been covertly supporting conflict in geo-strategic flash points across the Eurasian land-mass in order to stop unification and subsequently safeguard its aspiration towards global hegemony? Matt.

#2 (fan-chosen set-list)

Q: Did you ever thought about doing a "fans-will-choose-the-set" gig? Why/why not? And how about doing it...In the next month?

A: Yes, I think this would be a good idea. Maybe not the whole set (otherwise it would all be Origin tracks or B sides!).But due to the extent of the back catalogue I reckon it would be a good idea to have votes on the website so we can get an idea of which old songs would be best appreciated live. Matt.

#3 (on lyrics)

Q: To Chris: Do you ever look at Matt's lyrics and think "What the f*ck?"

A: Not really. Not all of the lyrical content makes total sense to me but then it doesn’t have to. I don’t think it's anyone's place to question people's lyrics. Lyrics are an expression of someone's thoughts and people have the right to think about what they want. If Matt took any influence from me and Dom on lyrics then they probably wouldn’t make sense to him anymore. Chris.

#4 (on lyrics; Dom)

Q: To Dom: Do you ever look at Matt's lyrics and think "What the f*ck?"

A: No, I like them. Dom.

#5 (album date)

Q: When the new album will be ready approximately?

A: It would be nice to have the album out in the second half of next year but we have not set ourselves any targets. It is more important for us to make the best album we have made to date and if that means it comes out in 2010 then we don’t mind. Hopefully it will be sooner though. Chris.

#6 (symphonic monster)

Q: Tell us more about this "symphonic monster".

A: It’s a big piece that has three different parts that all belong together to make one track. Kind of three songs in one. It starts quite mellow and ends up very heavy indeed whilst moving through a few genres to get there. Dom.

#7 (unpublished songs)

Q: You recorded around 20 songs for Black Holes and Revelations but we only heard about 15 of them. What happened to the others and will you ever release them?

A: Of the 20 or so songs that were recorded a few never actually got finished. I think most of the stuff that was finished has probably been released already. The others may get finished one day but at the moment we are too absorbed in new songs. Going back to that stuff would seem like a step in the wrong direction. Chris.

#8 (lead vocals for Chris)

Q: Would you ever consider letting Chris take the lead vocals on a song/b-side?

A: Yes, I would like that.Always fancied playing a few more complex guitar patterns while someone else sings.Singing and playing at the same time has its drawbacks. Matt.

#9 (underrated song)

Q: Tell us a song that you really love, but you think is underrated by the fans.

A: I really liked Escape from the first album. It's not a track that we ever really played much live and not a track that I've ever heard anyone say it was their favourite. Shame. Chris.

#10 (remembrance song)

Q: If you would like to remembered by just one song, what would it be and why?

A: I certainly have not written that song yet! Hopefully something in the future (see question 23). Matt.

#11 (embarrassment by fans)

Q: Do you ever feel embarrased by the actions of your fans?

A: I can’t ever feel embarrassed by our fans. I suppose you can do some crazy things like shaving muse into your head, getting tattoos and having mass sing a longs in random places, but its probably all in appreciation for the music which is amazing. Cheers. Dom.

#12 (doctor)

Q: Since receiving your honorary doctorates, have you been ever tempted to use the line "trust me I'm a doctor" ?

A: I use that line every day… I just hope I'm not in the situation where someone takes me seriously and asks me to do something. At that point I will just have to offer a healing drum beat. Dom.

#13 (worst fight)

Q: What is the worst fight inside the band (if you've had one before), and what was the reason?

A: There have been a few. Mainly touring schedules conflicting with our respective personal lives or vice versa. Matt.

#14 (fan awkwardness)

Q: What's the most awkwardest moment you have had with a fan?

A: During our initial European tour of 'Origin Of Symmetry' I woke up in a hotel room in Paris only to find an avid female fan of the band sat on the end of the bed whose vibe could only be described as 'clammy'. She had somehow broken in or bribed the receptionist. I was as polite as possible of course... Matt.

#15 (portable music)

Q: Do you have your own music on your iPod/MP3, assuming you are in possession of one?

A: I actually don’t have any on my ipod right now but it's close to hand on my computer. I don’t really listen to it, but it's good to reference every now and then. Dom.

#16 (private lives)

Q: Do you lead separate lives outside of the band or do you still do stuff together as friends?

A: If we’ve been on the road for a long time and we have a break then we can go a few weeks without seeing each other but we are friends and always do things together while on the road outside of playing. We normally always eat together. Dom.

#17 (painting)

Q: Can Dom show the creepy painting of Matt to the fans?

A: I’ll try and sneak it out someday. It’s a bit edgy. I know where it is though. Dom.

#18 (Newton Abbot demo)

Q: The Newton Abbott demo was brought off ebay for £700, then the person who brought allowed us all to download it, how do you feel about this and do you ever listen back to the demo at all?

A: I think £700 was a bit of a rip off to be honest. They were recordings that we did a long time ago and the band has come on a hell of a long way since then. It kinda feels like when your parents get photos of you when you were a baby and show them to a new friend or girlfriend. Very embarrassing. I don’t think its such a bad thing but was slightly upset that I learnt it was an old friend who sold the tape. No more tickets for him. Haha!! Chris.

#19 (actions' consequences)

Q: Have there ever been any dire consequences for some of your actions as a band? Such as when Matt "enhanced" the lyrics in Feeling Good during Radio 3 a few years back.

A: There is a funny youtube performance of Matt swearing a lot in that song. I couldn’t remember it until Chris showed me, but I think that worked out ok. We did get banned from playing festivals in Austria for a while because we smashed up a load of gear that we thought was ours but it was the promoters. Dom.

#20 (regrettable lyrics)

Q: Is there any lyric you've written that you really wish you hadn't?

A: There have been a few, but luckily I can't remember the bad ones and don't really fancy delving into old demos to find them! Matt.

#21 (live b-sides/older songs)

Q: Merged questions

Would you ever consider playing some of your older songs or b-sides live, such as eternally missed, pink ego box, coma etc?

During the later stages of 2008, you began to see Muse playing older songs such as Dead Star and Space Dementia, is this going to happen more often on the new tour?

A: We have played some b-sides in the past, but it is always difficult to fit them into the setlist. In order to play them it would mean having to take something out. Plus the more albums you have, the more songs you have to choose from which leaves very little space for rarities. I think we will always throw the odd surprise in now and again though. Chris.

#22 (board observation)

Q: Do you ever read messages from the forums? and if so what section do you read the most?

A: I haven't been on here for a while to be honest. I'm normally a bit too nervous to read it. Chris.

#23 (hardest/longest composition)

Q: Which song was the longest or the hardest to compose?

A: There is a new song in 3 parts, more of a symphony than a song which I have been working on sporadically for many years. As a large percentage of the composition is orchestral I have never wanted to collaborate with a string arranger as they may make it 'theirs'. So I have been arranging the orchestral elements myself which is taking a long time due to my inexperience with large scale scoring. It should hopefully make the next album as the final 3 tracks. Matt.

#24 (song associations)

Q: Which song holds the most memories for you?

A: All the albums and songs we have done hold special memories. With each album we have done, different things have been going on in our lives and listening to those albums triggers those memories. I think listening to some of the first album makes me think of exciting times like getting signed and going on tour for the first time. No particular song though. Chris.

#25 (solo for Nichols)

Q: Morgan has undoubtedly been a great addition to your live setup allowing you to play older songs without the aid of backing tracks. With this in mind, do you think he’s earned a Cabasa solo yet?

A: There's always room for a cabasa solo. Especially from Morgan. It's been great having Morgan around. It's allowed us to do a lot of the songs in a more complete form. We always just about managed before he was with us but I think a lot of the songs were compromised quite heavily in order to play them live. We weren’t prepared to do that with the songs from Black Holes and Revalations. Chris.

#26 (concert attendance)

Q: Do you still go to gigs and watch the band/artist from the crowd, and who was the last band you saw?

A: I still do this now and again. It always sounds and looks better from out in the crowd. It normally sounds shit for every band at the side of the stage. The last band I saw was The Killers in Bush Hall a couple of weeks ago, which was great. It was nice and small and I think they are very good live. Dom.

#27 (on-stage discussion)

Q: What kind of things do you say to each other, on stage?

A: When we try and talk on stage we can't really hear each other so we generally just laugh at the fact that when we are on stage we feel like we've done pretty well in life. Chris.

#28 (fan obsessiveness)

Q: Muse fans are seen by press and music fans alike as "over-obsessive" do you think we are, in comparison to other bands with a large fan-following?

A: I'm not sure you guys are over obsessive. If anything maybe some fans for other bands don’t care enough. The more internet vote fixing the better.. ha. Dom.

#29 (Guitar Hero)

Q: Considering you've graced Guitar Hero twice, have you ever failed playing your own song assuming you've played the game itself and how do you feel about the commercial use of your music?

A: Without wanting to sound aloof, I have never played the game. I walked past Linkin Park's dressing room once and saw them playing it, moshing to a Metallica track or something. I lost touch with gaming since I spent 7 days addicted to 'Monkey Island 2' on an Amiga in the early 90s. Nothing seems to have drawn me in since then (apart from a 48 hour stretch with Dom on Splinter Cell during the recording of Absolution). Regarding commercial use I am not as precious as some, especially with older or lesser known material. If it gets heard I am happy but always ensure usage is respectful. Matt.

#30 (Glastonbury sliding)

Q: Was the Time is Running Out 'dance' back to the microphone that Matt did (in perfect time!) at Glastonbury prepared or spur of the moment???!

A: It was spur of the moment due to a shiny stage surface and some shoes I had on which had no grip. When I first ran on stage I realised I was sliding all over the place and was worried I would slip over, so ended up using it to do some cheap Michael Jackson moves. Matt.

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