Muselive 2007-05-04 – Interview with Chris Wolstenholme

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What made you choose Wembley Stadium as a venue for a 'big gig', rather than other venues such as the Milton Keynes Bowl or Knebworth?

I think the main reason for choosing to play Wembley was simply that we haven’t ever played a stadium before. I would imagine that Knebworth and Milton Keynes have more of a festival feel to them. Also, Wembley is such a historic place for music and sport. It's great to have the opportunity to be one of the first bands to play there.

A lot of people have been asking about the setlist. Throughout your BHAR tours it seems you've been playing a fairly consistent setlist of 20 tracks, with a few changes here or there. Should we expect to hear this at Wembley or do you have any surprises in store for us? We'd all love to hear Citizen Erased, Unintended, Space Dementia and Microcuts *hint*. One fan suggests you play a stunning version of "You fucking motherfucker" (Starlight hidden track, we're not being crude!).

Not entirely sure what the set is gonna be yet. All we know is that it's probably gonna have a few old tracks in there. We have a week of rehearsals before the show so i'm sure we will have a go at working on some older tracks. I doubt we will play fucking mother fucker though. But you never know.

Can we expect to hear any new tracks?

Again not really sure yet. There are no plans to at the moment but you never know what happens in rehearsals.

How did you come to choose the support acts - did you all have an equal say?

We wanted it to be a pretty diverse mix across the 2 nights. It was pretty tricky getting the bands becase a lot of people were already confirmed for festivals and stuff. But I think we've ended up with a really good line up. Looking forward to The Streets in particular.

We all know Dom likes to dress up as spiderman at the odd gig, so will you and Matt be dressing up for Wembley?

I don’t think so. We leave the costumes to Dom. We are trying to get him to work his way through all of the superheroes. I reckon Batman would be a good look.

Recently it was reported that you attended the FA cup final at Wembley Stadium. What where your thoughts on the stadium after being there when it was full compared to the press conference when it was empty? Who were you supporting?

It was great to go to the stadium and see it full before we play there. The atmosphere was great and compared to the old Wembley it has a much better vibe to it. I was hoping United were gonna win it. My son is a Chelsea fan and he came with me. It was his first ever football match. What a great first football game. The first FA cup final at the new Wembley and his team won. I was quite pleased they won really. I normally hate Chelsea but it was worth it to see his happy little face.

Honestly now, how annoyed are you that George Michael swooped in and took the first Wembley concert away from you? Does it make you feel any better that he isn't selling any tickets?

There was always a chance that someone was going to play before us. No one knew exactly when the Stadium was going to be ready so we picked the first date when it was definitely going to be finished. It would have been nice to be the first people to do a concert there. George Michael is a solo artist so I guess we are still the first band to play there. None of that really matters though. I think we are extremely privileged to be playing a venue like Wembley Stadium.

Can you tell us anything about the stage design? Will it be a one off or will you be reusing it. Have Brent Council freaked out yet?

We have had to completely rethink the whole idea of stage design for this gig. When we first went to the stadium the first thing we were aware of was that so many people were gonna be watching us from above. Obviously we can't just go in with a festival stage because so many people won't be able to see us. It's gonna be different to anything we've done in the past. That’s all i'm saying.

You'll be playing 2 nights at Wembley Stadium - do you think this detracts from the 'magic' of playing a one-off show? When you've played a venue two nights in a row previously, which night have you generally enjoyed more?

It’s a difficult one. I think the first time we ever played the same venue twice in a row was in 2001 at Brixton Academy just before Origin of Symmetry came out. I remember one was excellent and the other was not great. Can't remember which order. After that we always had reservations about doing 2 in a row at the same place because you tend to compare one to the other too much. I think we've got over that now. On the European tour last winter we did 3 nights in Wembley Arena and they were all brilliant. We also did 2 nights in Manchester and Birmingham which were also great.

There have been rumours circulating suggesting that you will be performing alongside an orchestra. This sounds like a fantastic idea, but is there any truth in it? If not, do you still plan on performing with one in the future?

I don’t think we will have an orchestra at Wembley. It is something that we would all love to do but there is obviously a big risk in doing so. I don’t think Wembley is the right time to see if it works or not

Will there be any CD/DVD releases associated with these concerts? A simple yes or no will suffice :).


Now that you have developed a taste for electronics and more synthesisers, do you think they'll feature as heavily in upcoming projects? ... Or will the next step be a more stripped down approach to making music, with just piano/guitar drums and bass?

No idea. We haven’t worked on any new material yet so it's impossible to know what the next album is going to be. I don’t think we will have any idea until we stop touring. Sometimes we play new songs live before they are recorded but they change so much in the studio. Its all about doing what is right for the song. Some songs work better when they are stripped down and some don’t.

"I always wanted to know how he still has an apparently fully functioning neck after all the headbanging he does."

I had a few issues after Reading and Leeds last year. I saw a sports therapist who told me that I had knots all the way up my back and neck. She gave me a massage and told me to drink loads of water. It seemed to do the trick.

Are you going to have a cheeky kickaround on the hallowed pitch before setting up, to say you've played a footy match on the Wembley turf?

I would love to but by the time we get there it's gonna be covered. What a shame. When we were at the press conference all I wanted to do was score one goal. Just to be able to say “Ive scored a goal at Wembley”.

You're playing at MSG in the states, the world's most famous venue. Do you finally feel as though you're cracking America? What kind of production do you have in mind for this show?

It's great to be able to play shows of that kind in America. It's not like that everywhere though. America is so big that you can play to 15,000 in one state and struggle to play to 2000 in the next. Not sure what the production is gonna be yet though.

Do any of you have any strange traditions or superstitions before a show?

I always make sure I get the first few bars of what i'm playing right. If I make a fuck up in the first few bars, I know i'm gonna have a bad gig.

Which part of your Wembley concerts are you most looking forward to? Is there any track you especially enjoy playing live?

I am looking forward to the whole experience of playing. It definitely feels like we have jumped up a big step by doing this gig. We still don’t know whether it is gonna work or not. Like I said before, we have never done a stadium show. But it's gonna be great to be able to say that we played at Wembley Stadium.

....... Who *is* Mr. X?

You are !

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