Muse are a multi award-winning English alternative rock band that
formed in Teignmouth, Devon in 1994. Since their inception, the band has
comprised of vocalist, guitarist and pianist Matthew Bellamy, bassist and
backing vocalist Christopher Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard. Muse
are known for their energetic and extravagant live performances
and their fusion of many music genres, including progressive rock, classical
music and electronica.
Muse have released four studio albums Showbiz (1999), Origin of
Symmetry (2001), Absolution (2003) and Black Holes and
Revelations (2006) the last of which earned the band a Mercury Prize
nomination and a third place finish in the NME Albums of the Year
list for 2006. Their fifth
studio album, The Resistance, is due to be released on 14 September
Muse have won many other music awards throughout their career, including
five MTV Europe Music Awards, five Q Awards, six NME Awards,
two BRIT awards and four Kerrang! Awards. The majority of their
awards can be attributed to their live performances. They have been involved
with Teenage Cancer Trust and played at the Royal Albert Hall where they
donated all money made from the merchandise stands to the charity. On the
25th of September 2008 all three members of the band were awarded
Honorary Doctorates of the Arts by Plymouth University.
Formation and early years (19921997)
The members of Muse played in separate bands during their stay at
Teignmouth Community College and Coombeshead College in the early 1990s.
The formation of Muse began when Bellamy successfully auditioned for the
part of guitarist in Dominic Howard's band. They asked Chris Wolstenholme,
who played drums at the time, to learn to play bass guitar for the band.
Wolstenholme agreed and took up lessons.
In 1994 the band used the name Rocket Baby Dolls with a goth/glam image
to compete in a local battle of the bands. The band won the contest,
smashing their equipment in the process.
"It was supposed to be a protest, a statement," Bellamy said, "so, when we
actually won, it was a real shock. A massive shock. After that, we started
taking ourselves seriously." Shortly after the contest, the three decided to
forgo university, quit their jobs, change the band name to Muse, and move
away from Teignmouth.
First EPs and Showbiz (19982000)
After a few years building a fan base, Muse played their first gigs in
London and Manchester. The band had a significant meeting with Dennis Smith,
the owner of Sawmills Studio, situated in a converted water mill in
This meeting led to their first proper recordings and the release of an
eponymous EP on Sawmills' in-house Dangerous label,
with a front cover designed by Howard. Their second EP, the Muscle Museum
EP, reached number 3 in the indie singles chart and attracted the
attention of British radio broadcaster Steve Lamacq as well as the weekly
British music publication NME. Dennis Smith introduced the band to
Safta Jaffery with whom he had recently started the record label Taste
Media. Muse signed with Smith and Jaffery and recorded their first three
albums, Showbiz, Origin of Symmetry, and Absolution,
with Taste Media.
Despite the success of their second EP, British record companies were
reluctant to sign Muse. It was after a trip to New York's CMJ Festival that
an American record label flew them to Los Angeles to showcase. Nanci Walker,
then Sr. Director of A&R at Columbia Records, flew Muse to the U. S. to
showcase for Columbia Record's then Senior Vice President of A&R, Tim
Devine, as well as for American Recording's Rick Rubin. It was during this
trip, on 24 December 1998, that Muse signed a deal with Maverick Records.
Upon their return from America, Taste Media arranged deals for Muse with
various record labels in Europe and Australia, allowing them to maintain
control over their career in individual countries.
John Leckie was brought in to produce the band's first record,
Showbiz. The album showcased the band's soft style, and the lyrics made
reference to the difficulties they had encountered while trying to establish
themselves in Teignmouth.
The release of this album was followed by tour support slots for Red Hot
Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters in the United States. 1999 and 2000 saw Muse
playing major festivals in Europe and gigs in Australia.
Origin of Symmetry and Hullabaloo (20012002)
During production of the band's second album, Origin of Symmetry,
the band experimented with instrumentation such as a church organ, Mellotron,
and an expanded drum kit. There were more of Bellamy's high-pitched vocal
lines, arpeggiated guitar, and piano playing. Bellamy cites guitar
influences such as Jimi Hendrix and Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine
& Audioslave), the latter evident in the more riff-based songs in Origin
of Symmetry and in Bellamy's extensive use of pitch-shifting effects in
his solos. The
album also features a reworking of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse's
"Feeling Good". Muse successfully sued Nestl้ in 2003 when they used Muse's
version of "Feeling Good" in a television advert for Nescaf้ without
permission, donating the ฃ500,000 compensation to Oxfam.
Celine Dion was also threatened with legal action in 2002 when she
planned to name her Las Vegas show "Muse", despite the band owning the
worldwide performing rights to the name. Celine Dion offered $50,000 for the
rights but Muse rejected this with Bellamy stating that "We don't want to
turn up there with people thinking we're Celine Dion's backing band".
Eventually Dion was forced to back down.
Origin of Symmetry was well-received by critics; Dean Carlson of
Allmusic commented that "...if you want to sound like Radiohead when
even Thom Yorke doesn't want to sound like Radiohead, you might as well take
it to such preposterous, bombastic, over-the-top-levels".
NME gave the album 9/10 with Roger Morton writing, "It's amazing for such a
young band to load up with a heritage that includes the darker visions of
Cobain and Kafka, Mahler and The Tiger Lillies, Cronenberg and Schoenberg,
and make a sexy, populist album. But Muse have carried it off".
Maverick had reservations about Bellamy's vocal style on this album
(considering it not to be "radio-friendly"Origin of Symmetry in the U. S. The album was
finally released in the U. S. on 20 September 2005, after Muse signed to
), and asked Muse to change some of their songs prior to U.
S. release. The band refused and left Maverick, resulting in Maverick's
decision not to release
Muse released a live DVD, Hullabaloo, featuring live footage
recorded during Muse's two gigs on consecutive nights at Le Zenith in Paris
in 2001 and a documentary film of the band on tour. A double album,
Hullabaloo Soundtrack was released at the same time, containing a
compilation of B-sides and a disc of recordings of songs from the Le Zenith
performances. A double-A side single was also released featuring new songs
"In Your World" and "Dead Star".
In the February 2006 edition of Q Magazine, Origin of Symmetry
was placed 74th in a fans' poll of the 100 greatest albums ever.
Studio album Absolution, produced by Rich Costey, was released in
2003. The album yielded the hit singles "Time Is Running Out" and
"Hysteria". Muse subsequently undertook their first international stadium
tour. It continued for about a year and saw Muse visiting Australia, New
Zealand, the United States, Canada, and France. Meanwhile, the band released
five singles ("Time Is Running Out", "Hysteria", "Sing for Absolution",
"Stockholm Syndrome", & "Butterflies and Hurricanes"). The US leg of the
2004 tour began ominously as Bellamy injured himself on stage during the
opening show in Atlanta.
The tour resumed after several stitches and a couple of days.
The band also played at the Glastonbury Festival in June 2004. After the
festival, the band described the concert as "the best gig of our lives".
However, drummer Dominic Howard's father, Bill Howard, who was at the
festival to watch the band, died from a heart attack very shortly after the
performance. "It was the biggest feeling of achievement we've ever had after
coming offstage", Bellamy said. "It was almost surreal that an hour later
his dad died. It was almost not believable. We spent about a week sort of
just with Dom trying to support him. I think he was happy that at least his
dad got to see him at probably what was the finest moment so far of the
Muse then continued their tour. Their last dates were in the U. S. and at
the Earls Court arena in London, where they played an extra date due to the
high demand for tickets. They won two MTV Europe awards, including "Best
Alternative Act" and a Q Award for "Best Live Act". At the end of 2004,
Vitamin Records released The String Quartet Tribute to Muse by The
Tallywood Strings, an album of instrumental string versions of some of
Muse's songs. Muse also received an award for "Best Live Act" at the 2005
The band finished touring in January 2005, then visited the U. S. in
April and May On 2 July 2005, Muse participated in the Live 8 concert in
Paris, where they performed their singles "Plug In Baby", "Bliss", "Time Is
Running Out", and "Hysteria".
An unofficial and unauthorised DVD biography containing no Muse music
called Manic Depression was released in April 2005; the band was not
involved with the project and did not endorse the release.
Another DVD, this time official, was released by the band on 12 December
2005, called Absolution Tour. The official release contained
re-edited and re-mastered highlights from the Glastonbury Festival 2004 and
previously unseen footage from London Earls Court, Wembley Arena, and the
Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles. Two songs, "Endlessly" and "Thoughts Of A
Dying Atheist", are hidden tracks on the DVD taken from Wembley Arena. The
only song from Absolution not to appear on the live DVD is "Falling
Away With You", which has never been performed live to date.
Absolution eventually went Gold in the US.
Black Holes and Revelations and HAARP
In July 2006, Muse released their fourth album, co-produced by Muse and
by Rich Costey, titled Black Holes and Revelations. The album was
released officially in Japan on 28 June 2006, in Europe on 3 July 2006 and,
in North America on 11 July 2006. The album charted at No. 1 in the UK, much
of Europe, and Australia. It was also a success in the United States,
reaching number nine on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Black Holes and Revelations was nominated for the 2006 Mercury Music
Prize, but lost to Arctic Monkeys. The album did, however, earn a Platinum
Europe Award after selling one million copies in the continent.
The album's title and themes are the result of the band's fascination with
science fiction and political outrage.
In August 2006, Muse recorded a live session at Abbey Road Studios for
Live from Abbey Road.
The first single from the album, "Supermassive Black Hole", was released
as a download on 9 May 2006 and accompanied by a music video directed by
Floria Sigismondi. It was later followed by general releases as a single the
next month, all ahead of the main album release. The second single,
"Starlight", was released on 4 September 2006. "Knights of Cydonia" was
released in the U. S. as a radio-only single on 13 June 2006 and in the UK
on 27 November 2006. It also had a six-minute promotional video filmed in
Romania and was featured on the popular video game Guitar Hero III:
Legends of Rock. It was also voted number 1 in the world's largest music
poll Australian Radio's Triple J Hottest 100 for 2007. The fourth single
from the album, "Invincible", was then released on 9 April 2007.
Another single, "Map of the Problematique", was released for digital
download only on 18 June 2007, following the band's performance at Wembley
Prior to the release of the new album, the band resumed making live
performances, which had halted while recording, making a number of
promotional TV appearances starting on 13 May 2006 at BBC Radio 1's One Big
Weekend. The main live tour started just before the release of their album
and initially consisted mostly of festival appearances, most notably a
headline slot at the Reading and Leeds Festivals in August 2006.
The band's main touring itinerary started with a tour of North America from
late July to early August 2006. After the last of the summer festivals, a
tour of Europe began, including a large arena tour of the UK.
The band spent November and much of December 2006 touring Europe with
British band Noisettes as the supporting act. The tour continued in
Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia in early 2007 before returning to
England for the summer. Possibly their biggest performances to date were two
gigs at the newly rebuilt Wembley Stadium on 16 June and 17 2007. Both
Wembley concerts were recorded for a DVD/CD titled HAARP, which was
released on the 17 March 2008
in the UK and 1 April 2008
in the USA. The title refers to the High Frequency Active Auroral Research
Program, a scientific research program aimed at studying the properties and
behaviour of the ionosphere.
The touring continued across Europe in July 2007 before heading back to
the US in August where they played to a sold out crowd at Madison Square
Garden, New York.
They earned a headline spot on the second night of the Austin City Limits
Music Festival on 15 September 2007, after The White Stripes cancelled their
performance. Not long after, they also performed at the October 2007 Vegoose
in Las Vegas alongside bands like Rage Against the Machine, Daft Punk, and
Queens of the Stone Age.
Muse continued touring in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Scandinavia before
moving on to Australia and New Zealand. Muse played their final show of the
Black Holes and Revelations tour as headliner of the KROQ Almost Acoustic
Christmas after playing to sell-out crowds throughout Southeast Asia,
Australia, the United States, and New Zealand.
A number of individual live appearances also occurred in 2008. In March,
they played concerts in Dubai, Johannesburg, and Cape Town.
On 12 April they played a one-off concert at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of
the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Muse was present at Rock in Rio Lisboa on 6 June, along other bands such as
Kaiser Chiefs, The Offspring and Linkin Park.
The band also performed at a new gig in Marlay Park, Dublin on 13 August and
were set to play at a gig in Belfast on 14 August. However, the Belfast date
was dismissed according to The Belfast Telegraph.
Kasabian and Glasvegas supported Muse on their Irish date.
A few days later, they were the headline act at V Festival 2008, playing in
Chelmsford on Saturday 16 August and Staffordshire on Sunday 17 August.
They also hinted at the possibility of a future stadium tour or concerts in
On 25 September 2008, Bellamy, Howard and Wolstenholme all received a
Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Plymouth for their
contributions to music.
The Resistance (2009present)
As of 2 February 2009, Muse had already made it into the studio and begun
recording at least one song for their upcoming album. On microcuts.net, a
news headline stated that the album was slated for a September 2009 release,
and a new tour of France, and probably most of Europe, was to follow in the
autumn. In an interview
with BBC 6 Music, Bellamy commented that the album is to show distinct
classical influences, and that it's "all very orchestral".
On 22 May 2009, the band announced through their website and Twitter that
the title of their new album would be The Resistance and that one of
the track titles would be "United States of Eurasia".
On 16 June 2009, the official release date of The Resistance was announced
on the band's website. The album is scheduled to be released 14 September
this year. The first single will be "Uprising".
On 2 June 2009, the band announced through e-mails and their website that
they would begin a tour of Europe and the UK, beginning on 22 October 2009,
at Hartwall Arena, Finland, and ending on 4 December, at Pala Olimpico,
Turin, Italy, and including two nights at London's O2 Arena. A full list of
tour dates can be found at their official website
. This tour had completely
sold out their UK 95,000 allocated tickets within minutes from the general
onsale at 9 a.m. on 5 June.
On 14 July 2009, it was announced that the band will play their first
televised United States performance at the MTV Video Music Awards on 13
September 2009, performing "Uprising".
The song "United States of Eurasia" is available for download along with
Collateral Damage at the official Muse website.
The song was unlocked after a worldwide treasure hunt, 'Project Eurasia',
 consisting of USB keys
with song data hidden in seven major cities: Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Dubai,
Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York. Each of the first six USB flash drives
contained 1/6 of the song, which was uploaded to the Muse website once it
was found. Until the last New York flash drive was found users could only
listen to the song on the site, and were unable to download it. After the
data from the New York flash drive was uploaded, the song was made available
as a free download.
Zane Lowe played approximately 36 seconds of "Uprising" on 28 July 2009,
ahead of its first full airplay on 3 August 2009 at 7:30 pm [BST]. This was
the only clip made available to Radio 1 at the time. On 3 and 4 August,
several radio stations aired "Uprising".
The album is currently scheduled for a 15 September release in the U.S.
and Canada, 14 September in the UK, and 11 September in Italy, Germany and
Australia. The band recently aired on ClashMusic.com
that they will be allowing five fans to hear the album first exclusively,
and then submit 100-word reviews.
The band played live for the first time since recording at two special
homecoming gigs on a specially erected stage on the Den, a grassy area in
Teignmouth, Devon on 4 and 5 September 2009; dubbed 'A Seaside Rendezvous',
where 30,000 more people than bought tickets turned up. The band are also
confirmed to play at the Stade de France, in Paris, the biggest French
stadium, on 12 June 2010.
The East Coast of the U.S will get a big introduction to Muse when they
open for U2 360 tour 23 September to 14 October, 2009
. This portion of the tour
will include New York, Washington D.C., Virginia, Raleigh (NC), Atlanta,
Tampa (FL), Dallas and Houston.
Many Muse songs are recognizable by lead vocalist Matthew Bellamy's
falsetto and use of vibrato. As a guitarist, Bellamy often utilizes arpeggio
and pitch-shift effects to create a more "electric" sound, citing Jimi
Hendrix and Tom Morello as influences for this method.
Black Holes & Revelations was influenced by various styles of
European and Asian music, which together makes 'Eurasian' music. "I've been
listening to quite a lot of music from the south of Italy on this album",
Bellamy admits. "I've been living in Italy for a while, and I discovered
this music from Naples, which sounds like a mix of music from Africa,
Croatia, Turkey, and Italy. It kind of gives it a mystical sound, so I think
that's one thing that influenced the album. I like being influenced by
things that have a mixed style".
- Official members
- Matthew Bellamy lead vocals, guitars, piano,
- Christopher Wolstenholme bass, backing vocals
- Dominic Howard drums, percussion
- Touring musicians
- Morgan Nicholls keyboards, synthesizers, backing
vocals, percussion (2004, 20062009)
- Dan "The Trumpet Man" Newell trumpet on "City of
Delusion" and "Knights of Cydonia" (20062008)
- Alessandro Cortini keyboards, synthesizers, backing
vocals, percussion (2009present)
- Session musicians
- Paul Reeve backing vocals on Showbiz and
- Jacqueline Norrie violin on Origin of Symmetry
- Sara Herbert violin on Origin of Symmetry
- Clare Finnimore viola on Origin of Symmetry
- Caroline Lavelle cello on Origin of Symmetry
- Marco Brioschi trumpet on "City of Delusion" and
"Knights of Cydonia"
Main articles: Muse discography and List of Muse songs
- Showbiz (1999)
- Origin of Symmetry (2001)
- Absolution (2003)
- Black Holes and Revelations (2006)
- The Resistance (2009)
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Muse
Since 2000, Muse have won 24 major music awards from 60 nominations,
including two Brit Awards, six NME Awards and four Kerrang! Awards.