Muse biographyMuse Lyrics
Ten years ago, the parents of Chris Wolstenholme, Mathew Bellamy and Dominic Howard relocated to Teignmouth, Devon. It's a seaside town: barely breathing in summer, stone cold dead in winter and if you were aged between 13 to 18, a living hell the whole year round.
As Matt remembers it: "All we used to do was hang around, smoke and listen to music. There wasn't anything else to do."
Aged 13, the three of them formed their first band, a few years and name changes later Muse were born and things started to get more serious. Rehearsals became more frequent, and they picked up gigs wherever they could - not easy when you're 250 miles away from the center of London.
Matt: "Apart from the Cavern in Exeter, there's nowhere to play. It's the only decent venue in the whole of Devon, but it's empty most of the time. We played at hundreds of other places, pubs full of old people, whatever, but all they ever wanted was covers of sixties hits, so we never went down very well, I think it helped us in a way."
Every deserted bar and every heckle only made them more determined - but it was only a year ago that they finally realised that they had to act.
Matt: "All our friends had disappeared off to University and we suddenly thought, "We're poor, we're doing shit jobs we really hate we've got to get a deal."
And this is where the story accelerates.
Hooking up with Taste Media (a joint venture between Sawmills, a West Country recording studio and SJP Producer Management), Muse suddenly found themselves atthe 1998 In The City. At the same time, a couple of American labels began to show interest, and in November of the same year, the band flew out to New York to play CMJ. After a dazzling show at the Mercury Lounge, they found that US interest was now reaching fever pitch.
Two weeks later, they were flown to the States again, this time to LA, where they played a showcase on the Santa Monica Pier. As others deliberated, Madonna's label Maverick took the opportunity to move in and sign them on the spot. The deal was clinched on Christmas Eve, and was rapidly followed by them signing to Motor in Germany, Na´ve in France, and finally Mushroom Records in the UK. After five years hard slog the band had gone from 0 to 4 record deals in a couple of months.
Their first two limited edition EP's Muse and Muscle Museum emerged on Sawmill's own Dangerous Records label and both quickly sold out.
All this setting the blueprint for what was to follow: a tidal wave of serrated guitar noises and seething lyrical anger; it reveals a band determined to match and surpass their mentors. It was enough to ensure that when they started to record their debut album a few weeks later, John Leckie (producer of Radiohead's The Bends) was only too happy to join them.
Matt: "I don't think many bands feel that strongly about their music. It's sad but I think Nirvana were the last band who had that. Music should be an outlet for your emotions. If it wasn't for Muse, I think I'd probably be a nasty violent person. It's definitely a release, and that's the way it should be."
Their first proper single, the brilliant Uno, was released last month following the successful Steve Lamacq's Evening Session Tour, alongside Three Colours Red and The Donnas and a series of dates with Feeder. The single cracked the Top 75.
More recently the band made an outstanding debut at Glastonbury, they also played T-In The Park,followed by a smattering of UK dates, a performance at Woodstock and other shows in the US, before coming back to play Reading at the end of the summer. The band then return to America in September for a more extensive US tour. They're not afraid of that - they can't wait to get out on the road.
Matt: "I can't predict what's going to happen. It's all to do with the alignment of the planets, Anything could happen. That's what's good about it."