Muse, from left to right: Matthew Bellamy, Christopher Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard.
Teignmouth, Devon, England
Alternative rockProgressive rockNew prog
Helium 3, Warner Bros. Records, Mushroom Records, Taste Media
Matthew BellamyChristopher WolstenholmeDominic Howard
1.1 Formation and early years (1992–1997)
1.2 First EPs and Showbiz (1998–2000)
1.3 Origin of Symmetry and Hullabaloo (2001–2002)
1.4 Absolution (2003–2005)
1.5 Black Holes & Revelations and HAARP (2006–2008)
1.6 Current and future plans (2008-present)
3 Band members
3.1 Touring members
4.1 Studio albums
4.2 UK top-ten singles
7 External links
Muse are an English alternative rock band that formed in Teignmouth, Devon, England in 1994. Since their inception, the band has comprised vocalist, guitarist, pianist and songwriter Matthew Bellamy, bassist and backing vocalist Christopher Wolstenholme and drummer and percussionist Dominic Howard. The band are known for mixing various musical styles together, the most prominent being alternative rock, classical music, and electronica.
Muse have released four studio albums to date. Their first, Showbiz, was released in 1999, followed by Origin of Symmetry in 2001, Absolution in 2003 and Black Holes & Revelations in 2006, the latter of which garnered the band a Mercury Prize nomination and a third place finish in the NME Albums of the Year list for 2006. Muse have also won many other music awards throughout their career, including five MTV Europe Music Awards, five Q Awards, four NME Awards, two BRIT awards and four Kerrang! Awards. Their most recent release is HAARP, a live album documenting their performances at Wembley Stadium in London on 16 and 17 June 2007.
Formation and early years (1992–1997)
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. Chris agreed and took up lessons.
In 1994, under the name Rocket Baby Dolls and with a goth/glam image, the group won a local battle of the bands 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 forego university, quit their jobs, change the band name to Muse, and move away from Teignmouth.
First EPs and Showbiz (1998–2000)
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 Cornwall.
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 Muse drummer Dominic Howard. Their second EP, the Muscle Museum EP, reached number 3 in the indie singles chart and attracted the attention of influential 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 major success of their second EP, British record companies were reluctant to back Muse, and many sections of the music industry asserted that, like many of their contemporaries, their sound was too similar to that of Radiohead. However, American record labels were keen to sign them, flying Muse out to the U.S. to play showcase concerts. After a trip to New York's CMJ festival, Muse signed a deal with Maverick Records on 24 December 1998. 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.
The partially transparent UNO CD-single.
John Leckie, who produced The Bends by Radiohead and had produced for the Stone Roses and The Verve, 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, accumulating a considerable fan base in Western Europe, particularly in France.
Origin of Symmetry and Hullabaloo (2001–2002)
During production of the band's second album, Origin of Symmetry, the band experimented with unorthodox 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 distinctive 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 Nestl in 2003 when they used Muse's version of "Feeling Good" in a television advert for Nescaf without permission, donating the 500,000 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.
The album was well-received by critics; Dean Carlson of Allmusic commented on the album saying, "...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". Whereas 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"), 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 Origin of Symmetry in the U.S. The album was finally released in the U.S. on 20 September 2005, after Muse signed to Warner.
Having built up a strong reputation as a live band over the course of the Origin of Symmetry tour, Muse decided to release a live CD and DVD. The DVD, Hullabaloo, featured 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". The song "Shrinking Universe" from Hullabaloo Soundtrack was used in trailers for the 2007 film 28 Weeks Later.