He can't wait to wear his Santa outfit (20061223 Kerrang article)

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He can't wait to wear his Santa outfit

We've nearly got through another year without WWIII breaking out. That's got to be a result...
(Laughs) Well, I think there are a few ways you can look at all that. It has felt like it's been very close, like we've been on the edge for a while and a lot of people think it just takes one or two chess moves by the big boys to make it happen. In other words, we're now only one major move - the castle only has to move five spaces down - and you've got yourself a checkmate, or a check at least. That's probably closer than we've been for at least 30 years, but obviously you'd hope that people see sense and back off a bit, calm down, relax, chill out, you know? I think in the long run we'll probably be all right.

What did 2006 mean to you as a band?
2006 was the first year we headlined Reading, which was a big deal to us - we'd always had that on the horizon as something we wanted to achieve. I remember watching Rage Against The Machine play there in the mid 90's and thinking how great it would be to headline and be up there ourselves. So we spent quite a while preparing for that.

Were Reading and Leeds the best gigs you played?
It depends on what kind of gig you like. They were definitely the most overwhelming experiences overall but then both nights at Manchester on the arena tour were really good - the Manchester crowd's always brilliant. And Madrid in Spain was a pretty special one as well.

Is Black Holes and Revelations your best album yet?
Well that was the one where we decided to expand upon what we'd been doing before - we tried to change ourselves a little bit and tried to find the range of the band. We were just trying to explore where we could go withcertain ideas. We were trying certain styles of music that we weren't really sure we could pull off before and we've opened up a few new things on this album. If I was only going to show one album to someone I'd show them this one because it shows the diversity of the band

What was the biggest revelation you had this year?
I can't believe that we were ever afraid to have a fourth person play with us. Over the first three albums we were afraid of that, but on some nights of the week now we're actually playing as a five piece because we've had Morgan (Nicholls, keyboards and samples) onstage and we've also had a trumpet player come on for certain songs. I don't know if that's a revelation as such but it's given me the freedom to think outside the format of a three piece in terms of writing songs.

Were you disappointed when the album ended up leaked all over the internet?
We almost expected that. It's kind of the norm these days - it's pretty much inevitable for any band that has a strong internet presence in terms of fans messageboards and all that kind of stuff. Thre are so many people involved in getting a record out there and it falls into so many hands before it's released that it's bound to happen.

So where do you stand on the old file-sharing debate?
Some other bands out there have tried to take draconian measures to stop it but I think the physical format of an album is seriously under threat anyway. Technology is naturally changing the music industry and I think it will naturally change the way music gets from the person who writes and records it to the fans. I think that the whole process will change radically to the point where the whole concept of an album will be regarded as just a 20th century thing.

Justin Timberlake came out as a Muse fan at the MTV Europe Awards. Is that mutual?
(Laughs) I'll just say I'm not familiar with any of his music at all. I believe it's sort of R&B and I know he was in a boyband once but I've never heard their music either. I've probably heard him in a supermarket once but it's a different kind of world to the one I live in to be honest.

Do award ceremonies mean that much to you?
I think obviously most of them are promotional edifices both for the people who sponsor them and the people who go to them. But aside from that there's no harm in a bunch of musicians getting together and getting drunk and having a laugh.

What about chart positions? It must still mean something having a number one album...
It's nice I suppose but even that's less important than it was 20 years ago. What's important to us is not making money, it's having an impact on people with our music and that impact's happening without necessarily being Number One everywhere.

Who's the most famous person you met this year?
I rubbed shoulders with Cameron Diaz while she was hanging around with her Timberlake boyfriend. She's probably up there,isn't she?

Who did you most want to kick up the arse?
He's probably a lot bigger than me and I'm pretty sure he's got security guards who are way bigger than me but Kanye West was a bit over the top at that same awards ceremony. He started whingeing about how he'd spent a million dollars on his video and how he should have won the award instead of whoever it was who won it. That was all a bit embarrassing for everyone.

What will you be doing for Christmas?
I don't know yet. I've got some family in Leeds and some in Northern Ireland so I might do the rounds and hang about. I might do a proper Father Christmas, just seeing the family, drop off a few presents and then move on.


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