KNDD 2009-08-18 – Red talks with Muse's Matt Bellamy
An interview with Matthew Bellamy, by 'Red' of KNDD about some general things such as their (used to be) new album, the Resistance, what it's like for him to play a gig in his hometown, and what it's like becoming "BIG" in America. This interview has yet to be transcribed completely and thoroughly. Full interview here (12:17). Many parts of this are very hard to understand due to the quality.
Red Interviews Matt Bellamy
Red: Hey Matthew, how are you?
Matthew Bellamy: Very good. How you doin'?
R: I'm doing great! What's going on?
M: Oh, just hangin' around ...[?]... in my home town. I've been here for a while ...[?]... we're getting ready to play. We just got approval from the local council. They're allowing us to play a concert in ...[?]... It's gonna be the first time we play in our home town, so that's quite [?].
R: You know, I've been following your Twitter page and I saw that and I was like, you know, I was like, "Oh that's their home town". But I didn't realize there was so much behind it. That's a big deal!
M: Yes, amazing, yeah. I mean that's actually gonna be the first time we play with the band [<- verify] and uh, I think it'll be the first time any band or any concert has taken place ...[?]... in front of the seaside, you know?
R: Is it, is it, is it a tiny town?
R: Is it like a tiny town? Is it small? [laughs]
M: Eh, I mean the population must be about 20,000, 15,000 ...[?]... quite a small town, yes.
R: Did you have to...
M: It's got like a nice town center and stuff and uh, we're hoping to sell tickets ...[?]... local people and then ...[?].
R: I was gonna say I don't think you're gonna have any problem selling tickets, but I, I [both laugh] I see. Now did you have to, I mean was it, did you have to pull some strings, did you have to go through some red tape where they're like, "We don't want a rock n' roll band in here"?
M: Ah, there's loads of red tape. Yeah, yeah. [laughs] I mean we had to, we had to pay off the uh, the police departments, the fire departments. Uh, we've had to uh, we've had to, you know, bribe the ...[?]... health and safety [?] 'cause they wanted to uh, stop us from having certain, they wanted uh, us to have a maximum limit of 65 [?] which is probably, which is probably louder than ...[?].
R: Right! Right!
M: Uhm, so, so, we've had to uhm, you know, we've had to do a little bit of uhm, you know [laughs] ...[?]... few of backhanders here and there ...[?].
R: That's so funny. You had to "grease the right palm" so they say. [both laugh] That's really fun. Well you know what, something tells me after uh, they have a sweet little you know, check at the end of the day that they're gonna be really happy. They might even invite you back. Maybe.
M: Oh yeah. I mean if, if it goes well I'm sure we'll come back here every couple of years or so. That would be quite nice. That would be quite nice ...[?]... the end of the summer time here, so the weather's always quite nice at the end of [?], September and, hope people [?] watch the concert, look out and see, they'll be able to see the sea out there and, some of the [?] natural ground from the area we were brought up, you know?
R: And is, I mean is your family all still there?
M: Uh, yeah pretty much. Yeah, I'm actually staying with my mom at the moment. [laughs]
R: Are you, are you really? Now is...
M: I'm actually, I'm actually staying in my mom's, my mom's house, yeah.
R: [laughs] That's awesome! That's great! Now is there, is there any of your relatives that kind of doubted you or think that you're, you know, it's just uhm, "Why didn't you get a real job"? Are there any relatives that treat you like that?
M: Uhm, yeah I think there's quite a few especially in the early days. I mean, I suppose ...[?]... really take it that seriously until uhm, [?] started so uhm, so [laughs] yeah, I think it was when the came to see me at Wembley Stadium I think they, they took it a bit more seriously. [laughs]
R: [laughs] They were like, you know what, or better yet I bet you they were like, "I always supported him. I always knew he'd be a star".
M: Yeah, yeah, you always get those lots of uh, old school friends that you weren't really that close with and suddenly they were your best friends out of nowhere, you know?
R: Right. All the cute girls I'm sure have...
M: [?]... all the girls you wanted to get, but you couldn't, but now they're suddenly available. [laughs]
R: Well, you know it's funny because all, and I mean this as a compliment so I don't want this to come off wrong, but all of my smart, pale, socially-awkward guy friends love you.
M: [laughs] [?]... must be uh, must be attracting a [?].
R: [laughs] Well you know what, they're just, they're smart, and they're, I mean, and it's a compliment to you guys because, you know, a lot of them are musicians and that's how you can tell a great band is, you know. I mean, no, I'm sure you don't get the girls with a lot of fake boobs and flashing you all the time. [laughs]
M: [laughs] Unfortunately not, no. [laughs]
R: [laughs] Well you never know. There's still time for that album.
M: Yeah, there's still time. The next album we'll [?] the fake boobs. [laughs]
R: Right, r...
R: [laughs] Right? Well, you know, when you guys uhm, now that you've caught on in America, like we were saying we remembered a few years ago when you guys toured and you were touring in the states but playing very small venues.
M: Oh, yeah yeah. I mean we've always enjoyed it there because ...[?]... recent years, bands from England, they don't take it for granted anymore that, that you're gonna go down well in America, you know?
M: It used to be maybe, back in the 70's or 80's, I don't know the band, would really expect that if they do well in the UK that means they could probably do well in America, but that hasn't really happened in often years. But uhm, I s'pose there's, there's a bit of friction in the first couple of albums because we didn't get on very well with our record label, you know? But, but then when we changed to our new record label for the third album, things got really baron. What was, what was really nice about the situation was that we, we got the feeling of being a new band again, you know? So our third album, which was called Absolution, that album was almost perceived as like a debut album in America by a lot of people because they didn't really, no one had ever heard of us before that time, so. So we got this really good feeling when we [?] on the third album, it was like uhm, it was like being a brand new band again. Playing in, playing in all those 'hole in the wall' venues. It was actually really exciting because being a new band is one of the best feelings when you're first getting discovered by people, so. You've got to get that feeling twice, you know? Once when we, once in the first album [?] in Europe and England and then, and then [?] in our third album, that was like being a new band in America.
R: And wouldn't you say that also, like playing arenas is almost, you know, a first time on another level?
M: You mean playing arenas the first time in America?
R: Yes, exactly.
M: Uh, yeah. I mean that's, that's always great. I remember one of the first tours we did in America years ago, we were opening up for uh, the Foo Fighters and Chili Peppers, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And we were like, we were like the first band on. And I remember watching those guys playing and thinking, "[?] that's such, such a great live band. Such a great live experience". When, when a band can really put it off in a big arena, that's when, you know, it creates such a whole atmosphere for everyone. And I remember thinking that would be like a dream to be able to get to that position.
R: [laughs] And here you are! And here you are! Now, I know that you're, I know, I'm actually from D.C. and I know, I was working back there and I know that you're opening up for U2, right? FedExField?
M: That's right, yeah. That'll be, that'll be the first few dates we play in America. That'll be late September or early October I think.
R: Right, right. Now is that, I mean, when you're talking about opening the Foo Fighters and you're talking about the Chilis and of course U2, if you guys really hang out backstage? I know, I mean I've talked to bands and they've had, sometimes they're like, "Oh it's so crazy backstage, you really don't get like hangtime", I mean, or have you had a different situation?
M: Eh, well we've always been pretty friendly with the bands, we've, we've been pretty lucky in that way. I mean back, back when we were touring with Peppers, it was uh, that was when they did Californiacation, so that was uh, a big album for them, so they were pretty, they were in good party spirits back then. There were a lot of parties going on and a lot of good times in Foo Fighters, but you know, that was when they were still uh, sort of, breaking through you know? So both bands were really up for it, going out to bars and having parties and that kind of stuff. So it was good fun for those guys. And U2, I've met them, I've met them a couple of times, but I've never toured with them. But uhm, I get the impression they like to hang out, so, so here I go.
R: That's a pretty, [laughs] that is a pretty surreal feeling I can only imagine. Does, is there, who is the first uhm, you know, well known rock star musician that really took notice on you guys where, you know I'm sure that now when you talk about talking to Bono or talking to Dave Grohl who, you know, and it's just kind of old hat, these guys are you're buddies I'm assuming, but who was the first guy that took notice that really kind of, you know, maybe even flustered you guys?
M: [laughs] I think uh, I think it was actually when Queen uh, took notice uh, and Brian May and Roger Taylor. They both, we've met them both a few times, but they both seem to be really, really sort of genuinely friendly and really sort of, you know, I think they really like the band and, and uh, you know, Roger Taylor's been like, you know, he's become good friends with Dom and, you know, they spoke about drums all the time and it keeps ...[?]... Dom ...[?]... boring drummer stuff, you know?
R: Gah! That's crazy!
M: I think that, I think that's quite surreal, you know?
R: Yeah! Absolutely, absolutely. Uhm, now, and I know that Tom Morrello was one of your influences. Have you had the chance to talk to him?
M: Uh, I've only bumped into him a couple of times briefly. Uh, in fact, he's uh, he's someone I'd like to, I'd love to sort of hang out with actually because I know he organizes lots of really cool concerts for like activism and that kind of stuff, which I think is really great, you know?
M: I'd love to, at some point, hook up and do some kind of, some kind of concert together, you know?
R: Well let me tell you, if you do get the chance to talk to him, I adore him, I think he's one of the coolest guys on the planet, bring him a bottle of Jameson.
M: Oh, he likes Jameson? So he likes Irish ...[?].
R: Yeah, he's a big Jameson fan. You'll win him over big with that.
M: Ok, I'll do that.
R: [laughs] Now, and I was also checking out the Twitter pics of Chris, uh, Captain America?
M: [laughs] Yeah.
R: Very hot, very hot. I'm just wondering what inspired that uhm, that photo shoot. [both laugh]
M: Well, I'm not sure how much we can say actually, but uhm, I'll just say it anyway and I'll probably get told off later. But, for MTV uhm, they uhm, well I'm not sure if I can say this, but they're doing like uhm, you know the West Side Story?
M: I think, I think they're sort of theme-ing the event around that a little bit.
M: They wanted, they wanted to get some other artists to do a cover song.
R: Uh huh.
M: And uh, so we did uhm, we did a cover song of that, uh, you know, "[sings tune]"
R: "I wanna live in America!" [laughs and claps]
M: We did like a, we did like a little sort of instrumental cover of that, and we, and we shot like a little quick little video for it, and, and Chris called it appropriate for Captain America ...[?] [laughs].
R: That is fantastic! Well thank you for the scoop. I, I say keep it going. I mean, just go with the super hero theme. Those pictures are priceless.
M: I think that was a good look too.
R: [laughs] Tell him I love his big muscles.
M: [laughs] Yeah, yeah. They're ...[?].
R: Now, the new album, I keep wanting to call it La Résistànce for some reason, but The Resistance... I read something recently and you were saying how you weren't sure if you were ready to perform them. Do you feel a little more comfortable or was that just something that you said off-handedly?
M: Oh, you mean ...[?]?
R: Yes, exactly. Excuse me.
M: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, we uh, yeah, 'cause it actually, this last week was the first time we really tried to play them since we recorded them and [?] playing them on-stage and it's going pretty well actually. I mean, some of the stuff, uhm, you know, we've got this fourth guy called Morgan who plays with us now on a few songs and plays [?] parts and synth parts and sometimes orchestral parts. He's, he's the one who's most stressed because he's trying to learn like all these big sort of symphonic parts on a keyboard which is very difficult, you know? But actually, in terms of me, Dom, and Chris, actually, I realized our parts are quite easy. [laughs]
M: We've got it easy. We can just plug in and play the guitar as normal. But we actually have a fourth guy to sing with us and he's actually pulling his hair out. He's got all sorts of uh, all sorts of sound effects and bits and pieces to add on, you know?
R: Poor guy. No pressure, you know?
R: And uhm, I'm gonna let you go, but uh, how did you get your Twitter? How did you change it? 'Cause you guys were Musewire and now you, and I look at everybody's little Twitter name and everybody's got Muse in it. So I'm wondering how did you get Muse. What did you have to do? Did you steal it back from Celine Dion?
M: [both laugh] No no. We did that, we did that years ago. We're done with her. ...[?].
R: [laughs] Ah, I love that story.
M: But yeah, no no, the uhm, ...[?]... Musewire one. But I just went on it about a month and a half ago or a couple of months ago and I just noticed that the one that was "/muse" was basically [?]. And it said that, it said that whoever used it has been closed down for whatever. Some [?] or something.
M: So I just, I just said to our manager, I said, "I'll just grab that". It's the easiest to remember. Instead of Musewire, just Muse.
R: Absolutely. Absolutely. So the, the new album, I believe it's September 15th, right?
M: Yeah, in America, I think it might be 14th in UK, yeah.
R: Exactly, you guys are, 'cause you're cooler than us, you guys are always one day ahead.
R: Well Matt, thank you so much for your time. I cannot wait to see you guys again and I'm really looking forward to the new album. So thanks so much.
M: Great, nice to talk to you.
R: You too, hun. Take care.
M: [?]. Bye bye.
R: Bye bye.