www.whyville.net Sep 19, 2007 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

The Music Scene: Muse

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After long weeks of not having "The Music Scene" articles, I'm glad to say that it's back. It partly is my fault for being lazy, busy and just dealing with life and school like we all do. It feels so good to share another band with you all, I'm surprised I didn't chain myself to the computer and write it out sooner.

This week's "TMS" was going to be someone totally different, until one of my friends suggested them to me. I had heard their name before, but surprisingly, never looked into their music. After I took a listen, I realized how incredible this band really was. So, thanks, Ps2man1, Shane. Now I have the honor of presenting you the first "The Music Scene" in awhile, starring -- Muse!

Muse has humble beginnings just like the rest of the bands out there. No one started with five star dining and limousines, you know. Muse is another story just like that. It all started in the roots of Teignmouth, Devon around 1997.

The early formation of the band members came together quite easily. The members were together in different bands before Muse even started. Vocalist Matt Bellamy auditioned for drummer Dominic Howard's band in 1992. The two were faced with a small little bump when that band's guitarist left, so Matt and Dominic called in Chris Wolstenholme to rock the bass guitar, and the band was set.

The three guys went through many band names in the early days a few of them being Gothic Plague, Fixed Penalty, and Rocket Baby Dolls. I guess the third one worked, because they used it for a few years in the mean time really rocking out and winning a Battle of The Bands contest. That's when Matt, Dominic and Chris figured they had to have some kind of talent, and changed their band name to Muse before surging on through the music world.

Let's fast-forward a few years, more like to 1998. After a few years of playing local and basement shows as many young bands do, and becoming quite smitten with the London and Manchester locals, Muse ran into their second bit of luck. Somehow, the band happened to meet Dennis Smith. "Who is he?" you ask? Ladies and gentlemen, Dennis Smith is the owner of infamous Sawmills, the old water mill in Cornwall, England, which was turned into a recording studio, and the man who was about to give Muse their first proper recording and release.

What came out of the days in the studio was a self-titled EP. Although the EP helped to gather a little bigger fan base, it was their second EP, Muscle Museum, which really drew British music-lovers attention. It was truly an EP to be proud of.

The two EP's were released on Sawmills label, Dangerous. The thing that could be classified as Muse's third stroke of luck could be considered talent, too. With out it, the band would never have gained the interest of Steve Lamacq, a journalist and (somehow, this publication turns up everywhere) writer for the weekly music magazine, NME. This of course, was a huge help to Muse. What better way to gain notice than through the covers of a magazine?

This band has a lot to be grateful for in their early career. It seemed everyone wanted to help get Muse of the ground. Besides Dennis Smith helping them record and releasing their albums, he also founded Taste Media, especially for Muse. You don't get that kind of favor every day. What is Taste Media? Just the music production company that released the bands first three albums. No biggie.

Even though British record companies were a little hesitant because Muse sounded just a bit like the band Radiohead, the American Maverick Records was more than happy to book some gigs and signings around the states. Soon back from their United States stint, the band came back to find out Taste Media had done a few other great things for them: set up deals with various record labels in Europe and Australia.

With things going so well, the band decided what a better time to record their first full-length album? They brought in famed producer John Leckie and came out with Showbiz.

Showbiz hit the right stride with everyone it seems, this time. It brought them to tour with some support slots of The Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more in the United States. Yeah. That's how good it was. Check some songs out for yourself.

Muse once again hit all the right notes with their second full-length album, Origin of Symmetry. It established them firmly in the States and other areas, and got them some great tours. Who said hard work doesn't pay off?

Throughout signings, tours, festivals and some R&R days at home, we'll fast-forward to the album Absolution, the amazing album that brought us the single "Time is Running Out". It also, after a time, received Gold status in the United States.

This album delves deeper into their classical influences, yet somehow smashing hard rock sound, all the while keeping it flowing and smooth. You would think Muse were professionals. Even though the album goes through many different sounding tracks, the overall theme of the album is pretty evident. The end of the world, and reactions to it. This, once again taking to the hints of prior albums, mainly has to do with Matt's interest in the supernatural, science, futurism, and conspiracy theories. Finally making nice wholly with the big guys in Britain and a new record deal in the US, Muse went on their first national tour. I bet they have fun tour stories from that. New Zealand, Australia, France, America, Canada. What fun that must have been.

In and out of their tours, the band released five singles.

The popularity of Muse wasn't just in people's minds, although. It came out in awards. They won two MTV Europe awards, including Best Alternative Act and another Q award for Best Live Act. Not to say that Muse didn't deserve it, of course. And at the 2005 BRIT awards, there came another Best Live Act.

In April of '05, a company released a DVD bio called Manic Depression of Muse, although the band wasn't involved with the project. It included a few unreleased songs, and live performances at different venues across the countries.

Then came the album of Muse, as it has been called, Black Holes and Revelations.

The record was released in Europe on July 3rd, and in North America July 11th. Unfortunately, the album leaked on the Internet, but that didn't stop Black Holes and Revelations to have excellent sales and reviews. Don't believe me? Hah.

The album was charted No.1 in the U.K. and much of Europe, hit 9 on Billboards, and was nominated for the Mercury Prize Award in 2006, along with another Q award like before for Best Live Act. No big shocker there. Q also stated that it was one of the best albums of the year. Planet Sound also named it album of the year. Some of the songs off the album also charted extremely high on the charts all over the world.

"Supermassive Black Hole," a single off the album, was released on June 12, and contained a B-side song, "Crying Shame". "Starlight" single was released in September, as well as some more radio-only singles.

Some more awards came along their way. They won Best Alternate and Best Live Act again, from MTV, along with a Best Rock award. Another Best Live Act award for Muse, from BRIT, and they were also up for Best Album and Best British Band, but both went to the Artic Monkeys (pretty good band :P).

So, what's next for Muse? Matt says the band is already working on another album, and has some really great material written already. There's been whispers that the band is veering off towards even more electronic and dance music. Heck, there's even been talk about having an orchestra play some songs for the new album, which Matt says will be self produced to have more freedom.

I'm sure whatever Muse decides to do, it will turn out even better than the last.

What's next for "The Music Scene"? It's something completely different, I'm proud to say. Not a band, or a Grammy winner, but a young New York City drummer that I'm proud to say I've met and played with, and turns out to be one of the drumming rising stars in the country. Father Dartanyn Brown, famous bassist and jazz musician, couldn't be more proud. Can you guess who it is? Come on. Have a try.



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