Muse: Supermassive


Originally published on Visionary Artistry Mag with photos here: http://www.visionaryartistrymag.com/2015/11/muse-supermassive/

Live shows have been a favorite pastime for many teens, but it ends up being something we carry over into our 20s, 30s and even further until we’re physically incapable of standing in a crowded room. There’s a packed floor, body heat, the odor of cheap beer and stale smoke. Some opening bands are ok, but we’re all really there to see the headliner. Eventually, they take the stage. The bass is thumping in your chest along with the kick drum. The guitars are shredding your eardrums, and for the next hour or so, you’ve reached nirvana. This energy is something that Muse has managed to perfect on stage and even in the studio.

“On stage it’s easy. There’s something about the audience and the energy that takes you to this place. I have trouble being like that when I’m not on stage. I tend to be a bit quiet – a touch avoidant, y’know? I think you do get what you visualize. I never dreamed about being in a limo or being backstage with loads of girls. I only visualised playing very well and enjoying it,” Matt Bellamy on lead vox, guitar, piano, keytar for Muse said with the Guardian.

Aside from the apocalyptic performances, Muse is also known for its intelligence. They know their instruments, but are very intelligent outside of their musical abilities. Their 2012 album “2nd Law” is named after the second law of thermodynamics. It’s one thing to spout off a few big words, but listening to someone explain an idea is where their level of understanding becomes apparent. “The laws of thermodynamics are basically about how energy functions and fluctuates throughout the universe,” Bellamy explained to azcentral.com, a local and headlining news site for Arizona. “To try and understand that is to try and understand what this all is. In the case of the second law, it’s the idea that being an isolated solar system like we are, there’s no new energy coming in and that energy is gradually declining. It seems like evolution and life itself is in some ways a battle against this sort of inevitable consequence of how energy functions. And I came to this idea that there’s something intrinsic to life that is really contrary to the sometimes dark, cold truth of the laws of thermodynamics.”

That’s where Muse’s artistry becomes evident. Talking science is impressive, but relating it to life on an artistic and emotional level is what speaks to humanity.

The Teignmouth, Devon (United Kingdom) band formed while at Teignmouth Community College. They moved to Teignmouth and grew up the typical rural life. They got bored in their small town and began playing music at an early age – around 11. The extra boredom leads to practicing music and learning. The types of dark themes Bellamy explained to azcentral.com come out in their music, as well as space. There’s this fascination with science, sci-fi/fantasy and apocalyptic times that comes out in their lyrics, composition and instrumentation.

“When I dabble in watching the news and reading about current events, I tend to get a future negative view and that’s something I’ve dealt with through music. It’s quite possible I’m slightly paranoid. But I’d say making music is an expression of feelings of helplessness and lack of control that I think a lot of people can relate to,” Bellamy said with the Guardian.

It took a few years, but Muse has finally reached that rockstar status. They started out as Gothic Plague, then moved to calling themselves Fixed Penalty and eventually went by Rocket Baby Dolls. The name Muse was finally decided on in 1997. In 1998, they released their first self-titled EP. After the second EP and first full-length album “Showbiz,” Muse was finally being recognized for their passionate performances. This went all under the American radar until 2003 when the band released “Absolution,” which is by far one of their most cinematic albums. After this album and the following “Black Holes and Revelations,” Muse began touring internationally.

“I think something happened about two or three years ago where we realised we’d been to so many cities of the world, and never really seen any of them. People come up to you and say: ‘Oh, you’ve been there, what’s it like?’ and you can’t tell them anything….  So we’ve been making more of an effort to get out there and take it all in.” Christopher Wolstenholme on bass, vox, keyboards and rhythm guitar said with theGuardian.

Lately, the band has made headlines for another reason: they grossed $76 million, according to Forbes, playing 63 shows in 2014. In addition to being musically inclined and rather intelligent, they’ve apparently got some business savvy as well. Their music was used in the latest “Twilight” movies, which I’m sure helped a ton. They made it to Forbes’ list of “The World’s 25 Highest-Paid Musicians,” along the likes of Jay-Z, Elton John and Beyoncé.

With Muse, there’s so much to cover. They’re smart, they’re skilled and they know how to put on an infectious show while making bank. With that in gear, Muse have found a lasting spot as a rock/alt-rock/space-rock/smart rock band.

-Geneva Toddy

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