Muse’s fusion of progressive rock, electronica, and Radiohead-influenced experimentation have helped them sell millions of records and top charts worldwide. It’s all crafted by guitarist/vocalist Matthew Bellamy, bassist Chris Wolstenholme, and drummer Dominic Howard, a trio of friends who began playing music together in their hometown of Teignmouth, Devon; they started the first incarnation of the band at the age of 13, changing the name of the group from Gothic Plague to Fixed Penalty to Rocket Baby Dolls as time passed. By 1997, the bandmates settled on the name Muse and released their self-titled debut EP on Dangerous Records, followed by the Muscle Museum EP in 1998. The group’s emotive, passionate sound and live presence drew critical acclaim and industry buzz, and Muse signed a deal with Maverick Records after a trip to New York’s CMJ Festival. The singles “Cave” and “Uno” preceded their debut full-length album, Showbiz, which was released toward the end of 1999. Two years later, Muse issued Origin of Symmetry and had a major hit with “Hyper Music,” which helped propel the album to platinum status in the U.K.
In 2002, fans were treated to Hullabaloo Soundtrack, a combination rarities/live set that peaked at number ten in Europe. Muse then returned with a proper studio effort, Absolution, which became the band’s first album to chart in America. A short North American tour in the spring of 2004 coincided with Muse’s spot on the fifth annual Coachella Music and Arts Festival, and Absolution eventually went gold in the U.S. Back at home, the album earned Muse their second platinum certification.
Released in 2006, Black Holes & Revelations marked the band’s brightest, most dynamic set of material to date, topping the U.K. album chart within its first week and earning Muse their second consecutive number one album at home. In America, the album broke into the Top Ten. Muse toured Europe, America, Australia, and Southeast Asia in support of Black Holes & Revelations, and their dynamic stage performance won the band multiple awards for Best Live Act, including accolades from the NME Awards, the Q Awards, and the Vodafone Live Music Awards. (It was also captured on 2008’s H.A.A.R.P. Live from Wembley.) The trio spent the remainder of 2008, as well as the early part of 2009, in the recording studio, eventually emerging with The Resistance in September. Reviews were very positive, and the album hit number one in more than a dozen countries. The band soon kicked off a world tour, headlining shows as well as supporting U2. In 2011, Bellamy and company were asked to write the official theme for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which were being held in London, and the band returned with the triumphant rock anthem “Survival.” The song also became the lead single of their next album, 2012’s The 2nd Law.
The road-hungry band undertook another large-scale tour to promote The 2nd Law, and their spectacular show at Rome’s Olympic Stadium — complete with pyrotechnics, video walls, and acrobats — was filmed in ultra-high definition for the concert movie Live at Rome Olympic Stadium, which was slated for release theatrically in December 2013. In early March 2015, Muse dropped “Dead Inside,” the first single from their seventh studio long-player Drones. Released in June of that year, the conceptual album was their fifth consecutive U.K. number one album and their first release to top the U.S. charts, netting them a Grammy award for Best Rock Album in February 2016. In early 2017, Muse announced a major North American tour and posted footage of the band in the studio working on their eighth LP. A new single, “Dig Down,” was released in May in advance of the forthcoming album. ~ Heather Phares