End of Revolution: Matt Bellamy and the British rock band Muse are wind up their tour. Picture AFP Source: AFP
WATCH out _ the frontman of spaced-out UK rockers Muse is setting the rams loose on the ewes, writes Neala Johnson
Q: Is it true this Muse tour is making its way to Australia by boat?
A: Well, the gear is. I'm tempted to come by boat, but I think I might get bored after three weeks at sea.
Q: How would you describe the production?
A: It'll definitely be the biggest production we've ever done in Australia by a long way. In terms of indoor arena concerts, it's probably the most expensive production we've ever done, bringing that whole thing to Australia - now you can understand why the boats are getting involved.
Q: What is the concept?
A: The idea is 1984, George Orwell, utilitarian buildings with the band playing within them. We're playing in these structures which puts us in quite a distant position from the audience, it's like we're trapped away up in this building, but then partway through the gig it comes down and it pretty much just becomes a regular rock show.
Q: Has anyone fallen out of the building yet?
A: No one's fallen yet, but we've had loads of Spinal Tap moments. The worst show was in LA, it all went tits up. The platforms we're playing on have got these curtain-sock things around the outside, which get released and show we're there. This time one of them got caught and pulled all my guitars off the platform and broke all my guitars. That was the first thing that went wrong. The second was that Chris's (Wolstenholme, bassist) one didn't come down - we played the whole of the first song, Uprising, and no one could see Chris.
Q: Does this Australian tour mark the end of your album The Resistance?
A: Pretty much. We're talking about doing a couple of bits next year, but not really touring. We've missed out Moscow, so we might do a gig in Moscow at some point. We might play one festival. U2 - we might do a tour with them in South America.
Q: You played Where the Streets Have No Name with The Edge at Glastonbury this year ...
A: It's one of my favourite songs, it was great to get the chance to sing it. I couldn't really work out the guitar part so it was great to have The Edge there playing it. I love the way he plays guitar, it's really different.
Q: Did The Edge return the compliment about your guitar skills?
A: He said a couple of nice things, but I think he just said it to be nice. He's like me - we're into effects pedals and trying to make the guitar sound like something other than the guitar. So we connected on that area.
Q: Jay-Z raved about Muse's set at Coachella this year. Did he tell you how much he loved it?
A: I met him briefly and the first thing he wanted to know about was Devon, which is where we're from. He's friends with Chris Martin, the singer from Coldplay - not many people know Chris is from Devon as well, he's from the place where I went to college. Jay-Z connected on that - he went, "What's going on down in Devon?
A: Devon must be a really cool place". I felt like saying, "Yeah, come over for a cup of tea and check out the sheep and cows" (laughs). It was quite funny that from his point of view it seems like Devon is a happening place, when it's actually a bit of a rural backwater, really - in a good way!
Q: At the Big Day Out in January you said it was time to buy a tractor and disappear to a farm. Is that still on the agenda?
A: Yeah, I've become a sheep farmer. I'm serious, I've got 50 ewes and two rams. As we speak, I'm letting the rams loose on the ewes. I got the sheep mainly because I've got a farm which has got a lot of steep hills, so the grass gets out of control unless you can get grazing animals in there, and it was too steep for cows. I've got Dorset Downs, they're pretty hardy, they can handle the weather.
Q: So you're seriously a farmer now!A: Yeah, I don't bulls---! They're shearing sheep. But the main thing is they keep the land together. I don't live there, it's just land with a couple of jaded barns that need to be renovated. It's a nice place to camp. My long-term plan is to grow industrial hemp for making paper and material, but I haven't got 'round to that. When I stop touring I'm going to hang around there for a while and start shearing sheep.
Q: If you thought about making new music right now, what direction would Muse go?
A: It's too early to say. I like the idea for the next album for all three of us to be living in the same place. It's been a long time since we all lived in the same place, basically when we were in Devon years ago. The last album I was in Italy and those guys came over to stay there for a bit. I like the idea of us all being able to go around each other's house for a jam, not taking it so seriously, getting back to how it was when it first started. So we're trying to agree on an area to live in.
Q: You'll be married by the time the band gets around to making a new album. Well, that's what the gossip mags say.
A: Oh I've got no idea what you're talking about (laughs). No idea at all.
Q: You're tabloid fodder since you started dating Kate Hudson. Are you feeling intruded-upon?
A: Erm, I don't notice it really. It's less invasive than I thought it would be, d'you know what I mean?
A: You hear those people that whinge about it all, but what I've seen it's not that bad.
Q: Is it also that you're so happy with your relationship, who cares if there's a photographer over there?
A: That's definitely part of it, yeah. When you're in a good place you don't really care about all that other stuff.
Q: When you tour with U2, you must get a good lesson in how a band keeps it together for 30 years, let alone 10.
A: Those guys were partying hardcore (laughs). I was impressed. They've given me hope for my late-40s. I don't remember partying that hard in my mid-20s. We were going through a period where we'd been a bit more laid-back, but those guys, they were raging! I remember thinking, "Whoa, maybe the late-40s are not so bad!" (laughs).