Muse are an English rock band from Teignmouth, Devon, formed in 1994. The band consists of school friends Matthew Bellamy (lead vocals, guitars, piano, keyboards, keytar), Christopher Wolstenholme (bass, backing vocals, keyboards, guitars, harmonica) and Dominic Howard (drums, percussion, synthesisers, backing vocals, sampling). After the release of their 2006 album Black Holes and Revelations, keyboardist and percussionist Morgan Nicholls has performed live with the band. Muse are known for their energetic and extravagant live performances,[ and their fusion of many music genres, including progressive rock, alternative rock, space rock, pop music, heavy metal, and electronica, with recurring themes of revolution.
Muse have released five studio albums: Showbiz (1999), Origin of Symmetry (2001), Absolution (2003), Black Holes and Revelations (2006), and The Resistance (2009). The band have also issued three live albums, Hullabaloo Soundtrack (2002), which is also a compilation of B-sides, Absolution Tour (2005), and HAARP (2008).
Black Holes and Revelations earned the band a Mercury Prize nomination and a third place finish in the NME Albums of the Year list for 2006. Muse have also won numerous other music awards throughout their history, including five MTV Europe Music Awards, five Q Awards, eight NME Awards, two BRIT awards, an MTV Video Music Award, four Kerrang! Awards and an American Music Award. They were also nominated for three Grammy Awards,[ of which they won Best Rock Album for their fifth studio album, The Resistance. As of November 2010, Muse have sold over ten million albums worldwide.
Muse are an alternative rock band, and are often associated with space rock and progressive rock. Some of their music mixes elements from genres such electronica, classical music and rock opera. Many Muse songs are recognisable by lead vocalist Matthew Bellamy's use of falsetto and vibrato influenced primarily by Jeff Buckley. As a guitarist, Bellamy often utilises arpeggiator and Pitch-shift effects to create a more "electric" sound, citing Jimi Hendrix and Tom Morello as influences for this method. As a band overall, Bassist Christopher Wolstenholme lists the band's largest influences as Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, and Rage Against the Machine.
Muse's album Black Holes and Revelations was influenced by various styles of European and Asian music. "I've been listening to quite a lot of music from the south of Italy on this album", Bellamy admits. "I've been living in Italy for a while, and I discovered this music from Naples, which sounds like a mix of music from Africa, Croatia, Turkey, and Italy. It kind of gives it a mystical sound, so I think that's one thing that influenced the album. I like being influenced by things that have a mixed style".
Muse have cited Queen as an influence. Queen guitarist Brian May has praised Muse's work, calling the band "extraordinary musicians" who "let their madness show through, always a good thing in an artist." In particular, Dominic Howard noted the influence of Queen on "United States of Eurasia".
On the band's association with progressive rock, Dominic Howard has said: "I associate it with 10-minute guitar solos, but I guess we kind of come into the category. A lot of bands are quite ambitious with their music, mixing lots of different styles — and when I see that I think it's great. I've noticed that kind of thing becoming a bit more mainstream."