These days, Muse appear to have lost the plot: incorporating dubstep into their latest album ‘The 2nd Law’, they’ve become less the power house they once were. There is also the matter of Matt Bellamy, who I have accepted is a songwriting genius, but he comes across as an altogether too proud peacock (even for a male rock star) and it’s when I think about how larger than life his stage persona is, I feel bad for drummer Dom Howard and bassist Chris Wolstenholme, who have to be “okay” with their leader’s various machinations.
Playing ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ reminds us that there was a time before the 2012 London Olympics when Muse were the best in their genre. It’s taken so long for America to get on board the Muse bandwagon and the timing of their success here is quite funny, given that they’re now trying a different direction. With less prominent bass. Groan. I wonder what Wolstenholme thinks of the band now, after doing this great interview with Bass Player magazine in 2009.
It drives me insane when I talk to a casual music fan and they’re saying how great a guitar solo is in a song or how great Guitarist X in a band is. I’m not dissing guitarists and their expertise, but bass players don’t get a lot of credit because people can’t seem to hear or appreciate what they’re playing, unless you’re 1) a bass player yourself or 2) looking specifically for the bass line. One time when I was small, I asked my dad how come the parts for the guitar in a song didn’t match the melody that was sung by the singer, the part I sung along to. He explained that all the parts in a band were supportive to the overall playing of a song and that’s why when you took one part out by itself and played that section, it sounded nothing like what it would sound like if all the parts were playing together at the same time. His was a perfect answer to a child’s question and gave me a measure of awe that all these parts put together make a song? Wow! I sometimes wonder what he thinks about me playing bass instead of piano now. He is probably chuckling.
Below I’ve embedded a very nice bass cover I’ve found (played on a really, really gorgeous axe to boot!), along with the band’s performance of the song at the War Child benefit at Shepherds Bush in February 2013. As is typical with most of these filmed performances of bands, much of the attention is given to Bellamy, but it’s good that they’re still willing to play the “classics” (god, I feel old) and Wolstenholme gets some screen time.