Thursday, January 6, 2011

About Muse, Britain's Super Band Of Today

Thanks, Wikipedia.

Muse is a British rock band from Teignmouth, Devon, formed in 1994.

The band consists of Matthew Bellamy (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards) [born June 9, 1978], Christopher Wolstenholme (bass, backing vocals, keyboards, guitar, harmonica) [born December 2, 1978] and Dominic Howard (drums, percussion, synthesisers, backing vocals, sampling) [born December 7, 1977].

Muse is known for its energetic and extravagant live performances, and its fusion of progressive rock, alternative rock, pop, heavy metal and electronica.

Muse has released five studio albums: Showbiz (1999), Origin Of Symmetry (2001), Absolution (2003), Black Holes And Revelations (2006) and The Resistance (2009).

The band has also issued three live albums, Hullabaloo Soundtrack (2002), Absolution Tour (2005) and HAARP (2008).

Muse has also won numerous music awards, 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.

Muse had sold over 10 million albums worldwide.

The members of Muse played in separate school bands during their stay at Teignmouth Community College in the early 1990s, but the formation of Muse began when Bellamy successfully auditioned for the part of guitarist in Howard's band.

They asked Wolstenholme – who played the drums – to learn to play bass guitar for the band.

Matt and Dom's first band name was Gothic Plague.

After Gothic Plague came Fixed Penalty and Rocket Baby Dolls.

In 1994, the band adopted Muse as its name.

The name was inspired by Bellamy's art teacher Samuel Theoun who mentioned the word Muse to him.

Muse played its first gigs in London and Manchester.

The band had a significant meeting with Dennis Smith, the owner of Sawmills Studio, situated in a converted water mill in Cornwall.

He had seen the boys grow up as he knew their parents.

This meeting led to their first proper recordings and the release of the Muse EP.

Its second EP, the Muscle Museum, reached number 3 in the indie singles chart.

Smith introduced the band to Safta Jaffery with whom he had recently started the record label Taste Media.

Muse signed with Smith and Jaffery and recorded three albums, Showbiz, Origin Of Symmetry and Absolution with Taste Media.

In 1998, Muse signed a deal with Maverick Records.

Upon their return from America, Taste Media arranged deals for Muse with various record labels in Europe and Australia, allowing them to maintain control over their career in individual countries.

During production of Origin Of Symmetry, the band experimented with instrumentation such as a church organ.

Bellamy cites guitar influences such as Jimi Hendrix and Tom Morello (of Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave) in the band's works.

Absolution (produced by Rich Costey) was released in 2003 and debuted at number one in the UK.

The album yielded its first top ten hit with Time Is Running Out.

The band played at the Glastonbury Festival in June 2004. After the festival, the band described the concert as "the best gig of our lives".

However, Howard's father, William Howard, who was at the festival to watch the band, died from a heart attack shortly after the performance.

The single Butterflies & Hurricanes was dedicated to Dom's father.

Muse won two MTV Europe awards, including Best Alternative Act and a Q Award for Best Live Act that year.

Muse also received an award for Best Live Act at the 2005 BRIT Awards.

In 2006, Muse released Black Holes And Revelations, co-produced by Muse and Rich Costey.

The album's title and themes are the result of the band's fascination with science fiction and political outrage.

The album charted at No. 1 in the UK, much of Europe and Australia.

It was also a success in the United States, reaching number nine on the Billboard 200 album chart.

In 2008, the band members received honorary doctorates of arts from the University of Plymouth for their contributions to music.

In 2010, Muse came up with the song Love Is Forever for the soundtrack of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.

Muse has 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 artiste."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pete Postlethwaite - A Fine British Actor

Thanks, Wikipedia.

Pete Postlethwaite, who passed away after a long illness on January 2, 2011, will always be remembered as a fine British actor.

Born on February 7, 1945 in Warrington, Cheshire, the United Kingdom, he taught drama at Loreto College, Manchester before training as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Postlethwaite started his acting career at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre where his colleagues included Bill Nighy (Pirates Of The Caribbean), Jonathan Pryce (Tomorrow Never Dies) and Julie Walters (Mamma Mia).

Postlethwaite, who subsequently joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Walters had an intimate relationship during the latter half of the 1970s.

After routine appearances for television programmes such as The Professionals, Postlethwaite starred in the film Distant Voices, Still Lives in 1988.

He received an Academy Award nomination for his role in In The Name Of The Father in 1993.

Other major films he starred in were The Usual Suspects, Alien 3, Amistad, The Constant Gardener, Inception and Baz Luhrmann's Romeo And Juliet (with Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes).

Steven Spielberg called Postlethwaite "the best actor in the world" after working with him in The Lost World.

To this Postlethwaite modestly replied: "I'm sure what Spielberg actually said was, Pete's the best actor in The Lost World."

Postlethwaite co-starred with Sean Bean of The Lord Of The Rings, Don't Say A Word and Goldeneye fame in the British television series Sharpe.

It was his most famous television series.

In 2004, he received the Order Of The British Empire (OBE) from Queen Elizabeth 2 of the United Kingdom.

His most recent film was Clash Of The Titans.