Matt Bellamy of Muse Says Rock Bands Have 'One Foot in the Past'

Muse singer/guitarist Matt Bellamy says the guitar's place in popular music is much different now than when he and his bandmates started their career in the mid-'90s. 

Bellamy says that nowadays the guitar is less a lead instrument and that's okay with him.

"The guitar has become a textural instrument rather than a lead instrument," Bellamy told the BBC. "And I think that's probably a good thing. What's exciting about this period of music is you can mix classical with hip-hop and rock in the same song. As a rock band you're slightly one foot in the past, playing instruments like guitar, bass and drums."

The guitarist says he keeps up with what's on that pop charts. He says if you look at it objectively, you'll see that most of the top artists are employing some level of musical fusion.

He says he thinks a more widespread acceptance of various genres has broken down barriers between people. Think about it: when you were a teen, did you hang out with kids who liked the same music as you?

"It's almost like genre was an aesthetic that people attached themselves to, not just in music but also in the way they dressed and the kind of friends they hung around with," Bellamy continued. "I feel like that age has come to an end and what's interesting about music now is not just the style-blending but the era-blending."

He offered alt-pop darling Lana Del Ray as an example, saying Del Ray's aesthetic seems almost of the 1950s yet her lyrics deal with contemporary subjects.

But another rocker from Bellamy's generation sees things differently. Jack White said in a recent interview that a rock revival is "about to happen."

White said through working with his record label, he's seen the next wave of big rock acts and he thinks they're primed for the pop world sooner than later. 

"And I can tell in the last couple years it's definitely different than it was five years ago" White said. "So I can tell something's about to explode again." 

Muse, of course, has always created guitar-based music, although the band has famously incorporated orchestral and electronic elements into its more recent work. 

Even Bellamy's signature Manson guitar expresses his proclivity for genre-bending, in addition to the usual setup it also includes a killswitch and a MIDI touch pad, which allows Bellamy to dramatically reshape his guitar's signal onstage. 

Muse has yet to announce its new album's title or release date, though the band did release a new song, "Thought Contagion," earlier this month.

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Photo: Getty Images



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