The Best Act In The World To­day’s front­man Matt Bel­lamy has been a busy boy.

Five nights at the O2 and a one­sie party in the desert. It’s been a year of crack­ing ex­tremes for the main Muse man.

Q (UK) - - Contents - IN­TER­VIEW: NIALL DO­HERTY

Ev­ery night on Muse’s all-con­quer­ing Drones tour, Matt Bel­lamy would wait on the lift that el­e­vated him to the stage and won­der if he could do it. For those 30 sec­onds, doubt would fly through the front­man’s mind. “I don’t know if I’m wor­thy of this,” he would think, “I don’t know if I can do what peo­ple want me to do.” Then the lift would rise, the spot­light would shine on him and Matt Bel­lamy Muse Front­man would take a Hulk-like hold as he burst into the crunch­ing riff that be­gan their set ev­ery night. “Lit­er­ally, in the space of a few sec­onds, as the lift comes up, you tran­si­tion from that to being, ‘I am the fuck­ing king of the world!’” he says. The singer is in a cor­ner of the Round­house min­utes af­ter Muse have picked up their Q Award for Best Act In The World To­day and he’s re­flect­ing on the trio’s most suc­cess­ful year yet. Their record-break­ing world tour re­de­fined what a band can do in­side an arena (if they have the money) with its re­volv­ing 360- de­gree stage and an ar­ray of drone-pi­loted stage props. At the cen­tre of it all was Bel­lamy, rev­el­ling in his role as the grand­mas­ter of rock’s most the­atri­cal band. “In my ev­ery­day life, I’m pretty shy and pretty nor­mal, but there’s some­thing else that comes out when you’re thrown into the pit,” he says. In be­tween mul­ti­ple nights at enor­mod­omes, head­lin­ing Glas­ton­bury and all the ac­com­pa­ny­ing high-fly­ing ex­tras you get from being the Best Act In The World To­day, Bel­lamy has also been hon­ing his drone pi­lot skills and man­aged to squeeze in some ac­tion-packed fam­ily out­ings. It sounds fun being Matt Bel­lamy.

HEAD­LIN­ING FIVE NIGHTS AT THE O2 ARENA

“It was amazing. On one day, I got to walk on the roof of the O2 be­fore the show. That’s the first mem­ory that comes to mind apart from the amazing con­certs, hik­ing up there and the bril­liant, amazing views of the Isle Of Dogs and ev­ery­thing. It was nice to sit on top of it and go, ‘Yeah, I’m play­ing five nights here.’ You can’t ar­gue with that. We did five nights in Milan and Paris too but the O2 was the biggest one. We broke a record there for the high­est at­ten­dance. We couldn’t have done mul­ti­ple nights a few years ago be­cause you need to have a lot of songs and a lot of cat­a­logue. We had a lot of these deep cuts that we could throw in, chang­ing two or three songs ev­ery night. It sounds cheesy to say, but the last night was prob­a­bly my favourite cos that was the night we had a party. All the nights be­fore that was play­ing a show and get­ting straight in a car and go­ing straight home and being in my apart­ment look­ing at the wall go­ing, ‘Oh my God, I just played to 20,000 peo­ple, it doesn’t make sense.’ I would just go home and watch The Walk­ing Dead. It was nice cos Lon­don is al­ways the place where a bunch of old mates from school that I haven’t seen for years come out and I get to hang out with them. Do­ing five nights takes the edge off cos we could ac­tu­ally spread the guests out and do them in small doses… ‘Right, now it’s the cousins from York­shire, to­mor­row is the weird, long-lost Aus­tralian fam­ily.’ It was nice to have all those nights to see them, even old teach­ers from school. A whole range of peo­ple.”

GO­ING TO SEE HARRY POT­TER AND THE CURSED CHILD FOR BING’S fifth BIRTHDAY

“With my ex ac­tress Kate Hud­son], we’ve man­aged to keep a good friend­ship to­gether and we have a great time with the kids and Bing has al­ways been a mas­sive Harry

“If this all doesn’t work out, I’d love to be A drone cam­era­man.”

Pot­ter fan. We did presents in the morn­ing, I got him a skate ramp to put in the yard area and he loved that, and then we took him out to see Harry Pot­ter And The Cursed Child [ the stage play cur­rently show­ing in Lon­don’s West End]. It was in two parts. It was kind of on the heavy side; I’ll be hon­est, it’s more aimed at the 10- plus kids and he’s five. It’s def­i­nitely got some dark shit in there. There are some re­ally ma­jor dad/son is­sues in that play and part one ended with the de­menters lit­er­ally fly­ing around you. Bing was like, ‘What the fuck!’ and I was pretty freaked out! We went back home, we had a cake that was like a skate­board, a skate­board cake, and we were like, ‘Is he up for it, are we gonna go back for part two?’ and he came down and was like, ‘Let’s do this.’ It was pretty amazing. I rec­om­mend it.”

TAK­ING MY DAD TO PRIME MIN­IS­TER’S QUES­TIONS

“Ba­si­cally, our man­ager Peter Men­sch, his wife [ for­mer Con­ser­va­tive MP Louise] used to work there so he got us an in. I was sat in Prime Min­is­ter’s Ques­tions on the day that Cameron re­signed, the day that he ba­si­cally was done. It was a great time in Parliament, just sat with all those peo­ple. To be hon­est with you, I was pretty blown away. It was a great day out for my dad cos he’s spent his whole life watch­ing Prime Min­is­ter’s Ques­tions. We had a lovely day to­gether. You get in there and you have to go through a se­cu­rity check and stuff, and then there are these real old dudes with the wigs on and ev­ery­thing. They give you the low­down of what you can and can’t do; you can’t make a noise, you can’t take your phone in, and they walk you through and sit you down and give you a sched­ule. I was tempted to stand up and start shout­ing some­thing at one point. When you’re ac­tu­ally in it, you do per­ceive it dif­fer­ently to how you do on TV. Sometimes you hear about ‘how I met this fa­mous per­son, some ac­tor or mu­si­cian and they were just so nor­mal’, but it wasn’t like that when I went there. When I saw all these faces and wit­nessed what they were ac­tu­ally de­bat­ing about, the level that they’re op­er­at­ing at, I did go, ‘Wow, these re­ally are quite weird peo­ple.’ Look­ing at it, I wasn’t sure if I could do it.”

a ROAD TRIP IN ICE­LAND

“We did a con­cert there so while there, we thought, ‘We might as well go on a trip.’ We went in­land, a few hours’ drive away from Reyk­javik, to all the vol­canic ar­eas, where there are no peo­ple around for miles and miles. We climbed moun­tains, we went into lava caves. Also, it was a chance for me to re­ally learn how to be­come a drone pi­lot cos there are no reg­u­la­tions there at all. I could just fly the drone and dis­cover all these amazing things. Some of those things I don’t think have ever been filmed be­fore; there’s this one wa­ter­fall and it was in the mid­dle of nowhere. It’s a tem­po­rary wa­ter­fall that only oc­curs when the glacier melts at cer­tain points in the year. We had these big off-road ve­hi­cles, so we drove as close as we could get to it and then I got the drone out and start­ing film­ing. I felt like I was David At­ten­bor­ough. If this all doesn’t work out, I’d love to be a drone

“We went to a one­sie party: we dressed up in one­sies. I was a tiger and we had hooks on our tails and we danced around.”

cam­era­man. When you have a cou­ple of days off, you’ve got to ex­plore. That’s the whole point of tour­ing, I think.”

MY SEC­OND TIME AT BURN­ING MAN FES­TI­VAL

“You know, when you see pic­tures of Wood­stock and how crazy that seemed, and now we live in an age where fes­ti­vals are not quite like that? Well, Burn­ing Man is like that, but times 10, I’d say. For any­body who wants to ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing that is truly of our times, some­thing that will be looked back upon in terms of ‘I can’t be­lieve that hap­pened’, Burn­ing Man is in that cat­e­gory. It’s just wild. It’s a mas­sive cos­tume party, everyone is nice to everyone, it feels safe, it’s the safest place you could ever be. It’s also the wildest place you could ever be. My favourite mo­ment was when we went to a one­sie party: we dressed up in one­sies. I was a tiger and we had lit­tle hooks on our tails, we danced around. You don’t need to take any drugs to be fucked there. What you see and what you ex­pe­ri­ence is enough to make you go, ‘This is so dif­fer­ent to any­thing in re­al­ity.’ It’s not for the faint-hearted, the weather is ex­treme. It’s re­ally hot desert heat in the day­time, freez­ing at night, and there are dust storms. You have to wear dust masks a lot of the time. It’s for peo­ple who want to be wild, any­one who likes dressing up and stuff – it’s the chance to be who­ever you want to be. We had an RV and stayed in that. This was my sec­ond time, the first time I was ner­vous cos I had no idea what to ex­pect. The sec­ond time I was way more re­laxed and en­joyed it far more. I was just float­ing around, sleep­ing ran­domly in ran­dom places.”

It has been an event­ful year for the Muse front­man and now comes the time for his “pretty shy and pretty nor­mal” al­ter-ego to take con­trol as the band en­joy some down­time. It won’t be long be­fore Bel­lamy gets that itch, though, and what he de­scribes as “some deeper layer of my own self ” starts cry­ing out for at­ten­tion. This is, af­ter all, the man who sat on top of the O2 like it was a throne. Matt Bel­lamy: king of the world.

They can die happy now: Muse – of­fi­cially the Best Act In The World To­day (from left, Matt Bel­lamy, Chris Wol­sten­holme and Do­minic Howard), Round­house, Lon­don, 2 November, 2016. Happy fifth birthday! Bel­lamy with ex-part­ner Kate Hud­son, son Bing and Hud­son’s son Ry­der.

(From top) Bel­lamy with his dad, Ge­orge, at the Houses of Parliament for some “re­ally quite weird” Prime Min­is­ter’s Ques­tions; driv­ing through Ice­land with the band be­fore some drone pi­lot­ing; get­ting out there at the Burn­ing Man fes­ti­val in Ne­vada (one­sie not pic­tured).

King of the world! Muse play Lon­don’s O2 Arena, as part of their five-night Drones tour res­i­dency, April 2016.

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