Social Code (formerly Fifth Season) was a Canadian alternative rock band from St. Albert, Alberta.
Social Code was founded in 1999 by the High School Friends Travis Nesbitt (vocals) and Logan Jacobs (bass) under the name Fifth Season. David Hesse (guitar) and Andrew Patrick (drums) completed the quartet.
The first album “Patiently Waiting” was released in 2001. After the release, the band decided to change the band name to Social Code, as a band named the Fifth Season existed in Italy.
In 2003, Ben Shillabeer replaced the drummer Andrew Patrick. At the end of the same year Social Code secured their first record deal with Interscope records and published their first album “A Year at the Movies” in May 2004.
This was followed by a tour on which the band appeared as an Opener for Rise Against, Fall Out Boy, Deftones and Good Charlotte. In 2004, Chris Ruddy replaced the guitarist David Hesse. However, he was only in the band for only one year. In 2005, Morgan Gies took over as lead guitarist.
Previous experience with high profile producer Howard Benson (The All-American Rejects, Hawthorne Heights, My Chemical Romance) in Los Angeles gave the band the experience and the necessary self-confidence to create a new record on their own. They built their own recording studio in which they spent the next year to work on their second album titled Social-Code, which was released in May 2007 in Canada. The album was successful with the singles Bomb Hands, The Shortest Line, Everyday (Late November) and He Said, She Said standing out the most. Social Code toured with Sum 41 and Finger Eleven on their Strength In Numbers Tour.
On April 3, 2009, the band announced that they completed another album. This album was produced by John Travis (Kid Rock, Buckcherry) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and mixed by Mike Fraser (AC / DC, Hinder, Aerosmith). In advance, the single Satisfied was published on on iTunes. After that followed a tour of Canada. In the same year, Steve Faulkner joined the band as second guitarists.
In mid-2012, the band announced their dissolution.
I took pictures of Social Code at the Stage 13 music festival in Camrose, Alberta, Canada on July 8, 2004:
Queens of the Stone Age (also known as QOTSA or simply Queens) is an American band from Palm Desert, California.
In 1996 the band Kyuss, pioneer of Stoner Rock and Stoner Metal, dissolved after four studio albums and its former members joined new projects. The guitarist Josh Homme joined Screaming Trees, bassist Nick Oliveri the punk rock band Dwarves, the drummer Brant Bjork played with Fu Manchu and the vocalist John Garcia formed Slo Burn and later Unida.
In 1997 Homme was living in Seattle and was on tour with Screaming Trees when he contacted Matt Cameron, departed Soundgarden drummer, to record some demos under the name of Gamma Ray. However, there was already a German Power Metal band called Gamma Ray, so Homme decided to change the name to Queens of the Stone Age. This came from Chris Goss of Master of Reality and Producer, who said: “Boys, you sound like the queens of the stone age“.
A year later the band began recording their first album and in style defined by Josh Homme as Robot Rock. The album was distributed by Loosegroove Records, an independent record label founded by Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard.
With Nick Oliveri and Dave Catching as full time members, QOTSA embarked on a world tour that lasted two years, and in which they supported such bands as Bad Religion, Rage Against the Machine or The Smashing Pumpkins.
The band’s second album “Rated R” was produced by Josh and Chris Goss and directed by Trina Shoemaker. Interscope Records released the album on June 6, 2000. Rob Halford of Judas Priest collaborated on the album.
Album Rated R turned out to be successful thanks to the controversial single “Feel Good Hit of the Summer“, whose lyrics contain only sever words: nicotine, valium, vicoden, marijuana, ecstasy, alcohol and cocaine.
At the end of 2001 and the beginning of 2002, Homme managed to recruit Dave Grohl of Nirvana to take over the drums. The third album “Songs for the Deaf” has achieved success at an international level, thanks, in part, to the poster that featured Dave Grohl on the drums. The album sold 900 000 copies in the USA, but despite its success, Dave Grohl left QOTSA to focus on his project the Foo Fighters. He was replaced on the drums by Joey Castillo.
In February 2004 the band lost two of its founding members: Nick Oliveri and Mark Lanegan. In 2005, Homme, together with the multi-instrumentalist of Eleven Alain Johannes and the rest of the band members – Van Leeuwen and Castillo, recorded the fourth studio album of Queens of the Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze. The title was taken from the lyrics of “Mosquito Song”, a song from the band’s previous album. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Shirley Manson of Garbage, and Brody Dalle of Distillers (as well as then wife of Homme) contributed to the album.
In November of that same year, the band released a double disc titled “Over The Years and Through The Woods“, which contained a CD and a DVD of a concert that the band played in August at the Carling Academy Brixton in London, UK. The DVD also featured unpublished images of the band from 1998 to 2005.
In 2007, QOTSA released album Era Vulgaris, on which such artists as Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes and again Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top collaborated.
In November 2012 Josh Homme announced through the BBC that Joey Castillo has left the group, and would be replaced by John Theodore of The Mars Volta.
In June 2013, the sixth album “Like Clockwork” was released. It featured artists such as Elton John, Alex Turner, Trent Reznor, Dave Grohl, and the brief return of Nick Oliveri.
In 2017, Queens of the Stone Age released album “Villains“. The Teaser Trailer for the album took the form of a satire comedy with the band performing a polygraph test with Liam Lynch and presented a fragment of the song “Feet do Not Fail Me“. The first single, “The Way You Used To Do” was released the next day along with the announcement of a world tour.
I took pictures of Queens of the Stone Age on April 11, 2005 at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Their opening act was Throw Rag:
Throw Rag is a rock punk band from the Sea Salton, California, United States. The band’s music style is most often characterized as Rockabilly, Punk Rock, Psychobilly and Sailor Rock, but have used elements of traditional rock and roll, country and surf in their songs.
Frontman Sean Wheeler, nicknamed Captain Sean Doe, Diamond Boss, or Sun Trash is the only remaining member who’s been with the band from the beginning. Other current members are guitarist Patrick Bostrom nicknamed Dino, or Dean McQueen, bassist Frank Cronin nicknamed Franco Fontana, or New Emperor of Rome, and keyboardist Daniel Lapham nicknamed Scorcho.
Throw Rag was formed in October 1993. The founding members were singer Sean Wheeler, drummer Roger Smith nicknamed Chino, guitarist Dan Lapham nicknamed Scorcho, bassist Danny Black nicknamed Talmadge and guitarist Michael McCartney nicknamed The Outlaw.
The band’s album 13 Feet and Rising featured a cover of Merle Haggard “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down” featuring guest vocals by Lemmy of Motörhead.
I took pictures of Throw Rag on April 11, 2005 at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where they opened for Queens of the Stone Age:
King’s X is an American progressive metal band notorious for their spiritual lyrics and sophisticated music.
The group has its beginnings in 1980, when Doug Pinnick and Jerry Gaskill, who had met before on recording and touring with Phil Keaggy and toured with the Christian rock band Petra, recruited Ty Tabor to join them. Calling themselves The Edge, the group performed extensively on the Springfield, Missouri bar and club circuit. The band specialized in doing Top 40 covers. By 1983, the band’s name had changed to Sneak Preview and they began recording original material. Sneak Preview released the self-titled LP in 1984 with only original material.
The group moved to Houston, Texas with the promise of a recording contract, but the deal fell through. However, it was there that the group met Sam Taylor, then the vice president of ZZ Top‘s production company. Taylor quickly became the band’s mentor and convinced them to change their name to King’s X. Taylor was the instrument that helped the band secure a contract with Megaforce Records in 1987. Taylor would soon become the band’s manager, producer and mentor, and was declared the fourth member of the group.
The group released their first album as King’s X, titled “Out of the Silent Planet“, in 1988. Despite being well-treated by critics, the album did not do well commercially, peaking at number 144 on the album chart from Billboard. The band’s 1989 release, “Gretchen Goes to Nebraska” did slightly better from a commercial standpoint. Significantly, the video clip “Over My Head” received moderate support from MTV and radio. The increased exposure proved beneficial when the band released their third album “Faith, Hope, Love” in the fall of 1990.
Faith, Hope, Love was the band’s first album to reach the US Top 100, with the help of the hit single “It’s Love“. The band opened for AC/DC on a US and European tour during the first half of 1991. They also toured with Living Color at the peak of their popularity. The band signed with Atlantic Records for their next release.
The band released their fourth album, “King’s X“, in the spring of 1992. But tensions that surfaced with Taylor led to it being the group’s most unfocused effort, and the album didn’t sell as well as “Faith, Hope, Love“. The single from the album – “Black Flag” received only moderate support from MTV. Shortly after the release of King’s X, the band got rid of Taylor. Details of the separation have not been made public, but it is believed that there was a strong fight. Then King’s X took about a year to consider their collective future. The band members pursued other non-musical purposes, notably guitarist Ty Tabor doing semi-professional motorcycling.
In any case, by 1992 grunge was at its peak, and the band’s signature sound didn’t quite match that of commercially successful acts like Soundgarden or Pearl Jam (even though, ironically, King’s X was largely responsible for inspiring grunge, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament once said: “King’s X invented grunge“). Looking for a new sound and flavor (though not necessarily grunge), the band enlisted producer Brendan O’Brien, who had recently produced the first album for Stone Temple Pilots and the second for Pearl Jam.
The album that resulted, 1994’s “Dogman“, featured a much more muscular and heavier sound from the group, along with less abstract and spiritual lyrics. The album received a major promotional push from Atlantic and the band enjoyed a very successful tour, with an appearance at the Woodstock 94 festival in August. But despite the group’s Top 100 return, the album did not achieve the sales Atlantic hoped for, and the label’s support for the band quickly faded.
The band’s third release with Atlantic, 1996’s “Ear Candy“, would also be their last (not including a subsequent compilation) with the label. Although it sold well to the band’s fans, it lacked the mainstream success of previous efforts. The album was soon unavailable, and it seemed that the group’s opportunity for commercial success had come and gone.
The group switched to Metal Blade Records in 1998. Their first album for that label, “Tape Head“, signaled a new era for the band. They modified their creative methods by writing and recording the album together in the studio, rather than coming together to record songs that the band members had written individually. The next two albums, “Please Come Home … Mr. Bulbous” and “Manic Moonlight” were created in this same way.
For their next album, “Black Like Sunday“, the group arranged and recorded an album filled with songs that the band had performed regularly before releasing their first album for MegaForce Records, “Out of the Silent Planet“.
“Live All Over The Place” was the band’s final album for Metal Blade Records, and their first official live release. In the period with Metal Blade, the members of King’s X (as a group and individually) were musically prolific, releasing a number of solo albums (such as Doug Pinnick’s PoundHound and Emotional Animal albums, Naomi’s Solar Pumpkin, Moonflower Lane, and Safety by Ty Tabor, and Jerry Gaskill’s musically intriguing Come Somewhere), and side projects (such as Ty Tabor’s work with Platypus, Jughead, and The Jelly Jam). Doug Pinnick replaced Living Color lead vocalist Corey Glover on the European tour of August 2006.
The band’s last album, titled “Ogre Tones“, was released in September 2005 through the InsideOut Music label. It was produced by famous rock producer Michael Wagener (Dokken, Extreme, Stryper, White Lion, Skid Row) at WireWorld Studio.
King’s X has struggled in the past with being identified as a Christian rock band. Many of their lyrics have a clear message of influence, but it comes from the individual faith of the members, and not from an attempt to enter the market in the way that groups like Stryper did. Their albums used to be heavily marketed in Christian bookstores, but after Pinnick announced in 1998 that he was gay, the albums were removed from Christian places. This also caused the band to lose a large number of its Christian fans.
Ty Tabor has indicated in several interviews that King’s X was not a Christian rock band. King’s X’s spiritual lyrics are less prominent on their latest releases, despite the band continuing to use spiritual themes in their music.
I took pictures of King’s X on October 29, 2004 at Starlite ROom in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada:
Michael White & the White is an American hard rock band often performing as a Led Zeppelin cover band. The band was formed by singer Michael White.
Michael White started his music career in 1973, when he played with the likes of Mick Brown and George Lynch of Dokken fame. He was also involved in the beginnings of London and Mötley Crüe.
White formed The White in 1977 with guitarist Lanny Cordola from Giuffria, and House of Lords.
In 1986, Michael White recorded the debut album at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany, where Led Zeppelin recorded their album Presence. The album was produced by Reinhold Mack, with Robert Plant assisting in a securing contract with Atlantic Records.
The album featured W.A.S.P. guitarist Randy Piper, Alan St Johns from the band Billy Squier, Bobby Chouinard from the band Gary Moore, and Danny Bilan from Moxy. The White then recorded two CDs for the Griffin Music label: Michael White / The White (1990) and Michael White Plays the Music of Led Zeppelin (1994), which were later re-released as a double album under the title A Tribute To Led Zeppelin – Study Sessions, Volume One and Volume Two.
In 2005, Cleopatra Records approached White to record a Led Zeppelin tribute album titled “Led Box” that also featured Blue Öyster Cult’s Eric Bloom, Pat Travers, Rainbow’s Joe Lynn Turner, Rick Derringer, Rick Wakeman of Yes, Steve Morse of Deep Purple and Keith Emerson of ELP.
In 2009, White created “Orchestral Zeppelin” and toured Canada performing with volunteer orchestras in each city.
I took pictures of Michael White & the White on September 30, 2004 at Starlite Room in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada:
SNFU is a Canadian punk band from Edmonton, founded in 1981.
SNFU gained a legendary reputation as a skatepunk band in the 1980s. In the 1990s they switched to the well-known punk label Epitaph Records, where they released three albums and then broke up.
In 2000 they got back together with a new line-up to release a new EP on Alternative Tentacles. However, this did not have much success in the scene.
In 2007, after many years, a new studio album was released on their own label Rake Records called In The Meantime And In Between Time. The album titles of the band basically consist of seven words. The abbreviation SNFU originally stands for “Society’s No Fucking Use“.
In 2012 the Canadian author Chris Walter published the biography “SNFU: What No One Else Wanted To Say“.
In November 2019, singer Ken Chinn reported that he had been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness that could soon be fatal. He then recorded a solo single with orchestral versions of Hurt (originally by Johnny Cash and later covered by Nine Inch Nails) and Painful Reminder by SNFU, which was released in June 2020. Ken Chinn died on July 16, 2020 at the age of 57.
I took pictures of SNFU at Starlite ROom in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on November 20, 2004:
Ministry is an American industrial metal band from Chicago, Illinois.
Ministry was founded in 1981 by Alain Jourgensen (also Alien Jourgensen or Al Jourgensen for short) in Chicago as a pure synth-pop project. In the middle of the 80s the sound changed, influences from industrial and EBM were added. A few years later, using rhythm guitars, the industrial metal style that Ministry is known for was fully developed, culminating in style-defining albums.
At that time, Ministry consisted of Paul Barker (bass) alongside Al Jourgensen. In addition, Ministry was a central part of a wide network of musicians from various bands, which resulted in a number of side projects (including releases with members of Front 242 as Revolting Cocks; with the Dead Kennedys vocalist Jello Biafra as Lard; and with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails as 1000 homo DJs). In addition, Jourgensen was involved in the Skinny Puppy album Rabies, whose style he decisively and clearly influenced.
The subtitle of their song Psalm 69 (The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs) quotes a play on words from “Magick” by Aleister Crowley.
The band Ministry is identified by the Jourgensen’s character, who attracted attention through frequent drug excesses. He has been reanimated twice because of cardiac arrest due to heroin use. But he has overcome this phase and satirized with the cynical album title The Dark Side of the Spoon, derived from Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.
Of note is Jourgensen’s political engagement against the Republicans. Ministry’s reference work Psalm 69 (1992) is peppered with original speeches from, among others, George Bush Sr., which are integrated into the songs in the form of samples. Jourgensen also uses this stylistic device on other albums. The 2004 album “Houses of the Molé” contains samples of speeches by George W. Bush. Many Bush’s speeches can be found in the album Rio Grande Blood, especially in the song by the same name.
In May 2006, Jourgensen announced that, following the upcoming world tour, he would immediately begin work on what is likely to be his last Ministry album (working title: The Last Sucker) and would then focus more on his newly founded label.
On October 20, 2007, bassist Paul Raven was found dead in his home in France, near the Swiss border. Raven died of a heart attack and was 46 years old.
On June 10, 2008, the band broke off a concert on their farewell tour in Hamburg after the audience had thrown (sometimes full) cups at the group and the band’s crew members.
On June 24, 2008, a fan under the influence of drugs attacked the band with tear gas during the show in Toulouse, France, after which the concert was interrupted for 15 minutes. After the perpetrator was caught by the band’s truck driver and handed over to the police, Al Jourgensen insisted on continuing the show.
On July 19th and 20th, 2008 Ministry gave what they said were their last concerts at the Tripod Club in Dublin, Ireland.
However in an interview with the American Metal Hammer, Al Jourgensen announced the return of the band and the work on a new album, which would be called Relapse and which should be released for Christmas 2011. However, it was not released until March 23, 2012.
Guitarist Mike Scaccia died, presumably of a heart attack on December 23, 2012 while performing at the Rail Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, also just called Thrill Kill Kult or TKK is an industrial rock band from Chicago, Illinois.
Thrill Kill Kult is the name given to the band by Frankie Nardiello, who was Ministry’s light technician on their 1986 tour. Frankie wrote his first songs with Alain Jourgensen, the charismatic frontman of Ministry and one of their songs was called “Thrill Kill Kult“. On this occasion, with Alain Jourgensen on guitar and Harry Rushakoff on drums, Nardiello formed the group Special Affect, a project that was never to come. Soon after, Nardiello and a friend Marston Daley worked on the music for a movie Hammerhead Housewife and the Thrill Kill Kult, a movie that never found a broadcaster. Although it hasn’t been released, Wax Trax! Records published the soundtrack of the film as a maxi containing three tracks.
Under the pseudonyms “Groovie Mann” (Nardiello) and “Buzz McCoy” (Daley), they officiated as My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. Since their first 3 tracks were selling well, they were offered a deal on a full album. Named “I See Good Spirits and I See Bad Spirits“, the album was released in 1988. Loved by both independent radios and DJs, the album brought the band a following that loved as their music so their stage performances.
Thrill Kill Kult’s second album, Confessions of a Knife, remains to this day one of the best sellers of the Wax Trax! Label, and influences many groups, especially with the titles “A Daisy Chain 4 Satan” and “Rivers of Blood, Years of Darkness“.
The occult elements, including Satanism, which were an integral part of their music, have evolved in recent years and the group has reoriented to the “shady” disco sounds. Their 1991 album Sexplosion! tends towards psychedelia, house rhythms and towards what will be the basis of their music to come.
The latest albums have expanded on these sounds and also explored new directions, such as in 1995 with the release of Interscope of Hit & Run Holiday, with which they combine the electronic signature of the Kult’s with psychedelia, surf rock, and reminiscences of garage rock from the 1960s, but still contemporary sounds like those of The B-52’s.
Nardiello and Daley recruited Thomas Thorn (Buck Ryder) to synthesize and administer samples for the band’s first tour. For their live performances, the group has also surrounded themselves with “The Bomb Gang Girlz“, singers who do the second vocals and backing vocals. Among the singers were Jackie Blaque, Rhonda Bond and Kitty Killdare.
Thomas Thorn soon left TKK to found his own group, The Electric Hellfire Club (which embraced the overtly evil themes developed by My Life with the Thrill Kill), although he claims to be the one who introduced dark sounds to TKK. It is more than likely, however, that Thorn’s statements were not meant to be taken seriously, as his involvement in the creative process on TKK’s early albums was minimal.
Among the many touring musicians who played with My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult were singer Lydia Lunch, bassist Levi Levi, guitarist William Tucker, Chris “Curse” Mackey of the Evil Mothers and Grim Faeries, Lady Galore of the famous Lords of Acid (who appears under the pseudonym Cherrie Blue in TKK), and a large number of artists, sound technicians, musicians and filmmakers. At the creative level however, it is the duo Nardiello and Daley who remain at the heart of the creations both in terms of album recordings and live performances.
The Sexplosion! Tour in 1991 brought the band notoriety. At one point in the show, a man dressed as Jesus on his cross, presented a black dildo between his legs, while a woman simulated a fellatio. This controversy has caused anger and sparked protests in a number of places in the United States, while helping to raise the profile of the band.
Thrill Kill Kult have left Wax Trax! Records following their third album, Sexplosion!. The Interscope Records label, having realized the potential of the group, signed TKK, reissued Sexplosion! and released their most popular alternative radio hit, “Sex On Wheelz”, (Factory QC recorded by Marty Munsch). Their next two albums, 13 Above the Night and Hit & Run Holiday, were recorded with Interscope before their departure from the label in 1996. The album A Crime For All Seasons, was released on Red Ant Records.
In 2001, the album The Reincarnation of Luna was released on their own label Sleazebox Records and was distributed by Invisible Records. The band accompanied the title Luna with an album Golden Pillz: The Luna Remixes, as well as a live album called Elektrik Inferno. Rykodisc then became the new label of the group and released a compilation of Dirty Little Secrets rarities, and a project Gay, Black & Married.
I took pictures of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult when they opened for Ministry after Hanzel und Gretyl at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall on October 1, 2004:
Hanzel und Gretyl is an American metal band formed in New York in 1993 by Kaizer von Loopy and Vas Kallas.
Kallas had previously sung with Cycle Sluts from Hell, among others. After joining with Kaizer von Loopy, the two took on the roles of the two protagonists from the well-known fairy tale Hanzel und Gretyl, and moved the plot into the future. The intent was to represent a facet of the fairy tale in each album release.
After the release of their Demos Children’s Music (1994), a song appeared on the compilation COP International Chaos. Energy Records took notice of the group and signed them up in 1995.
In 1995 the album Ausflippt (Energy Records) was released, and the band played concert with Ginger Bread (bass) and Pat 5000 (drums). Between 1995 and 1996 Hanzel und Gretyl went on a tour as a support band for Marilyn Manson.
In 1997, Transmissions from Uranus was published. The band then toured both as headliners and with greats like Prong, Slipknot, Rammstein and Rob Halfords Fight. 9D Galactic Center appeared on the soundtrack of the film Mortal Kombat 2 – Annihilation that same year.
A live performance at the MTV Video Music Awards 1997 made the group known to a wider audience. Despite this brilliant start, the group was unable to expand their success because their label Energy Records went under.
It was not until 2002 that Hanzel und Gretyl found a new label with Metropolis Records. Über Alles was released in 2002, and Anna K. (Drain STH) and Jon Osterman (Into Darkness) joined the band as touring musicians. In 2004, album Scheissmessiah was released and the group toured as the opening act for Ministry along with Mark Barker as the new drummer.
In 2006 the EP Oktötenfest 2006 was released, and the band toured as headliners through the USA. Next album, titled 2012: Zwanzig Zwölf was released in 2008. In 2010 the band played at the M’era Luna Festival in Hildesheim, Germany..
In 2012 the album Born to be Heiled was released, followed by Black Forest Metal released in 2014. In 2017, Kaizer von Loopy released the debut album Reichstar under his solo project Kyzrwölf, which stylistically ties in with the music of Hanzel and Gretyl. In 2018 the band released the album Satanik Germanik, which continues the style of its predecessor.
Hanzel and Gretyl initially mixed elements from industrial rock with breakbeat and drum-and-bass rhythms. With the album Über alles, the music became significantly more metal-heavy, the breakbeats took a back seat in favor of conventional rock structures and powerful double-bass fills. The current style can be described as a mixture of alternative metal, industrial metal and influences of the new German hardness. The band often uses samples, for example from political speeches, or excerpts from songs by Kraftwerk (I am above everything).
In their lyrics they often use German words (especially in Über alles, Scheissmessiah and 2012: Zwanzig Zwölf) and clear symbols from German history. In the album 2012: Zwanzig Zwölf, “Sieg-Heil” samples were used.
Muse is a British rock band formed in Teignmouth, England in 1994. The band consists of Matthew Bellamy (vocals, guitar, piano and synthesizers), Christopher Wolstenholme (electric bass, vocals, synthesizer) and Dominic Howard (drums and percussion). Muse stylistically combines alternative, hard and progressive rock as well as electronica with elements of classical music to create rock ballads and is assigned to the subgenre New Prog.
The individual members of Muse were initially members of various other bands in the early 1990s while attending Teignmouth Community College. Under the name Rocket Baby Dolls, they took part in a local Battle of The Bands together in 1994 and won. Shortly thereafter, the band members decided to abandon their university plans, quit their jobs, change their names to Muse and move out of Teignmouth.
At this point the band was mainly influenced by rock music from the early 1990s, mostly from America. The band was oriented towards grunge and wanted to offer an alternative to the highly popular Britpop. After a series of concerts in London and Manchester looking for a market for their music, the band met Dennis Smith, who owned a recording studio called Sawmills in Cornwall, England. This meeting led to the first real studio recordings, which were released as an EP under the name Muse on the Sawmills label Dangerous. Their second EP called Muscle Museum caught the attention of British journalist Steve Lamacq and the weekly British music publication NME. After the EP was released, Dennis Smith co-founded music producer Taste Media, which released Muse’s first three albums.
With the second EP Muse achieved a small success. While the big British record companies were still hesitant to offer Muse a contract (the band’s sound was too close to Radiohead), the Americans hit it faster: the record company Maverick Records hooked Muse up with a few concerts, and signed them in late 1998.
John Leckie, producer of Radiohead’s influential album The Bends, was approached to help record the first album, Showbiz.
Following the album’s release, Muse opened up for Savage Garden in the United States. In 1999 and 2000 Muse played at several festivals in Europe and gave concerts in Japan and Australia. A fan base established itself in Western Europe, especially in France.
The band began writing their second album, Origin of Symmetry, under pressure from the record company. Muse began experimenting with musical instruments such as the church organ. Falsetto singing and Bellamy’s piano skills were increasingly used.
Origin of Symmetry did not reach the American record stores for the time being. The record company Maverick had doubts about Bellamy’s voice (it was not considered radio compatible) and asked Muse if they would rewrite a few of their songs before they were sold in the US. The band rejected the demand and then separated from Maverick (the album was released in 2005 on the American market, but by Warner).
In 2002 Muse released a double CD called Hullaballoo with 11 unreleased tracks and a live recording of two concerts on two consecutive days at Le Zénith de Paris. It also contains documentation that was mainly recorded by the manager, Tom Kirk. The song Shrinking Universe was used in the trailer of the film 28 Weeks Later.
In 2003, their third studio album, Absolution, was released. Rich Costey, the producer who had previously worked with Rage Against the Machine, was involved. The song Time Is Running Out was used in the trailer for Running Scared.
The single Stockholm Syndrome was only available as a digital file on the Internet and consisted of the song itself, a printable record cover and a music video for the single. The New Musical Express listed the guitar solo at number 19 of the “50 best guitar solos.”
The band embarked on their first international concert tour, which took them to Australia, Europe and the USA within a year. After the concert at the Glastonbury Festival 2004 (Bellamy said after the concert that it was the best of his life), the father of drummer Dominic Howard, who was present at the concert that evening, died of a heart attack.
In late 2004, Bellamy gave MTV an interview in which he said the next Muse album would be “more positive“. While the albums Absolution and Origin of Symmetry can be characterized more with dramatic melancholy or apocalyptic lyrics, the next album will “work with optimism and hope“. Bellamy explained this with the fact that after the tragic death of drummer Dominic Howard’s father, the band went through difficult times and they want to convey this strength to the fans.
In 2005, Vitamin Records released The String Quartet Tribute To Muse.
The band postponed the majority of their planned performances for summer 2006 until further notice. However, they were headliners of the Southside, the Hurricane and the Frequency Festival. The appearance at the Hurricane Festival had to be canceled due to a severe storm.
The album Black Holes and Revelations was released in 2006. Single releases from it were Supermassive Black Hole, Starlight, Knights Of Cydonia, Invincible and Map Of The Problematique.
On June 16, 2007, Muse became the first band to play in London’s newly built Wembley Stadium (after George Michael had given a concert there as the first solo artist). Due to the great demand there was another gig on June 17, 2007. On March 17th, 2008 a live DVD plus CD of the two Wembley concerts was released with the title H.A.A.R.P. Parts of the concert from June 16 can be heard on the CD, while the DVD contains the concert from June 17 and various bonus material.
On May 22, 2009, the title of the new album, The Resistance, was announced via the band’s Twitter account. On August 3, 2009, the first single entitled Uprising was presented on the British radio station BBC Radio 1. A week after the release, Muse topped the official album charts in Great Britain, Germany and a few other countries.
Their almost sold out world tour began in October 2009. During the performance of Exogenesis, a trilogy from the album The Resistance, UFOs appeared in the stage show of several concerts, from which extraterrestrials emerged.
Muse headlined Rock am Ring 2010 and Rock im Park 2010. On June 11th and 12th, 2010 the band played in the Stade de France and on June 26th they headlined the Glastonbury Festival, where Muse performed the U2 song “Where the Streets Have No Name” with U2 guitarist The Edge.
In June 2012 the band announced the release of their sixth studio album scheduled for September 2012 under the name The 2nd Law on their homepage. On June 27, 2012, the album’s first song, Survival, was released and the title was selected as the official song of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The first official single, Madness, had its first airplay on August 20, 2012 at 20.30 CET on BBC1 radio on the Zane Lowe Show. The 2nd Law was finally published on September 28, 2012, after having been postponed several times.
Muse later released the live album “Live at Rome Olympic Stadium“, featuring songs that they played at the concert of the 2nd Law Tour.
On the album Drones, Bellamy wanted to move away from the orchestral recordings and the use of electronic instruments, which were heavily represented on the previous albums, in order to record an album that gets along primarily with the classic rock instruments drums, bass and guitar. The album was released on June 5, 2015 and produced by Mutt Lange, best known for his work with Foreigner, AC/DC and Def Leppard. The song Psycho was presented on March 12th. The first single Dead Inside followed on March 23. By the time the album was released, the first six songs had already been published on Youtube.
After a festival tour through Europe in summer 2015, in addition to tours through Asia and South America in the same year, from February 2016 onwards, Muse played European arenas with a new 360° stage. In keeping with the album theme, a swarm of remote-controlled drones were also integrated into the staging of the show at the live concerts.
From January 2017 to July 2018 the band worked, with occasional breaks for selected concerts, on the eighth album. The band released the single Dig Down on May 18, 2017, Thought Contagion on February 16, 2018 and Something Human on July 19, 2018. On August 30, 2018, the fourth single The Dark Side was released and the album title Simulation Theory was announced. The album was released on November 9, 2018. Under the title “Simulation World Tour” the band went on a worldwide tour.
In 2004 Muse won two MTV Europe Music Awards, including Best Alternative Act, and a Q Award for Best Live Act.
At the MTV Europe Music Awards 2006 Muse were nominated for Best Alternative, Best Album and Best UK & Ireland. Ultimately, they won the Best Alternative award.
In February 2007, Muse won the BRIT Awards for Best Live Act. They were also nominated for Best Album and Best Group. In November 2007 they won two MTV Europe Music Awards in the categories Headliner for Best Live Show and Best UK & Ireland Act.
In February 2009, Muse won the Best Live Act and Best Album Artwork categories at the NME Awards. In October 2009, Muse won the Q Award for Best Act in the World Today.
In September 2010, Muse won an MTV Video Music Award in the Best Special Effects category for the music video for Uprising.
At the 2011 Grammy Awards in February 2011, they won the Best Rock Album category for their album The Resistance.
Their concert on the Berlin Waldbühne on July 14, 2013 was honored with the 2014 Live Entertainment Award as Concert of the Year.
At the Grammy Awards 2016 in February 2016 they won the award in the category Best Rock Album for their album Drones.
At the MTV Europe Music Awards 2019, the band won the “Best World Stage” category.
I took pictures of Muse when they played at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on October 26, 2004:
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