A Chat With Peter Bailey

A Chat with Peter Bailey
By Tania Holland

“I’m really not that great a chef.”

Ladies and gentlemen, please meet the ever-so-humble and very funny chef to the stars (Muse included!), Mr Peter Bailey. Pete very kindly agreed to meet up for a chat with me following a busy day in Perth preparing meals for none other than the visiting royalty of rock, Queen, currently touring the planet with the talented Adam Lambert. I originally had the naiveté to call this meeting an interview, but as we chatted into the wee hours of the morning following the gig at Perth Arena, I felt more like I was catching up with an old mate.

However, questions were asked and answers were given. We’ll start at the beginning, shall we?

Originally from Surrey, Peter made the decision to enter the food industry while still at secondary school when given cooking as an optional choice. After receiving much ridicule from his mates about taking a 'girls’ subject', teenaged Peter smugly agreed that yes, he would be the only boy in a class of girls and wished his mates well in their all-male electives. Despite his hormonally influenced reasons for entering the industry, Peter moved on to study catering at Guildford College. He freely admits that he hated his time there with a passion, but eventually moved out into the world of employment.

His first major role was manager of catering at a golf club at the age of nineteen. While working there, he was offered the opportunity to tour as the chef for AC/DC. Being the practical and financially minded young man that he was, Peter declined, unwilling to enter a short-term contract situation. Before long, though, another offer emerged. A long-term stint travelling with Metallica. This time, he couldn't resist, and went on the road, kicking off a career in catering to the stars.

Since then, Pete has gone on to become the director of Feedback Event Cuisine, catering to high profile stars, bands and celebrities including Muse, Queen, Metallica, Valentino, Lady Victoria de Rothschild and Geri Halliwell, in England and on tour around the world.

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With the basics of Pete’s career covered, we went on to look at some of the questions sent to me by Muse fans around the world. Here are some of the answers to the questions that could politely be asked of someone that I was meeting for the first time.

One aspect of Pete’s work that fascinated many people was the equipment that he uses. In answering this question, Pete directed me to the Feedback Event Cuisine website, http://www.feedbackeventcuisine.com/index.html to see the clever mobile kitchens, bars and other units that are designed specifically to pack away into flight cases that go with him all over the world. These units contain the ovens and hobs along with cookware and servingware that he needs to serve his clients. Obviously these units can be set up at the venues, though Pete did say that he’d worked out of hotel rooms. On one occasion, his kitchen shared space with the makeshift gym for the band and got to witness Mr Bellamy doing strength training…with a tennis ball.

Pete estimated that he would physically circle the globe four to five times each year - a glamorous lifestyle indeed - visiting exotic places in the company of our musical idols. He has now confirmed that he’ll be joining Muse on their 2015 festival dates. When asked about the reality of life on the road though, Peter revealed that it had its pros and cons.

Pete calls Cowes on the Isle of Wight home but enjoys travelling the world. Barcelona came up as a favourite city, though he said he could happily move to Sydney, which is home to some of his wife’s family. He also gets a great deal of satisfaction working with his clients to determine their preferences in food, but likes to work in an intuitive fashion through casual conversation rather than through formal questionnaires or interviews. A client expressing pleased surprise that he has provided the perfect food using this technique is especially gratifying.

On the downside, extensive travelling means time away from his family, wife Charlie and young children, Matilda and Sebastian. Pete also cited loneliness as a problem on the road, a by-product of working long hours alone and not necessarily fitting into the socialising patterns of his colleagues and clients. Then, of course, there were the usual hitches that come with travelling such as jet-lag and accommodation issues.

Pete is passionate about supporting local industry, buying fresh produce for his creations with the assistance of his local runners and sometimes working in conjunction with local restaurants to source raw ingredients for meals for his clients. Also close to his heart is sustainability and waste reduction. In previous years, leftover food was supplied to the local homeless. Sadly, increasing regulation in many places has made this practice more difficult to implement.

Several people asked whether Peter had free reign over menus or whether food choices were dictated by his clients. The reality boils down to a little of both. As mentioned, Peter likes to get to know his clients’ preferences intuitively, though he obviously takes into account food sensitivities when meal planning.

Pete had very little praise for one of frontman, Matt's requests - a local speciality while on tour in the deep south of the US. His eloquent description of Pecan-Crusted Catfish went along the lines of, “It tasted like trout wrapped in shit.” Needless to say that when I asked which Muse member was the most adventurous in their food tastes, Matt emerged as a clear winner. He also took out the award for the biggest sweet tooth and the fastest eater. Matt’s legendary love of pasta was confirmed, but Pete did say that he had recently cut back.

In answer to the question about what Muse drummer, Dominic Howard, eats to stay so fit, Pete says that Dominic is the most aware of what he puts in his mouth. He’s the one who will go easy on dessert and makes the effort to work out regularly to look after himself.

Pete did say that Muse were fairly undemanding and quite happily ate whatever he provided. His work for them extends outside of touring, with catering also being provided for their events in London including private parties. He spoke very highly of the band members and it was clear that he enjoyed working with them.

On a more personal note, here are some of the things people were curious to know about Peter Bailey:

Favourite band – The Jam, The Who.
Favourite song – Cracklin’ Rosie by Neil Diamond.
Favourite sporting team – Tottenham Hotspur. Incidentally, Pete, like Muse bassist, Chris Wolstenholme, is also a keen football player, and captains the Muse football team. He originally played rugby, switching to football at a later date.
Favourite car – Landrover Defender 110. In particular, the black one he owned that was stolen.
Favourite food – Italian anything.
Favourite family meal – Homemade fish fingers. Pete’s children are the type that I’m personally unacquainted with, both enjoying their fruit and vegetables.
What would you be if you were not a chef? A policeman, of course.

To finish up, I have chosen a favourite anecdote.

My favourite Muse story would be that of the Mexico Chili Challenge. Bellamy prides himself on his ability to palate some pretty spicy creations. He invited Pete to do his worst in the chili stakes. The outcome of this challenge was a beast named “Arse-Reaper Chili Sauce”. There were several other creations presented in this particular challenge to Muse and their support band in Mexico. The reactions to this stuff were severe to the point where normal bodily functions failed embarrassingly. One participant was reduced to drinking yogurt from the container in an effort to calm the fire when milk proved insufficient. Even Matt admitted defeat with this one.

This pretty much wrapped up our chat as Pete had to get to the airport the next morning to organise the loading of pre-prepared food onto Queen’s private jet. I am particularly grateful to him for agreeing to meet me and for being so warm and forthcoming as I bombarded him with questions and sincerely hope that I get to repeat the experience on his next trip to Australia.

Muse Announce Tour - New Songs Expected!

Kablammo! Straight out of the blue, Muse have announced a festival tour for Summer 2015.
They will be headlining a slew of European festivals, including:

The announcement was coupled with a photo published to @Muse's Instagram account:

A photo posted by @muse on

On the prospect of new songs, Der Ring quotes Muse as saying:

"We're excited to kick off the tour in Germany and we can't wait to get out playing festivals and new songs again. Returning to the Ring after five years, where the fans are always incredible, is going to be really special."

Expect more dates to be announced over the coming days. As soon as they do, we'll let you know :).

We've Ruddy Done it - The New Community is Live!

We've done it... we've ruddy done it! After what feels like years toiling over 'the big migration' (RIP), we're thrilled to announce the arrival of Muselive's new community platform.

We've taken all of your profiles, private messages, avatars and posts, and plonked them into our brand new Discourse site. Try logging in now with your old username & password, or sign up with a brand new account.

community

So what is Discourse, I hear you shout? It's only the funkiest, most awesomely fantasmajazzical community software out there.

We can't wait for you to get involved, so we're opening the floodgates today! There are bound to be bugs, and for that we can only apologise. We'll be attempting to squash them over the coming weeks, so please be patient with us.

If you do see anything which is causing you grief, do not hesitate to get in touch.

See you on the other side!

P.S. it integrates with our blog, too -- check out the comments section at the bottom of each post :)

Muse Announces Robert "Mutt" Lange as the Producer of the 7th Album

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On Muse's official Instagram account (October 23rd), the band announced they are currently working on the production of LP7 with Robert John “Mutt” Lange, writing: “We are honoured to be making our new album with this legendary producer. #backinblack”, alongside a picture with the members of AC/DC and the legend himself.

Arena rock producer, Robert, worked with AC/DC on the likes of Back in Black, Highway to Hell and For Those About to Rock. Whilst commonly mentioned in the same breath as this band, he has also worked with Def Leppard (where he helped them break into the American market), Foreigner and Bryan Adams, as well as countless pop acts such as Lady Gaga, Shania Twain and Britney Spears.

Muse have not used a producer for their last two albums (The Resistance and The 2nd Law), instead choosing to self-produce - a decision that has proved controversial with the fan community.

The album is scheduled to arrive in summer 2015 - exciting times!

More infos about the new album

Fans in Vancouver met the band (October 17th) and talked with the guys about the recording process. According to those in the know, the band are planning to take a short break in the recording process (after two weeks working non-stop) and come back to Vancouver in November to polish things off. On Instagram, they shared a picture with the caption "End of first session. It's been emotional".

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End of first session. It's been emotional.

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According to fans that have met the band, Matt has said there will be "heavy riffs", which he likens to the sounds of Absolution and Black Holes & Revelations.

A few months ago, Matt talked about the influences of the new album on twitter, saying that it'll be "heavy" and would have a sequel to the song Citizen Erased from Origin of Symmetry (though take this with a pinch of salt!).

It appears that the band are also producing a "making of", as per previous albums.

The boys chose Vancouver as their recording location for "a change", and because the studio (The Warehouse Studios) has a very good reputation and mixer.

The album is scheduled to arrive in Summer 2015.

Sources: Muse I want the Truth, Muse France and @Wolstenboy.

Three New Muse/Dom Instagram Shots to Check Out

As seems to be a new album custom for Muse at the moment, there are some new Instagram shots from Dom and the band to study. Well, mostly from Dom.

One, from the official Muse account, says "Take 7 coming up". The first from Dom simply states "Canada..", while his second shot of the day says "Waiting to play round two on a track. No offensive..".

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Waiting to play round two on a track. No offensive..

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What can we read into these? Well, the first shot from Muse's account, seems to be a Dom selfie (he's really getting into his selfies). In the foreground you can see his drum kit, while in the background you can see a piano, presumably for Matt. Could we be getting a slow, melodic piano song, akin to Unintended or parts of Citizen Erased? Incidentally, Matt has tweeted that a sequel to Citizen Erased 'will be played on the next tour'. Intriguing.

In the second shot, we can see a bridge, which according to the comments is in Vancouver (fits with the 'Canada' line). We know Muse are recording the new album in Vancouver, so this does fit with what we already have to work with.

In the third and final shot, another Dom selfie, features Chris and his bass guitar (I think it's one of his Status S-2 basses, but I may be wrong) and some mixing desks.

Muse's new album is scheduled to arrive in summer 2015. It's a long time to wait, but it's looking increasingly likely that it'll be worth it.

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