Total Guitar have named Matt Bellamy as the guitarist of the decade!
Total Guitar Magazine
Guitarist of the Decade
We count down 10 reasons why Muse’s frontman has shaped the last decade of guitar, from his blistering solos and heavy riffs, through to his electric stage presence and that superguitar.
10. He’s made classical cool again.
Present Zakk Wylde with a chamber orchestra and he’d probably eat the conductor for breakfast and pick his teeth with the baton. Matt Bellamy has a different attitude, instead hijacking the fusty world of powdered wigs and harpsichords and fusing its coolest ideas into his mould-breaking guitar solos and riffs. As you bang your sweaty head to Plug in Baby’s monster intro, you are actually listening to a bastardization of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Bach’n’roll, baby…
9. His stage presence is off the wall.
Respect to the Muse set designer, but all the satellite dishes and acrobats in the world can’t compare to the spectacle of a small man from Devon losing himself in the music. Bellamy doesn’t ‘do’ banter, shout-outs or feet on monitors. Instead, he deals in unhinged virtuosity, stroking and strangling his Manson through the hits, jolt dancing like an electric eel, using nervous energy to power the greatest show on Earth (or any other planet).
8. He saved us from nu-metal
Sludge-tuned chugging topped with meathead rap was the sound of the new millennium, until Matt Bellamy arrived with Showbiz, fired stinger missile solos into the lumpen rock scene and reminded a generation that life doesn’t have to stop at the seventh fret. Without rubble rousing early guitar parts like Sunburn and Muscle Museum, this magazine would be full of potato-headed dullards mumbling about “playing for the song”. Nobody wants that.
7. He has a ‘superguitar’.
Actually, Matt has a bunch of superguitars; all built by UK luthier Hugh Manson and featuring more onboard technology than it took to put the first man on the moon. Matt’s guitars, including his famous ‘retired’ Delorean or Silver Manson, feature various combinations of Fernandes Sustainer pickups, Z.Vex Fuzz Factory stompbox circuitry and X-Y controlled KAOSS pads to allow him to manipulate his effects with his fingertips. Genius.
6. He made the most flamboyant debut album ever.
Muse released their first album Showbiz in 1999, the year of Britney Spear’s debut single Baby One More Time and not a whole lot else. Guitar music was flatlining, so the sight and sound of Matt Bellamy tearing at his guitar strings was exhilarating. Despite accusations from some quarters that Muse were little more than Radiohead rip-off, Matt’s heroic performance on songs like Muscle Museum proved that something special has arrived.
5. He bends all the rules.
On paper at least, a combination of progressive rock, classical music, electronica and pop shouldn’t really work… a bit like Genesis jamming to those horrible Hooked On Classics albums from the 80’s. Matt makes it work. Not many musicians can switch from a beautiful Danny Elfman style piano piece to a heavy as hell riff like he can. Listen to New Born (Origin of Symmetry, released in 2001) for evidence of the man’s genius.
4. His solos are works of art.
Matt’s solos are as beautifully constructed as his Manson guitars. A masterclass in expressive guitar technique his solos usually feature tremolo-picked passages, string scrapes, whammy bar clips and inventive use of effects. Matt has a fantastic vibrato and always manages to make his solos sound spontaneous, even if they are carefully constructed. Look up Knights of Cydonia: Live at Wembley Stadium 2007 to witness Matt’s killer lead guitar.
3. He has unrivalled creativity.
Matt Bellamy has some really serious chops. In addition to his incredibly unique guitar style, the guy kills on piano and has a three octave vocal range as demonstrated by his incredible falsetto singing on Plug in Baby and other gargantuan Muse ditties. As if all that virtuosity wasn’t enough, Matt is also the primary songwriter for Muse, composing classics such as Supermassive Black Hole, Stockholm Syndrome and Knights of Cydonia. Yeah, we’re jealous too.
2. He wrote the biggest riff of the decade.
If the sheer number of ‘attempts’ at music shows and in music shops is anything to go by, the Plug in Baby riff is this generation’s Sweet Child O’Mine or Stairway to Heaven. Like its illustrious forbears, Plug in Baby grabbed guitarists by the balls by virtue of its sheer inventiveness. The sick fuzz tone didn’t hurt much either. It’s one of those riffs that sounds fresh and unique, and it makes everyone wish they could play guitar.
1. He is the Hendrix of our generation.
Comparing anyone to Jimi Hendrix can get you in some serious trouble, but we can recon you’re on pretty safe ground with Matt Bellamy. Matt uses effects and feedback like a musical instrument, punctuating solos with weird pops and squeaks. Just like Jimi. In Matt’s hands the guitar is more than just a tool, it’s an extension of his body and his voice. Just like Jimi. He’s also that extremely rare combination of a guitar virtuoso who can write great songs that will stand the test of time.
Again, just like Jimi.
Cover - Total Guitar Magazine
30 Dec 2009 08:50