Muse Threatened To Fire Bassist Over Boozing

Bassist Chris Wolstenholme stopped drinking in 2009, but now the band reveal that they almost fired him for threatening their future as a band. Is alcoholism a bigger problem than we realize in the rock world?

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Muse have revealed how they once threatened to fire bassist Chris Wolstenholme if he didn't overcome his drinking habit.

The revelation comes shortly after their set at the iTunes festival, which you can see in the player below.

Wolstenholme managed to keep his alcoholism secret from the band for years as he "wasn't a nasty drunk" - but finally went public with his problem in 2009 after a meltdown on April Fool's Day:

"Everything I should have dealt with in the previous 10 years suddenly hit me in the face. There are some things I regret", said Wolstenholme at the time. "There are probably moments I should have enjoyed more than I did and that's a bit upsetting. With the mess I was in you don't feel any intense emotion any more".

Drummer Dom Howard said the band didn't realise there was a problem until they started counting how many drinks Chris got through on-stage.

"For some reason he could still play the bass, even though he was sh-tfaced", Dom told NME. "He was drinking on stage. I started counting how many drinks he was having during the set and I could see him getting more and more glazed. By the point we came off stage he'd be f--ked. It just got too weird".

Dom and frontman Matt Bellamy gave Chris an ultimatum "a few times", but ultimately stayed together.

Dom continued: "Chris now says things like, 'I can't believe they put up with me for 10 years'. Which is true. I can't believe we did. But we did. I've always believed in band integrity and sticking together".

Watch Muse (and a sober Chris Wolstenholme) playing at the iTunes Festival here:

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Can you imagine Muse without their original bassist? Do you think alcoholism is a problem in the rock world? Share your opinion in the comments.

89 comments sorted by best / new / date

    DoubleBassCrash
    Alcoholism is a problem anywhere & everywhere, not just the "rock world", but yeah, you should see some of the LIQ these bands consume in their trailers before & after a show. It's something that is easily habit formed & has subjective effects from one person to the next. I quit drinking a ways back, I wont take the blame for everything that happened during that time, but I did burn a lot of bridges in the process of my alcoholism, have plenty of regrets there but to me it's messed up how other alcoholics will be quick to jump on you the moment you make a mistake instead of looking in the mirror & realizing they're no better or different than you, I look at my "friends" that I used to drink with now & it's terrible, they'll triangle the problem directly to you or anyone else so that attention is solely on someone else & they can continue their addiction. If I dont drink, the drama cant be pushed at me & used as a smoke screen; no one can point a finger at me for something I am not doing. It's like drugs, how it effects our brains is subjective from one person to the next, hence why some people are raging on the drink & others become docile & introverted. Don't let it get its claws in you, be responsible, drink to enjoy it, not to get shitfaced. Sadly, our world encourages drinking, but the minute you have problem theyre all over you like flies on shit, yet theyre the same people that encouraged the binge in the first place Id rather smoke a joint, thank you.
    K.i.S.A.
    I couldn't agree more.. I'm turning 22 in a week and I don't drink. I've sampled beer and wine and it all tastes terrible to me. My friends and family give me so much shit for not being interested in getting wasted, then they complain about horrible hangovers. I just don't get it.. It's just not something I want to start. I guess I'm just weird.
    spiff-corgi
    There will be some alcohol you enjoy the taste of. It annoys me when people say "I don't like beer" when all they've tried is Carling and Fosters. I grew up in the north of England and love me some real ale regardless of alcohol content, and wine is something that you grow to appreciate if you give it a chance. Regardless props to you for not bowing to peer pressure. I like to drink but people who just get rat-arsed every week and make complete morons of themselves and think they're cool do my head in.
    GasPipe
    Agreed. You don't have to write yourself off, you can just enjoy good beer.
    DoubleBassCrash
    Tell them you like being in control of the way you feel when they give you shit for not drinking, tell them that you'd rather not wake up the next day feeling like you we're dropped into your house from 10,000 feet in the air. It's a good to be weird.
    -LAW-
    Just remember... ...BOOZE AINT FOOD.
    drmomsen
    I'd rather chop off my ding-dong than admit that
    miregal
    Why would you even suggest chopping your schwanz off? thats just ridiculous! No dick for the rest of your life because you don't want to admit booze isn't food? Thats a bit drastic..
    sideslick
    You have stated the exact reason why I as a 19-year-old have no desire to ever drink or do drugs. I want to be in control of my own body, not the other way around.
    whywefight
    Good call, man. All it takes is a little Radiohead reference to stave off the downvotes.
    sideslick
    The funny thing is that it wasn't a Radiohead reference. I meant what I said.
    GasPipe
    Do you actually get shit for it? Must be the sort of people you hang out with. When I drink, I mostly drink with the same group of mates, and two of them don't drink alcohol at all. No one minds, and they still have fun and don't detract from the experience. Maybe you need to find some people who are a bit less judgmental
    Braykah
    >Implying that cannabis isn't as harmful as alcohol Thanks for the laugh.
    steveZ86
    It's not as harmful as alcohol. Laugh away.
    Braykah
    Would you like to show me some legitimate proof for that statement?
    steveZ86
    I'm not gonna research for you, do your own. Or use your head. What kill more people, alcohol or marijuana? Man you people are stupid.
    Braykah
    Well, that pretty much says it all. If you really stand up so much for your thesis, you should be able to back it up with some evidence if you want to be seen as somewhat credible.
    steveZ86
    ok so what posting a link or something makes it more credible? you're not worth the time, if you don't wanna use your head and fight for the sake of fighting blah blah blah blah whatever im not interested in teaching you anything. group of drunk people are walking down the street at night and on the other side a bunch of stoned people are walking. which side would you feel safer on? go and die
    Braykah
    Trying to have a serious debate =/= fighting for the sake of fighting. Besides, "go and die" clearly shows which intellectual level you are at. Present some trustworthy evidence for your claims, otherwise you're just going to look stupid.
    steveZ86
    i dont care what you think or want mate, i dont know you its the internet. obviously you dont smoke or drink, i have tried both and its obvious which one is more harmful. you win you sound so intelligent on the internet. go and live.
    xijack
    it's believed pot is the best treatment for many conditions, where as alcohol is only a cure for being sober
    Braykah
    As an analgesic (painkiller), yes, which is the only area I think it should be employed.
    BradTheBluefish
    I can't imagine Muse without their bassist. I know all the members of Muse are really talented, but he really separates them from other rock bands. He is easily one of the bassists to come out in the past decade.
    GasPipe
    *best bassists, I assume you meant haha. I agree though, his bass work carries all of the songs in OoS, he has a beastly tone which does the work of a rhythm guitar and a bass guitar creating an awesome backbone that Matt can wank around on top of with his guitar haha. "Citizen Erased" is the best example of that in my opinion.
    SIEGE312
    Joke, "For some reason he could still play the bass, even though he was sh-tfaced"... Punchline, "It's cuz he was playing bass"
    on3andth3sam3
    1 word: Hysteria
    RadioTape
    The Resistance has such a better bassline than hysteria! And also Hysteria is generally early on in the set so he wouldn't be smashed at that point.
    godisasniper
    But Resistance is relatively easy to play - even I can play it fairly accurately. Hysteria is a bit tougher.
    GasPipe
    Yeah Hysteria and The Resistance aren't as tough as people might think. New Born is a bitch though, simply cos your fretting hand starts cramping up.
    godisasniper
    I screw up that intro on guitar every time, particularly if I try to play it the way Matt plays it. He makes some really odd stretches.
    bassisfun
    I really can't imagine Muse without any of their members, all of them are so integral to their sound.
    pcb1992the2nd
    "For some reason he could still play the bass, even though he was sh-tfaced" Chris really is one hell of a bad ass pro
    craaig
    It's funny because Matt was either completely wasted or on something during the Roundhouse performance.
    tonello
    I actually am not surprised. Chris was kind of bad with his drinking.
    GlacierMan
    I think that was tough to deal wit. Major respect to the Muse lads who stuck together.
    RHCPFAN96
    personally i just want to know how many drinks he got through... out of interest
    PoloSG68
    Apparently he was waking up and having a whole bottle of wine in one go... And would have two whole bottles of vodka/whiskey some days.
    Braykah
    So glad Chris was able to get out of it. Alcoholism, like other addictions, is a prime example of ways to ruin your personal relationships, and it takes pure determination to be able to break it off. Besides, it would have sucked if he got fired, his playing is one of the key structural parts of their music and he's a master at writing basslines. If you haven't checked out the track 'Save Me' from The 2nd Law, make sure you do it, it's a truly beautiful one that Chris wrote about his alcohol addiction and sings on. One of the best on the album for sure.
    CollyOBrien
    What a lovely man, so glad he's been doing more press these days. Which makes you think, did he never do interviews before 'cos he was off getting hammered?!
    bassisfun
    No, Chris just isn't as outgoing as Dom and Matt, he doesn't feel as comfortable in front of a camera and interviewer.
    D4CE
    He's done some interviews recently, and I personally think he did a better job than Matt or Dom.
    bassisfun
    I saw a couple of his recently but it seemed to me he was in his home studio, at least some place that he was real comfortable in. But it could be that his alcoholism may have made him more of a loner and now that he's sober he's coming out of his shell a bit, but I doubt that all the times that he was absent from an interview he was out getting hammered.
    Poneypourri
    Saw them in 2009, i was impressed on how he managed to drink beer after beer and smoke cigarette after cigarette, smoking while playing and sometimes stick his cigarette in his Bass headstock, Van Halen style.
    theFACEdude
    I know aye, I've seen of video of him playing some crazy fast stuff with his right hand going mental...and he still manages to hold his cigarette between his fingers.
    Rastapunk
    You know, joint can do that too, as soon as you pass the addicted line, it has the same effect. Just saying.
    RC52190
    Not really. It doesn't have nearly the same kind of physical effects. Alcohol will destroy your entire body if you let it. Your liver, brain, nervous system, everything. You can smoke 1000 blunts a day and you would die from suffocation, before anything else. It won't shut down your organs or give you anything like wet brain... You'll just feel incredibly lazy but that's about the extent of it. Coming off the (marijuana) addiction, there are some mild mental withdrawals but they only last a week, typically. Marijuana is a million times safer than alcohol. It's laughable that alcohol is legal while marijuana isn't. But if you really research why, it all comes down to greed, as does everything.
    Rastapunk
    Ah please give me a break. The smoke you inhale is at least as bad on a long term as alcohol. Of course the government is targeting MJ for no reasons (more than alcohol), and I'm for medical use of MJ but please, don't tell MJ is safer than alcohol, that's just blinding yourself from the truth. Peace
    False_God
    He hid it for 10 years? He must be some magician if he can hide that on stage/tour for so long. Surely who ever was supplying him the drink on stage would be aware of his fondness of the alcohol and the other 2 guys beside him.
    stephenunknown
    The other band members were oblivious for 10 years until Chris asked Matt if he could dedicate Unintended to his favourite beer.
    dsperez88
    So an inebriated Chris Wolstenhome walks into a bar on April Folls Day and tells the bartender "pull my finger." Bartender pulls his finger and Chris Wolstenhome proceds to sh*t himself. That's the real untold story on how the rest of the band members found out about his issue.
    IggyMorrison
    "Can you imagine Muse without their original bassist?" Well that's pretty easy, just go listen to a few tracks on Resistance and the 2nd Law.
    pcb1992the2nd
    resistance the song itself has a pretty complex bassline, or do you mean the lack of his trademark fuzzy pedal setup?
    pcb1992the2nd
    wow i thought the guys were pretty close and good pals but this is pretty weak of them, chris wrote some of the best basslines in history muse wouldn't be muse without him
    vikkyvik
    Um, if it helped get him to stop drinking, it's not weak at all.
    pcb1992the2nd
    and so what if he hadn't stopped drinking and they had fired him? then it would no longer be theoretical and everyone would think alot differently of matt for firing him. your kind of missing the point here.
    rocklee1431
    Well, they vote on things as a band. If matt and dom both decided they were going to fire him, I wouldn't think of it any differently, although that would suck.
    Kueller917
    His wife also threatened to leave him for his drinking. Sometimes when people have an issue like that you need to give some sort of ultimatum to get them to do something. Anyways, the point was they didn't fire him. Once they found out about the problem they supported him to get help and got him back on track with the band. So Bellamy and Howard sort of made sure it wouldn't come to kicking him out, which is a pretty bro-tier thing to do.
    vikkyvik
    Am I? If they had fired him because he was too wasted, and he wasn't receptive of their help, then I'd say they were perfectly justified. If someone isn't pulling their weight, they get let go. It sucks, sure, but the other guys shouldn't have to be dragging along deadweight just because one guy doesn't want to get his act together. With all that said, ultimatums aren't the way to go in my opinion, but it's their band, not mine.
    PGilbert
    Just in time for today's Album launch. yawn.
    craaig
    News about this has been around for a while, just UG put it up today by the looks.
    UGtom
    Nope, the comments from Dom are fresh news (though as the article mentions, Chris admitted his alcohol problem back in 2009).
    Kueller917
    I remember news of it coming out back in 2009. Only reason articles are starting to come out now with stories is because Chris has his two songs off the album about the alcoholism.
    steveZ86
    you bore me mate i dont even like ya i dont even know ya im not gonna study for ya. you obviously dont smoke dope or drink ive tried both and to anyone who has and isnt a complete retard, its obvious which is more harmful. you internet warrior! go and live then.
    paramore_fans
    reminds me of Blink 182 when they fire Scott Raynor haha Travis Barker replaced him. That's why they wrote the song MAN OVERBOARD
    NeutralFan
    Title is somewhat misleading... I thought at first this was a recent threat or something.
    simon19096
    I was there last night, have to say they were Fucking incredible! First time i've ever seen muse live aswell