Muse's Chris Wolstenholme On Alcohol Battle: 'I Had To Stop Or Die'

Bassist speaks candidly about his battle with alcoholism and the new Muse songs it inspired.

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Muse's Chris Wolstenholme has spoken candidly about his battle with alcoholism.

The bassist's drinking problem had become so consuming by the time Muse came to record their 2009 album 'The Resistance' that his bandmates Matthew Bellamy and Dom Howard were often left to work on their music alone.

Discussing the extent of his problem, Wolstenholme told NME: "Drinking all day every day is pretty bad. It's when you start getting to that point where you realise you can't function without it, where you wake up in the morning shaking and the first thing you do is go to the fridge and down a bottle of wine. That's how bad it was. I was incredibly unhealthy, overweight, a mess."

As well as affecting him physically, Wolstenholme also admitted that the drug had got to him 'psychologically'. He recalled: "You've got anxiety 24 hours a day, you feel your f--king life's about to end, you're very scared but you don't know what you're scared of."

Because he had previously witnessed first-hand the potentially tragic consequences of alcohol abuse, Wolstenholme was able to spot how severe his own problem had become. He explained: "There was only two ways to go: die in a few years or stop. The same happened to my dad, he was 40 when he died. I'd just turned 30 and it was that realisation that if I go the same way I could be dead in ten years. Ten years is not a long time."

Wolstenholme managed to beat his addiction after sessions with a cognitive behavioural therapist and wrote and sang two songs on the new Muse album - 'Save Me' and 'Liquid State' - about his battle with alcohol.

Discussing the songs' origins, Wolstenholme explained: "Both of those lyrics were written at that time when I'd stopped drinking. 'Liquid State' was written about the person you become when you're intoxicated and how the two of them are having this fight inside of you and it tears you apart. 'Save Me' was about having the family, the wife and kids and, despite all that crap that I've put them through, at the end of it you realise they're still there and they're the ones who pulled you through."

Muse release their new album, "The 2nd Law", on September 17.

Thanks to NME for the report.

28 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    CollyOBrien
    He's sang two songs?? I'm actually so bloomin' excited for this album now!
    twiggy3634
    He's my favorite member of the band. I know there's a lot of Muse haters on this site, but you have to admit, this guy is a beast on the bass. Listen to New Born if you disagree.
    GameSkate
    At least, yeah. He does killer job when he sing few lines in live performances of The Small Print.
    spiff-corgi
    wrote and sang two songs on the new Muse album
    Holy Christ, Chris is singing a song! Yes!
    about his battle with alcohol.
    Oh my God, there's songs on the next album that aren't just about how aliens are going to melt our brains and turn us into jellyfish. Getting psyched for this album now.
    ChucklesMginty
    twiggy3634 wrote: He's my favorite member of the band. I know there's a lot of Muse haters on this site, but you have to admit, this guy is a beast on the bass. Listen to New Born if you disagree.
    I agree, not overly technical or flashy. Just a brilliant sound and really well designed parts to compliment the songs, and a great singer too!
    wylde1994
    Aww I love Chris, I can't wait for this album and i look forward to hearing those two songs
    bassclef527
    Good for him. Alcohol is a tough thing to kick, and the lifestyle of touring can't make it any easier. I wish him continued success in breaking the habit. That said, I'm gonna go crack open a beer.
    psychokiller99
    that his bandmates Matthew Bellamy and Dom Howard were often left to work on their music alone.
    Ah, so that explains the Resistance.
    GameSkate
    I'm surprised that no one said "JUST MEAK ANOTHER OOS!!!!!, RESIZTANCE SUXZ!!!!!" yet.
    swave75
    GuitarDomen wrote: I love Chris! I can't wait to hear the 2 songs.
    bassisfun wrote: Really excited to hear those two songs now.
    bassisfun wrote: Really excited to hear those two songs now.
    Yeah yeah yeah...those two songs
    Slap-happy
    I can relate to this. Although not opening a beer or wine first thing when I get out of bed, I drink. A lot. Odd though is that the majority of the culture of socialising that I have grown up around and the only way in which I see the majority of my friends and even family is meeting in a pub, bar or somewhere that booze is readily available. Shame there isn't more of a focus on finding an aduly environment in which people can meet and communicate without the emphasis on beer. I supose there's McDonalds... but that's just wrong... Cafes and the like all close too early and there's little else available in most communities.
    Fuku-san
    GameSkate wrote: I'm surprised that no one said "JUST MEAK ANOTHER OOS!!!!!, RESIZTANCE SUXZ!!!!!" yet.
    I can do it if you want though my favorite record is Absolution. But it doesn't change the fact that The Resistance is the biggest con I've ever heard. I don't understand how people who enjoyed Showiz, OoS, Absolution and BH can enjoy The Resistance. Unless you're a 14-year-old girl who fantasizes about the spangled clothes of a guy who would like to be the reincarnation of Chopin and Mercury.
    nemesis777
    Never in the history of music has a band sold out as much as Muse. They went from being my favorite band to making music for tweens and Twilight fans. If I was Chris I'd be depressed too.
    pwrmax
    When Mike Portnoy made songs about his alcoholism they were amazing, I look forward to this.
    Wooohooo
    Easily, dude. I don't care about the style, if the music is still good.
    Tariso
    Good thing he chose the second option, for the band's sake, for his family's sake, for his own sake.
    spiff-corgi
    Fuku-san wrote: But it doesn't change the fact that The Resistance is the biggest con I've ever heard. I don't understand how people who enjoyed Showiz, OoS, Absolution and BH can enjoy The Resistance. Unless you're a 14-year-old girl who fantasizes about the spangled clothes of a guy who would like to be the reincarnation of Chopin and Mercury.
    I liked the Resistance. It's my least favourite album by them but it has some fricking great songs on it. To be a Muse fan you DO have to have a varied taste in music, because all of their albums have been a step in different directions. Origin of Symmetry was completely different to Showbiz, then Absolution changed their sound even more with more and more classical influence, then they completely changed again with Black Holes, and then Resistance kind of fused Absolution and Black Holes with new elements too. It's mostly the first three tracks of the album I have a problem with, but the rest are all really interesting. And you can't bleat about overproduction because they produced the album themselves.
    vikkyvik
    Slap-happy wrote: I can relate to this. Although not opening a beer or wine first thing when I get out of bed, I drink. A lot. Odd though is that the majority of the culture of socialising that I have grown up around and the only way in which I see the majority of my friends and even family is meeting in a pub, bar or somewhere that booze is readily available. Shame there isn't more of a focus on finding an aduly environment in which people can meet and communicate without the emphasis on beer. I supose there's McDonalds... but that's just wrong... Cafes and the like all close too early and there's little else available in most communities.
    I quit drinking over 6 years ago. I've still gone to bars, socialized, etc. I just don't drink when I'm there. No one I know has a problem with that, but if someone did, it's their problem, not mine.