And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #130: Glenn Beck v Muse

By | Published on Friday 5 October 2012


Former Fox News presenter Glenn Beck has written an open letter to Muse frontman Matt Bellamy following comments the musician made in a recent interview with The Observer.

In the interview with Dorian Lynskey, Bellamy said that he’d toned down his previously very vocal interest in conspiracy theories over the last few years – saying he has become “far more rational and empirical” – after he found himself and his lyrics co-opted by the political right. In particular, ‘Uprising’, is apparently often requested for use at rallies by right-leaning politicians in the US.

“In the US the conspiracy theory subculture has been hijacked by the right to try to take down people like Obama and put forward right-wing libertarianism”, said Bellamy. “[I’m] a left-leaning libertarian – more in the realm of Noam Chomsky. It doesn’t all have to be about guns and land protection, you know? So yeah, I do find it weird. ‘Uprising’ was requested by so many politicians in America for use in their rallies and we turned them down on a regular basis”.

He added: “When I dabble in watching the news and reading about current events I tend to get a future negative view and that’s something I’ve dealt with through music. It’s quite possible I’m slightly paranoid. But I’d say making music is an expression of feelings of helplessness and lack of control that I think a lot of people can relate to”.

So there you go. Now, you’ll note there are no specific references to the aforementioned Beck in those quotes, and subsequent mentions of the US presenter in the Observer piece are not direct quotes from Bellamy either. However, the band did have a run in with Beck a few years back, when he claimed they had tried to stop him playing their song ‘Uprising’ on his radio show.

Muse drummer Dom Howard discussed this in a 2010 interview with Spinner, saying: “I think he genuinely liked the band, liked the music and was playing it on his show. In all honesty, none of us really knew too much about him other than him being a bit of a crazy right-winger. He just made up this whole thing and turned it into a bit of a big deal saying we don’t want him to play our music on his show but it wasn’t really true. It’s just entertainment, isn’t it? It’s just radio. He thought he’d stir something up for fun and I’m sure a few people listened to his show because of it. That’s what happens in TV and radio”.

That all happened three years ago now, but clearly it’s been stewing in the back on Beck’s mind all that time, because a mention of his name as an aside in the new Observer interview (though, in fairness, a mention then re-reported out of context) prompted a long blog post in response. It’s OK though, he’s still a fan.

“As uncomfortable as it might be for you”, Beck wrote, “I will still play your songs loudly. To me your songs are anthems that beg for choruses of unity and pose the fundamental question facing the world today – can man rule himself? In the Venn diagram of American politics, where the circles of crimson and blue overlap, there’s a place where you and I meet. It’s a place where guys who cling to their religion, rights and guns connect with godless, clinched-fist-tattoo guys”.

After a long discussion of the differences between US and European politics, and his view of libertarianism, he concluded: “Matthew, I realise that converts are pretty hard to come by when the stakes are so high and the spotlight so bright, but I thank you for singing words that resonate with man in his struggle to be free. I wish I could leave well enough alone and just be quiet but I’ve had recurring nightmares that I was loved for who I am and missed the opportunity to be a better man”.

Which is all well and good, but Beck clearly doesn’t realise that the place you’re actually supposed to debate US politics is in the comments section of the ‘Uprising’ video on YouTube.