Muse's fusion of progressive rock, electronica, and Radiohead-influenced experimentation is crafted by guitarist/vocalist Matthew Bellamy, bassist Chris Wolstenholme, and drummer Dominic Howard. Bored by the sleepy life provided by their hometown of Teignmouth, Devon, the three British friends began playing music together. They started the first incarnation of their band while only 13 years old, changing the name of the group from Gothic Plague to Fixed Penalty to Rocket Baby Dolls as time passed. By 1997, the bandmates settled on the name Muse and released their self-titled debut EP on Dangerous Records, followed by the Muscle Museum EP in 1998. The group's emotive, passionate sound and live presence drew critical acclaim and industry buzz, and Muse signed a deal with Maverick Records after a trip to New York's CMJ festival. The singles "Cave" and "Uno" preceded their debut full-length album, Showbiz, which was released toward the end of 1999. Two years later, Muse issued The Origin of Symmetry and had a major hit with "Hyper Music."
In 2002, fans were treated to a combination rarities/live set, the double-disc Hullabaloo Soundtrack. Muse's fourth album, Absolution, got the usual royal treatment upon its late-2003 release, and stateside fans finally got a taste when it was released on Warner Bros. the following March. A short North American tour in the spring of 2004 coincided with Muse's spot on the fifth annual Coachella Music and Arts Festival. Their fifth effort, 2006's Black Holes and Revelations, marked the band's brightest, most dynamic set of material to date, topping the U.K. and European album charts within its first week and earning Muse their second consecutive number one album. In America, Black Holes and Revelations broke into the Top Ten. Muse toured Europe, America, Australia, and Southeast Asia in support of the album, and their dynamic stage performance (which has won the band multiple awards for Best Live Act, including accolades from the NME Awards, the Q Awards, and the Vodafone Live Music Awards) was captured on 2008's H.A.A.R.P. Live from Wembley (the band sold out the 75,000 capacity stadium twice in 2007). The trio spent the remainder of the year, as well as the early part of 2009 in the studio recording their fifth album.