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

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 Matt 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 fucking 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 – scroll down to watch an album preview. You can read the full four-page interview with the band in the new issue of NME, which is on UK newsstands now (July 26) or available digitally.

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