LOS ANGELES — Ever since the earliest days of Stephenie Meyer dreaming about a clumsy girl and a pale vampire spending time together in a meadow, Muse have been there to serve as the "Twilight" author's, well, muse. For proof, look no further than her acknowledgements in the "New Moon" novel: "And, finally, thank you to the talented musicians who inspire me, particularly the band Muse — there are emotions, scenes, and plot threads in this novel that were born from Muse songs and would not exist without their genius."
Several years later, the band has appeared on both massively successful soundtracks to the first two "Twilight" films and share millions of fans with the vampire franchise. This past weekend, the British band returned to Los Angeles to headline KROQ's annual Almost Acoustic Christmas festival. We snagged an all-access pass for "Twilight Saga" star Justin Chon — a huge fan of the band's — and after the show he got them to open up about backstage antics, whether it's better to be a rocker or an actor, and the song they're hoping to get on the "Eclipse" soundtrack.
Justin Chon: Oh my God, you guys were absolutely amazing, the whole show — how it was produced was amazing, the balloons and the piano and rocking on the guitar, everything was just perfect. This is my first rock show backstage experience ever.
Matthew Bellamy: So, how'd it go?
Chon: It was everything that I imagined it would be.
Dominic Howard: And more?
Chon: And more. I guess if I were to go back and do it all over again, would there be anything that you guys would have said I should have done that I maybe didn't do?
Howard: Did you see everyone today? Did you see Phoenix? I'm a big fan of that band.
Chon: I saw everyone, I saw Phoenix.
Howard: Well if you saw everyone, that's a good start.
Bellamy: Backstage, there are certain things that certain bands get up to — I'm sure you can fill in the gaps.
Howard: That might be happening a little bit later — maybe if you hang around, you can see a bit more. [Laughs.]
Chon: Awesome, man. You guys are on all the ["Twilight"] soundtracks, and I know that ["Eclipse" director] David Slade actually did some of your music videos.
Bellamy: Yeah, yeah. He did four music videos for us.
Chon: Wow, four? So is David Slade cooking something up for you guys for "Eclipse"?
Bellamy: Well, for "Eclipse," someone was asking us to write a song for it, I think. We haven't gotten around to doing that yet, because we're really busy touring. But hopefully, if we get time over the holiday break, we might be able to lay something down that gets used in the film.
Chon: Wow, perfect! Well, I'm in the movie and I'm a huge fan, so it's an absolute honor to be in your presence. There's this huge fandom with Stephenie Meyer and the books — what stuff inspires you guys?
Bellamy: We were with Stephenie last night, actually. We just saw Stephenie. She came to see us in Vegas — it was good seeing her, she's a nice lady. Lovely! And she brought her friends along. But what inspires us? Books, films, anything music and just whatever comes. Life experience is a big one for the lyrics; certain things that happen to you turn into songs.
Chon: What's next for you guys? You're doing "Saturday Night Live," and you guys are playing at Madison Square Garden, right? Wow.
Bellamy: Yeah, next March is it?
Howard: That's a great venue. We played there once before — that is going to be wicked to play back there. We've got lots of touring coming up — that's what happens, you release an album and then you tour your ass off for, like, two years. So, we're taking a little break for Christmas for a couple of weeks to go off to Australia and Asia, and then we come back here in the spring.
Bellamy: Our U.S. tour is March/April time. We're looking forward to that — it will be our biggest American tour to date.
Howard: It's fun, traveling around the world and going to strange places.
Chon: If I could go back, I think I would be a rock star instead of an actor, man. You guys get to do this — have this high 60 times a year! I shoot a movie and people don't [see it for a long time], then after, like, a month, people don't care ever again.
Howard: I'm sure they will with this new one ["New Moon"].
Bellamy: You can go to a theater and I'd imagine you get a similar buzz. Because it's live, you know? You have the crowd there.
Chon: A theater is kind of similar, but not so much. [Laughs.] Thank you guys for talking to me — awesome show, and hopefully I'm going to see you guys again.
Bellamy: Hopefully. Anytime you want to come, just come along!