Muse Frontman Shares Honest Opinion on Iron Maiden and Steve Harris, Explains Why He Prefers Hendrix and Cobain Over Malmsteen

In his recent interview for Classic Rock magazine, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy looked back on some of his biggest musical influences. As we can notice with the band’s latest album “Will of the People,” there are some serious metal elements in there. And as Bellamy explains, the band has been into classic metal bands for a very long time. He explained:

“Metal has always been around for us. When we were growing up we were listening to bands like Iron Maiden. And though we connected more through Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine and the Smashing Pumpkins, we always had this love for eighties metal. Metallica were also a big one for us, but Iron Maiden were the British band and also felt a bit more punk rock in ways.”

Iron Maiden - Phantom of the Opera [HD]

“The song ‘Phantom of the Opera’ [from Iron Maiden’s self-titled debut album] doesn’t feel as bloated or overtly classical as other metal songs. There’s still something quite angry and scary about it. That’s why Maiden are a band we’ve always looked up to.”

“That usage of the harmonic minor scale and the progressive approach to arrangements is something that we share, even if we never sounded like them and live in a different genre. We have a lot of respect for them as musicians, especially Steve Harris, who is one of the best bass players around.”


After reminded that one of the licks on the new album seemed inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen, to which he replied:

“Oh, brilliant! I haven’t listened to him in a while, but Yngwie was one of those people I got into in the early nineties when I first started playing. Clearly back then, I thought there was a chance! After a while, I realized I simply couldn’t get to where he was, and sort of veered off towards more classical and flamenco guitar styles.”

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“Then I started listening to players like Hendrix and Cobain and felt: ‘You know what? I can do chaos. I can’t do this unbelievable technical precision, but what I can do is create a mess.’ So I went down the road of noise, chaos and carnage…. and little elements of the other things stayed with me.”

Photos: mayeesherr. (Muse Matt Bellamy 2013), adels (Steve Harris Costa Rica), Katerina Mezhekova (Yngwie Malmsteen (cropped))


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.