It’s the morning of Saturday 7 April, and Muse frontman Matt Bellamy is preparing to board a flight from Heathrow to San Francisco, where his band will kick off a three-date tour of the US and Mexico. As the singer reaches the departure gate, a stony-faced security officer asks him what he intends to do in America.
“Oh, don’t worry, mate” Bellamy replies. “I’m not going to be working illegally or making bombs.”
The security officer points out that the airport is no place for bad jokes. Following a severe telling off, Bellamy apologises and is allowed to go on his way. But as he settles into his first-class seat, it becomes clear that the matter isn’t closed. The aeroplane’s chief steward approaches down the aisle and informs the singer that he has to get off the plane. On the tarmac, he is met by two further security guards who escort him to a windowless interview room.
“They asked me all these silly questions” he recalls now. “Like, Do you like American people?” “What did you say?” “I said they’re quite nice. [laughs] They mean well.”