Chris Wolstenholme

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Chris Wolstenholme
Wolstenholme performing with Muse in 2018
Wolstenholme performing with Muse in 2018
Background information
Birth nameChristopher Tony Wolstenholme
Born (1978-12-02) 2 December 1978 (age 43)
Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England
  • Bass
  • vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboards
Years active1991–present
Associated acts

Christopher Tony Wolstenholme (born 2 December 1978) is an English musician. He is the bassist and backing vocalist for the rock band Muse.[1]

Early life[edit]

Chris Wolstenholme grew up in the English town of Rotherham before moving to Teignmouth, Devon, where he played drums for a post-punk band. He met Matt Bellamy and Dominic Howard from another band while both bands rehearsed in the same building. Bellamy and Howard convinced Wolstenholme to take up bass and start a new band with them, initially called Rocket Baby Dolls. The band was renamed Muse in 1994.[2]

The members of Muse played in separate school bands during their stay at Teignmouth Community College in the early 1990s. Guitarist Matt Bellamy successfully auditioned for drummer Dominic Howard's band, Carnage Mayhem, becoming its singer and songwriter. They asked Wolstenholme, at that time the drummer for another band, to join as bassist; he agreed and took up bass lessons.[3][4]

Other work[edit]

Wolstenholme featured on bass for Moriaty's 2015 single "Bones".[5] He contributed to Rick Parfitt's posthumous solo album Over and Out, which was due to be released in March 2018.[6][7]


Wolstenholme's basslines are a central motif of many Muse songs; the band combines bass guitar with effects and synthesisers to create overdriven fuzz bass tones.[8] Like Bellamy, Wolstenholme uses touch-screen controllers built into his instruments to control synthesisers and effects including Kaoss Pads or Digitech Whammy pedals.[9]

Wolstenholme mostly plays fingerstyle. According to producer Rich Costey, who has worked with Muse on several occasions, "His finger strength is staggering ... He hits the strings really goddamn hard. It sounds that way because that's the way he plays."[10]

Wolstenholme wrote and sang lead vocals on two Muse songs, "Liquid State" and "Save Me", from their sixth album, The 2nd Law (2012).[11]

Personal life[edit]

Wolstenholme married his girlfriend, Kelly, on 23 December 2003.[12] They have six children.[13] In April 2010, Chris and Kelly moved to Foxrock, County Dublin, Ireland.[14] In 2012, they moved to London while Muse recorded.[citation needed]

After Wolstenholme and Kelly divorced, Wolstenholme married Caris Ball on 1 December 2018, the day before his 40th birthday.[15] The couple have one child, a daughter named Mabel Aurora Ball Wolstenholme, born in March 2020.[citation needed]

Wolstenholme is a supporter of Rotherham United, his hometown football team. He holds an honorary doctorate of arts from the University of Plymouth.[16]

Wolstenholme has struggled with alcoholism.[17] In a 2011 interview, he said he would drink so much he would vomit blood, but did not grasp the severity of his situation.[18] His bandmates had tried to broach the subject of his drinking several times without success.[19] Wolstenholme eventually realised that drinking would kill him, as it had his father.[20] His bandmates did not notice his problem for several years; according to Bellamy, "He's such a good musician that his motor skills or something just aren't affected. So he would come in and play brilliantly and then we wouldn't see him for a bit. We'd have a great gig and he'd go off to his room so we wouldn't really know what was going on."[18] Wolstenholme's alcoholism did not affect his playing until the recording of Muse's fifth album The Resistance (2009),[21] at which point he went into rehab.[18] His experiences inspired the lyrics of "Liquid State" and "Save Me", from Muse's sixth album, The 2nd Law (2012).[11]


  1. ^ Barrett, John. "The 20 Most Underrated Bass Guitarists". Paste Monthly. Archived from the original on 16 March 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Bass Players To Know: Chris Wolstenholme". 24 June 2016.
  3. ^ Buckley, Peter (17 November 2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. ISBN 1843531054.
  4. ^ International who's who in popular music, Volume 4 p.37. Routledge, 2002
  5. ^ Belton, Emily (27 January 2015). "Moriaty – Bones (Single Review) | Pure M Magazine". Pure M Magazine. Archived from the original on 6 April 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  6. ^ Nerssessian, Joe. "Muse's Chris Wolstenholme in his own words: a personal essay about Rick Parfitt –". Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Status Quo – The Official Site – Rick Parfitt". Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  8. ^, Electric & Acoustic Bass Gear, Lessons, News, Video, Tabs and Chords -. "Too Much Is Never Enough: Muse's Chris Wolstenholme Reinvents Art-Rock Bass For The 21st Century". Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Muse Gear Guide – Matt Bellamy's FX Pedals". Dolphin Music. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  10. ^ Touzeau, Jeff. "An Evening With Rich Costey". Electronic Musician. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  11. ^ a b Levine, Nick (26 July 2012). "Muse's Chris Wolstenholme on alcohol battle: 'I had to stop or die'". NME.
  12. ^ "Ava Joe Wolstenholme". Twitter.
  13. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (29 September 2012). "Muse: 'We like pushing it as far as we can'". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Eminem to close Oxegen 2010", The Irish Times, 11 July 2010.
  15. ^ "Muse frontman Matt Bellamy interview: 'There's a time-lag with fans, where five years later they get it'". The Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  16. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: University honour for rock stars Muse". Thisisplymouth. Archived from the original on 6 October 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  17. ^ "Newspaper Large Muse Feature from The Times – Muse Messageboard". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  18. ^ a b c McAlpine, Fraser. "Muse's Chris Wolstenholme: 'I Was A Secret Alcoholic'". BBC America. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  19. ^ "Muse's Dom Howard: 'We gave Chris Wolstenholme an ultimatum to quit drinking'", NME, 30 September 2012.
  20. ^ "Muse's Chris Wolstenholme on alcohol battle: 'I had to stop or die' | NME". NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  21. ^ McAlpine, Fraser. "Muse's Chris Wolstenholme: 'I Was A Secret Alcoholic'". BBC America.

External links[edit]