Arts + Culture

Golden opportunity for UCLA Bruin Marching Band: performing with Muse in song on new album

Bonus version of ‘Pressure’ was recorded on campus at Herb Alpert School of Music

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Matt Bellamy in recording studio with UCLA Bruin Marching Band
Courtesy of Matt Bellamy

Matt Bellamy, lead singer of Muse, posted this photo on his Instagram account after recording "Pressure" with the UCLA Bruin Marching Band in a studio on campus.

That “Solid Gold Sound” you’ll hear on Grammy award-winning band Muse’s latest album comes from none other than the UCLA Bruin Marching Band. In the super deluxe edition of “Simulation Theory,” the English rock band’s eighth studio album that was released Nov. 9, the Bruins are featured on a bonus track of the song “Pressure.” The song was recorded at UCLA in the studio in the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center at the Herb Alpert School of Music in June.

Gordon Henderson/UCLA
The UCLA Bruin Marching Band trumpet section

Gordon Henderson, director of the Bruin Marching Band, arranged the brass and woodwind music, and Kelly Flickinger, former assistant director, arranged the percussion music.

“When I saw Muse perform at the Staples Center, I couldn’t have imagined that I would someday have the opportunity to arrange a song for this iconic group and prepare it for recording on one of their albums,” said Henderson, who has directed the band since 1982. “It was a pressure-packed yet highly rewarding experience that I will always remember as a highlight of my career at UCLA.”

Muse has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide. Formed in 1994 in Teignmouth, England, the band consists of Matt Bellamy (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), Chris Wolstenholme (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Dominic Howard (drums). In addition to winning two Grammy Awards, the group has also been recognized with two Brit Awards, five MTV Europe Music Awards and eight NME (New Music Expression) Awards.

“I always felt like ‘Pressure’ would sound great with a big marching band,” Bellamy said. “I loved the 2010 UCLA halftime show where they did an entire set of Muse songs, so when we were looking for a band for this version, right away we reached out to Gordon to see if the band was interested. We had a great day with all the musicians in the studio and hearing it all come to life.”

The UCLA Bruin Marching Band plays “Pressure” in a concert after the UCLA versus Arizona football game at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 20.
 

Bruin band members worked on the music for about a week before the session, but they had no idea who the recording was for until they arrived at the studio.

“When I found out it was Muse, I was in complete shock and was super ecstatic about the whole experience,” trombonist Matthew Espinoza said. “The music was really fun and I am forever grateful.”

Laila Sathe, a trumpet player, said “I think it’s awesome that a band as popular as Muse wanted to record an alternate version of one of their tracks with a marching band, and we were so lucky to have been asked to do it. The first time the whole band played the song together, we knew it was going to be a hit.”

In addition to the super deluxe edition of “Simulation Theory,” “Pressure” can be heard on Spotify, and the band’s version of the song has already been heard on several broadcasts for the National Football League, the Major League Baseball playoffs, and college football.

Bruin Marching Band’s supporting roles
Patricia Marroquin/UCLA
MSNBC anchor Katy Tur and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti discuss election issues while the UCLA Bruin Marching Band plays in the background on October 8 in Bruin Plaza.

The UCLA Bruin Marching Band has been seen or heard in numerous TV shows, movies and videos over the years. Here are just a few:

Television

  • Katy Tur’s “Battleground College Tour,” 2018
  • “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” 2016
  • “The Amazing Race,” Season 24 premiere, 2014
  • “Jeopardy!” 1990, 2001
  • “Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” 1989
  • “The Love Boat,” 1982
  • “The 41st Annual Academy Awards,” 1969

Movies

  • “Silver Linings Playbook,” 2012
  • “(500) Days of Summer,” 2009
  • “That Thing You Do,” 1996
  • “Legends of the Fall,” 1994
  • “Fatal Instinct,” 1993
  • “In the Line of Fire,” 1993
  • “Hello, Dolly!” 1969

Read more about their appearances at the UCLA Bruin Marching Band website.

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