$3.5M hang in the balance over the origin of a cinematic science-fiction rock opera
An obscure writer named Charles Bolfrass has accused British space-prog band Muse of ripping off his "cinematic science-fiction rock opera" and is demanding $3.5 million in damages. The suit was filed at a federal court in Manhattan, and alleges that the group's gold-selling 2009 album The Resistance stole both its plot and artwork from his original creation dubbed Exogenesis.
A spokesperson for Muse disagrees vehemently: "The claim is complete nonsense, and is categorically denied. It appears to be based on a 'screenplay' which the band never received or saw, produced by someone the band has never heard of. It speaks volumes that the album in question was released a full three years ago, and yet this is the first that has been heard of these groundless allegations."
Specifically, Bolfrass claims that he'd approached Muse and two other unnamed bands to compose a score for the three-part Exogenesis story, in which astronauts are sent to find a new home for humanity when it becomes clear that life on Earth is due to end. That is pretty much the takeaway from the lyrics of The Resistance closing triptych, "Exogenesis: Symphony" parts one to three.
On "Part 2 (Cross-Pollination)," Matthew Bellamy sings in fittingly ghostly and rising yowl: "Rise above the crowds and wade through toxic clouds / Breach the outer sphere, the edge of all our fears / Rest with you, We are counting on you / It's up to you / Spread our codes to the stars, you must rescue us all"
While Muse's label Warner Music maintains that it will "aggressively defend this lawsuit," the case clearly remains a "chicken or the egg" type situation — or alien or the belly, if you prefer. Below, thanks to a copyright-infringing YouTube user, you can listen to the entire suite, which took over 40 musicians — and perhaps one disgruntled writer — to create.