As far as radio songs go, the new “Psycho” by Muse ain’t no “Hey There Delilah.”
The accompanying video has an oppressive drill sergeant screaming “You’re ass belongs to me now…I’m gonna make you a f!!!ing psycho.” While the progressive, symphonic British trio barks out “I will turn you into a super drone and you will kill on my command.”
Mike Halloran at 91X started playing “Psycho” as soon as he got it on March 12, almost once an hour. But Muse and its label, Warner Bros., didn’t want 91X to play it all.
"Psycho" by Muse
...off of this year's concept album, Drones
Halloran says the plan is for 91X and the other 61 major alternative stations to wait until the first official single, “Dead Inside,” is released in two weeks. The new Muse album, Drones, comes out on June 9.
Halloran had to make his own radio edit so the F-word wouldn’t make the airwaves. “Management told me the band did not want any radio airplay on this song,” Halloran tells the Reader, “that’s why they released it without a radio edit. Rage Against the Machine never released any radio edits of their songs. We would edit those songs and play them even though they didn’t want it done. This is the first F-word song from Muse.”
Halloran says that “Psycho” was a “fan only” release, and “we feel that fans of the band should be able to hear it. There are a lot of Muse fans in San Diego, and 90 percent of the Muse fans listen to 91X.”
Halloran says the song is too hard for 94/9, which has gone “mall-ternative,” and that Rock 105 “only played it twice, probably because they had to wait for permission from their corporate headquarters in San Antonio, but the pony express was taking too long.” A call to the programming chief at FM-94/9, Kevin Callahan, was not returned.
Shauna Moran of Rock 105 says that while "Muse is an important band for our format," and that "Psycho" is "a good song...it is a single that they released as a perk for their fans. I do not believe the band had the intention of this single being worked at radio. It is my understanding the official single, that the band and their label have agreed they want to work at radio, will be released very soon."
Moran says she has been Rock 105 program director for 14 years, and that "Not once in my career have I been told what I can and cannot add...I do have complete autonomy." She says her station started playing cuts by the Eeries and Yelawolf before anyone in the country.
At press time, only eight other stations nationwide had added Muse’s “Psycho” to their rotation.
What if going against the wishes of the band and its label prevents Muse from ever playing at a 91X-sponsored show, such as X-fest or Wrex the Halls? “The last time Muse played a so-called radio show was when they played at [94/9’s 2004] Independence Jam at the Open Air Theatre,” says Halloran. “They will never play a radio station show ever again. They are too big.”
Warner Bros.’ publicist Luke Burland and Aaron Michelson of Muse’s management, Q Prime, did not respond to a request for comment.
According to Halloran, “They want us all to all play the same song at the same time so it will impact the charts the most. Most programmers play along. This band can now sell out stadiums and they tell us we have to wait to play the single they want when they want it. This shows me most radio programmers are not fans of music anymore.”