Download: “Muse will push the boundaries"

The longest-running rock festival of them all has pulled off a coup this year, with the announcement that Muse will headline Saturday June 13, 2015. The Devon trio, who are currently working on their new album with AC/DC and Def Leppard producer Mutt Lange, will make their Download debut, alongside returning headliners Kiss and Slipknot, plus Judas Priest, Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators, Faith No More, Black Stone Cherry and Mötley Crüe, the latter’s Sunday night Special Guest slot being billed as their last-ever UK festival performance. Promoter Andy Copping gave us his side of the story.

Muse are something of a controversial choice for Download headliners.

Andy Copping: I’m very aware of how far I can and cannot go, but I’m always trying to push the boundaries of Download. I want Download to be running twenty years from now, and unless we open the doors to bands like Muse or the Foo Fighters we will forever return to the same old well. And let’s be under no illusion, in ten years’ time there will be no more Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith or Van Halen.

How hard is it to persuade Muse, or bands of a certain stature that can play their own stadium concerts, to play at Download?

**AC: **It can be hard to get any band, but the festival has a great reputation. Muse are a stadium-level act with a huge fan base but they’ve never forgotten where they came from. They’re a strong rock act.

Will they be bringing their full stage show, which is one of the most impressive around?

AC: We said that we want the full bells-and-whistles experience, and that’s what they want to bring.

Judas Priest are on the bill too.

AC: They haven’t been at Download for seven years, and don’t do as many shows as they used to, so it’s a big deal for them and us.

Mötley Crüe made their UK debut at Donington Park, so it’s fitting they’ll say goodbye there too.

AC: It’s incredible that that’s thirty-one years ago now. Such a memorable performance. And here they are putting the key in the door to close things down.

It must be tough keeping these things secret. Only a few days ago Gene Simmons tweeted a poster that showed the first batch of confirmed bands.

AC: It’s horrendously hard. In these days of social media nothing is secret any more. Part of me understands that, because I can’t keep my mouth shut either, but we’re trying to build a campaign.

It must have pissed you off.

AC: Of course it did. I’d spent the weekend trying to fan the flames of a rumour that came out of the Kiss Cruise. When I challenged them, management said they had no idea how it got out; it hadn’t come from Gene or Paul. That was on Sunday night. And then, fuck me, two days later… this happens.

Each year there are rumours about Van Halen appearing. Will we ever see them at Download?

AC: Twice we’ve had confirmation, and then twice they’ve had to pull out due to circumstances beyond their control. I make no secret of the fact that they’re my all-time favourite rock band, certainly during the David Lee Roth era, and I hope that one day they will do it. But they’re one of those bands we discussed earlier. In ten years they won’t exist any more, so they need to hurry up.

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.