As part of the USA promotion for “Queen in 3-D” book launch, Brian appeared on KLOS ‘Jonesy’s Jukebox’ 24 August 2017, chatting with Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols and The Professionals.
Queen’s Brian May: “We Should All Be Vegan” | Jonesy’s Jukebox
– https://youtu.be/1IqwCBT_eSg TRANSCRIPT by Jen Tunney
JONESY’S JUKE BOX – 955 KLOS
<QUEEN: ‘Doing Alright’ plays out>
BRIAN: Ah – them were’t days. I haven’t heard that for a long time.
JONESY: Now listen. Jonesy’s Jukebox on KLOS. That was Queen ‘Doin’ All Right’ and sitting next to me is the bloke who played all the guitar on it. You know what’s great about that album, I know it stuck in my head “no synthesizers”.
BRIAN: Yeah, yeah. It came about because people said “Ooh, it very good, it’s good arrangements and stuff, but it’s all done by synthesizers”, and we thought “Hmm.. we’ll just tell people we don’t do synthesizers”, because in those days we didn’t.
BRIAN: It was just guitars and voices – very raw and you know raw materials, whatever.
JONESY: Did that take long? Was that your first record that you did? Did you have another band before that? I don’t know.
BRIAN: Yeah, I was in bands at school. I was in a band called 1984, which in those days was way ahead and “1984” was the title of a futuristic science fiction novel and 1984 seems like impossibly in the distance in those days. It’s way, way in the past now. But yeah, I was in a band called 1984 and then the band called Smile with Roger who became….you know… that’s how I met Roger. I advertised on a college notice board and Roger answered the advert. I said, “I want a drummer who can do everything that Ginger Baker and Mitch Mitchell can do and Keith Moon.” And he answered and said “yeah, I can do that”.
JONESY: Not a bad looking bloke as well.
BRIAN: Ah, he’s very good, yeah. He’s very attractive to women apparently. (Laughing)
JONESY: Oh man. It’s Brian May, if you’re just tuning in.
BRIAN: And I get to sit with Steve Jones
JONESY: You the best was when you saw me in the park.
BRIAN: I had no idea who you were.
JONESY: You thought I was like guy who was like showing you where to go you which was was. That was hilarious.
BRIAN: I’m also half asleep because I’m jet-lagged a million ways and I don’t know where I am, but yeah, I’m thrilled to be sitting here with you. We were just talking about early days of you making “Never Mind The Bollocks” and us making “News of the World” in the same studio -Wessex in North London, and you made an album which changed the world and I think we did as well and here we both are. I’m thrilled. I’m really happy that we get the chance to sit here and talk.
JONESY: So you had no idea you were gonna come on Jonesy’s Jukebox, the guitarist of the Sex Pistols show?
BRIAN: You know the truth is I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I just go where they point me and stuff like this. Yeah, I know we booked two days promotion, and I saw “Jonesy”, and I didn’t know it was you, you know. This is a genuine surprise.
JONESY: Nice surprise.
BRIAN: A very very nice surprise.
JONESY: I’m flattered. Flattered you’re surprised and nicely…
BRIAN: I’m thrilled absolutely. We can talk about Sex Pistols all the time. I don’t care. We don’t need to talk about my book.
JONESY: I’ll tell you what I do want to know though is there’s one song on there… is it ‘Sheer Heart Attack’, that sounds very punk influenced.
BRIAN: Yeah. This is Roger’s track. Yeah. And he was, yeah, Roger was the one guy in the band who was aware of what’s going on around him. Very aware. You know very aware of fashions and sort of trends in music and stuff, but he had that track for quite a while. The ’Sheer Heart Attack’ track he’d had in his head and he went, “I want this on the album because you know things are going with the punk way and everything and I want this. This is my punk track” or whatever.
JONESY: And you thought what is this?
BRIAN: I thought “What is this racket?” (laughing) Yeah, well Roger and me are famously never in agreement about anything you know, and I was just – I was not in that frame at all, you know, because in my mind I think we were punks anyway from the beginning – my strange deranged brain. But Roger was, yeah, and still is you know he’s the guy whose aware of trends. He was aware of David Bowie long before any of us knew who he was and he went to a David Bowie show and I remember him saying, “Yeah. It was amazing” you know, he got the audience all with him and then they carried him off on their shoulders and everything … (inaudible) really… and was just – that was the “The Man Who Sold The World” album.
JONESY: Yeah, when he had long hair – or did he have spikes? Yeah, yeah.
BRIAN: … and women’s dresses, which was kind of unusual in those days.
JONESY: It wasn’t my cup of tea to be honest with you. I more to it when he got… you know…Ziggy Stardust
BRIAN: Yeah, I didn’t get it till Roger kind of put it in front of me and then I thought, “Oh yeah” actually, and, of course, then they had Mick Ronson, who was a really really fine player. What a lovely player he was, and of course they were around Trident Studios, where we were recording most of the time so I used to bump into Mick Ronson late at night over cups of coffee and chew the fat.
JONESY: Sweet guy.
BRIAN: Fantastic guy and what a lovely beautiful player.
JONESY: And a great arranger.
BRIAN: Really good. Yeah, he did all those string arrangements for ‘Starman’, and “Ziggy Stardust”.
JONESY: “Transformer” – Lou Reed.
BRIAN: Hmm. He’s a great guy. Sad loss. He played with us at our Freddie Tribute concert, yeah along with David. We did “Heroes”. Long gone. I can’t believe I’m saying that. They’re long gone.
JONESY: A lot of people – that’s the one thing I realised when you get older, how many people die if you stick around,
BRIAN: Yeah. I remember seen an interview with some 80 year old guy years and years ago, and then they said, “What’s it like to be 80?” He said, “Oh, it’s kinda good to be alive, but most of your friends have gone.” Yeah, I mean, I mean I just passed the 70-mark and I can’t believe I’m saying this, you know. I don’t feel like 70 years old. I feel like a boy. I feel like sort of 35 at the most, you know. But it’s odd. Suddenly people see you in a different way, and you’re still sort of young and nervous inside. Peculiar isn’t it?
BRIAN: I mean, you’re not as old as me. You’re just a boy yourself.
JONESY: 62 next month.
BRIAN: Well, you’re coming on. You’re getting there.
JONESY: You just had a birthday – July?
BRIAN: Yeah, and it’s threescore years and ten which is the sort of nominal lifespan of a human being, so I’m feeling like everything from now on is a bonus. My dad died at 66. I’m thinking, “Okay, what it’s really worthwhile to do now?” I mean, this is worthwhile, sitting talking to you, but what in the world is? – what should we spend our time doing in the remaining time we have, Steve?
JONESY: My big my big thing that I like to do is be in Nature In my old age. I like to be around Nature, and and you know. Helping others, I suppose.
BRIAN: Yeah, that’s good. Understand your place in the Universe. I like that too. That’s why I think eclipses really engage me so much. You know because in that moment of totality, you have to do one, in that moment where the sun is eclipsed – like it was two minutes 40 seconds this time – you are looking from this rock that we live on called Planet Earth into the centre of the Solar System and you can see the Sun’s family of planets. It’s the only time you can ever do that. And you suddenly get this feeling of, ‘Okay,I understand where I am in this Solar system’ , this tiny little family called the Solar System, which is a tiny speck in the local galaxy – the Milky Way Galaxy, which is in turn a tiny speck in the Universe. And I think it’s good to have that feeling – understand how small we are and wonder why we think we’re so important.
JONESY: That’s that’s the big, that’s the big thing.
BRIAN: Maybe we are. I don’t know.
JONESY: And who really think we’re in control, but really there’s no control.
BRIAN: That’s right, and think we have dominion over every creature on this planet which by rights I don’t think we should, you know. To me every creature on this planet has an equal right to have a good life, you know. We shouldn’t be abusing animals is one of my big things, you know. I think we got it all wrong. We weren’t put here to be users and abusers of all the other creatures on this planet. We were here to you know to do good stuff.
JONESY: Are you a Vegan?
BRIAN: I wish I was a Vegan. No – I’m a vegetarian. I haven’t managed to make this, the journey to being Vegan yet. A lot of my friends are and I eat a lot of Vegan food, but I can’t call myself a Vegan.
JONESY: You like a bit of goat cheese?
BRIAN: Yeah, I like cheese, but I don’t like the process by which it’s obtained. Yeah cheese is a hard one because Vegan cheese is really really not desirable
JONESY: Well most of the soy which is not good.
BRIAN: Yeah, I’m not a big soy fan, you know.
JONESY: They give you a give you a knockers – soy.
BRIAN: Gives you knockers on your knockers. (laughing) Sorry, we’re being English here.
JONESY: It’s okay. I think everyone gets it. But I’ve been off the meat for a while.
JONESY: I’m trying to go that way.
JONESY: I do have a weakness for a bit of goat cheese.
BRIAN: Yeah, I have a weakness for cheese It’s hard to give up, but yeah I spent a lot of my time around dairy farmers in England because I’m involved in trying to save that badger from persecution. You know, legalised persecution because it’s blamed for Bovine TB. And you know it’s a big big subject, but our contention is that the badgers are not a vector. They’re not the reason. They’re they’re a result of Bovine TB and cows – TB.
JONESY: What you mean the badgers are giving cows some diseases?
BRIAN: This is the legend, yeah. This is why they’re being persecuted, and they’re being culled by the Government, but actually all the research seems to show that badgers get TB from cows, but probably not much the other way around so killing badgers isn’t gonna to help the situation. It’s a thing that’s been offered to farmers as a solution and It’s become very political and farmers are actually afraid to speak out even if they do understand that badgers are not the cause of their problems. So you know, but I’m saying you know I’ve seen a lot of farmers – I’ve seen a lot of dairy farms and there are some very good dairy farmers, but I don’t think we should be doing it – I really don’t. You know we’re not designed to drink the milk of a cow. Why should we be. There’s an awful lot of stuff in it which is not good for us.
JONESY: Do you remember the commercials when you were a kid? Milk’ s good for you.
BRIAN: Yeah – it was based on no Scientific evidence whatsoever, you know. Yeah, milk’s supposed to be great for your bones and all this stuff. Essential.
JONESY: Strong bones.
BRIAN: Yeah, well this is propaganda. We all swallowed it, but it’s probably not the case. So drinking almond milk is probably a whole lot better for you, and it’s in the end better for the environment too, and it’s better from the point of view of animal cruelty. So yeah, we should all be vegan. We damn well should be.
JONESY: Where do you think it all started then? Back in the stone age When all you had was animals to eat?
BRIAN: I think it’s okay on a small scale and I think in the old days there was a kind of contract between men and animals. You know you look after the animal. You feed it, you protect it and in the end you eat it. It’s a kind of…
JONESY: Indian trade.
BRIAN: Yeah, the Indians – exactly yeah – but when it becomes like mass producing animals and giving them terrible conditions to live in and slaughtering them in hideous ways, you know. Boy – we went way off the track and we eat billions of animals that have been abused 0er year now, and I…
JONESY: And the Karma is it makes you sick. It makes people sick.
BRIAN: Yeah, it does, because you’re eating animals that had a bad life, were fed the wrong stuff and had stress in their lives And it’s not good for us. That’s what I think that’s the origin of so much of our illness. So I was saying to someone today, you know the world is all about money which to me is all wrong, but strangely enough what is gonna happen is money will lead us to the right path in the end because soon it will be cheaper to make a steak that tastes like steak and is much better for you than it is to breed a cow and kill it and eat it so as soon as the alternatives to meat are cheaper, then it’s game over. You know nobody will be going to the trouble of breeding animals, and dealing with their sicknesses and slaughtering them and all this. It’s an incredibly inefficient process and the milk as well. They will be just eating the food that’s been made in a much cheaper and more efficient way, which will be much better for us ‘cause it won’t have all the growth hormones. It won’t have antibiotics in it, etc, etc.
JONESY: Even though there’s eight billion people in the world.
BRIAN: Yeah, it’ll be cheaper and more efficient to feed them non-animal diets. Yeah it will be and quite soon. I think. There’s already some people are making making substitute meat which people prefer to the real thing. I mean, I certainly do. Give me a veggie burger any day. I hate to think what’s in – I wouldn’t dream of eating a hamburger. Not if you paid me these days.
JONESY: What about fish?
BRIAN: I eat a little bit of fish occasionally, but I don’t feel good about it and when you see videos of the way they’re caught and the way they’re just put in in their millions struggling into some horrible cage to be slaughtered to be or to be crushed to death. I don’t feel good about it. So I try and I try and not do it. It’s a while though – I think we’re all on a path You know you’re saying it’s a while since you ate meat. For me, too it’s many years since I ate a mammal, But I don’t get – I don’t feel good about you eating fish anymore and occasionally I’ll do it and then I think “No” I’m not gonna do that again for a while.
JONESY: So is it a moral thing more than the actual physical being?
BRIAN: Yeah. It’s a moral thing but I’m sure that I’m healthier for not eating meat. Absolutely sure.
JONESY: Yeah. No, I did vegan for four years. I went a bit nuts to be honest with you. You think every one agrees with every body? Some type body types or genetic makeup?
BRIAN: I really don’t know. I think it depends what you eat, of course. You know depends on what diet you have. I just wanna talk about your riffs though really.
JONESY: Yeah. (Laughing)
BRIAN: ‘God Save The Queen’ riff. Where that come from? That’s your riff innit? I ain’t Johnny Rotten’s riff, That’s your riff.
JONESY: Johnny didn’t write any music. It was me and Glen Matlock that come up on the music
BRIAN: Right, but he did lyrics? JONESY: Johnny wrote all the words.
BRIAN: Ah good, good. Yeah, but the riff yeah, where that riff come from?
JONESY: I dunno. Where does any of them come from?
BRIAN: I dunno. They come from the sky don’t they someplace and you have to catch ‘em.
JONESY: You know I was very very, at the time I mean I literally only been, I’m so bored telling this story but I wanna tell ya, I’d only been playing guitar three months before we did our first show. I was kind of singing at the beginning. I didn’t get it. This is before we got John and Malcolm McLaren said “You know, you don’t need to sing:, and I agreed. I, we did one gig at Salters Cafe, down King’s Road. Did you ever go to that place?
BRIAN: I’ve been – yes.
JONESY: … and it was horrible. I couldn’t stand it, I threw up, and I was just not the front guy you know, realised that, and then we got rid of the guitar player that we had. I got slung at a guitar and we auditioned for a singer and…
BRIAN: John Lydon turned up. Young, charming John Lydon.
JONESY: Yeah, and so we start rehearsing for about three months, and then we our first gig was at St Martin’s College and then when by the time we did our first gig it was about six months… nine months before we actually went in and started doing…
JONESY: Yeah – with Chris Thomas.
BRIAN: But it wasn’t with Chris in the beginning was it? Didn’t he take over the album from somebody else?