FASCINATING!! – video with transcript
Jamie Moses talks a lot about Brian May in this fascinating EXCLUSIVE new interview. Brian has been influence, inspiration and support and a common thread throughout Jamie’s history with Brian May and Queen. Enjoy!!
JAMIE MOSES INTERVIEW FOR THE OFFICIAL BRIAN MAY WEBSITE
and the OFFICIAL INTERNATIONAL QUEEN FAN CLUB
Date:Tuesday 5 January 2021
Jamie Moses Interview – Exclusive 2021
TRANSCRIPT: Jen Tunney
(Additional: Dave Fordham)
January 2021 and lockdown number three in the UK. I was fortunate enough this morning to spend an hour on Zoom with the one and only Jamie Moses, a guitarist who for much of the past three or four decades has spent much time on stage with the good and the great of rock and roll.
With Jamie being a great friend of the Queen Fan Club and BrianMay.com, we focused on his extensive work with Queen and I really hope you enjoy this interview just half as much as Dan Dunmore and I did in putting it together.
We started the interview by going right back to 1979 to ask Jamie what he recalled about playing in the pit with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra during a performance by The Royal Ballet of ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by one, Freddie Mercury…
The main story of that day was that he, that we did rehearsal with Fred, and it was fantastic, and there was like the just the core band – myself, drums, bass guitar, keyboards. I think that was it – just like the four of us during the day – and we were sitting in the pit and Fred was up on stage just kind of singing and walking around the stage dressed in jeans and t-shirt as I recall, and he said: “No, it’s all it’s wonderful.” He says: “You… it sounds, sounds fabulous, sounds fabulous, so I’ll see you tonight.” So we went: “Yeah, yeah, great”… had a little chat with him which was really, really nice.
He seemed – so that was the only time I was – actually met him and spoke with him and he seemed like such a nice guy, you know. I remember coming away with the impression this is a really good guy, you know. And so we’d come back in the evening all togged up and we’re in the pit with The Royal Philharmonic and I’m looking around thinking: “Wow, this is quite something”, and Dame Margot Fontaine is up in the Royal Box and along with, I don’t know, Joan Collins – who knows – but loads of celebs there, and this, the conductor stands up on the podium and he goes [click, click, click]… looks at me and starts waving the stick around for ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’.
I’m going… looking everywhere, [laughs] you know, and they’re going, then they’re going: “Play, play”. [ME]: “When? Oh right, okay”, and of course I don’t know. NOW I know what this means is one, two, three, four; one, two, three, four – that’s the downbeats too, and so now I know this. I was only, I was in my early 20s I think at the time, and everybody fortunately just fell in with what I was doing and the conductor corrected himself to go with me.
Fred – Fred would have been completely unaware of this. He was standing in his, in his tutu and his tights or whatever it was he was wearing, just waiting to dance with The Royal Ballet on stage, which is what was going on – and it was all… it was all fine in the end. But that moment – that ONE moment when I realised we never rehearsed it with the orchestra – nobody told me that a conductor would look at me and go: “One, two, three, four” [‘Crazy Little Thing’ intro]. I suppose they figured they wouldn’t have to tell me – that I was bright enough… but they were wrong! [Laughter]
And you were already a Queen fan at that point, were you?
Oh yeah – God yeah. Well you see I had a band called Merlin in the mid-70s, early to mid-70s. Now somewhere there’s an article – the newspaper “The Melody Maker”. Well they did a, like a two-page spread comparing CBS band, Merlin, with EMI band, Queen. We were both around the same time and they compared, you know, our singer with Fred, me with Brian, all the way down – they call it “hype” in the ‘Pop’ market – about the, the record companies promoting these two bands and the, and, you know, what you do to get exposure with both the bands. So it was direct comparison one to the other and, of course, one band had a bit more success than the other! [Laughter]
But, but I remember when I first started with Brian, you know, I said a week or two weeks into rehearsal, I happened to mention to him, I said, I said, “I used to play with a band called Merlin”. He went: “Merlin! You were in Merlin!” He said: “We were worried about you at one point”. Yeah, yeah! Well I said: “You needn’t have been!”.[Laughter]
So your first interaction with Brian, Roger and John was when you were playing with Bob Geldof at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley?
Yeah, no – the only one I met at that gig was Brian because Spike he took me, he says: “Come on”. He says: “I want you to meet Brian, you know. Be good – good for you to meet Brian, you’ll love him”, and I said: “Yes, that would be fantastic”. So he took me back into Brian’s dressing room and I went: “It’s Brian May!”, you know, and I met him. I was just nearly shaking. It’s wonderful.
I remember going out, well I, at the time my daughter Katie was – she would have been 11 – I remember going out to see Metallica… were they on it? [DAVE: Yeah, yeah, yeah.] I went out and put her on my shoulders and we were quite near to the front because we came out from the backstage area just to the, to the front there and said that: “Well, this would be fun”, you know,and she’s on my shoulders and they, they started out and went ‘KERRANG!’ at like a million decibels and I went: ‘ARGH’ and I stuck my hands over Katie’s ears and then just ran back to the backstage area again. [Laughter]
So you didn’t get to meet John Deacon then?
Not then but he, he did play with us with the SAS Band at The – what was it called? Bottom Line, Shepherd’s Bush, I think. It is next door next door to The Empire?
And what was your impression of John?
Fantastic – he’s a really, he’s a fantastic bass player, you know. He’s so creative and great sound and precise. Bang on the money, you know.
So although a seed had been sown in Brian’s dressing room at Wembley, Mike Caswell had played in The Brian May Band rehearsal tour of South America in 1992. So how did it come about for your role in 1993?
Well I don’t know. I just know that I got a call from Spike saying, you know, they had done this and as an experiment, and Brian wanted to re-jig the band so, you know, he was getting different backing singers and – and guitar player[s] in to see, to see what was going to happen. Yeah.
Did you have to audition for the part?
I did, I did, yeah – at Nomis studios in London. I’ll always remember it and I said to Brian after the audition, because he was saying: “Oh you get a lovely sound”, you know, he’s looking at my equipment like my tatty old Fender amp and Mashalll amp and I said: “Oh thanks. Thanks a lot”, kind of things [“You don’t do too bad yourself!”]. And we had a really nice play. It was great. It went, all went very well, and at the end I said to him, I said: “I’m just – I’ve got to say this and I’m honestly not blowing smoke up your ass, but if I don’t get the gig, if we just… and we never see each other again, at least I can say I’ve played with you and, and you’re definitely one of the top five guitar players ever, ever, in my book. So, so thanks for just having a play with me”, you know, and as it turned out, you know, he said: “Well okay”, and suppose Spike said: “Well go and wait outside in the corridor”, and he came back: “Well when we… … when do you want to start?”. Yay!:
So Brian’s described fronting a band for the first time as a whole re-education process – so what was it like to witness that first-hand?
Well full marks to him, full marks to him because he obviously, you know he, he hadn’t done it before and one of the reasons I was there, as he made clear to me, was that some of this stuff as is always the case when you get a brilliant instrumentalist, they’re brilliant because they focus everything into it, you know, and – and he couldn’t do that if he was fronting the band and, and singing – that this is two things – this is two jobs, you know. So that to do three jobs is a bit, bit of an ask, you know, so that’s why I was there – to cover some of the bits he couldn’t do while he was singing and to do some of the harmony stuff and cover some of the other parts that are on the records when he’s got 25 guitars going on, you know – yeah but seeing him do that – I, you know, I had no idea that he had the vocal range that he’s got for instance. He’s, he’s, he can really sing very high, yeah… but very impressed.
What you’ve said about the, you know, the buzz of playing with Brian May, was his playing what you would have expected then in terms of guitar?
Well there was a couple of, there was a couple of ‘ah, so that’s how he does it’ moments, which, which is all very enlightening. A lot of it, I had a good idea about how he did it – but most of it is just it’s in here [points to heart] and – and in here [fingers]. I mean his technique is fantastic – but it’s also the tunes, the melodies in his head that he puts down as guitar lines and the sound of his guitar and the various sounds of his guitar that he gets… it’s just, it’s just, you know, I’d give my left arm for it… wouldn’t do me much good would it?! [Laughter]. Yeah, no – I, he’s, he’s, he’s just fantastic – yeah.
And you had to learn to play a Red Special replica then, like I see the one over your right shoulder?
That’s the one I ended up using – yeah – his one is just – got the neck that’s like a tree trunk – the depth of the neck, you know, from front to back. It’s, it’s – this one is – it was made for my specifications but his one is about that deep. I have sound-checked his, his one, before when he couldn’t come to soundcheck or didn’t want to or something and – so he gave it to me to, to sound-check and it’s one thing you notice when as soon as you open it up you turn the volume up, the volume’s down you – there’s this going on [humming] from his amps and as soon as that volume toggles up it goes whoosh because with the feedback, because there’s so much gain on it, there’s so much level and it just, which is how, where all that sustain and that beautiful tone comes from.
We did a gig with Pavarotti in Milan and – he said, the Pavarotti guy came over and said something to Brian and Brian came back to me and he was looking a bit troubled during rehearsals – was looking a bit troubled, confused, and I said: “What’s up? What’s going on?”. He said: “Well”, he said: “the Maestro has asked me to – Pavarotti has asked me if i can turn down please. Just a bit loud for him”, you know, and I said: “Well you”, I said: “you can’t do that”. I said: “That’s, everybody knows, that’s how you get your sound. The amp is ON or OFF, you know. so it’s ON and it’s full volume and that’s where the fantastic sound comes from, yeah. So you can’t do that”. He said: “I know”. He said: I don’t know what to do”. He said seriously. “Do you do what I do?” I said: “You go over your amp, you pretend to turn it down, turn around and go: “Thank you” [thumbs up]. And when it, when it came to playing it, he, went, because it was ‘Too Much Love’ – he’s doing: “I’m just a shadow of the man I used to be …” and he does all this and then ‘KERRANG!’ comes in, and Pavarotti’s hair goes WHOOSH from the back! It’s hilarious.
I’ll just tell you something about this guitar by the way. You know, Brian said if there’s anything you want in particular on it, that’s different then just let me know or let them know and then they’ll sort it out. So with, with Brian’s – this – his volume control is here right at the back. So he’s playing and you’ll see him doing that all the time, which is a long way… now on a Stratocaster, which is what I use mostly, the volume control’s here, so I said: “Any chance you could put the volume control there instead of there?”, which they’ve done as you can see – and this one and that – so this which was the volume control is now the DFA knob – which on the forums people are saying: “I wonder what the DFA is?” Well, it’s disconnected. It does **** all! But anyways when it was first given to me, you know, we up at soundcheck and Brian came along and saw it and he said: “Oh nice. Nice”. He said: “Hold on”, he said: What’s that?”, he said. I said: “That’s the volume control.” I said I asked them to move it to there so that you can still play and still work the volume because you can do like his, see, with your little finger, and he said: “Is it? What a great idea. I should have done that with mine!” [Laughter]
You still play it?
Sometimes I use it like for Queen songs with the SAS Band or or – I use for recording because it’s got some nice different sounds on it, a few with the out of phase switches for the pickups.
And how would you describe the dynamics between Brian and the band?
It was, it was terrific. He seemed to be having the time of his life having his own band but at the same time he was part of something new, which he liked and part of, – he obviously likes being in a band and not being a solo act. I mean it was called The Brian May Band, you know, and not Brian May. So he, I think, he really liked that, being one of the boys kind of thing.
With a viewing audience of millions, what was it like to play with The Brian May Band and Slash on the Jay Leno show?
[Laughs] We did a rehearsal, we rehearsed and the and Slash had a fag on, you know. He came, came in with his top hat and all the stuff into rehearsals, and – and, and the Floor Manager goes: “No, I’m sorry. There’s no, no smoking in here Mr Slash, you know”. So he went: “Okay”, so he put it out you know. We ran through ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ and – and then we came to do the show that night and Brian starts [Tie Your Mother Down intro] and I can see just off in the wings just, just right next to me but with the curtain in front so the punters can’t see him, is Slash and he’s standing there looking at me and he goes, takes his fag out, lights it up and goes [thumbs up] and he comes bounding and I saw the Floor Manager [head in hands] and he comes bounding on with this fag on, you know!
So, jumping forward to 1998 what can you tell us about your performance on ‘Slow Down’ on the Another World album?
I mean, looking back on that my big regret is that I didn’t, I think Brian might have sprung it on me that I was going to do a solo and just do the solo, but had I had time I would have actually worked on it and constructed something a bit better, like I did with the solo on ‘Let Your Heart Rule Your Head’, that I actually took time to go, okay do that there and then there’s this little phrase I can put there, which I didn’t do with the ‘Slow Down’ thing… but mind you, it is rock and roll isn’t it, so…
And of course, Cozy Powell’s passing after the recording of “Another World” must have been pretty devastating for you all?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember – Spike called me about it and I was in B&Q or somewhere and he said: “I’ve got some really bad news so where are you, sit down”, you know, and I found a place and I said: “What’s going on. What’s going on?”,. He told me and: “Oh my God No”, ! because it was just so sudden obviously. It was awful.
Yeah of course. He was quite a big part of the band I guess with that big noise?
Oh yeah, yes but also as a character, as a person, you know, he was hilarious. He used to, he used to sit up… if i got up during the night on the tour bus in America and I’d go see two people talking on the front at like four or five in the morning and it would be him sitting with the bus driver looking at, shouting at other motorists, you know…: “Get out of the way. What’s the matter with you?” on behalf of the driver! [Laughter]
What do you remember about the handful of unplugged shows ahead of the main Another World tour?
We did – yeah, we did… we had Steve Ferrone on percussion on some of those from, you knew, Average White Band, Chaka Khan’s band,. He’s brilliant, brilliant.
They came over really well, the VH-1 one which obviously was good production that’s out there. It seemed really cool? Tie Your Mother Down – just one of my favourites from there…
It’s a nice feel that isn’t it? It’s that – it’s that… I remember doing that in the studio and one of those I was playing the riff and Brian said: “What’s that you’re playing?”, and I said: “It’s one of your songs!”. I can never remember if it was ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ or ‘Hammer To Fall’, so just messing around. He says: “That’s nice, come on, you know, lets…” and – yeah, it developed into… not saying that it was my idea but yeah.
But it developed from there perhaps?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was just, we sat down and started playing that and everybody just fell into playing different parts and, and – it really worked, yeah.
After “Another World” was it a surprise to you that Brian stepped away from fronting his own band, effectively disbanding The Brian May Band?
No, not really. I was, I was always wondering if Queen were going to resurface as Queen, if you know Roger and well and John in fact would just find another singer and, and but – yeah, I don’t know what to say about that!
Okay, so in retrospect these days, how do you look back on your experience with The Brian May Band?
Oh, I was over the moon to be involved in, in any way, you know, happy to be in there somewhere you know – it was terrific – really, really lovely.
Was there ever an opportunity for you to be involved with the House Band for “We Will Rock You” at The Dominion?
That was the original intention, was that I was going to be a guitar player in it – because Brian said, he said: “We’re working on this Musical” – and – he said: “I know it’s not your kind of your thing”, because I’m not really that big on musicals, but he said: “But if you’d like to play guitar in it, you know, that would be great”. I said: “Yeah sure, okay, lovely” so and then, lo and behold it actually came to light that they had written the Musical and they said: “You, you know, you have to audition for it because there’s Ben Elton and De Niro and everybody’s involved in it. So we know-that you’re suitable for it but they don’t”. So, so I did go on and audition and then I got the gig – but a couple of weeks later I had to say to him: “Say listen, this is – I’m really sorry Brian. You’re absolutely right. It’s not for me, the Musical idea of going to a Musical every night, punching in the clock, doing all that – it’s not why I started playing the guitar. So – so I’m going to have to hand it over, but I know somebody else who can do it”, and I put Laurie Wisefield up for it and – and there you go. The rest is history.
How was it to play at the first “46664” concert for Nelson Mandela in Cape Town?
Oh that was terrific. That was a terrific thing because I mean all the other acts, the legendary acts that were on with us which, I can’t remember any at the moment but because we did so many, we did about seven of those and – and you know, with Peter Gabriel and Robert Plant and – U2, Annie Lennox – so it was it was a fantastic gig… they all were, those “46664” ones, ones, they were… but Christ though, the work that went into them for us as the House Band, because not only were we with Queen and Spike – but we were in the House Band for all the other acts. So we, for we’re each one of those, we had to learn 40, 45 songs.
I’ve still got up on my toilet wall a note from The Edge, which was handed to me 20 minutes before we went on stage saying: “Jamie, sorry for the last minute changes but in the chorus, could you do it in the middle eight – and we think it might be better if you did this thing”, and I went: “No, aargh! I…! “Sorry, sorry again” [signed] The Edge. [Laughter]
How did your role in Queen and Paul Rodgers come about?
I knew that they were auditioning bass players for this Queen and Paul Rodgers thing – and I play a bit of bass, you know, so I wrote to Brian and said, and I remember the subject of the email, said ‘Your pop combo Queen’ in inverted commas, ‘Your pop combo Queen’ [Laughter]. And I said “Brian just – just to let you know that if you’re looking for bass players, as it happens I do play bass because I play bass with Mike and the Mechanics, for instance and two or three other acts. Sometimes I play some songs on bass guitar – so I said one thing I, I’m a bass owner, I said, and I’ve got and – you know I play a bit. I know all the vocals, all the vocal parts and the songs – so – if you’re thinking of, you know, it’d be, I’d be happy to audition for it”. So it came to pass that, yes, they were doing auditions at Ritz in Putney and I, I didn’t have a decent bass rig actually so I, I asked, I rented one – a bass rig and I borrowed a really nice Fender Precision as well from somebody else rather than use my scabby old bass, and, and we sat down had a cup of tea and we were sitting there, me and Brian and Rog and Spike and I was actually really nervous because with guitar I know exactly what I’m doing. Bass – I’m never quite sure what the sound should be because it sounds so different here to what it does over there – bass guitar. Guitar I know exactly what to do with it but… so and I was kind of getting nervous about it – and with Paul Rodgers there as well of course – to do his songs – to do the Free songs, the Bad Company things – the bass parts are terrific. So they said let’s just sit down and have a chat and we sat and had a chat and the bass guitar is on the stand and great, I’m waiting to start. He said: “Listen, I, do really think maybe we shouldn’t have you playing – maybe you should be playing second guitar instead?”. I went: “Well” and again I used the: “I’m just happy to be, be in there somewhere”, you know! And they said: “Yeah let’s do that and we’ll audition, we’ll find another bass player and so on and so on.” Okay brilliant… and they said: “Welcome aboard”, and that was that was how I started. It was like, it was never planned. We just sat down and I never even played one note [bass]. They said: “Well since you got it here let’s play some songs”, so we did! So we just had a jam and I played the bass guitar, and that was that.
Was that the first time you met Paul Rodgers?
Yeah… actually I’m not even sure if Paul was there to tell you the truth… It was Brian and Rog and Spike. It was just a four piece band you know having a play. Yeah bit by bit it was happening and they, they were happy having the whole idea of Queen+, whether it was Queen+ well, Axl Rose or whoever it was going to be. I think that was the concept and then, yeah and then they just booked in a few tours for the Queen and Paul Rodgers thing and that was it.
So when playing alongside Paul Rodgers with Brian and Roger at the one-off UK Hall of Fame performance in 2004, was the chemistry really that obvious?
Absolutely, no question – for a few reasons. I mean, well one, when we, when we played and we were, I was walking through the car park with Brian to go to the truck where they were recording it from the outside – the truck outside – and as we all came together he said: “I think something special happened just then”, and I said: “I think you might be right, you know”. He said: “This might be worth pursuing”, and then it became Queen and Paul Rodgers. Yeah, but also apparently Freddie was a huge Free and Paul Rodgers fan and Brian and Rog certainly are as well, so you know they, they felt that Freddie would have approved of having Paul in the band.
You were a fan of Paul Rodgers?
Oh huge fan – huge fan of Free. I know all that stuff. It’s, it’s just, it’s in my blood and the, you know, stuff like ‘Wishing Well’, ‘My Brother Jake’ – we never did ‘My Brother Jake’, which is a real shame, but I love it. And Bad Company – loved, loved all of that stuff.
But it was pretty good to play those [Paul Rodgers] songs that you did, in terms of ‘Wishing Well’ etc?
Huge honour. Huge honour and it turns out Brian and me know all those parts and it was really funny when we’d go to play them for the first time and me and Brian would both go for the same riffs and the same little core patterns and stuff.
And you were obviously always credited with backing vocals for The Brian May Band and for Queen and Paul Rodgers, so the harmonies were pretty important?
Yeah, oh completely – really important. In fact, I remember us being pretty pissed off once because one of the reviews said: “Unfortunately they were using some pre-recorded backing vocals.” No we weren’t! That was, we made it too good, people, they thought that it must be on track or something but we spent a lot of time, a lot of time on vocals and, but Paul was never that, he never got involved really in backing vocals; he didn’t, if they weren’t there he didn’t care, if they were – fine, if they were singing different parts on the record – whatever, you know. Whereas Brian and Rog – bang – they know every note, you know, what should be sung in what parts… and then Spike helps with all that.
Do you do you still keep in touch with those band members now, Paul Rodgers and obviously Brian and Roger?
Not, not Paul, although I had a Christmas email from him saying “Merry Christmas”, you know, but, but Brian and Rog yes, yeah all the time.
What did you make of Paul’s vocal takes on the Queen songs?
Well I, I thought the same as the guys did, which is that he kind of put he – I seem to remember Brian saying at one point that the songs were reborn with him because it wasn’t like he was trying to copy Freddie or even just to sing the tunes as they were – he put this Blues slant on them and everybody went “Wow”, oh okay… and for me, I loved it. I know a lot of people didn’t, but I think an awful lot of people did. I mean he’s, you know, he’s – Adam Lambert’s got something different. He’s a real showman. He’s flamboyant and everything, but Paul, if you, if you just listen to that voice, in my book he could just sing anything – he could sing the phone book and it would sound fantastic!
And what can you tell us about the experience of playing alongside Roger Taylor?
Well, can you imagine anybody else playing with Queen, playing those songs? I can’t. You know he’s, he’s got that, he’s got that… Jesus, can really lay into those drums. He’s, he’s just, he’s just brilliant, you know – powerful, powerful drummer but he puts the right things to the right songs. He plays sympathetically to the songs.
And the vocal side as well…?
And the vocal side of course. Yeah, fantastic vocals. I mean Brian’s got a range, but Roger – my God!
How was it to perform in front of those huge audiences at Freedom Square in Ukraine and Hyde Park, for example?
Yeah, that was something, it was about 320,000 people was it? Yeah, it was a huge gig and fortunately it went very well and I remember not being nervous weirdly where I should have been but – and – yeah I was very happy and we, we came off and said: “Well that was fun wasn’t it?”. And when you look back and you see it from the air as well – unbelievable.
So at the end of it all in 2008, was it a surprise to you when the Queen and Paul Rodgers collaboration came to an end?
It was, it was more… I’d say, more of a disappointment than a surprise but – yeah, it’s a shame because we were just, we’re kind of getting into our stride but – it, it just, it reached its natural end. I think that’s, that’s the point.
But everyone was still getting on well?
Oh yeah, oh no, it’s fine, yeah, yeah – everybody was, was fine. It’s just… people wanted to move on, that’s all.
And in retrospect now, how do you look back on that experience of playing with Queen and Paul Rodgers?
Oh yeah, yeah – love it. Yes, really love it .
So moving on from Paul Rodgers, it sounded earlier like you’re quite a fan of the Queen and Adam Lambert collaboration?
The Adam Lambert thing is brilliant – it’s really brilliant. He’s, he’s really brought something to the band and taken it back a bit more to what it was with Fred – and everybody’s playing and singing really well with that, with that lot – and it’s the same as it was with us; I, you know, I don’t think there’s anything on, on track vocally – but which is, which is a real credit to them. I’ve been to a couple of those shows… very impressed – yeah very impressed with it all. Good, great production.
Was there ever a chance for you to be involved then when they came together in 2012?
I was well, I was wondering about it but Brian actually did say to me: “Listen I’m, I’m really sorry that you’re not involved in this”, he says. “It’s just that I’m more confident as a singing guitar player without Fred now,” than, you know, before he’d lost Fred – and he needed, and without John as well, he needed something to, to make it a bit fuller maybe but – now he’s got… so, I mean at least I wasn’t replaced with another guitar player, you know – it’s just they don’t have second guitar now and I understand that completely. So it’s still a six piece band, it’s just instead of second guitar they have percussion/drums. It’s fine; I would, I would like to have been involved, but there you go.
And of course, you were founder member of the SAS Band back in 1994 when The Brian May Band was, I believe, taking a small hiatus?
It’s exactly right – we knew that Brian was going to take a break after that first tour and we said: “Well this is a really good band. It’s a really happening band and would be a shame to let it go to waste. Why don’t we just get some guest singers in to sing? So we got Chris Thompson in as our main singer – and we took the girls from, from The Brian May Band and other than that it was Neil Murray and Cozy, Spike Edney and me.
But yeah, it was basically The Brian May Band without Brian, and then we started getting more guest singers in. We, we had Paul Rodgers. He did one gig with us. He sang ‘My Girl’, as I remember he sang it fantastically at The Bottom Line there in Shepherd’s Bush, I think it was. But we’ve had just about everybody sing with that band, yeah. That is strange when you, when you get the guys, when you get Brian and Roger involved then it becomes more of a Queen thing, but then it’s Queen without the production and, and so on, but then I’ve done so many where Brian has been there and Brian has gone up and played with either with – well “Jamie and the Falcons” as it’s now called, which used to be called “Tthe Red Sox – World Famous Red Sox”, my party band this, which Spike is in as well – yeah and – yeah with those things it’s really great. We did one – we opened the Fender showroom – the artist’s showroom in Sussex – with that band and Brian was there along with Peter Green and I’ve got a picture of me standing just singing and I’ve given my guitar to Brian and Peter Green’s taking a guitar off the off the wall and they’re both, and they’re having a jam with…, I mean, what’s that?! What is that?! That’s fantastic isn’t it?!
Have you enjoyed guesting at the Queen Fan Club Conventions over the years?
Yeah, just loads – always, always fun that, yeah, and you never know what’s going to happen there really; you know, who’s going to get up and sing and play and yeah, I’ve had some very funny moments there doing those.
But the fans have always been respectful?
Yeah, oh completely, completely, yeah, which it’s, it’s nice that – and then afterwards you know I get to go out and go and stand at the bar and have a drink. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a drink there! Everyone is like ‘Let me get you a drink’ – oh, alright then! [Laughter]
Having worked first-hand with Brian for so much of the past three decades, how would you summarise his prowess on guitar?
Oh well, he’s, he’s the best, isn’t he? He is unique and you know it’s him – that’s the thing. He’s picked up my guitar, my shitty old Strat and he’s played five notes and using my sound, my guitar and you go – that’s Brian May. You can tell, yeah.
Even without the Red Special?
Yes, yes – you just know it’s him. He’s just got such a beautiful touch and he can make it just scream and explode and the most delicate of touches on the string which melt your heart. He’s unique.
And if you had to summarise the whole experience of your Queen-related work over the past three decades?
These guys – they’re Rock Gods for a reason, you know. They deserve every ounce of praise and reward, you know – financial and artistic. They deserve all of it.
So what can you tell us about your current activities, obviously pre-COVID and current activities and what you’ve got planned for the future?
Oh yeah well, I’m self-unemployed at the moment but – well you know everybody is! There’s, there’s just nothing happening is there now? But we’ve, I’ve got this “Los Pacaminos” – you know with Paul Young – that thing, which has been together for 28 years now. So we’re aching to get back on the road with that.
I’ve got my party band, ”Jamie and the Falcons”, which Spike is in, Jamie Little on drums and Steve Stroud on bass. That’s a fantastic band, that’s a cracking band that one… available for birthdays, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs! I still do the occasional thing with Mike and the Mechanics. I’m doing a Christmas album – and I do this thing on a Sunday called “Live From Jamie’s House”, where every Sunday at six o’clock on my Facebook page, my Facebook band page, which I think is called “Jamie Moses Guitar”, I just do some stuff here in my studio.
… and sing some stuff, some to a couple of backing tracks but a lot of it’s just on acoustic guitar or electric guitar on my own and – any, any songs that I really like to do, I just play them and I do that for an hour… so Live From Jamie’s House.
So what I’ve done is a Christmas album called “Christmas From Jamie’s House”. I didn’t get it finished in time for Christmas, so I released it as an EP, which is, and it’s on, you know, Spotify, Amazon Music, iTunes, everything… “Christmas From Jamie’s House”, that’s called. Just 4-track EP with stuff like ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ and ’It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas’ – all that stuff you know. I really enjoyed doing it at home as I’ve done and I’m working on finishing it, and I’ll have the album finished by next Christmas as well.
Well, I think all that’s left Jamie is me, on behalf of all Queen fans, to thank you sincerely, not just for your time today, but for being such a big part of so many great nights out over the years. So we hope to see you out there again in the not too distant future and all the best in the meantime. Cheers.
Thanks Dave. Cheers! Bye bye.
This article is © copyright 2021 Dave Fordham, the Official Brian May website and the Official International Queen Fan Club and is not to be reproduced without permission.
Edited by Dan Dunmore.
Interview by Dave Fordham for the Official Brian May Website and the Official International Queen Fan Club.
TRANSCRIPT: Jen Tunney
(Additional: Dave Fordham)
Many thanks again to Jamie for his time.
The producers of this not-for-profit video have made a donation to the Mercury Phoenix Trust. If you enjoyed this interview, you could support the trust too: www.mercuryphoenixtrust.com
Official Jamie Moses website: www.jamiemoses.com
Official Brian May website: www.brianmay.com
Official International Queen Fan Club: www.queenworld.com
Official SAS Band website: www.sasband.com
Official Queen website: www.queenonline.com
Thanks also to Jen Tunney, Jacky Smith, Thilo Rahn, Zbyszek Kaminski, Alan Fordham and Alex Dunmore.