To celebrate the rerelease of his acclaimed album, Back to the Light, Brian joined Radio X to answer the questions you’ve all been dying to ask. Watch below!
Brian May Answers His Most Googled Questions | According to Google | Radio X
TRANSCRIPT J Tunney
Another interesting artist came from Feltham and his name was Freddie Mercury.
BRIAN MAY: We both lived there in our childhood and didn’t know each other although we lived about 300 yards apart
Hi folks I’m Brian May and these are my most Googled question.
What is Brian May’s favourite Queen song?
Off the top of my head it’s the combination of ‘Rock You’ and ‘Champions’, I think because I’m going to call that one song for now because it was conceived almost as one song, you know. Half of it was written by me – half was written by Freddie but really it was a response to this feeling that we should involve the audience and we should change our view of how we perform to let the audience in. So ‘Rock You’/‘Champions’ is my favourite I would say.
What is Brian May’s guitar made of?
My guitar is made of bits and pieces which some people would call junk. It’s a piece of an old fireplace which is the neck – it’s a piece of oak, which came from a very old oak table that was in my Dad’s spare room, and the tremolo is made out of piece of mild steel that I filed, but also the support from a saddlebag from a push bike and with a piece of my Mum’s knitting needle on the end. [That’s all.] The tremolo is balanced with motorbike valve springs from a 500cc Norton I think. It’s just it was made out of bits because I couldn’t afford a guitar. It’s still what it was and it still works and it still exists.
Why does Brian May use a coin to play guitar?
I use a coin to play guitar because it has a particular sound and feel. I found when i was learning that i was using soft picks to begin with and I gradually liked them harder and harder because I like[d] to feel what was happening at the string in my fingers and eventually I thought, “Well I don’t want it to bend at all. I want it to be completely rigid. I just picked up a sixpence and it worked for me and it just fitted in my hand nice. It also has a bonus because if you turn it sideways at an angle to the strings you get this serrated edge which makes it kind of sound, articulated sound, so it’s like having consonants in your speech because I always regard the guitar as a voice.
What is Brian May doing now?
Launching his 29 year-old solo album and it feels like it’s a completely new album. Put a lot of love and faith and work into this and it feels exactly like being reborn. It’s amazing and I absolutely stand by the album. I hope it reaches a whole new generation. I hope it penetrates [their] soul and I hope we connect.
What is Brian May a Doctor of?
When I started my PhD it was called Astronomy, but when i finished it, it’s called Astrophysics. There’s all sorts of other branches of Astronomy now. It took me 30 years to get my Doctorate and I’m very proud of it and it cost me in terms of effort and submerging my will to a certain extent because the tough thing is, doing a PhD you have to kind of be very humble because you have to do what someone else is telling you to do and you’re constantly being examined and constantly being criticized. It was tough but I’m so happy that I did it because I’m happy to be a Doctor.
What is Brian May’s favourite solo song?
My favourite solo song is probably ‘Resurrection’, because it always makes me feel like I can do it. It makes me feel like I can conquer the obstacles in my path. There’s a lot of optimism, a lot of belief and passion in that song. I had Cozy Powell drumming for me which is the most amazing thing in the world – had that kind of lift from him – not just his drumming but his incredible optimism and energy.
Who is Brian May married to?
Well last time I checked, I was still married to Anita Dobson, who is an amazing actress of note and when I met her, she was way more famous than I was because she was the most photographed woman on TV, playing Angie in EastEnders, which was in some ways the best thing that ever happened to her – but in some ways one of the worst because it almost stopped her doing anything else. People were so married to this wonderful character that she created, Angie, that they wouldn’t kind of let her be anything else. So she’s fought long and hard to re establish herself as the actress that she was before she went into the soap. She’s an amazing actress – an amazing performer – and an amazing wife.
Are Brian May and James May related?
I think not.
Where is Brian May from?
I’m from Feltham in Middlesex. It’s not known for many things except that another interesting artist came from Feltham and his name was Freddie Mercury. We both lived there in our childhood and didn’t know each other although we lived about 300 yards apart. Feltham in Middlesex actually still exists.
Who plays Brian May in the “Bohemian Rhapsody” film?
Gwilym Lee, an extraordinary actor and I was a little nervous to have somebody play me on the screen. It’s not an easy thing to contemplate i think we all were like certainly Roger as well I’m thinking how’s this going to be is it going to be embarrassing. As soon as I met Gwilym I realised he was up to the job and more and I spent some time with him playing guitar – he is a guitarist – he was a guitarist – but he wanted to learn exactly how I play and he managed to absorb a lot of my riffs. What I didn’t realise was he was absorbing me as a character as well. He was absorbing my voice – like my body language, my whole kind of presence so much so that when I showed it to my kids – the rushes of of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” film they thought that I’d done his voice. They said, “He’s really good isn’t he dad? He really gets you down but obviously you did the voice right?” Well, no, he did it and he’s amazing in the film I love the guy. We’ve remained friends and hopefully always will be. So Gwilym, if you’re out there, you’re a hero. Love ya.
Is Brian May knighted?
No, I’m a CBE, which is some way up the sort of pecking order of the honours. I think OBE is the first one and then MBE and then the CBE, which means Commander of the British Empire, so I am a Commander and Knighthood is something different. That’s a KBE, as I remember and that entitles you to be called Sir. A lot of people call me “Sir Brian”, which is sweet, but I’m not. I am just Brian but I am Brian PhD CBE,]
‘Back to the Light’ is out now on CD, Vinyl, Picture Disc Vinyl, Box Set, Cassette, Digital Download & Streaming Formats. Click here to order and listen now!