Interview Brian May on AI, Mental Health, Fame, Plagiarism, Internet


Readers here may remember FRET NOT EP.1 Podcast from a while back, Brian May’s interview with Rosie Bennet, which he shared 6 September, 2021:

Fret Not – Highs & Lows – Brian May and Rosie Bennet (podcast) – Sep 8, 2021 – also SEE HERE

Please now enjoy another special and delightful episode – Rosie’s latest interview with Brian, which took place at the end of this Summer (2023):

“We talked about AI and its potentially dangerous applications, Brian’s childhood and how he found his way to the guitar, being famous as a shy person and how that fame has changed with the internet and social media, we talk about Brian’s role in the scientific community, his experiences with imposter syndrome, parenting and a load more!”
Rosie Bennet

Brian May on AI, Mental Health, Fame, Plagiarism and the Internet – FRET NOT EP.2


LIST OF QUESTIONS covered in the interview: (for reference)

1. Did you always find playing easy?
2. Do you try and feed your brain with influences?
3. Do you think AI will be used for good?
4.How has fame changed with the internet?
5. What happendd when Vanilla Ice brought out ‘Ice Ice Baby’?

BRIAN MAY: I think it was just on the radio when we heard it and I remember reading an interview with Vanilla Ice himself (who was asked), ‘Didn’t you steal this from Queen?’ And he said, ‘No, theirs is completely different; mine is (copies the same melody twice)’. I mean, we didn’t go to war for it, but the publishers did.

So, they came to a settlement, which was that he pays us most of the money he’s ever generated with that song. We’re alright with that (laughs); we became a part of the writing team, if you like.

[Commenting on sampling] “That’s an interesting example though, isn’t it? I mean, he made something new and interesting, and people liked it. So, I guess it’s about acknowledging your influences, that’s the decent thing to do. I hope that I’ve always done it. Sometimes you want to quote someone deliberately — like (Sergey) Rachmaninoff’s ‘Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.’ He was upfront about what he was doing, so nobody minded it. If he stole that stuff without acknowledging it, it would be different.

‘Ice Ice Baby’, it still makes me smile.”

6. How did you decide tostop doing the PhD?
7. Have you struggled with imposter syndrome?
8. Did you have to defend your PhD in 2007?
9. Have there been times where fame has been a disadvantgage?
10. Are you good at forgiving yourself?
11. Do you go to therapy?
12. Did you have an easy childhood?
13. Did you get all the girls by playing the guitar?
14. Pre-internet did you deal with negativity in the same way as now?
15. Who in Queen was best at dealing with negativity?

A very interesting and delightful conversation – and a little guitar playing to round off!!