On Thursday 8 November Brian May popped into BBC Radio 2 studios to chat to veteran DJ, johnnie Walker. for 'Sounds of the '70s', which was then broadcast on Sunday 11 November 2012.
Brian covered early days and forming Queen, memories of Freddie Mercury, and progressed through the story of Queen, touching on the albums along the way, USA market, changing managers, song writing, recording, touring, appearing at the Olympic Closing Ceremony, scaling the dizzy heights of the Buckingham Palace roof, and brings right up-to-date with recent release of "Born Free" single and touring with Kerry Ellis.
Highly entertaining and enjoyable chat.
Brian May Sounds of the Seventies with Johnnie Walker BBC R2 11 Nov 2012 - http://youtu.be/rsNXSB4cGVs
14 November 2012 - Rock the House is delighted to announce that Brian May is the latest rock legend to support the national music competition, as it looks forward to its third year in 2013.
Brian May announced his backing for Parliament’s biggest competition (165 entries in 2012) on a visit to the House of Commons.
May said: “It is a great honour to back Rock the House. The UK is a hotbed of musical talent from all genres, and if the British music industry is going to grow and thrive then musicians need to be able to make a living from selling their product. This competition gives all musicians, from all backgrounds the chance to get out there and make live music – one of the things Brits do best.”
Mike Weatherley MP, founder of Rock the House said: “We’re ecstatic that Brian May – the song writer behind ‘We Will Rock You’, no less - has come on board as a supporter of Rock the House.”
Rock the House was founded by Mike Weatherley MP to raise awareness of intellectual property theft and live music issues in Parliament. In 2011, the competition was part of a campaign which successfully persuaded the Government that venues with a capacity of 200 people will no longer need a license for live music.
For more information, visit www.rockthehousehoc.com or contact the press office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7618 9142.
It's all about freedom, in the end.
Here we are in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, at the final appointment with the "Born Free Tour", a project blossomed from the long-term collaboration between legendary Queen guitarist and fierce animals rights activist Brian May, and mighty-voiced West End songstress Kerry Ellis.
After publishing Kerry's first solo album, Anthems, and touring Britain with a proper band, they decided to join forces with Virginia McKenna, actress and founder of The Born Free Foundation, a charity protecting threatened African wildlife from abuse and extinction. In support of the charity, they have recorded and released their own version of "Born Free", John Barry's theme song for the famed 1966 movie about naturalists Joy and George Adamson that started McKenna's lifetime involvement with wildlife protection. Their tour to promote the single has been a surprisingly minimalist affair, in comparison with their usual style: her voice, his acoustic guitar, and backing keyboards in places.
The stage is set as a cosy and sophisticated candle-lit meeting against a starry backdrop, evocative of a unique gathering around a camp fire in Africa a few months back, when Virginia McKenna invited them to visit a lions' sanctuary run by her Foundation.
The day here is cold and wet, nothing like Africa, but adversity such as bad weather never stopped loyal fans from stationing outside venues, patiently waiting for the arrival of their idols.
I met some incredible people during this amazing journey: people like Elaine and Janet, who'd travelled together following the whole tour, or like the lovely girl standing next to me, who was about to meet her lifetime idol Brian for the first time and couldn't believe it.
It's 4pm and here comes Brian. Although he had announced his arrival a few minutes earlier via Twitter, there was only a handful of people waiting at the stage door. One by one we all had a chance to exchange gifts, hugs and a few laughs with this amazing person, who in one way or another has touched the lives of many through his music, passions and beliefs. Pictures taken, memorabilia signed, everyone was able to secure a few minutes of Brian's precious time to take home and keep forever. It was exhilarating to see how differently people would react to this kind of situation.
About an hour later, here is Kerry; escorted by her father Terry. She approached us with a lovely smile, as sweet as ever, and again everybody had a chance to meet and greet and exchange gifts and a few treasured words. At this point everyone was really satisfied and excited for the amazing experience, and with big smiles on our faces we went to grab some dinner together: no need to queue in the cold, since the theatre only had numbered seating.
The doors open at around 7pm, and people start walking into the foyer to grab a drink, sit down or simply use the facilities. As soon as I walked in, I realised that the crowd wasn't entirely made of the usual suspects (LOL): there also were really elegant couples, so I predicted that the show wasn't going to be as loud as the one in London!!!
"Born Free", the track that gives the name to the whole tour, opens the show: "No man should choose your life for you, No man has the right to say you'll live or die today!!" effortlessly soars above the audience, Brian's discreet acoustic guitar its only accompaniment. It's all about freedom, in the end: freedom to be and to live and to express yourself in your own individual way. And there's plenty of freedom in the selection of songs and the treatment they are given.
Kerry Ellis, who donned a very elegant off-the-shoulder black evening gown on the first half of the show, and a shorter version on the second half, delighted us with a few tracks from her first solo album "Anthems", showing off her incredible vocal abilities and un-doubtable interpretation skills, in "I'm Not That Girl", "I Can't Be Your Friend", "Butterfly" (originally "Some Things That Glitter" from Queen + Paul Rodgers), and especially "No-one But You", the torch-song from the WWRY musical which she performed live at the Dominion Theatre in the leading role of "Meatloaf" the rebel Bohemian.
A Queen segment opened with an acoustic version of "Somebody To Love", pretty much like the one performed in the Queen + Adam Lambert shows, and the audience enjoyed a sing-along and clapped along under Kerry's direction and it was immediately a success - I turned around several times and spotted people watching in disbelief, gaping at the incredible display of talent and entertainment skills completely caught in the moment.
"Life Is Real", with the revisited line "Freddie is a genius", and "Love Od My Life" celebrated Freddie not only as a magnificent and gifted vocalist, but also as a skilled and talented songwriter. The images of Freddie in the background added a note of affection and nostalgia.
Self-confessed Beatles fan and admirer of George Harrison's work, Brian was proud to announce that they were about to perform "Something", first track from the B side of "Abbey Road", according to many the best Beatles' album ever.
On the other hand, "Kissing Me/I Can See You" was still so new that Kerry had to read the lyrics off her trusty iPhone, to some good-natured teasing. Incredible reactions from the audience, who obviously picked up on the undeniable chemistry that Brian and Kerry share on stage.
Virginia McKenna’s "Nothing Really Has Changed" brought us amazing words from an incredible woman, who decided to give up stardom to commit to keep wildlife in the wild, where it belongs.
The background screen showed not lions, but touching clips of foxes and badgers playing in harmony - quite likely in Brian's garden, where orphaned or injured wild animals are gradually re-habilitated for release in the wild by the Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue volunteers.
"I Who Have Nothing” which they had re-vamped especially for their performance at the Sanremo Music Festival in Italy, was reduced to a stripped-back, but still equally powerful, acoustic version.
"The Way We Were" a classic from Barbra Streisand, was accompanied by old family pictures of Kerry and Brian on the back screen, a really touching, personal moment that the audience appreciated very much.
"'39" remains one of my all times favourites, evoking memories of past Queen concerts, when Roger Taylor used to leave his place behind the drums and come up stage with his trusty kick drum and tambourine, to perform next to Brian, and earlier on with John and Freddie too.
Funny how even such a little thing as an ukulele can obtain such a great response! "Good Company" was up, and Brian had so much fun backed up by the audience, with A the ritual "uh! uh!" in the chorus - it was obvious that he was looking forward to it! Also the hillbilly version of "Tie Your Mother Down" was absolutely refreshing, and the audience loved it and joined in clapping and singing along.
It wasn't long till "SHE" was finally introduced on stage, greeted by a huge ovation as soon as she was spotted. Without the trademark AC30's, the Red Special was a bit of a surprise, but made herself heard loud and clear even through the small Deacy Amp.
"We Will Rock You" wasn’t far behind, the stomp-stomp-clap promptly started booming all around and it was Rock again, at least for a few minutes....!!! I think I speak for many when I say that I have mixed feelings about "We Are The Champions", because I always look forward to it, but when it comes along it means that the show is almost over, and it makes me personally a little sad.
Thank God for the encores! "In the Bleak Mid-Winter", a Christmassy and heart-warming song; "Born Free" again, this time with the official clip showing on the background screen, and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", followed one another to close in a perfect way what proved to be a complete success of a tour.
The atmosphere was bubbly and Brian and Kerry were obviously having a jolly good time, playing around with firing crackers in front of a delighted audience. Pete (Brian's unflappable guitar engineer) was renamed "Attention Seeking Pete" when he showed up on stage for the routine guitars swap, with a Christmas Hat on - that was totally hilarious...!!!
On top of that all, on saying thank you to the audience, Kerry mentioned "Tunbridge Wells" instead of "High Wycombe", and when everyone pointed out the mistake to her, she apologised with a slightly embarrassed smile and an "L-for-loser" gesture at herself - but she was an absolute winner all along!!!!
Ta-ta for now...!!!
PLEASE SEE BRIAN'S SOAPBOX COMMENTS HERE
Queen guitarist and animal rights campaigner Brian May has been branded a hypocrite after it emerged he allowed deer to be culled on his estate. Mr May employed a gamekeeper who killed 23 "mainly young, healthy animals" on his 136-acre plot of land in Dorset. The rock star, who led a high-profile campaign against government plans to cull badgers to combat bovine TB, said he inherited the tradition when he bought the land, but stopped it last year.
Mr May, who runs the anti-blood sports charity Save Me, said on his Facebook page: "I inherited culling of deer on the land I bought in Dorset a few years ago, and was initially advised that I ought to keep it up, because having a gamekeeper discouraged poachers. I had my doubts, but I was new to forest management, and realised I had much to learn. I decided to let it continue for a short period, observe for a while, and then take what action I felt was right. A couple of years ago, having studied the effects, I decided to stop the culling."
Gloucestershire dairy farmer Jan Rowe, director of GlosCon, the company set up to carry out the culling, told the Sunday Times that Mr May was "utterly hypocritical".
"On the one hand he is understanding the need to manage species that are overpopulated, but not applying the same principle to badgers, that in my part of the country are significantly overpopulated - one of the reasons why they are carrying TB at such high levels," he said.
But Mr May, who is vice-president of the RSPCA, received backing from the animal charity. The RSPCA said: "There is a strong scientific evidence that deer culling is humane and effective in certain circumstances. The recently postponed cull of badgers does not accord with these circumstances."
And BBC TV wildlife presenter Bill Oddie leant his support on his Twitter account. "Brian May hypocritical? NO. Deer culls and badger cull utterly different matters. Cheap shot."
Mr May joined the Badger Trust and other wildlife charities in campaigning against government plans for a badger cull earlier this year. The badger call was postponed in October after much higher badger numbers than anticipated were discovered in the two pilot culls areas - west Somerset and west Gloucestershire. As a result, farming groups are being given more time to plan how they will be able to kill increased numbers of badgers to ensure they remove 70% of badgers - the minimum target for badger cull removal in each area.
DEFRA secretary Owen Paterson has insisted the badger cull will start next summer, saying he is "totally committed" to the policy.
More than 26,000 cattle were slaughtered in England alone last year because of bovine TB, according to DEFRA, which has warned that leaving the disease unchecked could cost taxpayers £1bn during the next 10 years.
PLEASE SEE BRIAN'S SOAPBOX COMMENTS HERE
Click image for larger
TWO years ago when the Emperor stag was shot by a trophy hunter in Devon, the rock star Brian May was quick to condemn the slaughter.
It was, he said, a "despicable" act that "belonged in the dark ages".
Now, however, it turns out that May was allowing a hunter to shoot deer on his own 139-acre estate in Dorset.
The former Queen guitarist, who set up the charity Save Me to stop the hunting of animals and campaigned against the government-backed badger cull, admitted this weekend that he had allowed deer to be culled on his land in Dorset.
"I inherited culling of deer on the land I bought in Dorset a few years ago," he said, "and was initially advised that I ought to keep it up because having gamekeeper discouraged poachers, and improved the health of the deer population. I had my doubts, but I was new to forest management, and realised I had much to learn. I decided to let it continue for a short period, observe for a while, and then take what action I felt was right.
"A couple of years ago, having studied the effects, I decided to stop the culling."
It may be naivety rather than hypocrisy, but it is certainly embarrassing for a man who has staked so much of his recent public profile on animal rights. Apart from his Save Me charity, May is also a vice-president of the RSPCA.
A contract issued on May's behalf by UPM Tilhill, the company that manages his Middlemarsh estate, licensed a stalker to shoot wild deer.
The company said it issued the 12-month licence to cull deer from March 2010, seven months after May acquired the land, until last spring.
UPM Tilhill said the purpose was to protect the woodland. Deer eat bark from trees and if there are too many in a particular area the damage they cause can destroy the woodland.
The company added that the contract had been cancelled on Maya's insistence: "Brian specifically asked us not to renew the licence so we didn't.
The stacker who was granted the licence, and who does not want to be named, said: "I shot 23 mainly lung healthy animals. I sold the meat to a local game dealer but the money I was paid did not cover my costs. It was not commercial I do it for sport."
May's animal charity specifically condemns "the cruel minority in our society that feels it is their right to persecute and torture wildlife for sport."
The contract shows that the stalker paid £750 pus VAT for the fights and was allowed to set up four 12t stands in the woods to enable him to get clear shots.
May is credited with defeating the government's plan to allow a limited cull of badgers in two trial areas to test whether it would reduct tuberculosis in cattle. He appeared on television arguing passionately that it was "cruel" to shoot the animals.
The RSPCA praised May's commitment to animal welfare and added: "We understand that no ruling of deer is taking place on Brian's land.
"There is strong scientific evidence that deer culling is humane and effective in certain circumstances. The recently postponed cull of badgers does not accord with those circumstances."
Not everyone is so forgiving. Jan Rowe, a dairy farmer in Gloucestershire who is a director of GlosCon, the company set up to organise the badger cull, described May as "utterly hypocritical".
Rowe said: "On the one hand he is understanding the need to manage species that are over-populated but not applying the same principle to badgers, which in many parts of the country are significantly overpopulated - one of the reasons why they are carrying TB at such high levels."
Many farmers believe that because badgers are a protected species the population has exploded and this has led to increasing cases of TB being spread from them to cattle.
In October May forced a debate against the planned trial culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset in the House of Commons after a petition he launched on the Downing treat website secured more than 150,000 from the public.
May said in the petition he was against culling badgers because it would result in many healthy animals being killed and called for the "humane solution" of vaccination against TB instead.
Just days before the scheduled debate the government announced that it was postponing the cull until next year.
PLEASE SEE BRIAN'S SOAPBOX COMMENTS HERE
THE rock star Brian May, who led the successful campaign against the government’s badger cull, was caught in an embarrassing row yesterday after he admitted that he had allowed deer to be culled on his estate. The Queen guitarist employed a deer stalker to hunt the animals on his 139-acre estate in Dorset. It resulted in the death of “23 mainly young, healthy animals”.
May stopped the culling last year. He said that he had inherited the tradition when he bought the land and thought it improved the health of the deer population and discouraged poachers.
"I had my doubts, but I was new to forest management and realised I had much to learn." says May, who runs Save Me, an animal rights charity which opposes hunting. "A couple of years ago, having studied the effects, I decided to stop the culling. I came in for some critiism for stopping...."
More availabe later
Brian May - Good Company - first live performance- http://youtu.be/ZO-HAWzwvag
Filmed at the Brian May and Kerry Ellis Born Free tour - 16/11/2012 at Portsmouth. Very funny section where Brian forgets the instrumental section in the middle - but all good natured and well received by audience. Brian shows he's stills a top performer.
Brian has generously donated a guitar as follows:
Dr Brian May - Signed Red SPecial Brian May Guitar - Link to bid HERE
Brian May and Kerry Ellis performed for Make A Wish at the Dorchester Hotel in London tonight.
Life Is Real was included in teh set as a tribute to Freddie
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