QUEEN + PAUL RODGERS TOUR 2005
DAVID JENSEN INTERVIEWS
BRIAN MAY, ROGER TAYLOR AND PAUL RODGERS
AT BRAY STUDIOS, NEAR WINDSOR
David ‘Kid’ Jensen interviewed Brian May, Roger Taylor and Paul Rodgers at Bray Studios mid-week [8 March], and this was aired on Friday as part of the Capital Gold Queen Day, 11 March 12.15, and again at 10pm.
(Thanks due to Thomas Zeidler for audio where available.)
<It’s A Kind Of Magic plays>
DAVID JENSEN: Queen with It’s A Kind Of Magic and I’m in a magical place. A very famous place in show business for movies, for theatre and for big concerts and they don’t get any bigger than when Queen are in town, and I’m joined by Brian May backstage at Bray studios, near Windsor Castle. Why did you choose this venue Brian?
BRIAN MAY: (Laughing) It’s the only place that will hold the light show. Which is the honest truth. Yeah well, we thought, you know, we have a reputation to live up to, ah, this is Queen in a sense, and people expect something. Plus, we love it, it’s, it’s boys with toys and we love to do things big, and the way they’ve never been done before. So this is really something this lighting rig, which I think you’ve just seen walkin’ in, did you see that?
DJ: Yeah, I know, it, it was huge.
BM: I know, it knocked me back I must say, we’ve been planning this for months, but I walked in and thought, WOAH!!! This is gonna… be something, yeah. It’ll be different and it will be big, and, yeah, a lot of fun.
DJ: So Brian, you’re performing with Paul Rodgers and I heard a story that it all happened back in September at Wembley when you were appearing at the Miller Stratpack, and you came on stage and it was a bit of magic?
BM: Even though I’ve known Paul Rodgers for years… we go on stage and we play All Right Now, and something happened, there was a big …something…. big explosion in the brain, and we both looked at each other and went, “Hmm, something’s happening here,” and ah, I remember, Paul’s lady said, “That’s amazing, you know you guys just need a drummer.” And I thought, “ Hmm…I might know a drummer”, you know? (Chuckles) And I called up Roger, and that’s what lead to us doing the um… what was that show we did…… lifetime awards… Hall of Fame, thing, you know we did? Me and Roger AND Paul did All Right Now, and we did Rock You and Champions. And that really clinched it, we just thought, “My God, this seems so natural”. I have to tell you, that even a year ago, I wouldn’t even in my WILDEST dreams have thought we would, we’d go out on tour. That I’d be sitting here, with all this GEAR in this amazing aircraft hangar, you know, full of gear and ready to go out on tour. I never, ever thought we would do it. I remember saying to people, “No I don’t think so, you know, unless a miracle happens, we won’t. There’s no one can sing it.” And then…. A miracle happened.
DJ: So how much preparation goes into what will be a, a massive series of dates for you. You’re taking in loads of world locations, you’re doing some outdoor gigs as well, the one we announced earlier, and big one for us, in London anyway, the 8th of July in er, Hyde Park. Er, how much work goes into this, how many days are you here at, at Bray rehearsing?
BM: We’re here for about 10 days, but this is just the culmination, we’ve been planning since, I guess last September when we sort of pressed that button. Various stages you know, you talk to people, you, you try and assemble your team, and then the team works on the sound and lights and then we get together, and we did a LOT of talking before we picked up the instruments… you know, what are we trying to do here, what do people expect, what do we, what do we feel is new and what can we explore? And then we went into, actually down at Roger’s place, for three weeks … three and a half weeks or so, and just played every day. We gave ourselves a lot of development time, musically …. And… It was sensational. I mean, it… I have to say, even if the gigs don’t happen, I’ve had a great time doin’ this. It’s AMAZING to actually be in a room and know that you have a complete band again. It is something incredibly magical for us. I, I, you know, since losing Freddie, you know, you’re losing a friend, a family member really, but also you’re losing your capacity to sort of be a working unit. But basically NOW, we’re in a room and we have this guy who can sing COLLOSALLY well. You actually have everybody there, and I’m talkin’ too fast, I know, but I’m excited.
BM: I’m very, very excited.
DJ: Not at all, at at all. Now a couple of things, even with Paul, It couldn’t have been an easy decision to say, “We’re gonna go out on the road as Queen.” You must have thought, “What will the fans think?”
BM: Well we thought a lot of things. The first thing I thought was what is it going to do to my life, because I actually like my life now, you know. I have a life at home, and you know, I have a relationship, I have kids, I have a nice place to live… you know it… and I remember what touring does to you, you know? That’s the hard thing to take on, you know, what is it going to do to me. As far as the fans…. No, I didn’t have any second thought really. To be honest with you. Because all the people that I communicate with, understand us very well, and they know how much we love Freddie and we know what part Freddie is of our lives, STILL. And they all know the struggle that we’ve been through. They also know that I’ve said “No” to every kind of touring offer because I just never thought that it was right. I actually talk to Freddie’s Mum as well, quite a lot. And Freddie’s Mum feels good about this, so that’s kind of good enough for me. (Laughs) You know she said, you know, “I know you guys are gonna make us all proud” and… That’s the way it’s gonna be.
* * * * *
DJ: Paul Rodgers here shortly.
We’re backstage at the Rehearsal Studios in Bray.
Brian – I was reading recently in The Sunday Times that you made a list, a list of the top ten greatest guitar heroes of all time, alongside such luminaries as Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, Hank Marvin, Steve Jones, Mick Ronson, and your guitar playing, particularly in the track A Kind Of Magic stood out as being the definitive kind of Queen guitar solo, would you go along with that?
BM: I really don’t know. To be honest with you, I don’t really like these poll things, you know, what is the top 10 whatever. Because it’s always invidious, I mean where’s Jimmy Page in this list. It never really makes sense to me, it’s just somebody’s, you know, somebody’s punt. To me the great thing about guitar playing is that everybody’s different and everybody’s worth listening to… What was the question? (Laughs)
DJ: Who’s your favourite?
BM: Who’s my favourite?? Aaah, it’s very hard … you see, that’s what I hate, Mr Jensen. (Chuckles) It’s so hard to say. I Love all ….
DJ: Tell you what, I think I know your answer would be, if you had to choose one, you’d probably take Jimi Hendrix, then a pal of mine in our offices at capital Gold said, “He’ll say James Burton”.
BM: (Quick intake of breath) I love ‘em both, you know, and I love Jeff Beck’s playing, and I love Clapton…, so many people, Ed Van Halen, you know there is such a FANTASTIC spectrum of guitar players out there, you know, Steve Vai, Steve Morse who’s doin’ stuff with Deep Purple, you know. The list goes on and on and on, and, you know George Harrison, it’s…
DJ: It is a long list then?
BM:… all wonderful, and I don’t wanna choose!
DJ: And Paul Rodgers has just joined us. Hello Paul.
PAUL RODGERS: Hi, how are you?
DJ: Fine, are you enjoying yourself?
PR: Yes I am, so far, yeah it’s fantastic.
DJ: And did you know the Queen repertoire before you started rehearsing?
PR: No I didn’t. I Mean, I think I’m like everybody else, we can all, you know, hum various choruses and things like that but it’s very different doing that (sings) We will, we will rock you… but actually learning the whole lyric, it’s not just the lyric, it’s not just the words themselves, it’s where they come in the arrangement as well. So it’s been quite a learning curve in that sense, for me. And er, we’ve been belting at it for a couple of weeks now, haven’t we? And er, I listened to some of the, the roughs today, just where we were recording little bits as we went, and… it sounds pretty good!
DJ: And will you be recording this for a future album, or DVD maybe one day? Any of the concerts?
BM: We will be recording them, I guess we make the decision later whether we actually use it as a, as a live album, but it looks good, I think, you know the way it’s sounding at the moment I’d like to have a live version of it out there, yeah.
DJ: Alright, and people who know your work Paul, will also want me to ask you if you’re going to be doing any Free, or Bad Company, or indeed any of your solo material with Queen?
PR: Yeah we are, we’re working on…er… they’re included in the set. I don’t want to give too much away… but um… you er you know, Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love is definitely in there and All Right Now is definitely, and Feel Like Makin’ Love. And they’re slightly different versions of … because Brian’s had some ideas particularly on Feel Like Makin’ Love which is … which blew my mind actually, this one idea, which I won’t tell you what it is…
PR: …and… just atmospheres and a different way of approaching the material, so yes, I will be playing some of mine too.
DJ: You know they were such a distinctive band Free, I remember seeing you at the Isle of Wight Festival. I was thinking where does this come from ‘cos you often hear bands and see bands and think, oh they listen to Elvis Presley, or they, they were Beatles fans, or whatever, but Free was completely different.
PR: Well yeah, we listened to, ah, a lot of blues, blues and soul was our background and then we took that to a different place I guess, yeah. And we’re doing the same thing with that same material, A Little Bit Of Love is another one we have touched upon, and ah, it’s, it’s got a new atmosphere and a new life to it.
DJ: Ok, let’s play All Right Now, we talked about that earlier, it’s a bit of an anthem. Can you tell us before we play it, the story behind this song?
PR: The story behind All Right Now… “There she stood in the street…” I think it speaks for itself in many ways. It was a song actually though, …, we …, we had a song called The Hunter, which was an Albert King blues song. We used to play that all over England, particularly in Sunderland at the Locarno, and…, we could not get off the stage without playing that particular song, and we wanted to write a song that we could, that would top that, and the only way to top that was something that people could sing along with and then the chorus was born and the whole song sort of was born.
* * * * *
DJ: What an anthem. Free, featuring Paul Rodgers, who’s with me now backstage at the Bray Studios on Capital Gold, alongside Brian May, getting ready for all those dates.
Are you going to, when you do some of those Queen classic tracks, change them at all knowing very well all the fans actually want to hear them the way they remember them, but as a musician, you sometimes wanna change them, don’t you?
BM: Yeh, you do. I’m a great believer in actually NOT giving people what they want – (everyone laughs loudly) – but giving them
DJ: … still managing to do it… (more laughing)
BM: But give ’em what you know they’re gonna like. You know, I mean, you’ve gotta follow your own instincts. You can’t make your music by some kind of democratic process except within us, you know. So, yeah, everything’s up for change… everything. Really in rehearsals we’ve been thinking, ‘Nah, this is new.’ The great thing about Paul is that he rebuilds from scratch anyway. You know, if he takes hold of a lyric he goes into it and he puts his own feelings in there, and so you rebuild from the start and – yeah – a lot of the stuff is different. You’ll recognise the there’ll be little, little bits of variation in there – little bits of development. And I think we’re moving, you know. Things will change as we tour, I think, ‘cos this band has a certain amount of flexibility to it.
PR: Yeah, well you know, putting the band, the new band together as a matter of stages – the first stage was being on the phone across The Pond, discussing songs and the potential songs that would work for my voice, you know, that we could do, so we got a list together that was probably about 3 days long, wasn’t it, actually, and then we had to whittle that down to a reasonable amount that we would actually rehearse and then whittle THAT down to a reasonable set length. We’ve actually, we’re still too many mater…, too many songs…
BM: That’s right.
PR: Which is great, you know.
BM: Knowing what to leave out…
PR: Yeah, so we’re still gonna have to whittle it down, tighten it up a little further. So that’s why we’re here now, and we’re out of the rehearsal stage into, I guess, the rehearsal of show stage, where we’ll check out the lights and staging and how the material will run together and all of that, you know.
DJ: It’s exciting. Yeah, it sounds really exciting. And of course the date that all of us are looking forward to that remember going to outdoor concerts – 8th of July – and I’m talking about MAJOR outdoor concerts, and this is one that, I mean, the last time you played there Brian was mid ’70’s, ’76 I think it was. Hundred and fifty thousand people in Hyde Park.
DJ: It’s gonna be that all over again, isn’t it – if not more
BM: Yeah – I think they’re putting some restrictions on numbers, actually in Hyde Park. There’s been some protest going on, hasn’t there? Did you hear about that?
DJ: No. It wouldn’t surprise me.
BM: Yeah – I heard that … this is hearsay (chuckles) so don’t sue me, but I heard that the residents of Hyde Park got together and offered the Council a huge sum of money NOT to let anybody play in Hyde Park. So these are the – these are the little spoilsports who will (laughs) you know, try and stop us doing in. But there is a, there’s a numbers restriction on it as I understand, but it’ll still be big. You know, you’re talking 85,000 thousand.
DJ: Yeah, and you’re not a stranger to outdoor performances, are you, Paul?
PR: Oh well, no. I mean I like to play wherever, you know, wherever and whenever. This is, it’s a great opportunity really because the tour sold out SO quickly. It took everybody by surprise and a lot of people didn’t get tickets, so this will, this will, you know, enable people to come, who missed the chance to come see the band, you know, yeah.
DJ: Alright. Well good luck with the rest of the rehearsals and we look forward to seeing you at least one or two of the dates coming our way very shortly..
* * * * *
DJ: This is a Queen Rock Show Special on Capital Gold. Roger Taylor and Brian May are with me. So – when does the Queen story start then?
ROGER TAYLOR: (laughs)… when did it start?
RT: Well, an awful long time ago, back in, I suppose about 1970 really. Well though in fact, I actually met Brian in ’69 in the, in the Students Union bar of Imperial College, London. Yeah.
DJ: That was the thing about Queen in the early days, how it must have been ’72 or ’73 when I first heard you and you were a band unlike any other band because you all had safety nets in a sense that you were all kind of academic. You all had careers you could go to, and it was, it made you interesting I think for a lot of people, ‘cos you actually approached ‘the Band’ almost as a science. You spent a lot of time getting yourselves ready before you appeared. Is that right?
RT: I think that’s right. I mean, I don’t think we all really did have safety nets. I mean it’s all very well having degrees and things. I don’t think they necess…, especially even more so now, they’re not really safety nets these days. So we didn’t actually have jobs or anything. I think Brian was probably the closest to that so… I… but we did, I think we did approach it in an intelligent.
DJ: Now Brian, you were an astronomer – a qualified astronomer, were you not?
BM: Yeah. Simultaneously, really. (laughs) I did a degree in Physics at Imperial College, which is when I met Roger – NOT because he was going to Imperial College but because I put a notice on the College noticeboard, asking for a drummer. (chuckling) It’s very, you know, ‘boy’ stuff, you know. ‘Drummer Wanted’ – so we met up – and I did a PhD. I did four years of PhD in Astronomy, also at Imperial College but I never actually finished the thing. I wrote it up, but I never submitted, and by that time Queen was rehearsed and ready to go and sort of waiting for a door to open some place I s’pose.
DJ: And when did you meet Freddie?
BM: Freddie was a friend of the guy who was singing in my previous band.
DJ: Which was called ‘Smile’.
BM: Well actually OUR previous band. (chuckle) I’m pretty hazy on this. Roger and I didn’t form Queen straight away. We formed this group called ‘Smile’ and Tim was the singer – Tim Staffell – who’s still around, a very good friend. He’s a great artist. And we disbanded because of basically disappointment. You know, not really getting anywhere and we had a record deal which was really leading nowhere, and we split up and Freddie, who was Tim’s friend, went to Art School with him, said ‘Look. Try it one more time. I’ll be your singer. We can do this.’ (snigger) And we went ‘YOU?’ (All laugh loudly) ‘You can sing?’ (more laughter)
DJ: But could he? Was it evident that he could sing?
RT: We loved him. He was such a loveable guy but we didn’t have a lot of (laughs) belief in him. But he had more belief in us than had in ourselves, so I mean, he was really THE FIRE that ignited the spark, you know…. That ignited the spark… that ignited the fire, you know.
DJ: Yes. And it was evident that he could carry it off then?
BM: Yeah. He had amazing confidence. Amazing vision, and it was apparent even in those days. When you met him, you thought you were meeting a rock star really. (laughs) You know but…
RT: So did…
BM: And he did, definitely. Yes. (All laugh) But he, he’s one of the… he’s an exception, Freddie. He’s not like anyone else because he beat himself into shape. He probably wasn’t that great a singer in the beginning. Although he had the vision, he didn’t perhaps have the apparatus (intake of breath), but over he next couple of years when we were in the studio and starting to do gigs, he just came on by leaps and bounds and he’s a self-made genius. You know, he became this WONDERFUL singer. There’s no question, and a wonderful writer. He’s an exceptional man, Freddie.
DJ: This is a Queen Rock Show Special on Capital Gold.
<Now I’m Here plays>
<Don’t Stop Me Now plays>
* * * * *
DJ: From Capital Gold, you’re listening to a Queen Rock Show Special, with Roger Taylor and Brian May.
Now in the early days I remember you guys weren’t getting a lot of great music press. The Press were not convinced…
DJ: … that Queen was going to be…
BM: That was the early days? (laughing) I thought that was ALWAYS.
DJ: … But how much did that hurt, ‘cos there you are, you had been in a previous band, ‘Smile’, you weren’t convinced that was gonna work, so you got Freddie on board… you started recording and the critics didn’t like you?
RT: Well I mean, yeah. I think we’ve since learned that to be the Darlings of the critics is the kiss of death, which probably explains why we’re alive and kicking now. I mean, who’d’ve thought these years later, you know, we’d be just about to embark on a sell-out tour of Europe. I mean fantastic. So critics, you know – hey – who need ’em.
DJ: But at this, you can look back and say, you know, they were wrong, which they clearly were wrong in terms of your success, but at the time, did it, does it not hurt, ‘cos you can get a hundred letters of people saying ‘You’re great’, then you get one letter to say ‘I think you’re rubbish’, and that’s the one you remember.
BM: You know what, it does hurt, and anyone who tells you it doesn’t is lying. Yes it does hurt. If there’s one voice in a hundred thousand that says ‘Rubbish’, yeah. I mean, there was a guy in The Evening Standard who said he thought it would’ve been better if we died of s drug overdose, me and Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton – and Jeff Beck, you know and I was just (snigger) … it still baffles me why people wanna read this stuff in the papers or why editors… The whole thing baffles me, you know – why you wanna do that. I have to say our relationship has always been good with the rest of the media though. Radio has always been something which we’ve been close to. TV not so much, I suppose. There’s been the odd thing on TV, but mainly we interacted with Radio and we interacted with the people direct.
RT: Yep. In those days the media was very different. I mean the tabloid papers took no interest whatsoever, and since the Beatles split up, there was really no interest whatsoever in pop band, rock bands, whatever, especially ‘rock’ bands, which is what we were, and it’s very much changed since. You know, dear Rupert Murrdoch has changed the face of that now. They’ve realised they can sell their sort of rags by, you know, printing prurient stuff about people making stuff up and exaggerating, whatever. But it really wasn’t a part of the music scene in those days. Newspapers, etc, and TV – in the main it was at the time to see an artist like Jimi Hendrix, or somebody of that stature, actually on TV. What did you have? You had ‘Top Of The Pops’ and before that ‘Ready Steady Go’, and that was it.
DJ: I mean, that’s borne out by the very little footage there are of, for example, Jimi Hendrix. You mention The Lulu Show and …
DJ: … and that’s the one that keeps coming back.
BM: Yeah that’s right. Led Zeppelin, the biggest group in the world at that time, never on TV, never in the Press. Almost like the didn’t exist.
RT: Never released a single. Yeah, and, but the public, the huge underground MASS of public loved them to bits. So the media really, apart from sections of radio, completely missed the point.
DJ: Now you saw the value of video promotion in the very early days. Keep yourself alive – wasn’t it a cartoon video you used for that?
BM: Well, actually it was Bob Harris (chuckles) who did that – it was The Old Grey Whistle Test – who put that image – Mike Appleton, I suppose, the Producer, yeah. But it was The Old Grey Whistle Test who created that piece of video for the track. We had nothing to do with it. It was a complete surprise to me…
<Seven Seas of Rhye starts playing>
…when I switched on the telly and there it was – this little train puffing along…
DJ: Felix The Cat or something, wasn’t it?
BM: Yeah and there was a train sort of going up through, through the moon, I think, you know. Ancient cartoons they used – very well. And I suppose it did alert us to the possibility of images being very good, you know, allied with the music to get things across. It certainly wasn’t us in those days. Later you know, yeah.
DJ: This is a Queen Rock Show Special on Capital Gold.
<Keep Yourself Alive plays>
* * * * *
DJ: Roger Taylor and Brian May – this is a Queen Rock Show Special.
You guys, looking back on that illustrious career, oh gosh when we first met, I interviewed you I guess must be 32/33 years ago. I mean, what’s your favourite period of Queen of all the various forms that you took?
RT: Oh, it’s so…
RT: So difficult. I mean I still love some of the early albums, but there are, there are just really various highlights that I remember, you know, be it South America, certain shows in the States, our first trip to Japan, Rock In Rio, and of course I s’pose, Live Aid, and then our last tour, yeah, through Europe, was a Magic Tour was a great, was great fun, and since then obviously things changed with Freddie’s death, and obviously was a much quieter rather strange period, but I think we’re sort of over it now. But it’s hard to pin down any ONE particular occasion, it’s just a series of highlights really.
DJ: What about the Live Aid, Brian? Was that the best concert you ever gave, do you think?
BM: It was certainly one of the most memorable as was the, the Wembley shows that we did the year after that. It was the year after, wasn’t it, I think. Yeah, Wembley it, Wembley figures large in my memories, I must say, but there are SO many highlights. We’ve been SO blessed really, with incredible things. I s’pose the first time in Tokyo was incredibly memorable as well. The whole place was a seething mass of little, mainly girls, and it was just so different from what we’d expected. We’d been told that people would sit down and not make much noise and it would all be very formal, and there was this RIOT going on. Freddie had to stop the show and say ‘Look, (chuckles) I think you’d better calm down or else someone’s gonna get hurt. And we were, you know, it p’rhaps doesn’t sound that exiting, but in a way we weren’t, we weren’t stars, you know. We weren’t pop stars or rock stars at that point anywhere else. We’d gone to, to Tokyo as just, you know, young boys beginning as a band, and that was, it was pretty mind blowing.
DJ: I guess. And were you friends throughout? Did you have any times during your career that you had a falling out and, you know, you didn’t get talked to, or anything like that?
BM: We, we’ve had difficult times – definitely – yeah, and mainly in the studio. Touring tends to be… pretty easy for us. You know, not physically hard. The aims are very clear and we get on very well as a team. We always did. In the studio it was difficult, ‘cos we were all pulling in different directions with our own ideas – our own dreams we wanna fulfil – so yes, we had some pretty difficult times, I’d say. The great thing which I think counts for us is that we NEVER aired our dirty laundry in public. We never went out and sorta slagged each other off in public. We settled our problems privately, and so you are able to move on.
DJ: Sure. Is John Deacon ‘persona non grata’? (laughs) He’s, he’s not, he’s not with you at the moment for the up and coming European tour.
RT: No. no no but he’s…
DJ: He was always the quiet one. He was kind of the…
RT: Yeah. Yes he’d very quiet at the moment – quiet to the point of silence. (laughs) But John is still our, you know, technically our partner, and obviously we’d have loved to have had him on tour, but I think John really feels that he needs, you know, he felt the need to retire, and he felt he couldn’t deal with the stresses and strains that are involved in all this, you know. Naturally we asked him. He would prefer, you know, to not be involved anymore ‘cos I think, you know, bit too stressful.
DJ: Yeah. What about a singer, because I mean Brian made the point earlier that you guys don’t really need the money, so you’re not touring for money, you’re touring it , specially you two love the music, like the thrill of being on stage and bringing music to the fans, of course. And you’ve got Paul Rodgers and somebody you’re really happy with. Did you… was it a process of auditioning singers before you got to Paul Rodgers?
BM: Not at all. No. It was the furthest thing certainly from my mind. I know Roger was quite keen on the idea of touring and we kept talking about it. You know, every time we’d meet we’d turn over the ideas, but really in rather a kind of whimsical way, you know… ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if…’ or whatever, and really nothing was on the horizon. We, we had no ideas. We certainly didn’t audition any singers. No.
DJ: There were stories in the Press, and you’ve mentioned the Press, Roger, about Robbie Williams was gonna become the new…
BM: We got close with Robbie… yeah. Absolutely. Yeah, we talked to him, but not in an auditioning kinda way We just thought ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if we did something’, and we went in the studio with him and did a version of We Are The Champions, for a film actually, and then we said ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting to go out and do a few gigs, and we kind of talked about it and talked about it and came close but…
RT: Yeah. I think America appealed to him and he… I think he was sort of quite keen on the idea at one point, and it did SEEM like a good idea, and then I think we all sort of drew back a little – thought about it a little harder, and then thought ‘Maybe not’, you know.
DJ: Well, we were talking about Live Aid, so let’s pause for a minute and relive a couple of the really memorable Queen tracks from that great event, way back in 1985. First of all we’ll hear Queen getting Wembley rocking with Radio Ga Ga and then we’ll hear Brian and Freddie performing Is This The World We Created, just before the end of the UK concert.
Your’e listening to a Rock Show Special on Capital Gold.
<Radio Ga Ga (Live Aid) plays>
<Is This The World We Created (Live Aid) plays>
DJ: Is This The World We Created. Freddie Mercury and Brian May at Live Aid.
This is a Capital Gold Rock Show Queen Special and we’re back with Brian May and Roger Taylor right after these.
* * * * *
<You’re My Best Friend plays>
DJ: Brian May and Roger Taylor. It’s a Queen Rock Show Special on Capital Gold. Both Brian and Roger are with us now
Kenny Everett, who’s much-missed of course by radio fans all over the UK as a special part of Capital Radio for many years, and he was a special part of Queen as well. Perhaps you could maybe elaborate for us – I don’t know?
RT: Yeah. Well I mean he was… we very much admired, you know, as I’m sure you did his pioneering work. I mean, what a brilliant, witty DJ and all that wonderful Captain Kremmen and of course the TV shows. But also he our, our sort of work, our sound and everything, and we did actually take the first copy of Bohemian Rhapsody down to him one Friday night down to the country where he lived in Worcestershire, and he loved it and so played it 14 times (chuckles) over the weekend I think.
DJ: After you telling him not to play it?
RT: Yeah. (laughs) I think that’s why he played it.
RT: (laughs) We knew him quite well. (more laughing) But it really did help, you know. It got us… it got off to such an incredible start and it was, it was great. He is, he is greatly missed.
DJ: And this is great because at this point we’ve actually got a clip of Kenny, recorded many years ago of course, talking about his support for Bohemian Rhapsody.
KENNY EVERETT: I got a call in ’75, I was living in a beautiful honey-coloured Cotswold stone pub, from Freddie Mercury, who said ‘Ken, I don’t know what I’ve done. I was in the studio the other day and I finished off this single and its about 8 minutes long, and I don’t know whether it’s going to be a hit’. And I said ‘Oh, bring it over. We’ll stick it on the, one of my tape machines in the studio here and give it a listen. I doubt anyone’ll ever play it, that length, ‘cos you know, people are frightened of long records. People might think the DJ’s gone to the loo and forgotten to come back!’ So he brought it over and plonked it on the, on the machine and of course this GLORIOUS operatic wonder came out, and I said ‘Oh forget about this. It could be half an hour – it’s still gonna be number one for centuries.’ So, I remember him being so unsure about this piece of genius. It was very odd, when you look at in retrospect because it was so great. I mean, it’s like Mozart saying, (intake of breath “Ohhhh, I don’t know whether my clarinet concerto’s going to take off.’ Silly really. I mean it’s got Number One written all over it from the first note.
<Bohemian Rhapsody plays>
* * * * *
DJ: Roger Taylor and Brian May. It’s a Queen Rock Show Special here on Capital Gold.
Now you guys have done so many many gigs over the years, indoors and outdoors; large places, not-so-large venues. Have you ever had a gig where you’ve thought when you’ve come off ‘That was a mess. We just…’ , you know, and if so how do you deal with that.
RT: (chuckles) Well…
DJ: You know when it’s gone right of course. That’s a great….
BM: Roger will answer this. (All laugh)
RT: Yeah. I mean EVERY band has gigs that they thought, you know, ‘Ouch, that was’, and that’s the beauty when you really raise your game for the next show. But it’s not always as apparent as you thought. I remember we’ve recently had a DVD out of a show we did at Milton Keynes, which I remember we weren’t that happy with at the time, but we went and viewed the footage, and [excitedly] it looked GREAT! I mean, I thought it looked like a really good show, but in fact we were having sound problems and all sorts of things and we came off stage thinking it was below par show, but it looks great, you know. So, often it’s in your mind but it’s one of the things which makes you raise your game the next show.
DJ: I think, always have done, that being a ‘rock star’ and being an athlete are very similar because it’s the backstage waiting around. You’ve gotta perform out there in front of people, of course. You’ve gotta be fit. You’ve gotta be on top of your game whatever that game may be, and I wonder how, Brian, I wonder how you prepare yourself before a gig? Are you very QUIET in the dressing room… like to be with people? What do you do?
DJ: Do you practise?
BM: Yeah. You have your own little routines, you know, leading up. I always remember – I mean it’s been a long time since we did this as Queen – REALLY a long time, so it’s rediscovering all this. There was always a moment where suddenly you have NO energy, about like an hour, an hour and a half, two hours, before you’re gonna go on. Suddenly you feel like there is NO WAY you could get on that stage. All the energy comes out of your body and it’s like your body preparing for this onslaught that it knows is gonna come. Very strange. We all feel it. I know, we’ve talked about it. So generally we give in and sort of have a little lie down and take things very quietly. I have a little routine where I’ll tune the guitars. I like tuning stuff myself. You know, it gets me into, into the flow sort of I can talk to the guitars and warm ’em up or whatever. And then generally – whadda we do before we go on? Can you remember? (chuckle)
<Under Pressure starts playing>
RT: I remember Fred and I used to usually have a little (silly singing from by 2 people) sing-up. (chuckle) Bit of a sing-up. A bit of jumping up and down just to liven yourself up really…
RT: … and then I’d have a quick scotch and coke.
DJ or BM: Is that right?
RT: But only one, ‘cos more than that and you’re too slow. (laughing)
DJ: This is a Queen Rock Show Special on Capital Gold.
* * * * *
DJ: Capital Gold. It’s Queen Rock Show Special on Capital Gold.
We’ve been talking about more than 30 years of Queen making music together, touring and what have you and you’re gonna do it all over again.
DJ: You’re gonna go up the road. You’ve got these sell-out gigs throughout Europe. You’ve got these outdoor gigs. You’re in London on the 8th of July. The tickets are on sale tomorrow, by the way, for the London gig on 0870 120 1548. That’s 0870 120 1548.
The last time you played Hyde Park was 1976. That was with Capital Radio, and a bit of magic all over again I guess.
BM: I can’t wait. We should be fairly well-oiled by then. You know, we’ll have been all round Europe and working on our game, as you would say and, yeah, I can’t wait. I think it will be a great time. Nice return to London, yeah.
DJ: What do you remember about 1976, Roger – that gig in Hyde Park?
RT: I remember the Police forcing us off stage.
DJ: Not the group?
RT: (laughs) No, not The Police.
BM: Before they were born.
RT: They were just coming… (laughing) Sting was still in nappies though. (more laughing) I remember that and I remember it was quite a pressurised gig. It was all… you know in those days things weren’t organised like they are these days, and it was difficult working in a Royal Park then. But this time we are THRILLED to have the MAGNIFICENT Paul Rodgers, who is surely one of the greatest and most original blues, rock, soul voices on the planet.
DJ: It’s a mutual appreciation society though, isn’t it? I mean, I think he loves you guys.
BM: Absolutely he does. I know he’s got a lot out of working with us, but we have too, I have to say. It’s incredible just looking over and, and seeing him there and hearing THAT VOICE. It’s an UNBELIEVABLE voice. Everything he does sounds like a record. He does not (laughs) you know. It’s just, I, it’s, I’m not gonna say – ‘perfect’ is the wrong word. It’s just ALWAYS wonderful. It’s always something that you’ve never heard before. It’s always like you can hear his soul speaking. He’s amazing.
DJ: Yeah. The shows are gonna be wonderful shows. You’ve got such a huge repertoire. How long will these shows be?
RT: Well it’s really what to leave out, you know. It, it’s, we have to leave out a lot but I think we’re hoping to change the shows a little, you know, nightly, making each show slightly different because we have such an armoury of, between us of, of stuff to draw on, you know. So it’s, it’s tricky.
BM: We’re looking at pretty long show at the moment, I have to say I mean, the way it looks at the moment it’s getting on for a couple of hours, though I don’t think we mind that. I think it would be nice…
DJ: The fans won’t.
BM: No. I think it’s good and there’s a lot of stuff we have to give. I know there’s a lot things people will definitely wanna hear and there’s a lot of things which we, we wanna experiment with also.
DJ: Do you think Freddie’s untimely passing – I mean when he died it was such a sad time for everybody – I mean, especially for you because you were bosom buddies as well as being a band and, you know, making music together. Had Freddie not passed away at that time, would Queen have continued? Do you thing you would still be a band today? Would you still be around making music, do you think?
BM: I think so.
RT: I’d like to think so. I mean, sorry, I think we’d realised by then that that, you know you think you go through periods where it’s ‘Well, whadda I do next?’ but then after a while you get a little older and you sorta grow up (chuckle) and you think ‘Well actually this IS what I do’, and it’s a slow realisation. And we had, you know, we’ve been very privileged, had such a great career and that’s a good thing to settle for I think.
DJ: Terrific. Brian May, Roger Taylor. Look forward to seeing you on tour very soon.
RT: Thanks David.
BM: Thanks David.
DJ: This is a Capital Rock Show Special with Queen.
<It’s A Hard Life plays>