Roger Taylor BBC R4 on touring Europe with Freddie

Roger Taylor by Xavier Vila
Photo: Xavier Vila

Roger Taylor was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 on touring Europe with Freddie Mercury – back in the day, and how much different things are for touring bands and their crews during these times.

Brian May and Roger recently joined other artists and musc professionals in signing an open letter calling for Government help for the Entertainment Industry army of crew – skilled professionals who make shows happen.

Roger Taylor on Queen touring with Freddie – BBC R4 21 Feb 2021



PRESENTER: Usually if we have a reason to lighten up this programme with some music we save it to the end. Not this week – Queen performing in Frankfurt in 1979. We asked Roger Taylor, the drummer, to reminisce about touring Europe with Freddie Mercury.

ROGER TAYLOR: Personally i thought touring in Europe was the most interesting place to tour because it was all the many many cultures. We’d be changing our currency every day and it was an absolute pain in the ass but we were one of the sort of common denominators, you know, rock and roll – and our brand of music is pretty much accepted everywhere within Europe, so that was an amazing thing to find all these completely different types of audiences with different languages, all really getting off on our music. We were very lucky to be an English band because in the 70s, and maybe some of the 80s, we were leading the world. We had the best bands in the world and I’d like to think we were one of them and that was what we were really good at and we were bringing our wares to so many different cultures and which was an absolutely wonderful position to be in.

Roger Taylor was one of the top musicians – more than a hundred of them – who signed an open letter to the Government complaining about the impact that Brexit will have on their ability to tour in Europe.

 Borders- uh – what a dreadful invention of mankind , and so we’re just putting up another one and i think it’s a dreadful retrograde step.

And do you think – you talked about the British music, English stars having huge standing and being really distinctive in those days, do you think the same is true now?

Oh that’s a good question. I’ll have to think about that one. Well we’ve definitely got some of the leading artists in the world at the moment – not so much groups anymore – but for instance we’ve got people like Ed Sheeran and Adele, who are sort of global leaders in terms of concerts – and then you’ve got the old … the old dinosaurs like ourselves.

Very fine dinosaurs where they say so, although i think you’ve had to postpone your tour haven’t you?

We have, yes. I think like a lot of other people – is just not really workable at the moment is it with the COVID pandemic.

It points up the fact that of course all these difficulties associated with Brexit come on top of a very tough period for the Music Industry generally.

Yes I mean I know for instance all our road crew or all the guys that make our touring work, they’re the ones that have suffered – not so much for the artists. We can fall back on our songwriting and our publishing. They can’t. Ir’s a daily, weekly job for them and so it’s it’s made it really hard for our Industry i suppose, you want to call it very hard indeed.