We're waiting in the Danby Room of the Dragonara Hotel, Leeds. Four floors below, a few Queen fans cluster in anticipation, toting autograph books. Up here, the room contains only a large conference table, all laid out in places with blotters and glasses. It conjures up dim memories of depressing job interviews for depressing jobs.
As Queen's bass-player John Deacon walks in, I rise and proffer my hand. I can't resist it:
"Good afternoon Mr Deacon. And what makes you think you're suitable for this post?"
Deacon smiles nervously and exchanges glances with his bodyguard. His bodyguard - who rejoices, we learn later, in the name of Wally - stares back impassively before shuffling off to sit the corner. Why's he brought a bodyguard with him? All we want to do is talk.
Well, in fact we hadn't really even wanted to do that. Arriving in Leeds to watch Queen strut their stuff in front of 30,000 headbangers at Elland Road football ground, we are told by Queen's publicist:"The interview is on."
"Look, I've put the idea into his head now. You'll have to do one now."
Oh well, I'm game for a laugh. Over a drink or two, some questions are hastily concocted. "He's the brains of the outfit," the general publicist informed me. "Definitely the brains."
The brains settle themselves down opposite me. Deacon is in his 30s, has short black hair, is wearing a sweatshirt. You wouldn't look twice at him on the street. A few hours later, those 30,000 people are going to go bananas over his every move.
Deacon turns out to be a subdued, genial chap - shy, almost - who talks quietly, either rambling on aimlessly about nothing in particular, or shrugging his shoulders and mumbling, "I don't know really," to most of my questions.
"It was quite an experience" proves to be one of his favorite expressions. This is all he has to say about their Latin American tour. He also says this about their recent appearance on "Top of the Pops", Queen's first for six years.
Given their enormous success, have they, I wonder, got any ambitions left?
"Individually, more than as a band."
What's yours then?
"I don't know really...find something to do outside the band."
John is interested however in "trying out all these new things", like drum machines.
How much money is he worth?
"I don't know really...quite a lot."
Now that a lot of their material - like "Body Language" or "Another One Bites The Dust" - is getting disco-fied, would he still call Queen a rock band?
"I don't know really...In a touring sense, I suppose, yes." He seems worried that a lot of their songs are "a bit light, or whatever."
What does he enjoy doing most?
"I don't know really."
It appears he can't decide between touring and working in the studio. I meant the question more generally, but let it pass.
This kind of thing can get frustrating for a journalist. But I'll soon put a stop to it. Here comes my blockbuster question. Are you ready?
Given that for years Queen have been playing massive, spectacular concerts, the kind that allow very little contact with the audience except a carefully managed response, does Deacon think that they've got any idea at all of what youth are thinking or worrying about these days? Wait for it...
"I don't know really...perhaps not."
I was going to ask whether Deacon got fed up with Brian May and Freddie Mercury taking all the limelight. But in the end I didn't bother - you know the answer already.