with Mary Turner 1986 (Radio Interview)
* originally existed on now lost website "Queen Interviews".
Freddie Mercury (FM) :
It's just Fate. A sort of an ingredient that we have, and it's a combination that seems to have worked...that doesn't mean we don't have egos, I mean we all have terrible egos, so there's always been talk of breaking up and you know there's been lots of very bad moods and things, and there's always been somebody or other, one of us saying "I want to call it a day", and things, but I don't know I think things seem to be working out right all the time. There's no sort of pill that we're taking to keep together, there's no sort of ...you can't put a finger on it.
I guess it doesn't matter what it is exactly as long as you have it, and Queen definitely have it, or they wouldn't still be together after 14 years. Maybe it's a kind of magic. Only one way to find out. I'm Mary Turner and for the next hour, I'll be talking with Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor, Brian May, and John Deacon. Queen, Off the Record.
[Don't Stop Me Now]
Mary Turner (MT) : Do you think that your relationships within the band have changed over the 14 years...you're certainly writing more than you were?
Roger Taylor (RT) : Yeah, I feel like I'm personally much happier, I mean I have a lot more creative say and input now, I would say...before it was sort of restricted to drums and the odd vocal part really.
MT : Roger Taylor.
RT : So yes, they have changed in a way, we've become more democratic, I think. But let's face it at first Freddie was the only...and Brian were the only real writers in the band, and now it's all sort of fairly equal.
[Pain is So Close to Pleasure]
MT : How about tempers in the studio amongst yourselves?
John Deacon (JD) : Oh, there's a few. Yeah sure.
MT : So we're talking many fights and stuff like that?
JT : There's a few, yeah. I mean the only thing that is hopefully good about us is after the arguments we can actually still face each other the next day or the day after and talk about something else and sort of get over it. The funny thing is I think we're now getting to that sort of point of maturity that we at least have that confidence that we are a successful band which is what is obviously a desire in the beginning, that's why sometimes you want to be in a band and, you want to be successful, so we now have that and now it's sort of a harder thing, of where you go from here, because we still have a few ambitions left...I have a few personal ambitions for the band....I mean there are certain countries in the world we haven't played yet that I would like to go to, because in the Far East we've played Japan, but we've never played any of the other ones like Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, that's a long way off still, but there's a few things there...and also we still have the desire to come back to America, and to actually come back and to establish ourselves there again.
MT : On "One Vision" there's what sounds like some backwards kind of stuff at the beginning....what is that?
RT : It's not actually, well some of it is backwards, yeah, you're right, and some of it's sort of harmonized, slowed down, and tape trickery in general.
MT : Is there a secret message there?
RT : No, it's saying....there's a line and it says... and I think some people attribute it to some kind of devil worship, (and it goes to show you that some people need medical attention, don't they?)...the line is "God works in mysterious ways"...that's what it's saying.
MT : I'm interested to know, do you have any, before you go onstage, do you have any kind of personal ritual or anything that you do to get yourself psyched up mentally, prepared?
RT : Yes, I have two belts of Scotch, that's it....two.... no more, no less.
MT : That does the trick, huh?
RT : Yeah, that get's you just aggressive enough, and just sharp enough. If you have one more, that slows you down a little bit.
MT : How about directly when you come offstage?
RT : I'll collapse, that's the first thing. There's nothing nicer than to have somebody take your shoes and socks off for you. It's great, that's usually the first thing that happens, we just sit back in our chairs and have all these people take off our shoes and socks. (laughs)
Sound interesting? Well, stick around. In just a moment we'll head for London's Wembley Stadium for a standing room only performance by Queen. I'm Mary Turner.
It doesn't matter how successful you are around the world, everybody still wants to be a hit in their hometown. So when Queen sold out London's Wembley Stadium in record time, they were happy, relieved, and nervous.
MT : The two Wembley dates you have surpassed or equalled a record set only two times before selling two sold out dates, done by Springsteen and the Stones. That must make you feel pretty good.
RT : It's great ...we were stunned, actually at the response, completely. Harvey Goldsmith, the promoter was just quite amazed. We sold out literally immediately, and you can't believe half a million ticket applications...it's quite amazing actually.
MT : Do you feel different playing here on your home turf?
RT : Yeah, there's always sorts of unnecessary stresses...like maybe your mother's out there...too many people you know are out there...it's always nice if you're just nice and removed from it a bit so that's why we really like playing.... It will be fun in Vienna, you know? (Laughs) Mind you Wembley's very special cause to the English people Wembley's the national stadium so it's sort of the big one, and there haven't been that many shows there, so maybe we'll be nervous about that.
MT : The concert last night was for some kind of Royal Charity?
RT : Well, yeah I mean the fact that it's royal is irrelevant really, but yes, Princess Anne's very involved, it's the Save the Children thing, which is like for kids all over the world, sort of under privileged children, we thought it would be nice to give one thing to charity, one complete show...it would be nice.... everybody else seems to be doing things for the Prince's Trust, they're probably after their knighthoods or something...Sir Phil Collins, Lord Elton...whatever...the Earl of Clapton...no, but we thought no no no we just give it to a good charity.
MT : But what it's like? Do you meet these people? There must be something kind of off the wall about meeting royalty, especially if you're British?
RT : Well they're just people aren't they really?
MT : Yeah but....
RT : I suppose you're right...actually I was quite nervous last year when we met Charles and Diana...and yes it was quite nerve-wracking cause everybody was in a row, and I was next to David Bowie, and we were both really nervous and he smoked about a pack of my Malboros. And we were right at the end as well, so we had to wait while this...and the camera man was there, and it was a bit nerve wracking, yeah...it was very weird.
MT : Was she beautiful?
RT : (Hesitates) yeah, I mean...she's a girl, you know (laughter)
MT : What's it like for four young English boys to suddenly be introduced and shaking hands with royalty?
Brian May (BM) : (Laughs) I liked it more than I thought I was going to like it. I'm not particularly into all that royalty stuff, but I was surprised how much of a charisma or aura whatever you like to call it Charles and Diana had. I enjoyed it I liked meeting them. They were very nice, very charming and genuinely interested. There's obviously no falseness about them they were interested in what was going on they understand where we come from a lot more than I expected. And it's very nice. It does give you a nice feeling, I suppose it's a kind of, it's like when you're a kid and your mother father tell you you're a good boy and pat you on the head...it gives you a certain, it's irrational and maybe you shouldn't feel it, but you do feel it. You feel, "oh good, I've done something right for a change." (laughs)
MT : Plus also I would think because Charles and Diana are our age same generation, and here this guy is the future king of England. How Beyond-o hanging out with him backstage at a rock and roll concert!
BM : Yeah, strange, I like him a lot actually, I've had a lot of respect for Charles for a long time. He's never been afraid to say what he thinks. You know it's not easy, you know the King or the Queen of England is not really in a position of power anymore, actually, you know that, it's not like being the President. But the controls which are exerted on them are enormous they have to kind of tread this fine diplomatic line, and Charles has never really felt that he had to be told what to say, he said a lot of things which weren't easy to say, and I respect that. I think he'll be a great king when it comes.
MT : There seems to be a burgeoning interest in the social conscience or rock and roll, of Live Aid and Amnesty, where do you think this is coming from? Ten years ago it would have been you know esit on it'?
BM : I think we're just a bit more practical these days, because people always did a lot of talking about it in the 60's there was this big consciousness of let's spread peace and love, but nobody really know how to do it. And I think Joan Baez was quoted recently...was it Joan Baez? No hang on it was Grace Slick...she was asked how did Live Aid compare with Wood Stock, and she said it's totally different....Woodstock was a total waste of time because everybody was just into themselves, and live aid was an outward going thing..it actually affected people's lives who needed some help So it certainly makes me happy. I think Rock and roll has grown up a bit and things occasionally get done right..
[Somebody to Love]
A Kind of Magic is the first Queen album in two years. No it didn't take them that long to record it, they were busy with other projects like solo albums, movie soundtracks, and educational videos. Educational videos? Are you ready for Brian May, music teacher? Well, get your notebooks ready, we've got guitar class coming up right after this, Off the Record.
I'm Mary Turner talking with Brian May and John Deacon of Queen...Off The Record.
[Tear it Up]
MT : You've done some things outside making records in the past year. You designed a guitar for commercial...
BM : Oh yes, the Guild guitar is a copy of mine which I've used for year s and years and years..me and my Dad made it twenty years ago...and they made a very good job of it, unfortunately it's very expensive. And I'm a little upset that it's become a sort of elitist thing as opposed to something that everyone can have if they want, cause that's not the way it was meant to be. So maybe in the future we can make a cheaper version.
MT : It's an exact copy of your guitar?
BM : yes, it's very, very close and it sounds very close.
MT : Also you made a video?
BM : Yes the Starlicks video which is to...a kind of teaching aid to people who want to play like other people playing. I think it's a good thing, and the people who run it are well on the ball...it's a shame it couldn't have been done earlier I would have like to have had a Star Licks of Eric Clapton when I was trying to learn the guitar...it would have been wonderful...I think it's a very good thing and I would like to see more people do it. I want to see George Harrison do it and Eric Clapton, you know I think it's a nice thing because you can say so much more in a video than you could ever say on a piece of paper. You can see the guy's hands moving and hear what comes out....it's a very close thing.
[Keep Yourself Alive]
[Another One Bites the Dust]
MT : You are the only one of the band who hasn't yet done a solo album.
JD : No cause I can't sing.
MT : (laughter)
MT : Are you sure?
JD : Yes, yes it's pretty bad, but I might have singing lessons one day.
MT : Is that sort of a void in your career? Do you wish you had done that?
JD : Yes. Of course I do it's awful it's like being in a wheelchair in a way because you can't actually express yourself in the way that you'd like to. If I could sing it would be lovely. No, it's a handicap, a great handicap, in terms of writing songs. I wish I could but I can't.
MT : When you write a song and do a demo?
JD : Well...mainly you see I've worked with Freddie most of my career and he's very good, because I'll come up with certain ideas and he just improves on them, and I haven't worked with any, many other singers really.
You've sold around 25 Million albums, you've won countless awards, everything from best new artist to America's favourite group You've had number one songs in every country that has a radio station and even in a few that don't. So what's left? Well hear what challenges keep Queen in the game right after this, Off the Record.
[Radio Ga Ga]
MT : Is music still the most important thing in your life? Do you ever outgrow this I wonder?
RT : Sometimes I think it's time I should have outgrown it, I should really sort of be outgrowing it, but then it sort of comes back to it that yes it is the most important thing it's just that I get a bit sick of it sometimes. I think you have enough on the road I don't get sick of it in the studio I do. I just...."I can't listen to music anymore!" The last thing I want to hear in the car is the damn radio with music on it. Of course, It's just too much.
MT : You've had years of success, Freddie, gold albums international tours, all the stuff that kids dream of when they start a band. So what keeps you going now, what challenges are left?
FM : It's a survival test. Of course we could all just go away and say ok we've had enough, and live happily ever after, but that's not what we're in for....we're in it to make music and the way I think what else could I do, I mean this is the thing that interests me most. You don't know what it means when you write a song when people actually appreciate it and they say it's a good song. It's a wonderful feeling.
[We are the Champions]
MT : You know it's funny after all these years that you still get a bad rap from the critics.
FM : I think we've learn to live with that.. we've been living with that kind of thing for the last five six or seven years, and now it's the standard thing, it's just the norm to be honest and it doesn't worry me at all...I've never let the press worry me ..in the early days you think about it, you go out and buy the papers and make sure you're in it, and all that, and now it's a completely different set up because it's your music and basically what you worry about is the people that buy your product.. that's what keeps us going.