The Bigger The Better (Freddie Interview)
Source: Unsure 1985
Submitted by: Richard Orchard
Freddie: I seem to write songs that I don’t think about them at the time but they seem to sort of catch up on me if you know what I mean. So I guess without knowing it it’s just sort of psychological. I think they just seem to be why… I think most people just write songs which are inside them. You know I’m not one of those that sort of practices the trends and say “OK, this is trendy today, let’s write a song about that”. In the end I think what actually comes out in me, and sometimes I don’t even know I’m actually doing it and they sort of catch up on me afterwards. Most of the songs I write are all love ballads and things to do with sadness and torture and pain : at the same time it’s frivolous and tongue in cheek. That’s basically my whole nature, I guess.
Interviewer : What is your attitude to life ?
Freddie: I don’t know. Actually I think in this point in time I think I’m just having a good time, to be honest. Before I was very serious and you know I sort of was caught up being successful and being a star and all that and I thought this is the way a star behaves of whatever. Now, I don’t give a damn. I just want to do things my way, I want to have fun doing it. To me, I think if I sort of approach everything I do in that way I think it all comes out in the songs and the things I do. So basically I think I’ve learned to sort of calm down. I’m not as paranoid as I was before and I just hope I’ve been able to control a lot of things and I’m not afraid to speak out and say the things that I want to do, or do the things I want to do. So I think in the end being natural and being actually genuine is what wins, and I hope that comes out in my songs. I’m not worried about making mistakes I think I’m too old for that.
Interviewer : No, after making 80 million hit records…
Freddie: Have I, dear ?
Interviewer : Yes.
Freddie: Oh, OK.
Interviewer : You’ve had 80 million sold around the world with Queen. What makes you want to do something like this which is a very big risk for you, isn’t it ? To stick your neck out there and stand up alone without other musicians ?
Freddie: That’s the way I like to live. Yes, firstly if I didn’t do this I don’t have anything to do. You know, I can’t cook, I’m not very good at being a housewife, it’s just in my blood. I seem to have been doing this for so long that it’s so in my blood, I don’t know what else to do. I’d be very vulnerable and I wouldn’t know what to do, so I think I just have to keep doing it. It’s not having to keep doing it, of course. I’ve made a lot of money. I could live beautifully and wonderfully for the rest of my life but, the way I live is I have to be doing something every day. I want to earn my keep and I want to be doing something. I have a nervous energy that needs to be doing something. I can’t relax in bed all day and just do nothing. I think it’s a waste of time. I hardly read books. I think that is a waste of time. People are going to kill me for this. But it’s just a nervous energy that I have and I just basically write music and I want to keep doing that, I have a lot of songs and I enjoy doing them, see, it’s come to a stage where before I felt it was my work, it’s still my work, now. I just feel it’s something I enjoy doing, you know, it’s very interesting. There are lots of challenges ahead and like you said earlier on, this is another step for me and a new challenge and I’m, you know, going to receive it with open arms.
Roger and Brian on VH1 in 1997
Source: VH1 1997
Submitted by: Art Van-Delay
Brian May: He really didn’t change, he didn’t, in inverted commas, sort of becomesomeone you couldn’t talk to, we were always very close as a group, verydemocratic as a group, we were very much guided by each other in performance andin the studio we would produce each other and use each other to bounce off and Iwould always play a better solo if Freddie was there saying, “no, no, no, no,no, you can do this” or he would keep something that I was going to throw away.
VH1: The Freddie Mercury tribute was broadcast in 70 different countries andfeatured contributions from Elton John, George Michael, Guns’n’Roses and manymore; and allowed the rest of the band to see Freddie off in a style he wouldhave been proud of.
Roger Taylor: I think it’s something we had to get out of our systems, I know I didand spent about 3 months on the phone. It was a very difficult thing to gettogether and we had so much co-operation from all those great artists, some ofwhom I still haven’t got round to thanking.
Brian May: I always remember the moment Joe Elliott grabbed my sleeve as we weregoing off at the end and said, “Brian, you have to stop for a minute and justlook at this and think what it is because you’re never gonna see anything likethis again”. And he was right, so it was great to have those people playing withus, very thrilling for us and I think we did the job for Freddie.
VH1: The music of Freddie Mercury and Queen lives on and this year, a balletperformed in Paris was the venue for the first public performance for the 3remaining members of the band since the Mercury tribute in 1992. They decided todo it after a personal request from Elton John.
Roger Taylor: There’s a new ballet written by the father of French modern ballet,Maurice Bejart and it’s written around our music with a few bits of Mozartthrown in which is quite a flattering mixture isn’t it? And it’s a wonderfulwork, it’s a great piece and Elton thought that it would be lovely if we justcame on at the end with the ballet and performed ‘The Show Must Go On’ as asurprise which we did and it was great, it was a lovely experience.
Brian May: I was surprised that I enjoyed it, because in the interim period, I’vevery much been trying to get Queen out of my system, and I know that probablydoesn’t sound very nice but in a way it’s unhealthy to be just clinging to thepast.
Roger Taylor: It’s a difficult thing, but having said that, it’s been 5 years sinceFreddie’s death now and I think we don’t feel quite so precious about it as wedid and we accept it as something that happened and it’s in the past now and, soI think maybe the future is open to us doing something again.
Brian May: I know people would love to see us together and stuff, but it would haveto be in the right way, not in some way which would spoil what went before.
Roger Taylor: Elton put it very well, he said, “You lot are like a fantastic racingcar, sitting in the garage with no bloody driver”, which was a great analogy Ithought, and very flattering; but you know, we’ll see.
The Man Who Would Be Queen
Source: Melody Maker May 2, 1981
Submitted by: Richard Orchard
Interview with Freddie
When Queen formed ten years ago, there seemed to be a grand strategy to become the biggest rock band, statistically, and to be the most extravagant in every way. Was there really a master plan which has resulted in your current status – did you approach it as businessmen rather than musicians?
No, It wasn’t quite as clinical as that, but it was certainly determined. We said okay, we’re going to take the plunge into rock and we’re really going to do a job at it, no half measures. We all had potentially good careers and we weren’t prepared to settle for second best if we were going to abandon all the qualifications we had got in other fields. We wanted the best; it wasn’t a question of wanting world domination, although I know it probably came across as capitalism.
But lots of bands set out wanting to get to the top and don’t make it – what gave you the edge?
You have to have a kind of arrogance and lots of confidence and absolute determination, as well as all the other obvious skills like music. Arrogance is a very good thing to have when you’re starting, and that means saying to yourselves that you’re going to be the number one group, not the number two. Hope for the best, go for the top. We just had it inside us and – well, we all had a very big ego, as well.
Are you the leader of the band?
The lead singer usually is….
Ah, yes, we used to be, that’s a bygone age. Modern-day people in my position called themselves the focal point, dear. Unless your name is Rod Stewart and you have a backing band – no way is this Freddie Mercury and his backing band. When you analyse it, the four of us make the whole thing work. It’s 25 per cent, and I’m the one upfront, that’s all.
Your friends say you’re extremely shy, and you loathe talking about yourself in interviews like this, but on stage you preen like a peacock. Are you two people?
I don’t know what it is, but it’s true. I wish I could tell you. I just like having fun. It’s a very good release, rock music, but you know you say that I am a different person on stage and that same thing could be said of anyone going out to do his job. It’s my work, and I’m very serious about it, getting it right – when we began, we approached it the way we did because we were not prepared to be out-of-work musicians, ever. We said either take it on as a serious commodity or don’t do it at all.
Did you ever have doubts that the strategy would work?
At one point, two or three years after we began, we nearly disbanded. We felt it wasn’t working, there were too many sharks in the business and it was all getting too much for us. But something inside us kept us going and we learned from our experiences, good and bad. Sometimes, things like what happened to us in the business field give you an even greater incentive to stay alive and fight through. We didn’t make any money until after the fourth album, “A Night At The Opera.” Most of our income was consumed by litigation and things like that. We had to use a lot of money, so-called money that we made, to get out of contracts. But it was the best thing we could do. After that, it was like a new lease of life.
Is there a togetherness in the band – do you mix socially?