The David Wigg Interviews
The interviews on this page were all released as part of the Freddie Mercury: Solo 10CD and 2DVD boxed set in 2000, with the exception of the Munich 1985 interview. However, they were all later released as part of the 'Freddie Mercury Talking To David Wigg' audiobook download, which was available through 7Digital in September 2006, to mark Freddie's 60th birthday.
David Wigg is a British journalist who previously extensively interviewed The Beatles between 1968 and 1973. He interviewed Freddie on a number of different occasions about his life in Queen, solo projects, and personal life.
As David Wigg was more of a friend to Freddie than a journalist, and rather uniquely a journalist whom Freddie trusted, many of these interviews are far more personal and revealing than others, including Freddie's relationships and the threat of AIDS which would have been unthinkable with other journalists, given his early treatment by the press.
A promo CD titled 'Lover Of Life, Singer Of Songs - In His Own Words' was also issued in 2006, which featured 12 excerpts of these interviews, lasting just over 10 minutes. The excerpts are titled: 'Why Make A Solo Album?', 'Where, For You, Do Songs Come From?', 'Freddie's Insight on Freddie...', 'There Must Be More To Life...', 'I Was Born To Love You', 'Fooling Around', 'Living On My Own', 'Love Kills Seems To Have A Flavour of Brazil', 'My Love Is Dangerous', 'Mr Bad Guy', 'The Great Pretender' and finally 'Barcelona'. I have not heard these excerpts, so have no idea which interviews they are from.
London 1979 - The Crazy Tour
Munich 1984 - part 1 - The Works Tour
Munich 1984 - part 2 - Going Solo
London 1985 - Week Of Live Aid
London 1986 - The Magic Tour
Ibiza 1987 - part 1 - Freddie's 41st Birthday
Ibiza 1987 - part 2 - Montserrat Caballe
Ibiza 1987 - part 3 - The Great Pretender
Munich 1985 - Freddie Mercury Goes Solo
Three other interviews of interest, though not with David Wigg, are the 'A Musical Prostitute' and Mary Turner interviews from 1984, and 'The Last Interview' from 1987.
London 1979 - The Crazy Tour Recorded in London, 1979, presumably between October and December 1979. Length 8:08. David: Interview with Freddie Mercury, talking to David Wigg in 1979, on the European tour, recorded in Britain. Um, first of all, what is the future of the band going to be, because there are so many, there's been so many rumours in the music press about, you know, splitting up, can they go on forever
Freddie: No, I think they'd love to split us up, I think it's one of those dumb things where, you know, after so many years, they try and break us up
David: How many years it?
Freddie: It's nearly eight, eight or nine years on, nine years now we've been together. No, absolutely not
David: But you did go through a low period, didn't you, when, when was that?
Freddie: Well we all, everybody does, yes we did, there, there were times where I thought, um, you know, I should call it a day, but you know, musically, we, we seem to want to do so much more anyway. And there are so many new projects coming together, like um, we've been offered to do a 'Flash Gordon' film, did you know that?
David: Oh no, have you?
Freddie: Yeah, do a soundtrack
David: The music for it, the soundtrack? What else is there on, new, that's on the horizon for the band in the eighties?
Freddie: Well I think the next, after this we go and do a studio album to finish it, because um, the tracks that we're releasing now are, were, you know, intended to go on an album, but we didn't finish the album, so we go, virtually go and finish that, and that's the next thing
David: Now, now what about for yourself though, Freddie, personally, in the 1980's, now you've dabbled in a bit of Covent Garden this year (laughter)
Freddie: How nice, 'dabbled' is the word, isn't it? I was very brave
David: You were very brave, very brave. Um, what personal things would you like to do, have you any own plans? Would you like to do acting, or?
Freddie: Not really
David: But you, you really enjoy the experience?
Freddie: Yes, I mean, you know, singing upside down, it's a wonderful choice isn't it? (laughter) You don't get the chance to sing upside down in rock 'n' roll of course
David: And at Covent Garden
Freddie: Oh, yes, I, that was really, it was, it was the most nerve-wracking thing, honest, for me, but I mean the most enjoyable. Oh no, shivering in the wings, but I had to do it, because it was, it's always the case, when you're put outside your, your
David: Your sphere?
Freddie: Yeah, it's, it's much harder, because I mean you've got to, but I, I, I always like a challenge, you know what I mean. I'd like to see, I'd like to see Mick Jagger try doing something like that (laughter) or Rod Stewart
David: Yes, quite. Um, Freddie, how long did you actually live, um, away from Britain, um, as a tax exile?
Freddie: How long did I?
David: Yeah, how long did you stay out
Freddie: A year
David: You stayed out a year, and um, you're now, you're now living back here for good?
Freddie: Yes, oh definitely, yeah
David: You tried New York didn't you, to live in New York?
Freddie: Yes, that's true, that was when I was um, half way through the year out, as it were, and I, I decided then that at the end I'd like to live in New York
David: Did you enjoy it?
Freddie: I love New York my dear, it's wonderful. But actually when I came to thinking about living there I thought oh dear, it's, it's, it's totally different when you think you want to live there. Because you can't live in New York at the pace as if you're travelling through it (David: no), it's so different, and I didn't, I didn't like that idea, because I thought I'd have to, I'd rather go to (unknown dialogue)
David: You wouldn't have got any work done would you?
Freddie: No, I'd be dead within a week (laughter). I was gonna try, sort of a trial basis, I actually went and looked at some apartments and, West Avenue or whatever, it's a wonderful place, and I almost bought it, but then I just, I just, I mean that's before Mrs Thatcher's government came in, you know, because I mean, and when we came back and she was in there I just thought well why not, but I mean, it, it, it was nothing to do with money to be honest (David: not now), no, I mean I would have stayed in New York if I liked it anyway. It's not some dodgy tax evasion, but I just, I just felt that um, I wanted to live in England, I wanted a, you know I wanted a sort of country mansion, in London. It's taken me a long while
David: Have you found one?
Freddie: No, but I've been looking. It's Wimbledon, I'd love to live in Wimbledon, actually
David: Wimbledon, yes. Comfortable then isn't it?
Freddie: Yes, I'm not into the art and the art today creature, but I just want, I want a bit of a
David: A beautiful house, and, and sort of reasonable sized grounds
Freddie: Yeah, I want to be, I'm a city person
David: Where are, where are all your um, family now, where are they living, are they living near?
David: In Middlesex?
Freddie: They are, in Feltham yeah, parents live in Feltham
David: So you, you keep in touch them quite a lot?
Freddie: Yeah, well I mean, depending, I mean if I'm busy and if I'm, if I'm away for the year, obviously I can't. But I do ring them, yes, and I see them, well, well, I haven't seen my mother for a while now, but that's because I have been very busy, but she understands, but she comes to the shows and I'll say 'hi', and that's it, but they understand
David: But you've still got, you've still got?
Freddie: Yes, yes
David: And um, what about the coping with, coping with wealth, I mean that's one thing that a lot of musicians find very difficult
Freddie: I cope very actually, I spend it, spend, spend, spend
David: Do you?
Freddie: Well, what's money for? I'm not one of those who's, who gets money and stuff it in a mattress or count it every night (laughter)
David: Do you know somebody like that?
Freddie: Yes, but I'm not telling you (laughter), there are several, several people who, who do a show and then rush home to count the pennies (laughter), I'm not like that
David: You don't, do you?
Freddie: They do, you're dying to know who but I'm not telling you (laughter)
David: I think I know
Freddie: Well I haven't said it, yes I think you know (laughter)
David: Yes, and um, what do you, do you still spend it on buying antiques, and um, all, all those sort of things, paintings?
Freddie: Oh you'll love this, yesterday, I had um, I went um, shopping at Cartiers, this is, you're going to love this one, and I, it was, I realised it was closing at one and I, yeah, they were closing at, they were closing at, I'm sure everybody's done that, closing at one, so we were, I, I rang up and said er, if, if she'll, if they could leave it open for me, and they were very nice, and I did, so I mean all the shutters were down, and I went along, and I felt like, I dunno, Zsa Zsa Gabor I suppose (laughter)
David: You look quite like her (laughter) why you ordered fur
Freddie: I suppose something younger
David: How, what did you spend, in all told, jewellery to the value of what?
Freddie: God, I don't know, no I'm not telling you
Freddie: Thousands, it's just the thousands
David: You had a field day
Freddie: I did, and oh, it feels nice, bought lots of, bought lots of junk from Cartier (laughter). But it was really very nice of them to, because I thought (David: is it?) yeah
David: We've got a good customer here
Freddie: Well they know me, Mr Parks
David: I'm sure they do
Freddie: It was Mr Parks, that was very nice. He's been my dear. Elton goes in there, and, every Christmas
David: But it was not for you, nothing for you?
Freddie: No actually no, I love buying presents for people, I do, that's, that's a bigger thrill. But that's what Elton does, you know he goes in there and asks, 'I'll have forty of those', I think that's the fun. I'm just conditioned that way, I'll just go out and spend and
Munich 1984 - part 1 - The Works Tour Recorded in 1984. Length 11:24.
During the interview, Freddie mentions 'this is the fourth show', placing it between the show in Ireland on 29th and Birmingham on 30th August 1984, so it almost certainly wasn't recorded in Munich. While it is possible, it is very unlikely that Freddie would fly to Munich mid-tour for an interview and possibly a single day in a recording studio. David: Interview with Freddie Mercury, 1984, David Wigg talking to him in Munich about his solo plans. Well now, what I wanted to ask you was um, Freddie, how, how, do you keep your enthusiasm for what you are doing, I mean it's
Freddie: Money (laughter)
David: Because it's ten years, isn't it, I mean
Freddie: Well it's, that's part of it, I mean it sounds very, of course we're all in it for the money, and um, I'm not afraid to say that, but of course, and the glory and everything, we've got to be. It would be quite, it's quite easy for me to give up right now because I have all that, I have the money and all, all that, so of course, if I come down to being serious, it's not just for the money, it's just um, I think it's just longevity, I think we've got to the stage where in a funny way especially in, in Europe I think Queen have actually got a new lease of life, after so many years I thought, and being away for two years, I thought, you know, my God, they've probably forgotten us, but it's sort of like it's been a re-, it's been like a rebirth, this is one of our strongest albums, and um, I couldn't believe that we had, like, already we've had three singles in the top ten, which we've never had from any album before, and um, so, actually I'm quite amazed, to be honest, it's like I said tonight, you know I mean, I said, 'until you buggers stop buying our records, I mean, we'll still be here', (David: yes) it's like, if they want us, we'll be here
David: Yeah, it's a good, good line, that was nice that actually to say something like that
Freddie: I like toying with them far more than I used to these days
David: Yeah, I noticed that
Freddie: And it's fun, I sort of seem to um, involve them much more and um, it's more down to earth, I think Queen are more down to earth now, I mean, I remember before we were sort of up sky high, we were very sort of ostentatious, you know, everybody said we were
David: Grander than grand
Freddie: Yes, yes, all this pomp and all that, of course we still have the pomp and, but I think we've added this element of humour now which I think, and I think the video for 'Break Free' kind of shocked quite a lot of people because they thought we didn't have that (David: yes), and we actually went totally the other way and said 'OK, we'll drag it up', even being called Queen (David: yeah), and um, for a rock 'n' roll band to actually do that, for a, like a heavy metal rock 'n' roll band to do that was quite exciting, and we got into our robes so easily, my God, you should have seen it. We put the slap on and there you are
David: Did you enjoy that?
Freddie: Yes, it was kind of challenging, a sort of tangent as it were, and um
David: It's a wonder how they all know the words (Freddie: yes, and that was), and the, the, on the 'Radio Ga Ga' video (Freddie: yes), they all knew the actions didn't they, I mean that was very moving I thought
Freddie: Yes, because in a, in a funny way we've only done, this is the fourth show, and I'm trying out a lot of things, and tonight is the first night where we actually did that song and I did sing it, I thought 'God I'll go for it, I'll go', I know they sing 'Love Of My Life', but I thought 'I Want To Break Free' is quite new, and they, they sang it
David: That was fantastic I thought, very, very moving. So Freddie, why did you take that two year break, you must have felt you needed it, why?
Freddie: Well, yes we did, we were all forming a sort of a rut, I just, I wanted to get out of this er, the last ten years or whatever we were doing, um, it was, it was so routine, it was like, go into the studio, do an album, go out on the road, go round the world, you know, flog it to death, and by the time you came back it was time to do another, another album. And that routine is alright when you start off, because you've got to keep the ball rolling as it were, but after a while I think it's like a painter, you know, you have to sort of, you paint away and then you've got to sort of stand back and look at it in perspective, and, and that's exactly what we needed, we needed to sort of, number one be away from each other, and, and just, otherwise you know sometimes you don't realise, you just keep routine, you just keep on going on in that routine and you don't even know if you're coming, you know (David: mmm), actually going down (David: mmm), and um, I need a break just to think and do other things (David: mmm), we all, we all need that and I think it sort of helped
David: You've got this very strong arrogant image on stage, you've put more human into it, but I mean is that you, or is that, is that a defence?
Freddie: Yes, you're right, I have to, no I have to fight that because when I, when I actually, if you talk in terms of trying to get a relationship together, I'm the nicest person you could meet my dear (David: well I'm sure, I have always thought that), it's just that, it's just in terms of that, but it's just that I, I am handicapped, and therefore I have to virtually sort of fight my so called stage persona, most of the times it sort of works against me, that's the thing, and I have to fight that all the time. The funny is like, I created the monster, I mean I built myself up for one side, but then I have to, to find somebody to accept that in terms of a relationship is very hard, to try segregate the two, and um, it's not easy, you know, it's like two sides of a coin, I mean. I think over the years I have become bitter, because I've sort of learnt more and, and er, it makes you strong and I have become bitter, and I just sort of, I don't trust anybody because they've let me down so many times
Freddie: Yes, all that, and er, of course the more you're let down, the more you're hurt, I'm sort of, I feel I'm walking around with scars all over the place, you know, I just, I think I couldn't take another scar
David: And that's very sad when there are so many people sitting out in that audience that obviously love you, isn't it?
Freddie: As I said, you could be the most lonely person, I mean you could be, so loved by so many thousands of people, yet could be, you could be so lonely, and that makes it worse, the frustration of that is even worse, because most people just think that 'how, how can someone like Freddie Mercury be lonely because he has money, he has this, he has cars, chauffeurs, the lot', and um, in fact sometimes that kind of loneliness is, is the hardest to bear
David: Because you don't really belong to anyone special
Freddie: No, I mean I have to sort of, you know, you have to put the persona on and all that and you have to sort of um, and I just find that, I find it very hard to open up to people, because I don't trust others
David: So you're really disillusioned at this, with life somewhat aren't you?
Freddie: Well, yes and no, because I'm, I'm disillusioned, but yes I think I've got a, a grip on myself, I seem to be more aware, a sort of contradiction in terms isn't it, but it's (David: yeah), but it is true, sometimes maybe I, I, I wish I didn't talk so much and really not talk to people and just, it's just that I seem to find out more and more, and I find the more I find out the more I realise how, how cruel it can be
David: Artists do change others it says, it makes them more confident (Freddie: yes, of course, of course, it changes me, yes it's changed me), more arrogant you say, you're
Freddie: It is has, yes, of course it's changed me, but it's, it's gone in sort of two stages, I would be a fool to, to actually decline the fact that it didn't change me in terms of being snobbish and arrogant or whatever, that was, a, a stage, first stage of course I was the biggest neezer and I thought, you know, nobody could, you know, I just thought I was it, but then I, I've actually come to realising, that I mean success can be handled in a different way, and I actually, it's coming down to, I actually sort of pay more attention to actually making people realise that I'm, I am normal, you know what I mean, it's such a, this shit thing about people think 'oh, Freddie Mercury, he won't talk to me, he's, he's'. I think I've kept it in balance, so there are two stages of everything. Success did change me, and now it's actually changed me yet again, or else you're coming down and I think I seem to cope with it quite well, I mean you can't win darling, you just can't win in my, my situation, and that's the way it is, you can't win. The bit of happiness I can create is with my money, OK, money can't buy happiness, it's true, I've written a song called 'Money Can't Buy Happiness' (David: yes), but I mean here I am a hypocrite, saying that depending on who you are you can, yeah sometimes, I mean it's (David: you can get happiness can't you) yes, that's, that's another form of getting happiness. It's like, when I buy people presents, I, I love it far more than, than maybe they do, I love to see that kind of thing
David: Freddie, do you feel that a lot of people then don't realise the sensitivity within yourself because of this image?
Freddie: I don't think most people realise that at all, but I mean, I don't lose sleep over that, I'm, I'm not gonna go out looking, you know, looking for barrages of people saying 'look I'm', you know, that doesn't worry me. It's basically finding um, a few very close people who understand, that would be enough, enough for me. Having, trying to get really true friends in this business is very hard
David: Er, one suggestion which you've probably already noticed is they're saying is that rock 'n' roll has ruined you, do you agree with that?
Freddie: No darling, no, I feel that I've, I'm the manipulator, I can go on attacking, it's like rock 'n' roll is a drug, but you govern the drug, and it's one of those things, I mean people say you know, rock 'n' roll people, that, that people in the music business, they, they OD on drugs, and that's a killer and all that, each to his own as far as I'm concerned, in terms of, that's a challenge to me, the same way that say love is, you know, and, you know, you rule the drug, and as far as that kind of thing is concerned, I would like to think that I'm in a very convenient position of actually ruling that thing, otherwise it would, it would be my downfall, and if that was the case it would have happened a long time ago. Thank God I've got the intelligence to realise that I mean you, you can only go so far, and I, I would hate to think that anything like that would ever rule me. I don't need outside stimulus, you see, I don't need, I don't need to, because I mean I feel that I have enough fantasy going around me and within me and that's enough, so I mean, in terms of if I want a little, a little buzz or a little high, it's like alcohol, I, I, that's fun, but I don't need total outside stimulants to totally take over my body so I don't know what I'm doing, that's something that's really inbred in me, it's that I hate to lose control in that way, I mean I would do something but I have to make sure that I'm in total control of myself, because of my persona on stage, they think that I carry on this way off stage, if I did I would have been dead a long time ago, you know, but I'm still, I'm flamboyant, and I'm, I'm, I'm arrogant, and I like to do things fast, that's my nature
David: Do you feel any kind of moral obligation to the young people that follow you in your own lifestyle?
Freddie: My job is to make music, and if they like it, they buy it, and through that music I think my, I think my music is very safe, you know, it's not political and I don't want it to be political anyway, I don't want to, I don't want to change their lives overnight, you know, and I don't want to involve them in peace messages or anything like that within the songs because they've heard that before, for me it really is fodder, I want them to just enjoy, it's escapism, and I want them to enjoy my music for the period of time that they want, and then when they don't like it they just discard the damn thing in the dustbin (laughter). I'm not worried about the fact, I'm not gonna be an Eva Peron, you know I don't want to go down in history worrying the fact that my God I hope they realise that after I'm dead that um, I created something, or I was, I made something, I don't give a shit if they forget me to be honest, I really don't, because life is for living, and when I'm gone, I don't... in the meantime I just, I've had, you know, I have been having fun and I keep, I want to go on having fun doing this, and that's basically it, because if I wasn't having fun I wouldn't do all this at all (David: no), and if some of that, even if just a little, a trickle of it comes across to the people then that's fine, and if my music makes people happy, that's a wonderful thing, you know, that makes me very happy, and that's um, that's fine, and if people hate it then they can go and buy somebody else's records (David: yeah)
Munich 1984 - part 2 - Going Solo Recorded in 1984. Length 7:35.
There is some confusion as to where and when this interview was recorded. At the start, Freddie mentions that he is going to go to Germany in about a week's time, to work on his solo project, and will be there for about three months. This means that the interview definitely wasn't held in Germany (he wouldn't say he's going to Germany if he's already there) and wasn't recorded at the same time as part 1. Part 1 was recorded mid-tour, so it would be impossible for Freddie to spend three months in Munich recording his album at the same time as being on tour. If the three-month period is correct, this strongly suggests the interview was recorded in May or June 1984 instead. The other option of course is that Freddie got mixed up over where he was or what his plans were. David: Interview with Freddie Mercury, 1984, part 2
David: Now I believe you're also doing, um, a solo project, aren't you?
Freddie: Yep, in fact, I'm gonna um, embark on that, um, in about a week's time, so after I finish this I go to Germany, and I'm actually gonna be there for about three months I think, and, and, you know, really go ahead with it. I've had ideas and things for years, everybody's been asking me, in fact the others have done their sort of projects, and I've been the last one (David: yes), normally, they thought I was gonna be the first one, but I've kept it. I wanted the time to be right, and I think this is, this is, this is the right time
David: Have you written all the stuff yourself, with nobody else?
Freddie: Mmm, well I mean I haven't, haven't finished writing it of course, it's just um
David: No, but are you writing it?
Freddie: But I mean it's, it's, no, I'd like, I'd like other people to actually participate when the time's right. I've already worked with Michael Jackson, did you know, about six months ago (David: did you) that was a year ago, yes, we've had, we've got about three songs together which we haven't finished
David: Oh really?
Freddie: So depending on, you know, his schedule or my schedule, we could get back together and um, maybe one of, one of those songs could end up on my solo, I think
David: That's a good idea. People are obviously going to say, and I have to ask you this because you're doing your own solo thing, people are going to say 'oh, are you going solo and leaving Queen?
Freddie: Well I mean, you know, there is going to be other stuff at the moment, no such thing, no, I wouldn't want to, trying to plan a tour, yes, I think we're gonna go to South Africa for a start, which we've never been, and yes
David: Controversial, isn't it?
David: Now why are you doing that, you don't mind doing that?
Freddie: No because, no because I, I personally want to go to places I've never been. You know, I mean, it's, to me, it's, it's people, you know. Music should er, go, go to, go all around the world, it doesn't matter, I mean I want to go to Russia and China and places like that, places I haven't been, you know, before it's too late, so um
David: You're not too late, are you?
Freddie: Well before I'm prying like, I end up in a wheelchair, can't do anything there (laughter) and I'll still wearing my same tight skin leotard. I can imagine them wheeling me out in a wheelchair on two pianos still singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' (laughter)
David: With all these people rushing off getting married, Freddie, do you feel like doing something that?
Freddie: No, you know that
David: Well I know that, but I have to ask you as a journalist about marriage (Freddie: no) no marriage?
Freddie: No, I love being free, I want to break free, I love that (David: that was very good) I want to be free (David: yes, yes) free as a bird. I think I've just gotten too used to it, do you know, to be honest, I think after, I just feel I'm having such a good time I'm not gonna do it, and I think, like Elton, I mean, I think we're the same age, I mean, when I reach forty or something you never know, it's, it's people change, and suddenly you want to sort of settle down or whatever and have babies just like he did, I think he just, he got there a bit quicker, I thought he'd of waited, you never know, it could happen, it could happen. I really can't see myself being married but um (David: no), at the same time I'm (David: you wouldn't rule out having children) exactly, yes, exactly, so I mean you know, you never, it's different now, at the moment if I wanted children I could just go out and buy one. Buy two, you get a nanny thrown in (laughter)
David: But do you actually enjoy it all still Freddie, I mean, like, you were just saying how many years
Freddie: Oh yes, otherwise, otherwise I would do something else, otherwise I'd go into painting or something, of course I enjoy it, I do enjoy it, I enjoy every bit of it, I'm not afraid of saying, I enjoy the money of course, most people would say 'I'm not in it for the money or whatever', I love the money, that's what keeps me going, but at the same time, after, after twelve years of, of, of a certain respect (David: yes), musically, I'm not just gonna give it up, you know, the only way I'm gonna stop is for people to stop buying my records, I'm gonna say to myself one day, that look, it's, it's not happening, I'm not gonna be one of those old hams that keep going and going until you know, if I feel I'm, I'm sort of on the way down I'm just, just give it up, I'd rather leave it at the top (David: yes) I'm one of those people yes, just, and do something else
David: Yes, yes, do, how are, how's the relationship within the group, I mean um, are they
Freddie: Well we hate each other (laughter). It's OK, it's OK, I think we're just sort of grown so used to each other by now it's just, it's just instincts that keep us going, and, and basically, four people that work together, there's no sort of, no, no big bond or sort of
David: You don't socialise?
Freddie: I don't socialise with them that much because I mean we do, we do socialise, or we used to socialise so much when we were on tour, because we were always seeing each other and it's, it's sort of, in any, in any sort of, anybody's life, you know, you get the same people hanging around and they drive you mad. This is the thing that keeps us going, musically we still respect each other, but otherwise I mean we have four very different characters, and we, you know, it doesn't matter, you know, as long as, if, if musically we don't get on, then that's when, you know, it starts, that's when tempers, I mean tempers do um, fly anyway, but um, it's just in the end, if you can't, if you can't stand the other person being in the same room musically, then you have to see out of it, definitely, because I mean it's just torture
David: Do, do you feel a, a, a fulfilled person, yourself now?
Freddie: At the moment I'm very happy I think (David: you are?) yes, yes, I'm very
David: Why are you very happy at the moment?
Freddie: I, I just, because I, I don't, I, I think I don't have as many problems as I did before, that's the only way, before I was just sort of, you know, just bogged down by things, I think I've just grown up and just, um, no I'm just, I don't know, I'm just happy, I haven't got any problems, of course I have problems but it's merely that I've, I've sort of learnt how to deal with them, not to sort of get too um, bogged by them
David: Mmm. Are you in love with anyone at the moment?
Freddie: Wouldn't you die if, wouldn't you die if I said myself (laughter)
David: Well, why not
Freddie: No, no, it's not so much, I think I've learnt to come to grips with myself (David: yes), maybe that was the thing, I mean before I was sort of blaming it on everybody else and er, I think taking this time off did work, and it sounds so clichéd doesn't it (David: no) I sound like some Gloria Swanson talking to you
David: Well she lasted a long time (laughter)
Freddie: I'll pop down the stairs, don't worry, I'll be down the stairs. No, I think the break really helped, it was something that I have never done before
David: Gave you time to think?
Freddie: Yeah, and, and yes, yes, very personable I sound like Barbara Streisand you know, what are all these people saying about me?
David: What did you realise after the, the think and the readjusting
Freddie: I just, I actually, I actually said to myself that, that you know there are, you can be happy but you know you don't have to sort of worry about things all the time, you can just sort of let them ride, I mean before I used to attack each problem as it came, it was like, it was like a big thing with me, I had to sort of cross that hurdle otherwise I couldn't, you know, I couldn't sort of survive, I couldn't do anything else, and now I just think oh God, it's like, you know, it's a small example, it's like this big house, most people are saying what are you doing, you've got this massive great thing, and it's, it's costing so much money, you've had it for four years and you haven't, you know aren't you worried what's gonna happen, and I just say oh shit, I want to do at the time, whatever my, whatever my mind says, whatever my heart tells me to do
David: And, do you have someone to share your life with?
Freddie: At the moment I'm living totally alone, believe it or not (David: are you?) I'm loving it yes, (David: yes?) I've, I've sacked about three people that worked with me and that was wonderful, I mean I was so scared of doing that because I thought I was gonna hurt them, and I just thought no, just do it, and there you are, they've gone and um, there the other day, and there was, there was nobody there, and it's, it's like before, I was so, I thought I can't live alone, there's gotta be people around me, I can do that you know, I have, I have nobody staying with me, and I have a cleaning lady that comes in, and Mary comes and looks after me, it sounds so poverty stricken doesn't it, but I do, but I love it, I love the space, I've finally created a sort of space for myself
London 1985 - The Week Of Live Aid Recorded in London in the week before Live Aid, between 5 and 12 July 1985. Length 6:42. David: Interview with Freddie Mercury, in 1985, at Wembley, in the week of Live Aid. Why do rock stars, or why particularly yourself, do you feel er, it captured the imagination, why do you want to sing at Live Aid, I mean I know
Freddie: Because I, I think it's a very cause, yes, and I have, we have done things for charity before, but this is like a sort of, er, er, an immense effort, community effort, I mean where all, all of us are doing it together, makes it much, you know, we've all done individual charity things in the past I'm sure, but I think to actually make it such a big effort, that we're all taking part, must mean something
David: So you, were you asked by Bob, Geldof?
Freddie: Yes, I think he actually called Brian up. It was one of those things where it started with um, the Band Aid, right, the record and everything, and, and we weren't in town, and, I would have liked to done that too, because I mean I would have liked to participate, and then when the American one came up, that was superb, I think the way all those stars joined together, and I think that's, this is just um, it's, it's sort of snowballed into this, which is, which is very nice, and um
David: (unknown dialogue)
Freddie: Yeah, and I, I think we thought if the next big thing for Ethiopia happening we shouldn't be left out because um, it's also being in the country at the right time, I mean we seem to, Queen seem to sort of be in various parts of the globe, so this time I think we made an effort to say, 'OK, we'd better make sure that on this date we're sort of free', and yeah, we're looking forward to it
David: Did you actually grow up in India?
Freddie: No, I, well yeah, I was, well yes I went to boarding school from, er, when I was seven to fifteen and then I came back here
David: In India?
David: Did you see a lot of poverty there?
Freddie: Yes, I think so, yes, yes, but over there it's sort of, you can only sort of reflect poverty when you're here, if you know what I mean, if you're, if you're, there it's a, a norm, it really is, I mean you expect beggars in the street and all that, and to people actually living there, or if you're brought up there, you, you actually believe that's, that's the way, way of life, it's like um, to us it's very hard, so I think, I think when I was a young baby, growing up over there, I, I just, I was in an English boarding school and it's like, you know and boundaries where I couldn't go, I looked upon that and I just thought that was like um, that's the way India is (David: like normal) yeah, but I think it's, it's, it's, I think easier for people to reflect when they're in a different country, because, to them er, that's the way of life
David: Have you ever known poverty yourself? No
David: You haven't have you. But I mean, some people might say, how can a, a millionaire rock star um, identify with this
Freddie: Exactly, but you don't have to identify to sort of give money or to help people, why, why should you, in other words you're basically trying to say that I should be poor to, if I was poor then I, I couldn't help them in terms of money, sometimes it is very black and white, but it's like, so, some people have money and, and, and they wanted to sort of help the ones in need, you know (David: yes), so I don't think, um, you have to actually (David: suffer) suffer, to, or actually sort of have to go to Ethiopia and live like that, that for a while to actually sort of, you know, benefit
David: Do you think it is odd that the rock stars seem to have achieved something that others haven't done
Freddie: I, I, I think whatever, I, I think Bob Geldof has done a, a wonderful thing, because he sort of actually sparked it off, I'm sure we all had it in us to, to do that, but I mean as we were doing it individually fine, but it, it took someone like him to actually sort of drive, it's like a driving force to actually sort of get us all to come together, and I think Bob Geldof, actually having flown over and all that, actually makes the people think that it is getting there. I think we're going to do bits of Rhapsody and, but I think this, in this case as far as I'm concerned I think you should, that's what you want, 'cos basically you're not trying to put across your new material or anything, it's not we're playing songs that I think people identify with and all that, and just make it a happy occasion, and, and, and it should be things that people sort of, it's not a (David: promotional) promotional thing, yes I think we just have to sit back and then you just say, well what can you do, unless you suddenly think you're Mother Teresa you know, I mean, if I become Mother Teresa of rock 'n' roll, suddenly rushing out there, I suppose that's what Bob Geldof is, I guess, at the moment, the Mother Teresa of rock 'n' roll but I mean, you know, sometimes you do feel helpless and, and um, it was one of those cases, and I can't, and I think this is my way of showing that I can, I can do my bit
David: Some people might say that um, perhaps we should be looking more to our home problems than Africa?
Freddie: Yes I know. I don't really think that people should actually think in terms of because we're British, and helping Africa as it were, that we should suddenly say 'why don't we look at our own doorstep'. I think, I think something as large as this, it should be universal, I mean we shouldn't sort of have any kind of, I don't think we should have any kind of um, parallels or whatever, we shouldn't be sort of looking at it in terms of us and them, or whatever, it should be all, I think, I think when people are starving or whatever, it's, they're all, they are, we're all humans, and sort of, we should be looked upon as one. Having said that, immediately somebody's gonna say 'well how do you know', I just don't think we should look upon it as, it doesn't mean we're forgetting our own. If we'd just done it for us I think we'd have had a much, it would have been so bad, can you imagine?
David: Is it nice, do you feel good that you, you have an opportunity to do something?
Freddie: Very much
David: Is one doing it out of gratitude for one's own life, lifestyle, life, or out of guilt?
Freddie: Oh, I don't think I could be doing it out of guilt, because I'll give you a wonderful answer to that, because even if I didn't do it, the poverty would still be there, so it's, it's something that will always be there, to be honest, when you think about it, and all we can do to help is wonderful things, I, I'm doing it out of, out of pride, that, that I've been asked as well, that I can actually do something like that, and so basically I'm doing it out of, out of feeling that in one way all the hard work that I've actually done, all the years, in one way it's paid off because I'm, they're asking me to do something that, it's something to be proud of, actually, that I'm actually in, in with all the biggies, and that I can do something worthwhile. OK, to, to sing something and to be part of is one thing, but I, and um to actually sing something that actually means it is an integral part of what's going on, you know, and, and the song seems to sort of convey that anyway, without us even thinking about it. That's what's magical, and I think that's gonna make, probably bring tears to my eyes, I tell you, when I do it. In the actual um, programme they've actually printed the words (David: oh, that's good) so you'll have, it's amazing, the first line is 'just look at all those hungry mouths we have to feed'
David: Oh, that's just perfect
Freddie: It is, and I, I can't believe, it's like, if somebody actually was asked to write a song for, for this event, and um, it just seemed to happen. 'Just look at all those hungry mouths we have to feed'
London 1986 - The Magic Tour Recorded in Freddie's garden, mid-way through The Magic Tour, most likely between 11 and 15 July 1986. Length 10:32. David: Interview with Freddie Mercury in 1986, at Freddie's home in Kensington, London
David: Wonder now why you would want to go on? You have everything, you're rich, you're successful, you're famous
Freddie: Oh, here we go again (laughter) I've nothing else to do (laughter)
Freddie: Mind you, I could, I could become a gardener, actually, I think, talking about it as we're sitting in the garden, it's so, I suppose I could become a Japanese landscape gardener. But no, I mean, why should I carry on? No, because I, I want to, in fact this is um, this new, I mean, we really didn't think that the tour was gonna take on in such a way, I mean, you know, I mean, after Live Aid and everything, we thought yes, but now we're sort of breaking all box office records in, in certain places (David: yes, yes), so I mean a, that's sort of even more, more of um, an impetus to sort of carry on, to be honest, you know, why leave now? So, um, what, what, what hell, what the hell am I gonna do anyway, I mean
David: You are a performer
Freddie: Yes, I'd get so bored, I'd get so bored
David: Are there any new challenges left though, for you?
Freddie: It's trying to keep the band going when everybody says it's breaking up, to be honest, really that's sort of turned round in such a way, because I mean, we were all getting really desponded and we all wanted to do different things, and when you have that in your sort of bloodstream, as it, as it were, the slightest things that happens you just say 'fine, that's it', you know, so it's like you just need the, the slightest excuse to actually um, break up the band, and, for some odd reason I think, after, after sort of being on tour already, because we've done half the tour (David: yes) at the moment, and er, there was this um, thing that we start, we had started the tour, and I had sort of made up my mind that after the tour we're gonna, but not let it out, or anything, we're just gonna sort of finish the tour and then think about it, but I'd sort of made up my mind, but I mean, having said that, I was the one that actually changed, I mean I'm so, I do, I do, I'm a man of moods sometimes, so I mean, I suddenly thought that everything was going so well, and I sort of, I don't know, from somewhere or other, I just got, I got a sort of, um, new found sort of force I think, suddenly there's sort of more left in Queen, so, having said that I mean well, at the end of the tour I'll probably say it's finished, but I mean we really want to stay together. Where it really gets, um, pretty hectic in those areas is when we actually do an album, because I mean we do get on each other's nerves and we actually really, it's, it's a real, it's a pretty solid workout on that, and then you actually start thinking 'is it really worth it after all these years', because I think the way I think about these things, I think so, so do the rest of them, is that after all these years, you don't want it to be, it to be such a fight to get anything done, because I mean you've, you've already done that thing and I think most of it should be fun, like, like recording should be fun now because I mean we know each other and all that, but it's not, it's even worse, and I think, then you have to sit back and think 'is it really worth it, why don't we just go our separate ways and sort of enjoy it', but I think we're the four people that, in the end, sort of, we need that kind of thing, even though we don't like it, and if it was too easy, we would think 'oh dear', you know what I mean, so I mean, like, we want to make it easy for ourselves and so we have this wonderful space to do nothing and we think 'oh my God we'd better go back in' and carry on fighting really, and I suppose that's it, that's the way I
David: Do, do you, what, what kind of things do you fight over?
Freddie: A, a lot of the time is, how each musician is displayed on an album, so like if I had more songs than somebody else, it would make them a lesser musician, you see what I mean? That's how, that's how near the mark it is so, so I think now we've, I've, I've always tried to sort of make it very diplomatic, so I just say OK, no matter what it is we all have even songs from now, you know, like in the early days, I always wrote, Brian and I always wrote far more, but now it's come to a stage where they all want to be, pull their weight, you know, so
David: Yes, and have a equal share of the songs
Freddie: At this point of time I think that's the only way for Queen to survive
David: To the end, because that destroyed The Beatles in the end didn't it when George Harrison and, and Ringo were complaining they had no tracks on the albums
Freddie: You see, I mean I don't mind that, but at, at the time it, it sometimes grates on my nerves is that we can't sort of just, just live as a quartet all the time, so it's like you feel like every time you sort of make a move you're like a four headed gorgon or something (laughter) you know it's like, you know what I mean, I like to feel that I'm sort of in, we all want to feel that we're individual (David: yeah, yeah), so that's, it's that break, that, that, that's very hard to do, because otherwise it's, it's horrible to sort of just be, you know, thought of as one quarter of some entity, because I do enjoy it too, I enjoy it because it's sort of, it is a kind of a hobby in a funny way, it's something that, um, um, it's, it's a, it's a, it's so rewarding in the end that you just want to keep doing it, I mean, and do different aspects of it to see how they turn out
David: When you're out there, um, that, the roar of the crowd, what, what does that do to you when you hear that roar of the crowd, how does it affect you?
Freddie: I look at the bank balance (laughter), what do you want me to say?
David: Well I mean does it give you, still give you shivers in the spine (Freddie: very much so, very much so) or do you feel nervous?
Freddie: Very much so, I was quite worried about undertaking this tour because I thought am I going to be able to do all this stuff, and my, my sort of voice is sort of like it, it takes a lot of beating and, and I just have to, have to make sure that I, I can't sing as extensively as I used to so I have to, and, and there's no excuse you can give, you can't do a show and say look I'm sorry I did two shows, you know, last couple of days and so my, my voice is, you know, really taken a toll on the, on the third, so, to, I was very worried about that, because it's a, it is a crucial moment as well because if we don't do well now they're gonna just say 'OK, that is, that is the end of Queen', it's not like the early days where I could do anything because I always knew that I could get away with it, to get away with it now I have to sort of make sure that, because everyone's watching, you know, it's sort of
David: What sort of, talking about the people you socialise with, you mentioned the arts, and then I said to you would you invite an Eastender to dinner, I don't mean, I don't mean, I mean Eastenders TV series, that's very popular, I don't mean an East Ender
Freddie: Oh yes, I know, ah but I was just gonna ask you about that, oh, why not, I mean I just um, but it, it sort of goes with what I said, I mean it doesn't matter what the, what the label is, I mean, if they're interesting enough, I mean I had to, I, I couldn't categorically just say well I, I wouldn't have that and I would have that because you just don't, never judge a book by it's cover, so I mean it's like
David: So you only see people that have got something to offer?
Freddie: Yes, it doesn't matter where they came from, there are other things besides actually just being seen out with a, a superstar on each shoulder, and that's
David: So what you're really saying is that it's more important for you to, when you've got away from the, from the spotlight and the stage, is to have, is to try and develop some personal relationship with someone
Freddie: 'Cos you're getting to that aren't you... anybody would want that, I mean everybody wants a, a, you're saying that everybody wants a, a lovely relationship, and at the same time go out and have fun, basically, oh we want that, you know, both ways. For the moment, for me at the moment of time I'm, I'm quite happy just coming home and um, you know, sort of tickling my peonies, it's just (laughter)
David: And they're out
Freddie: That's why I'm tickling them. You shrewd thing you
David: Has wealth and fame brought you happiness?
Freddie: It's brought me contentment at the moment, yeah, I'm very content
David: You look it, yes
Freddie: Yeah, I am, I'm very content, I'm very, it's not what I thought I, I would be happy with, so it's like, you know what I mean, you always sort of have a go in terms of happiness, in terms of love, but I, I quite like it, it's something that I had to sort of um, come to terms with if you know what I mean, which is completely new to me, like, I mean you always sort of think this is the goal I want, and you strive for that, and suddenly for me I think I've been sort of pushed in, at a tangent, and suddenly I feel, OK this is the way I am and you have to sort of make the best of it, does that make sense? It's
David: No (laughter)
Freddie: It's like to me, you have your ideals or whatever in terms of, OK, but in terms of love and everything I always thought that it would be this way, and, and in, in term, in that area I've tried and tried and I've failed, and suddenly I've just been put in a different direction where I feel that's where I, I, my happiness lies, rather than sort of have a one to one basis, I don't, I don't think that's, that's what um, I feel I'm gonna get out of my life, where I have a complete one to one, I feel that I can have a one to one thing with a lot of people around, this is what, what I think is, is going to be (David: your life) my life, and I think I have to come to terms with it and I'm, if you tell yourself that that's what's gonna be then you have to just, then you just let the steam off one end and just say fuck, it's not gonna happen that way, do it over here and, and you know, don't get so tangled up in it, otherwise you're just gonna lose out, you're gonna drop dead one day and say 'oh my God'. I am, honestly, quite content, I really am
David: And you've become quite serious, haven't you Freddie?
Freddie: Serious in terms of what?
David: About everything?
Freddie: I've always been serious
David: Have you?
Freddie: But I still have a flippant nature (David: yes, yes) you have to have that (David: yes, yes), but um, I suppose I mean, you know, being thirty nine, sort of, you look upon it in a more sedate way, for a more sort of, you know, I'm not as um
David: Do you have a fear of middle age, like some people?
Freddie: Not at all, no, it's a very difficult life for people in our, in our position, as you know, and the slightest thing can turn it all back, and sometimes you can actually, you can be a very strong person, and you can build it all up and against all odds you've got that, and it takes one tiny little thing, like, I mean something you've put, and it's always, it's to do with love, I think love always comes first, it's always there, and love can always let you down, and that little four letter word can actually send you cart wheeling back
David: And you feel it all stems from basically from love because you have all that wealth, all that success?
Freddie: No, I think I'm, I'm just saying in my point of view I think yeah, I think love's always the one that is the hardest to sort of achieve and it's the one that can let you down the most, most often, so it can be, I think, in, in ways that you, various ways that you can sort of pinpoint it, it always sort of ends up at love, I tell you
Ibiza 1987, part 1 - Freddie's 41st Birthday Recorded in 1987, in the week before Freddie's birthday, between 29 August and 5 September. Length 9:52. David: Interview with Freddie Mercury, in 1987, on the occasion of his birthday, celebrated in Ibiza. What do you want to say?
Freddie: I'm very happy with my relationship at the moment, and I couldn't, I really, honestly, wouldn't want, couldn't ask for better, because I've finally found a niche that I was looking for all my life. It's, it's like, I'm not, I don't have to try so hard, I don't have to prove myself, I've, I've got a very understanding relationship, it's just like, oh God, sounds so lame, it's like I'm, I wanted a kind of genuine tranquil after the storm, and I think most of my, everybody expects me to have stormy relationships (David: yes) you know, and I was virtually, er, living my own media, as it were, where I actually thought, and in, in fact you get caught up in it, so I actually thought that was the way I should be, and so I was trying to force people to have a relationship with me in that way and I realise that it's so easy I thought I have to change for them, you know, it's quite easy, or, you can have a relationship without, without sort of harping on about every topic or whatever, it's quite easy. But finding that, that wonderful person is very hard
David: So, you were kind of living your own headlines then during that storm, those stormy relationships?
Freddie: That kind of thing, yeah. I mean, I was trying too hard, I, I was also searching too hard, you know, I'd really believed that I, I, there was no such thing as, like, I'm not normal, so I can't have a normal sort of life, I can't sort of go to bed at 12 o'clock, and I can't sort of have state dinners, and proper, because I mean, and I always thought that, that you know, you have to be the spokesman, you have to be um, the captain of the ship every time there is any kind of gathering or whatever, and I thought I was working so hard in sort of, like performing for everybody (David: yes, yeah, yeah) and all that, even off stage, and I just thought, no you don't have to do it, let, let others do it, just be, be yourself, and, and be, you know, be run of the mill, be run of the mill (David: yeah), so now I, I love it, I just think, oh yes, I say 'yes I am boring, I'm sorry, I can't entertain you'
David: Did you enjoy fame, Freddie, would you miss it?
Freddie: I know nothing else, you see, no really, no, to me it's normal, I worked for it, and now I pay for it, so I mean, you know, to have my wonderful Japanese garden with, with all this sort of Koi Carp you know recently bought at such expense, I love it, because I mean anybody else, well, if they like Koi, if they had the money, they would buy it, so why not me, yeah, yes I do, to me, it, it, it's, I enjoy reaping the profits, you know, no, really, really, yes, you know, it's like winning the pools, except I, I win the pools every day of course, probably, so, and I can quite, if there's anybody else I can say good luck to him, I'd like, you know, I'd just wish everyone to say the same to me, you know, good luck to him, I'm worked hard for money (David: you have), nobody's given it to me, dear (David: no) I've earned it, and so it's mine to do what I want with, so if I want a pyramid in Kensington, if I can afford it, I'll have it (laughter) that'd be fab
David: Ha, ha, we're getting there, we're getting there, that'd be great
Freddie: Because I tell you, I'm not giving my, any of my stuff away when I'm dead, I'm gonna, I'm gonna be, I'm gonna hoard, I want to be buried with all my stuff
Freddie: Yes, why not? Every damn (unknown dialogue)
David: A lot of people think, for some reason, that you are, um, that you live in a like, reclusive, and that you're reclusive and that you are a lonely man (Freddie: yes, yes you said that before), yes, do you, do you, I mean you're obviously aren't because you have a relationship now but
Freddie: I, I am a bit actually, yes, yes, but not in a way, not in the sort of, not in the Greta Garbo way, you know, it's not, it's not a sort of um, calculated thing, I like to be, um, you see it's a funny thing, it's not alone alone, I like to be alone with my friends and, and shut myself off, yes, I'd hate to be on a desert island, I would loathe that, without anybody, but I mean I hate, you know, they have to coax me to go out and sort of volunteer myself into a sort of, an everyday sort of, I really have stopped all that, I mean I, I do like people around me, yes, maybe it's, it's a sort of um, it's a sort of shy sort of outlook you see, and I, I, I'm um, I'm petrified of being alone, which is true, I have to be totally comfortable in a situation before I sort of step into it, but that's this other side of me, whereas I can take numerous risks in the music world (David: yes), you see what I mean (David: yes), that's an area which, a world I live in, where there are no boundaries for me, I will take risks in music, but I won't take risks in terms of say social life, or any other kind of thing
David: Freddie, how, how has the, the AIDS thing affected you?
David: Which is a very topical, magazines want me to
Freddie: No, no, which is yes, yes, but I mean I tell you, I, I have, listen, I've stopped going out or whatever, and, to be honest, I tell you, I've, I've almost become a nun, really yeah, it's, it's, I thought, it's amazing, I learnt the very hard way, I thought sex was a very important thing to me, and I lived through sex and everything, and now I just realise how amazing, I've just gone completely the other way, you see, I'm one of those people, I can go black to white, you know, I don't like intermediary measures, or anything, it's quite easy for me to completely give up, you know, I, I can give up alcohol at the drop of a hat (David: can you?) yes, yeah, and yes it's frightened me to death, and I, I just, just, I, I, I have um, I've just stopped having sex
David: Have you?
Freddie: Yes, yeah
David: You've given up sex
Freddie: Yep, I, I just like titillation now, I'm into titillation (David: yes?) yeah (laughter) yeah
David: Because you must
Freddie: It's more fun
David: Is it?
Freddie: Yeah, titillation
David: Um, because you must have had lots of affairs I mean, through your life
Freddie: Yes well I mean, it has been quoted and everything, yes, I've stopped all that (David: you've stopped it, yes) it's a bore
David: It's a bore? (Freddie: yeah) do you think sex is overrated?
Freddie: Don't, I, I don't say sex is a bore (David: no, no) it is, you see what I, I was doing before, you know how you have phases, it's like, you know people go through phases, and of course I, this, I've got, I have a very good relationship and I just wanna, but before of course I was very greedy and everything, all people are greedy and all people always want something more, to me sex is very, sex was fun, and it was, you know, there was a lot of, um (David: yeah) I was extremely promiscuous, well that's true, but I've stopped all that, because I mean practicality came into it, I know you weren't talking about (David: yes) and, and you know, I'm, I'm older, an old bird now dear, so and I just thought, and you know the word swallow's came into it, and so I mean you can't be, you can't say you have a life of swallows and go round fucking half the world (laughter) and so it's, it's amazing, and so I've come in and I don't, I don't miss it, I really don't. To me, when I was sort of, it was like a high, so everything I did, I mean there, there was sort of, everything was open to me, so in terms of music it's that, it was a, to me sex was a very integral ingredient to what I was doing, so it was, it was, it was a, a very major factor of a lot of things I did, but I mean I, I would never have sort of thought of sex and nothing else, you know, so it was all these things that are, and I was just, I was living by them all so they were all, OK and, I was living, living them to the full, so I mean OK, it was excess in every direction, fine you know, yes (David: and) and that means, not all these so sort of so called, um, um heavyweights like, you know, (unknown dialogue), it was also music you see, I had all that, so I had to, so I was weighing them all together, and so I had, I was living what, what one would call a very full life, in every direction, yes, why not
David: Do you ever worry that you could end up lonely, rich and a, that you could end up a lonely rich old man when you're seventy?
Freddie: No, because I've answered that before (David: you have, yes), because I, because I will be dead long before that (laughter) I tell you
David: Do you think so, why do you think that?
Freddie: Oh yes, because it's a, so boring to be seventy
David: Would it be?
Freddie: Yeah, well I'll tell you what, I can answer that when I am seventy if you're still around dear (laughter)
David: Why shouldn't I be?
Freddie: I won't be there (laughter) oh darling, I'll be dead and gone dear, I'll be fucking starting a new life somewhere else dear
David: You mean, you don't, you don't expect to make old bones, is that what you're saying?
Freddie: No actually, I really don't care (David: you don't care) really, I don't, I don't really care, I don't, I don't have any, um, aspirations to live to seventy (David: no) really, really, and I don't, don't sound sort of morbid, but I mean, I know I'm forty one, and seventy's a long way away, and I don't give a damn, and as far as I'm concerned I mean I really, this is, I have lived a full life, and if I'm dead tomorrow, I don't give a damn. I, I, I live, you know, I, I really have, have done it all, I really have. I love the fact that I, that I um, I make people happy, that, that is, and, and, in any form, you know, that I make them happy, or even if, if it's half an hour of their lives in any way that I, I can make them feel, um, lucky, or, or make them feel, or bring a smile on a sour face, that to me is, is worthwhile
Ibiza 1987, part 2 - Montserrat Caballe Recorded in 1987, in the week before Freddie's birthday, between 29 August and 5 September. Length 8:18. David: Interview in 1987, in Ibiza, part two. What, what drives you, you on, I mean you're rich, you're famous, and you don't need to work. What, what drives you on?
Freddie: At this very moment it's two wonderful names, um, and, and that is Montserrat Caballe, and I think that's, that's like um, it really is a shot in the arm, and all those clichés, I think um, it's something that sort of came so, um, it wasn't calculated, you know, it was something that just sort of came rocketing out of the sky, you know, just fell upon me (David: yeah) and um, so now I've just sort of, it's virtually sort of enveloped me, and um, I can think of nothing else, to be honest (David: can't you) so that's what keeps me going, no, fabulous, it's something that, because I haven't quite finished the project, or, or, or whatever, and I think it's, it's sort of, it's all bubbling under, we're still, we're still doing things and, and, and there's so much scope, and so much life and energy in this, that um, and it's very early days, so I'm just going by, there's so much to look forward to, as far as I'm concerned, so I'm, I'm going on one aspect as, as, as like, as a work thing, and the other thing is totally sort of, totally in awe
David: In awe of her?
Freddie: In awe of her, and, and the, the whole thing has actually taken off, so I mean I'm sort of, every now and again I pinch myself, thinking am I actually doing this, is this actually happening, and the other thing is that, I think yes, it's happening, and so, so you'd better much sure the work's, um, it all started um, I think you know the story, I'll be sort of brief, is that I mentioned the fact that I would like to sing with her, and, thinking nothing of it, and about a couple of months later she called me and said 'I'd like to do something, let's see what happens', I, you know, flew off to Barcelona to see her, and, in between that time I think I, I thought my dear, I, I had a feeling I'm not gonna just approach her and talk it over with her, because I mean you just can't do these things, I thought I must sort of bring to her a little idea of what she might be getting into in terms of music, because it was the music that was the, what we're talking about. So I think that was the right thing to do, because otherwise it would have been, trying to explain things musically is so much harder, so I just wrote a couple of pieces, I wrote with Mike Moran (David: yes), you know, and played her a couple of pieces which she immediately took to, you know, quite readily, and that was how it sort of started, because I mean, she, she did, talking about, um, different characters, I mean she laid it down the line, she just said look, 'I'd love to do something and we're two musicians, and if it doesn't work out, we'll, you know, we'll be' she said she'll be quite, she's quite outspoken and she'd quite readily say 'look, it's not working, let's call it a day', so she was quite prepared to do that, and she told me that, and I was quite prepared to sort of accept that, and ever since that day, I mean it's like a sort of real turning point, I mean a proper, proper turning point in my career as it were, because she has took to me in a such a way that I just think, and I just keep being fought by it, you know, I just think my God I can't believe it, somebody of her ilk, and of her stature, and of her sort of world (David: yeah), I just hope the pieces are right, I mean she is just ready to sing anything, you know, at the moment, because I mean she's, sort of keeps telling me that she's sort of found another sort of new lease of life, and this sort of new found freedom and things, those are her own words, I just hope everything comes. And the thing is that I'm, I'm working on, on it in a way that um, I don't give a damn about whether it's success, of course, well I do I mean, sorry I should say, I mean I'd love for people, but I mean I'm not going to sort of fall into a trap where I think that I have to sort of, um, musically put something that's commercially accepted, or accepted by, because I mean how do you do it, I mean who's fans are, do you see what I mean (David: yes), is it gonna be her fans or my fans (David: yes), well they buy such totally varied product, so what do you do, and, and the last thing I, on my mind, was to try and bridge that gap saying 'we must put a little element of me in that way', (David: yes), I just want the songs to take over the whole thing, so I mean if it, if it means that suddenly totally purist opera, then if that comes across and she wants to sing it, I, I would do that, and, and even foregoing my own voice or something (David: yeah), but what she does want to do is that she loves, she said to me today on the phone, that she loves the way our voices sound together, she says (David: oh) yeah, she did, so um
David: Why, why did you want to do it Freddie?
Freddie: Well, well it's something that I mean I thought it's something that I always wanted to do, never thought that it would arise, and, and it just came about, that's what I'm saying, it was just um, I was planning to do a solo project, you know, my second solo project as it were, and I thought, well, time's come when I should come up with another album, and I really didn't want to do another sort of album, you know, a solo album and just a bunch of songs, I wanted it to have, this project to have some kind of, um, some kind of bearing, something different, you know, not just a bunch of songs that you record and release (David: yes), whether, and I, I really hadn't put my mind to it whether it sort of formed a, a musical, it had to have another sort of stamp to it, some, something that spearheaded the damn thing, whether, could be anything (David: something individual) yes, something different, something different from another boring studio album, really that just happened, no matter how good my songs were, just another bunch of songs. I wanted to have another sort of, call it concept, call it, it had to have another stamp on for me (David: image), yeah, something, something worthwhile, you know, and so, um, and I was sort of looking for ideas in that direction, and suddenly this came up, come by, and it's completely swallowed me up, it's like a tidal wave, you know, and the worst thing was, if anybody says rock opera because that's like, what, you know, I'll just tear all my hair out (David: yes, yes) because it's not, it's not a rock opera, but, although the terms, those terms seem to signify what we're doing because I am rock 'n' roll (David: yes), and, that's, that's about as far from it as you can get (David: yes), and, and, but as far as the music we're doing, it's something I can't myself label, because I mean it's just happy music, you know, something that we're
David: Happy music (Freddie: yeah) do you, when you um, reach a point like this Freddie in your life, you know, when you've achieved so much, um, do you feel fulfilled, you'll be forty one on, on Saturday, do you feel fulfilled, or how do you feel?
Freddie: At this moment in time I, I feel elated, is the only, I do, because it's like if ever I could say to anybody who's about to give up or anything, that there, it's amazing how there is something still at the end, you know there is, here comes another cliché, light at the end of the tunnel, you'd be amazed, you just have to sort of try and stretch yourself, and try and sort of, even though you've been sort of, you say oh my God, it's up to you in the end, and you, you'd be amazed at what, what, what the human being can do, you know, it can happen, it can. I think my life is changing at the moment because of all those sort of, musical, there's a very heavy musical growth (David: yeah, yeah) at the moment, and I'm just, you know, I'm, at the moment darling I'm smiling from my arse to, arse to elbow dear! (laughter)
David: No, I, I mean, um
Freddie: I do actually, I, I, I sometimes sit at home and I, I sort of sit there, you know, like, like (David: like a cat), I was just gonna say yeah, like a swollen canary yeah, thinking ooh dear, a lot of people like to be in my shoes right now
Ibiza 1987, part 3 - The Great Pretender Recorded in 1987, in the week before Freddie's birthday, between 29 August and 5 September. Length 10:25. David: Interview 1987 in Ibiza, with Freddie talking about his solo record 'The Great Pretender'
Freddie: Initially when we started, I mean, you know, we had our own thing to do, and, and we were so sort of, apart from being so, we were so stubborn about it, to be honest, that we just wanted um, to do just our own thing, I mean we were so, um, which is a good thing to do, because um, it was like we were letting people know that, you know, we were a thing to be reckoned with, and all that, so we had, and also we had all these ideas, so it's you know, I don't think people can, to be honest, can make it by doing sort of cover versions all the time, I think it's the wrong way, to show you know, originality and things like that. And I, I just thought that I think the time had come where I, I, I wasn't scared to sort of um, break out of that mould, I mean, I mean a lot of people have done cover versions before, but with Queen it's, it's always been a sort of um, I think, the factor is that we are so prolific within ourselves that, I mean, I'd, I'd feel that if, if I ventured in, into a studio with Queen and said 'look, I'd like to do a remake of a certain song' they would say 'oh well there, he's drying up' you know, and because they've got, you know, tons of songs, so I mean I think that kept us going, so we always had to come up with really original stuff (David: material) yeah, material. But now that, sort of, things on my own, where we've sort of, you know, made a pact that we can go out and do things solo, that doesn't mean that Queen have, um, you know, dried up (David: no) um, and this, I just had this sort of song in my head, and I just thought it would be lovely to sing, 'cos it's, it's like the singer's song, you know, it's wonderful to sing, and, and because it's somebody else's doesn't matter, and I thought I'll have a go basically, and, and, you know, because we all you know, having a shower and everything, you know, you sing other people's songs and things, but I just thought, no, I'll put it on tape and see what happens. So, it, it was a very sort of impromptu sort of start and now it's come to this, and I just thought, now I'll, I'll take it a bit further, and make it as a, you know, bring it out as a, a product of mine
David: Do you feel in um, that you have been, that you're, you said you feel you're re-living your life, do you feel you've been the big pretender?
Freddie: Basically it's, it's what the song really says is a very sort of one to one basis about, that he's pretending because she's um, gone, but he's still pretending that she's still around, basically that's (David: yes) but I thought that you could sort of take it a lot further in, just in the word 'pretender', (David: yes) so that, so that pretence, and for me, the way I'm doing this is that, you know it's tongue-in-cheek and not to take everything too seriously, that all these sort of visuals and these sort of, these images that I've portrayed over the years, is a kind of pretence, because I mean there's no way that I was real on stage, these, I, I wore costumes and I sort of put myself into different atmospheres and different characters, but underneath all that there is a real me which, you know, so, so I just thought why not, you know, I, I've been pretending all this time, you know, doing all this stuff, wearing my bananas on my head, you know, coming on peoples shoulders, wearing glitter, doing this, doing glam, wearing, you know, wearing, it was all, kind of thing, and it's, it's a kind of pretence, yes, whereas I mean, you know, underneath it I'm still, you know, a musician and so I thought I'd, I'd bring it up to the, in that level, where all these sort of costumes, where a lot of people took it so seriously, well I didn't, you know, give a damn, I just thought my God, you know, and they read far too much into it, I just thought that this is a nice way of sort of um, covering this whole sort of era of mine, call it, and um, say that look, it, it's just been a bit of fun, you know actors don't, I know, they portray somebody, they don't become those people, they go back and do something else, you know
David: So if you looked in the mirror and reflected on the true Freddie Mercury, who, who, who is he, what is he?
Freddie: I didn't do that before, I just think, well I think I'm quite a sort of um, I'm quite a chameleon, you know, and I change, I have moods, and, and I think that it's, it's a combination of a lot of sort of you know characters that make up a person anyway, yeah. I go into my moods I think, I think over, over and above yes I'd probably say I'm a sort of person of extremes because I can be very soft, but that makes me that much more tenacious and what, it's like something trying to get out of me, so that I can actually um, when I'm off stage I calm down and become, I become a very different person. I research, gather lots of energy, gather lots of information and thing, and then I just use it to, so there's, in a way, there's no sort of half measures. I, I'm hot and cold, and I think I like to be that way, so, so, so that what I'm gathering, you know I gain momentum, and I, and I, and when I know I want to release it, it comes across like a tidal wave, and then there's a lull (David: yes, yes) but I'd, I'd hate to take that back home with me
David: Mmm, very good. Freddie do you feel you, you, would you say you're a difficult person to live with, or not?
Freddie: Oh yes, I think we all are, to be honest, I mean
David: Do you?
Freddie: I think so, well, I, I think I am, something, you'd be surprised, because I mean, it's, it's not for you to say, (David: no) the only way you can find out whether you, is, is the other person, or other persons (David: yes), so I mean I think that kind of thing, I mean, it's not up to you, I mean I, I think I, you know I'm not perfect by no means, but I mean I think I, I live within, in a fair way, but that doesn't mean anything, because I mean there are lots of different, um, outlooks on how people behave and everything, but I mean I think I give, whoever I'm living with, I give people a, a fair chance, I'm sometimes too lenient, maybe that's my fault, I think
David: Do you think so?
Freddie: I think so, yeah
David: If somebody wanted to
Freddie: I'm a very, I'm a very um, possessive person (David: that's what I want to know), which I am, I am (David: yes), but then you see I want my cake and eat it too, which is what everybody wants (David: yes), but I am yes, I think in, in terms of that kind of thing, I can, yes I can be, I can go to great lengths trying to be um, be um (David: loyal?) loyal, yeah, just to prove a point and um, but then once, if I, the moment I find somebody's betrayed me, I go the other way, and then, then they'll find that I'm very hard to live with then, because then, once I'm betrayed, I'm a (David: ogre) I'm a (David: ogre) to live with (David: yes)
David: You, you never seem vulnerable, have you ever cried, Freddie?
Freddie: Absolutely, of course I have (David: yes) I've cried rivers dear
David: And if so what would, what make, what makes you cry?
Freddie: Oh, darling, lots of things, you know, lots of, I, I seem to sort of, I think everybody cries, I mean I'm very hard on the exterior but very sort of you know (David: but very soft centred) absolutely, yeah, with a chocolate covering (laughter) something out of Black Magic, yeah
David: What kind of things will make you cry though? Relationships?
Freddie: Some sort of, no sometimes, I, I think it's a kind of stress factor overall, from lots of different areas and I seem to sort of like build them up and build them up and then it's, it's like a welling or, or swelling of all these ingredients that build up and build up and then I have to just let, so, I burst into tears, I do this, I do that, I go into a complete wotsit, and then I'm sort of, you know, it has to come out. So, it's like a balloon that bursts, so I mean I feel that I seem to sort of take everything and I sort of build it up and build it up and then they sort of seem to rise and then I sort of, it's like, then, and when I've got it to like fever pitch somebody just has to prick the balloon and wooh, that's when I cry (David: and you explode, and you explode) and apart from that just
David: Do you feel fulfilled, totally fulfilled in your life now, you've reached forty, you've had incredible success?
Freddie: Good question, I was thinking about that when I was having a pee the other day, because I thought you might come to it (laughter) no it's a very funny thing, I'm, I'm very happy with, with, with what I've achieved, it's like I know that, that a lot of people who think OK now I've done, I've got where I want to or whatever, because I have enough money, I have success, adulation, you know, what do you want (David: fame), yeah, exactly, so, so I have all that and then I think, and I look by and say well done my dear, I say you know, you know, good luck to you, you did it yourself, and now I think I've come to, to a, they're not crossroads, but I've come to a sort of like, like a another sort of phase in my life where I think look, I, I still want to keep achieving the kind of success that I have in this format but I think look, I think now I have the um, the time and the um, the capacity to actually venture into areas which I would never dare because it, it would like be harmful to my career or whatever, things that are, so now I'm, I'm doing those kind of things where I think, I don't really want to do that as a benefit, am I making sense? (David: yes, yes) I don't want it to be a gain, in my, but it's, it's, it's for something, would you believe that I want to sort of try different things, walk a tightrope, you know, live a knife edge, and do things where I can fall completely flat on my face but I know that I don't, to me if it's harmful to my career, so what, you know, I've already, nobody can take away what I've already achieved, they can only say, 'OK look, he's fallen flat', do you know what I mean? Whereas before there were things where I still wanted this, there was this growth process of my career, or my beliefs where I didn't want anything to hamper it by doing other, I wanted it to, there was a kind of, but now I feel that there is an acceptance which I like, it doesn't mean I'm gonna sort of um, forget that, that idiom to do certain things where
David: Take more risk
Freddie: Yes, not for the sake of taking risks, it's something that I want to do things, I don't want to sort of end, end my life just being a rock 'n' roll star
Munich 1985 - Freddie Mercury Goes Solo Recorded in Munich in April 1985. Length 7:15.
This is an excerpt of a longer interview, and was released on the 'The Great Pretender' DVD and Blu-ray as the 'Freddie Mercury Goes Solo' bonus feature. The full interview was due to be released in 2006 as part of the 'Freddie Mercury Talking To David Wigg' download, which ultimately did not materialise. The end of the interview jumps to when Freddie is recording soundbites for local territories, so the very last bit doesn't make much sense as written here.
As the title suggests, the interview focuses on Freddie's solo project (at the time titled 'Made In Heaven', but would become 'Mr Bad Guy') featuring excerpts of several songs. (excerpt of 'Made In Heaven' instrumental version)
David: Now, you've called it 'Made In Heaven', why did you call it that, Freddie?
Freddie: Well basically I was lost for a title. Titles for albums are, as far as I'm concerned immaterial, I think 'Made In Heaven', I don't know what to call it, I mean before I remember you had concept albums and the name actually sort of had to fit, but now you just have what I think is a very beautiful track, and it's called 'Made In Heaven', I just think it seems to sort of just conjure up an image of some kind and, but to be honest I'm not really worried about it, it's what you listen to that matters, not what the title is. Don't judge a book by its cover, you know, mind you there's a beautiful photograph of me on the cover (David laughs)
(excerpt of 'Fooling Around')
David: And what about 'Fooling Around', another track, how did that come about, what inspired that?
Freddie: 'Fooling Around', yes, it's, that's just a, I wanted a, a track that was, it had a sort of a sexual element in it, in terms of not, not in terms of lyrical content, but in terms of the rhythmic content, and, and that seems to have sort of very sexual rhythm and, and a very sexual vibe to it, and so I just wrote that in terms of saying I wanted a sexual rhythm song, that's where that came about
David: That's been taken up for a film track hasn't it?
Freddie: That's right, it's, it's
David: A Nick Nolte move isn't it?
Freddie: Yes, it's, they wanted a song in the film called 'Teachers' and so I gave them that one
David: That was very generous of you
Freddie: Why not
(excerpt of 'Living On My Own')
David: What about 'Living On My Own', that sounds very personal because you, you travel the world more or less in a gypsy style don't you?
Freddie: Well that is living on my own, yes, it's like, basically it's a, if you listen, if you listen to 'Living On My Own', it's, it's, living, it's that is very me, it's living on my own, but having fun, and there's a bit in the middle where I'm do my scat singing and I'm just going, and when you think about somebody like me, my lifestyle, I mean I have to sort of go round the world and live in hotels and that can be very lonely, but then, that's your, I look upon it and I don't want people to say ohhh, you know, I just say that's my life and it can be a very lonely, it can be a very lonely life, but I mean I chose it, and so that song is not, it's not dealing with people who are living on their own in, in, sort of basement flats and things like that, it's my living on my own, so basically what I'm trying to say is that I'm living on my own, and, but I'm not complaining, I'm just saying I'm living on my own and I'm having a boogie time, basically, does that make sense honey?
David: It does, yes, it does. So how
Freddie: It's a different kind of living on my own, but I'm just saying that people in my, with my success and, can be lonely, and can live on their own aswell
(excerpt of 'My Love Is Dangerous')
David: Another song 'My Love Is Dangerous' on the album, is that a warning from you?
Freddie: Not really, it's just a, well a bit yes, I, I, that song is, is a, something that I feel that maybe that's, that's what my love is, you know, I haven't actually analysed myself and said OK my love is dangerous, I think after all these years, I just feel like you asked me that, I don't think I can, I'm not a very good partner for anybody and I just think maybe that's what my love is. I think my love is dangerous. Who wants their love to be safe? Can you image writing a song 'My Love Is Safe', it would never sell.
(excerpt of 'Your Kind Of Lover')
Freddie: I like writing songs about love, because I mean there's so much scope, and also they have so much to do with me, they have so much to do with me, and you're going to talk about 'Your Kind Of Lover', it's something that maybe I'm striving for it, I'm trying to say that I can be somebody's lover, you know, a good lover and that's another aspect of me too. Let's play something different now, come on
David: Well we've got to talk about another track, because that has an amazing section on it from the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, 'Mr Bad Boy'
Freddie: 'Mr Bad Guy', it's 'Mr Bad Guy', yeah, that's me.
(excerpt of 'Mr Bad Guy')
David: What made you give it this treatment with the Munich Philharmonic?
Freddie: Well I wanted, I wanted, a song that had absolute full orchestration because I mean in terms of Queen, we've always wanted a, we've always wanted a song that had full orch-, actually genuine, a proper orchestra, that came into the studio, but we always seem to sort of at the last minute, deny the fact that, that we wanted an orchestra, because I mean, in a very genuine way, because I mean Brian can recreate the orchestra with his guitar, and so we always had that kind of thing, and we always missed out on it, and I think you can go through all the Queen albums and find that there isn't one song that has actually had a fully fledged orchestra, and I thought, right, I'm gonna do it, I'll be the first one to, because I didn't have Brian playing on, on my songs and, and so I thought this a wonderful opportunity, so I just had the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra come in and just go wild, and that's, that's the outcome, so, and I'm very pleased with that, it's just very bombastic, and very pompous, and very me, and I thought turn it over then be 'Mr Bad Guy', you know, and it's got these overtones of, you know I can be loving and sweet one time, and I also want people to realise that I'm, I don't think I have to ask them to realise, I mean they know I can be bad, so and that's just, that's another element of me aswell
David: It's a marvellous track, it really works well. You've made a stormer.
Freddie: It's, it's, it's, yes it's, it's quite outrageous yeah, and I think it's new for me aswell, because I've actually allowed an orchestra to go absolutely mad, rather than restrict them, I just said play all the notes that you haven't played in your life before, and so they all just went completely crazy and so there's, there's basically a world war going on on that track
Freddie: If my, if my record reaches you, Outer Mongolia (large explosion and laughter), destroy it, exactly see, destroy it, just like that. I mean really
David: Well I, Freddie I knew you were explosive, but not that explosive
Freddie: I mean really
David: Did you know you were that explosive?
Freddie: I can make a bigger bang than that dear, I tell you