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This interview was one of the first recorded
with the whole band, and was broadcast in two parts on Radio 1,
on 24 and 26 December 1977.
The interview is included in the book '40 Years Of Queen', which was reissued in 2014 as 'The Treasures Of Queen'. The first pressings of the book in 2011 incorrectly just included the first half of the interview, lasting 32:33, while subsequent pressings included the full version.
The programme features the band talking to DJ Tom Browne, and features 22 album tracks (three from 'Queen', three from 'Queen II' and four each from 'Sheer Heart Attack', 'A Night At The Opera', 'A Day At The Races' and 'News Of The World'), plus Roger's solo track 'I Wanna Testify', and the band's favourites by other artists, namely 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' by Marvin Gaye for John, 'You've Got A Friend' by Aretha Franklin for Freddie, 'Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere' by The Who for Roger, and two tracks for Brian, 'House Burning Down' by The Jimi Hendrix Experience and 'And Your Bird Can Sing' by The Beatles.
In most cases the music has been severely edited to include just the first and last few seconds of each song but the broadcast version will have included all, or nearly all, of each track.
Excerpts from the interview were also used in the 2013 Radio 2 programme 'Queen At The BBC'.
['Seven Seas Of Rhye...' from 'Queen' is played]
Tom: Hello there, Radio 1 proudly presents in two programmes the members of Queen, talking about themselves and their music. Queen as they are now were formed in February 1971 and have become one of the most successful rock acts in the world, with over six major albums, and ten hit singles. Well, let me introduce you now to the members of Queen, first of all vocalist and piano player
Freddie: Freddie Mercury
Tom: On guitar, and arranging and writing
Brian: Brian May, I'm here
Tom: On drums
Roger: And occasional vocals, Roger Taylor here
Tom: Welcome Roger, and on bass and electric piano
John: Er, John Deacon
Tom: Right, together they've sold over forty million records worldwide, that's quite something. Now first of all, let me ask you, Freddie, how did it all begin
Freddie: Ahh, very sort of briefly, Brian and Roger they were in a sort of very up-tempo, raucous band called Smile, and I used to be in another band um, called Wreckage, or something
Roger: Even more up-tempo, with a name like Wreckage
Freddie: Even more up-tempo, and we used to be friends, I mean, you know, going to college together and sort of met up, and after sort of couple of years of knowing each other we just decided um, we'd form a band together really, as simple as that, we thought our musical ideas would um, blend, and then we met John, and decided to call the band Queen
Tom: Roger, can we go to the beginnings of the group, you and Freddie were working, or you had a stall right in the Kensington Market
Roger: Ah, yes, partners in crime, um, yes, it was really just a, it was more of a sort of social centre I think at the time, at the time that Queen were sort of in it's informative stages, we were going through all the traumas with trying to find somebody to manage us, and find a record company etc, we sort of slogged our way round, made some demo tapes, etc, through some friends, and then sort of hawked them round the business, as it was, and still is, eventually sort of securing ourself several companies who were interested, we then did a gig, I think it was at King's College, somewhere down in South London, and er, got a load of record companies along, and then we started to sort of er, try and wheel and deal a bit our way into sort of good recording situations
Tom: How long did it take you from the time that you'd made the demo to the time that you actually got a recording contract?
Roger: It felt like about eighty years I think
Brian: It was a long time, it was about two years
Roger: Yeah, it was about eighteen months, two years, yeah
Brian: There was a (Tom: Brian, this) great deal of, feeling of frustration at the time, the first album was really old songs by the time it came out, as far as we were concerned, and it put us in a strange position, because there were a lot of, we were sort of one of the groups who came along with a show and a sort of an idea of a complete production as a stage show and everything, which by the time the record came out and particularly by the time it got played by anyone and all this, and it took so long to get things going, it was all sounding like old news, you know, so people were inclined to tag us as the tail end of glitter rock or something
['Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll' is played]
Roger: We've had a, a fairly um, fairly sour relationship with the music press as, as, as it's called in this country, um
Tom: You, you don't like the music press, I understand?
Roger: No, to be perfectly honest, no (laughter)
Freddie: But from the very sort of beginning, I think as far as the musical press are concerned, I mean they, they like, I mean even now they like to sort of, put sort of up and coming bands into a sort of particular bag for, for what they think, and I think we sort of just rebelled, I mean we wanted to sort of do what we thought was right and not sort of go along with what they were saying, and I think since the very early stages, we've, there's always been this sort of um, fracas between us and the press
Roger: Yes, it started from day one (Freddie: day one) with the release of our first album, plus the fact that before our, our first actual release, we were virtually totally unheard of, and then suddenly we were, not particularly famous, but heard of at least, and er, they always like to think they've got one up on you, and they always like to think that they've predicted something (Freddie: yes, true), you know, and there, all of a sudden there we were, and, and we were playing to quite a lot of people, and er, it took people rather by surprise I think
Tom: Was the style though, that you had created, was that thought out from the outset, or did it just evolve as time went by?
Brian: There were certain kind of ideals which we had in our heads, definitely, certain patterns that we wanted to try and live up to, and I think, to put it crudely, we started off thinking that we wanted to be a, a kind of heavy group, but with good melodies, and with good harmonies, and the other things grew out of that, and the first album was really just putting down what we did on stage at the time, it was quick into the studios and quick out, even at that time, lots of big ideas about what we could do in the studio if we were let loose for a, a proper time in the studio, um, but we saved all that up, up to Queen II, the second album. But a lot of the Queen II stuff was written at the time we made the first album
Tom: OK, well let's take some music now from Queen I, the first track we're gonna play is in fact your first single, taken off Queen I, 'Keep Yourself Alive'
['Keep Yourself Alive' is played]
Tom: 'Keep Yourself Alive', your first single. Brian, were you disappointed that this didn't do better?
Brian: Oh yes, yes, it's, it takes me back very vividly to the time actually, because this is just the time when we started, we did a few gigs on our own, some small gigs, and then went on the support tour with Mott The Hoople, and um, went round the whole country getting really good reactions and thinking 'yeah, we're really getting somewhere', and yet all the time we're watching the single and the album and nothing appeared anywhere in the charts, you know, and it just seemed like an impossible wall, we thought how is it done, you know, we couldn't get the single played on the radio, at all, hardly, well there was a couple of people that played but it didn't get any sort of er, er, power play, er, but there's no doubt that the beginning is the worst, you know, you have no track record, you have no reputation
Tom: John, can I come to you now, we haven't heard from you I'm sorry, you've got a degree in electronics, did this, er, mean that the group all came to you and asked you questions when they had complicated bits of machinery to look at?
John: Not particularly, um, I used to help a little out in the, in the, in the early days, you know, when we were, basically when we started out there was just the four of us and one guy, our roadie John Harris, who's been with us right from the beginning, and um, between me and him we used to do a lot in the early days, but now we have quite a, a larger crew of about twenty who look after it all for us
Tom: Well, being in a thirty two track studio, with all the marvellous space age electronics all around, do you find it difficult to sort of keep your hands off little buttons and saying 'what's this, what's that'?
John: Er, well we do, we all, I mean we all of us um, try to learn what the studio does, I mean, because it helps to get the sounds and the ideas and to do what you want, and we've all taken interest in what it is possible to do in a studio technically, you know, because I mean, I think if a musician doesn't understand that, it limits, you know, the ideas that they can actually put down on tape.
Tom: Now, you were playing bass, er, first of all with Roger?
John: No, no, I um, basically I came down to London to university, and I was here for about two years, I wasn't playing at all. I used to play like, before I came to university, in sort of groups at school and things like that, and then I gave it up when I came down, and after I was here for about two years, I bumped into, I think it was Roger and Brian, somewhere, wasn't it (Roger: yeah, yeah, yeah) and I heard just socially, because they happened to be at different colleges around the same area in London, and I heard they were looking for a bass player, so I said I was interested, and um, went along for an audition really, and it happened like that. I think you'd been together for about six months previously, hadn't you?
Roger: I think longer, actually
Roger: Oh, you mean Queen, yeah, Queen had (John: as Queen, actually with the name Queen, no, yes, yeah) yeah, going through about three bass players a week at the time (John: yeah), and er, we eventually found er, John
John: Yeah, and I seemed to fit in and, you know
Tom: Did you immediately agree on the kind of music you wanted to play?
John: Well, um, I don't know, I mean, they, they were already formed, them, I mean to me they had the, the, they had all the musical ideas then of what they were trying to do, and I just you know, I basically, you know just fitted in really, at that time
Brian: He's very modest
John: Yeah, well my development came later, it took me a few years to settle in
Tom: Well John, now it's, it's your personal choice, what, what would you like to play now?
John: Yes, I've chosen a track um, by Marvin Gaye, 'Heard It Through The Grapevine', er, I like a lot of these American sort of Tamla things, for the bass players, some of the bass players are very nice, you know (Roger: Stanley Clarke), and it's a nice atmospheric song
Tom: OK, here it is, Marvin Gaye, 'Heard It Through The Grapevine'
['I Heard It Through The Grapevine' by Marvin Gaye is played]
Tom: John, you are a family man, am I right in
John: Er, sort of correct yes, I, yes (laughter) I have one little boy, yes
Tom: Yes, right, do, do you find it difficult touring in the States and being away from family
John: Um, it can be strain, yeah, um, you know, it's, I try and, um, you know, make the two work together, you know, which is, you know, which, which can be difficult, but I, I try, I try and fit it in
Tom: How does he react to daddy being a big star?
John: Well, I don't know, he can't talk yet (laughter)
Tom: How do you think he will react?
John: Mmm, I don't know, I'll see then. He's just starting to talk now actually, so I'll find out what he's been thinking
Roger: John is also the business brain of the group
Tom: He's the business brain?
John: I, I look after, I tend to look into that a bit, yes, and I
Tom: So, you're examining the contracts and er, checking on the returns and
John: Well, yeah, it's nice, it is, it is, especially when you get to, to the level we got to, I mean it's nice to know what's going on
Tom: Brian, you did a degree in physics and then er, (Brian: yes) you went on to do a PhD in astronomy
Tom: What was the attraction of astronomy?
Brian: Something I'd always, always been interested in, I was as a kid I used to look at the stars and I, I built a telescope and things, and um, it was just something I thought, if I ever had the chance to be an astronomer, I would, I would give it a go, so I took a physics degree, and I, I mean when you're at school you don't really know what you're gonna do, I think, I think it's still true, you know, when you, when you come out of school you tend to do what you're, you're best at, and if, if you happen to be good at physics everyone tells you you should do physics, so I did that, and it happened to be a good thing to lead onto astronomy, um, so I did some research in astronomy after I got the degree, but at that time the group began to take off, and demand more and more time, so it just became impossible to er, to carry on with the studies really
Tom: But I believe your PhD thesis in fact was practically completely written wasn't it?
Brian: Yes I did, I spent a long time on it, I also taught for a while at a comprehensive school to, to make the money to keep going, and did most of the writing up, um, but it's just for the, the sake of that last bit, and I, I seriously wonder whether it's ever gonna get done now, it's a shame
Tom: And what was the thesis on?
Brian: Um, interplanetary dust, the motion of, of dust between us and the sun
Freddie: Very cosmic
Tom: Cosmic yes, is there a lot of it? Is there a lot of it?
Brian: Yes there's a surprising amount of it actually, yes, you can in fact see it, if you're in the right place at the right time, in a very clear sky and a very dark sky, you can see a, you can see the dust as (Freddie: tell him about your Zodiacal light) as a, it's called a Zodiacal light, yes (Freddie: this is it, is it, well there you are) which is a sort of milky glow, which looks something like the milky way, but it's a cone of light which stretches up with the sun as a centre
Tom: Um, where did you observe from, because I'd have thought London sky at night was a bit murky?
Brian: Oh yes, I went to Tenerife, well I went to Italy first, in the Italian Alps, we had an observatory there, but that was plagued with bad weather, and we went to Tenerife, we set up an observatory in Tenerife, I actually organised a hut being built, which had our, well not actually a telescope but a spectroscope, which is what I used
Tom: Well let's have some more music, and what we have coming up is the 'Seven Seas Of Rhye'
['Seven Seas Of Rhye' from 'Queen II' is played]
Tom: 'I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside', well that was the er, single that broke you, the 'Seven Seas Of Rhye', that began it all. Um, Roger why was there a little bit of 'Seven Seas Of Rhye' on 'Queen I' and then repeated on 'Queen II'?
Roger: Well I think Freddie had half-written the song, and er, it was, we thought it was a nice sort of tail-out to the first album, with the, I think we had the idea of, of starting the second album with the song
Freddie: With the finished song, yes
Roger: With the finished song, yeah, so it would sort of lead in nicely, in fact we ended the second album with, with this song, um, and it had changed a little by then, and we released it as a single, because we thought it was fairly strong
Tom: Freddie, if I could come to you as the man what wrote it, the lyrics, what does it mean?
Freddie: Oh, God, you should never ask me that. They're basically um, my sort of lyrics are sort of basically for people's interpretations really, I mean I think it's, I've forgotten what they were all about
Tom: What were the 'Seven Seas Of Rhye'?
Freddie: It's really fictitious, I know it's like sort of bowing out or some easy way out, but that's basically what it is. It's, it's just um, a figment of your imagination
Tom: You have, you have a rather surrealistic approach, is that the right word, could I say to your lyrics?
Freddie: An imaginative approach yes, I suppose you could
Tom: Imaginative, yes, no but I mean it's a
Freddie: It's an easy way out
Tom: But there's, there's a
Freddie: It covers such a lot of area, it really depends on what kind of song really, I think um, I think at that time, I was, I was, um, learning about a lot of things about actual song structure and er, and as far as lyrics are concerned, they're very difficult as far as I'm concerned, I find them quite a task, and er, my strongest point is sort of like say melody content, and um, I basically sort of um, concentrate on that first, the melody, and the song structure, and then the lyrics come afterwards actually
Tom: Are you influenced by Salvador Dali?
Freddie: Not really, I sort of um, I admire him yes, he's sort of, it's not as um, involved as that, I don't sort of take things like paintings too literally, the only time I did do that was in a song called 'Fairy Feller's Masterstroke', where I actually sort of, was, I was thoroughly inspired by um, a painting by Richard Dadd, which is in the Tate gallery, and I thought that sort of, er, did a lot of research on it, and it sort of inspired um, me to write um, a song about the painting, depicting what I thought I saw in it
Tom: What did you discover in your research about this painting?
Freddie: Um, it's just because I mean I've come through art college and things like that, and I just, I basically liked the sort of artist, and the sort of like the painting, and I thought I'd like to sort of write a song about it
Tom: Well, we're, we're gonna play this track, so um
Roger: Is it on, it's on 'Queen II'
['The Fairy Feller's Masterstroke' is played]
Roger: It's one of our first major experiments in stereo I think
Tom: How do you sort out which songs are gonna go onto an album, because you all write, don't you?
Freddie: We row
Freddie: We do write individually, so I mean like we go our separate ways for, when the tour's over our whatever, and then we sort of have a teething period where we sort of get together and sort of play each other the new songs, and then what happens is a sort of, a very huge sifting process, where we sort of find out what songs
Roger: Like, 'no way am I'm gonna play that' or 'forget it'
Freddie: Things like that, and we sort of work in, also we, in indi-, as far as the individual song is concerned, and also what will go with, how the songs will sort of sound with each other, so it's basically sort of, looking in terms of an album, as opposed to just individual songs
Roger: Yeah, we, we try, we have tried in the past to provide a lot of variety on each album, and a lot of contrasts, and so we've had to sort of have a good cross section of material
Tom: Alright, well let's hear some of the heavy side of your music, 'The March Of The Black Queen' from 'Queen II'
['The March Of The Black Queen' is played]
Tom: From 'Queen II', 'March Of The Black Queen'. Brian, you were going to say something about Queen
Brian: I, I thought it was a good idea to play that, because 'Queen II' is an album which in some ways is the root of all that happened thereafter I think, and if, if people haven't heard that before, I think you could hear that and think that that was something off the new album, really, it still sounds that fresh to me, and there are a lot of things that you can hear the, all the sort of texture work was there, and the intricate harmonies, the guitar harmonies and stuff, sort of the pre-cursor of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in many ways, so I think that was a very important album for us, it was also the first one which came into the charts
Tom: How long did 'March Of The Black Queen' take you to record?
Roger: The tape went transparent (Brian: yes) genuinely (Brian: yeah)
Freddie: Those were, those were the days of sixteen track studios and I think, wasn't it, that was done in (Roger: yes, it was sixteen track), we have, you have now twenty four and thirty two track, but I mean as we did so many overdubs, I mean on sixteen track, it was like, we just kept piling it on and on, and it was like that's what Roger means that the tape went transparent, because it just couldn't take anymore. I think it snapped in about two places
Roger: It had gone over the heads so many times overdubbing, the oxide had worn off (laughter)
Brian: It was a big step for us, at the time certainly, because no-one was really doing that kind of thing in those days
Roger: We, in fact when this came out we were doing our own first headlining tour, after the er, after supporting Mott The Hoople, and er, gaining an enormous amount of live experience, and a large following really, for a relatively new band
Tom: Well then Roger, you went on to support Mott The Hoople in the States, right?
Roger: Yeah, it seemed the logical step, because it, it had worked so well, and we got on with them very well personally as well, which is, doesn't always happen on tours, you know, um, it's always good if the bands sort of touring together do get on well, and so we really took the logical step and went to America with them as well, and er, we did learn quite a lot off them, they're a really good live band
Brian: Excellent live band, yeah
Roger: We had a very good American tour, up to the point when Brian got hepatitis and er, collapsed and we had to come home, at which point things looked very black
Tom: Well then you did an extraordinary thing, having supported once in England and having supported once in the States, you then went to headline straight away in England, and then you went to headline straight away in the States
Roger: It was quite rare then, yeah, because we did go to sort of, playing the Rainbow by ourselves in, in one sort of step
Freddie: We did take a lot of risks actually, I think most of them paid off, I think
Roger: Yeah, most of them
Tom: In the States, you got yourselves an American manager
Roger: Well, we already had him in fact, he was, he was taken on by, but it helped us for when we went to America, he was taken on by Trident, which is the company that, which we were signed to at the time, a sort of production deal, and er, I think he helped in, in many ways with our introduction to America, being a yank, you know (laughter) he's from California
Freddie: Basically I think we'd signed all the deals, I mean as, the recording deals and the publishing deals, so in effect we were signed to Trident and at a later stage Jack came in, Jack Nelson, who's the person we're talking about, came in to sort of look after the management side of things, so he was brought in at a later stage
Brian: Yeah (Tom: sure, Brian) to make it a little clear, when we, when we sign, when we came to the point of signing con, record contracts, there was a couple of, there were a few record companies who were interested, but instead of doing that we signed to a production company, and the deal is that you, you record for them, and they then do a deal with the record company, so you have a kind of middle-man, and Trident were this middle-man
Roger: At the time it seems a good idea because an established company, a fairly high power established company seems more able to deal with the fairly high powered record companies than, the mere novice (Brian: humble musicians) humble musicians
Freddie: Twenty pound a week musicians
Brian: There is a huge basic drawback in the fact that you, your manager is then your record company, and you don't have anyone who can represent you to the record company, so you have an impossible situation where it's basically the band against everyone else, and it generated friction in every department
Tom: Alright, well now we come onto your third album, 'Sheer Heart Attack', and the biggest hit from that, which went to number two in November 74 was 'Killer Queen'
['Killer Queen' is played]
Tom: Was this written about a, a lovely lady of your acquaintance then?
Freddie: No, another fictitious person
Tom: I mean, there's wonderful lyrics in this, 'dynamite with a laser beam, guaranteed to blow your mind', 'gunpowder, gelatine', I mean marvellous stuff. But, we, we, we're not gonna get any clues, to this, this, this (laughter) society
Freddie: I think if I was to sort of analyse, analyse every verse, it would be very boring for the listeners, and it might sort of shatter a few illusions (Tom: oh would it), I'd rather sort of kept it
Tom: It's one that sticks in the mind, so anyway, it's very obvious that you're a painstakingly thorough, very methodical group, I mean you're a perfectionist
Roger: God, that sounds really boring doesn't it?
Tom: No, but I mean I, I think it's much to be admired, the fact that you go into every facet of production, not only just the music, you know, you see it right down to the last dot, as we were talking about earlier.
Brian: We always thought that was essential, not only in the production, but in, in every detail that we're, we're involved in
Roger: We learnt through hard experience really
Brian: Yeah, I mean right down to the last bit of print on the record cover and the way it's cut on the album which is crucial, right down to um, the way the tours are set up, everything, we try to keep control of, and it's not easy
Roger: Because when there's a lot of, there's so much money involved these days, I mean it's, it's, it's almost sordid to talk about the amounts of money but they are involved, and people are very clever and nothing corrupts like large sums of money, and um, so we do have to be very careful
Tom: Let's go on to another track from 'Sheer Heart Attack', it's 'Bring Back That Leroy Brown'
['Bring Back That Leroy Brown' is played]
Tom: 'Bring Back That Leroy Brown' with a ukulele novelty from Brian May there, er, Brian, what would you describe as this ukulele type music as, as barber shop ukulele, George Formby, or?
Brian: The uku-, yeah, the ukulele in a way was incidental to that, because that was Freddie's song and um, it had this kind of Vaudeville atmosphere, and I just thought the ukulele would go nicely on it, and we sort of worked it so that it could be done, and I managed to fiddle a little ukulele solo (laughter)
Tom: You in fact learnt on a ukulele, right?
Brian: Yes, that was the first instrument I ever played, um, my father had a genuine George Formby ukulele, George Formby was the er, really the originator of that kind of style of playing, er, which is rhythmic and slightly melodic at the same time, because he plays across the top and bottom strings to make little melodies, and er, I'm really a pretty poor imitator of that style, but I got interested in it (group: ahhhh; Roger: makes you sick doesn't it) oh sorry (Roger: modesty)
Tom: And, and I believe your father also, er, was instrumental in, in making your first guitar?
Brian: Yes, my father and I made the, the guitar together, which is still the one I use all the time
Tom: What was it made out of?
Brian: Um, lumps of wood, and bits of pieces, it cost about eight pounds to make in the beginning
Tom: I, I read in a press biog or something it was saying about an armchair or a fireplace
Brian: A hundred year old fireplace, the legendary fireplace (laughter) yes it did (Freddie: the things that are coming out of that fireplace quite staggering) yes that's the thing, the neck was made out of a, an old fireplace yes
Tom: My goodness, he must have been quite a craftsman
Brian: Well, we just worked at it for a couple of years, because I, I was at school, and it was evenings and weekends and things
Tom: I see, and that's still the one you play now?
Tom: Oh, terrific, well it must be worth a fortune in years to come, so
Brian: I don't know really, it's, it's really not worth very much to anyone except me, because everyone finds it difficult to play
Tom: Can we come now to your producer, Roy Thomas Baker?
Roger: Roy half-produced the first album, and er, and then he went on to come, become our full producer, and er, he, I think 'A Night At The Opera' was the last one, and we produced, co-produced it with him
Tom: Freddie, did you, did you select him, or did EMI provide him?
John: Well it was through Trident really (Brian: it was all through Trident, yeah) because in the early days, you know, the first album, um, and then we had, they stuck us with John Anthony didn't they, as well, who we didn't really get on with, so we gave him the elbow after one album, and then we did the second album with, you know, with Roy and Robin Cable
Roger: Yeah, Trident was quite a Mecca for, for producers at the time, because I remember sort of all the, Bowie's most successful stuff was done with Ken Scott there (Brian: yeah)
Tom: Let's have another track from 'Sheer Heart Attack', this is 'In The Lap Of The Gods'
['In The Lap Of The Gods' is played]
Tom: 'In The Lap Of The Gods'... The Beach Boys meet Wagner, or something like that anyway. Um, Freddie, er, was this a sort of pre-runner to, to 'Bohemian Rhapsody', it has that sort of operatic feel to it?
Freddie: I suppose it could be um, put across that way yes, I was sort of learning a lot in, on this, on 'Sheer Heart Attack' we were sort of doing a lot of things that um, was to come in future albums, or was to sort of be used on, on the future albums, and songs like that, yes I suppose um, working out the kind of harmonies and things and the song structure did help a lot in say, something like 'Bohemian Rhapsody', it's true. (Tom: Mmm) Somebody said this was like a Cecil B. DeMille um, meets Walt Disney, or something, which is the more to the point than say The Beach Boys
Tom: Wagner meets The Beach Boys yes, well like, talking about Cecil B. DeMille, can we come to your colossal stage productions with (Freddie: oh yes and our nice clothes) crowns appearing everywhere, thunder flashes all over the stage, and you leaping about, 'bringing ballet to the masses' I believe the quote was (Freddie: oh no, yes; Brian ohhhh)
Freddie: Oh, I mean, if you're referring to sort of a certain article about all that, that's meant to be taken tongue in cheek, but I mean it's just that, at this point in time, that's something that interests me, and I'm just trying to incorporate it in the stage act, nothing more really, and um, it's basically to enhance the music we play, I mean if it was, if it wasn't working then I wouldn't do it, and it's also a phase that I'm going through, and um, I like the Nijinsky costume
Roger: The people who come to the shows seem to really enjoy them, because you must aim for maximum effect, which we do, I mean both aurally and visually, however some sort of people don't seem to like this, the so-called purists or whatever, and they think it's a techno-flash rock or something I've heard it called, but basically we're just trying to put over the music and the visual aspect as effectively as we can to as many people as we can
Tom: Do you carry your own lighting crew all over the world?
Tom: So it's the same one, that was at Earl's Court, that was in the States?
Roger: Yes, yes, it has to be, because the co-ordination, er, required is, is quite unbelievable
Brian: Yeah, and the same for the sound set up. The way we started off, we always had these big ideas, and we always thought that it should be a visual and a, a sound experience, it should be a complete thing that you can wallow in, you know, I think it comes from when we were kids, if we went to see a rock band, we wanted to be knocked out, we wanted to be blown away (Roger: yeah) you know and er (Roger: stunned) yeah, it, it's for that kind of thing, we think it should be a real event every time we play
Roger: People are paying money to come and so you so, I mean
Freddie: Yes, as far as we're concerned, we're putting on a show, it's not just, just us, just not another rendition of, of an album, we might, if that was the case, we might as well just have sort of cardboard cut-outs and just play the album, through, through the sort of system
Brian: Yes, yeah
Tom: Yeah, yeah right. Let's have some more music, the next one from 'Sheer Heart Attack' we're gonna play is 'Now I'm Here'
Roger: Call that music
['Now I'm Here' is played]
Tom: 'Now I'm Here', which went to number eleven in February 75. Um, do you find that er, the single helps you generate sale of an album?
Roger: Definitely. That's what gets you to the mass of people, even if they don't buy it, and even if they don't like it, they still know who you are from a single, whereas I think you could have a, a number one album for six months and people still wouldn't know who you were. But we never record any record as a single, it's always just a track off an album that we think might make a good single after we've recorded it
Tom: Oh, I see, so you don't go into the studio, 'this is gonna be the one'
Roger: No, never, we never have
Tom: Do you take advice from other people as to what could be a good single?
Roger: It, it never works
Brian: Nobody wanted 'Bohemian Rhapsody' as a single really, around us (Tom: really?) everyone said no-one would play it, because it was too long, and all that stuff
Roger: Nobody except us wanted it
Freddie: But this is not to say that we're always right, because we're not (Roger: well, we're not always right, we've been wrong) the choice of single is (John: yeah, once, yeah) (laughter), is a very difficult thing, I mean, there's no sure fire hit, you know, there's just, there's no such thing, and with say something like 'Bohemian Rhapsody', it was a big risk, and it worked, because I think with a song like that it was either gonna be a huge success or a, or a terrific flop, and you know it was
Brian: But it's been no bed of roses no pleasure cruise, no
Tom: Well we're talking about 'Bohemian Rhapsody', so let's play 'Bohemian Rhapsody' now
['Bohemian Rhapsody' is played]
Tom: 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. This was, for me, so amazing, because it was such a departure from anything else that was in the charts in seventy five, and in November it got to number one, and stayed there for nine weeks, I think, didn't it, amazing (Roger: yeah, something like that, yeah), terrific amount of time, anyway, yonks and yonks, and it was fabulous. Um, Freddie, can you tell us a bit about how you recorded 'Bohemian Rhapsody', the actual technical side of this?
Freddie: You want a few trade secrets? It was quite a mammoth task, because it was basically done in three, three definite sections and just pieced together, and each one required a lot of concentration, the opera section, the middle, was the most taxing I think, 'cos er, we just, we wanted to recreate a sort of huge operatic sort of um, harmony section, between just the three of us, and that involves a lot of multi-tracking and things, and I think between the three of us we sort of, we recreated a, a sort of hundred and sixty to two hundred piece (Roger: something like that, yeah) choir effect between just the three of us, that's Brian, Roger and myself just singing it
Roger: There's a tremendous range of harmonies, and it involves doing it again and again and again and again to make it sound bigger and bigger and bigger
Tom: Can you think how many times to get that number of people?
Roger: Well, divide two hundred by three (laughter), something like that
Tom: ... yeah sixty six
Brian: This is for each, each little part so if you multiply that by
Roger: Each little bit though has to be done that many times, and you have to learn all the very different parts, because I think some of them were, what, how many part harmonies?
Freddie: No, I mean there was like a section of 'no, no, no', and we had to sort of do that in sort of different escalating things and we just sat there going (sings) 'no, no, no, no, no, no, no' about, I don't know, a hundred and fifty times (Brian: going out of our minds)
Tom: Does one of you every now and again just say 'no more, that's it', I'm not
Freddie: Oh yes (Roger: yeah, all the time, yeah) all the time
Tom: And then the others sort of egg him on and say 'well it's only one more' or something?
Freddie: It depends on who's
Roger: No, everybody agrees and we leave (laughter)
Tom: Well we come now to Freddie's personal choice of music. Freddie, what's it gonna be?
Freddie: I've sort of chosen an Aretha Franklin track, I think it's called 'You've Got A Friend', it's from the er, 'Amazing Grace' album which she did a long time ago, it's a live sort of thing, double album set, it's a sort of gospel thing that she did live in a, in a church in California I think, it's called 'You've Got A Friend'
['You've Got A Friend' by Aretha Franklin is played]
Tom: Freddie Mercury's choice there from Aretha Franklin
['Seven Seas Of Rhye' from 'Queen' is played]
['Seven Seas Of Rhye' from 'Queen' is played]
Tom: Radio One presents the second part of Queen. In the first programme, we covered the musical development of Queen from their first album right up to their chart topping single 'Bohemian Rhapsody', and in this second programme, we'll be talking again to Queen about their music, we'll be playing tracks from 'A Night At The Opera', 'A Day At The Races' and 'News Of The World'. First of all then, let's go to Queen's drummer, Roger Taylor. I've noted down here Roger that when you're not playing or recording with Queen, you're quite interested in motor racing and in cars?
Roger: Well more cars really, I'm not that up on motor racing, I have AutoSport every week, but I mean, really it sort of this is a full time job, it keeps us so busy, I never get time to go to any races or anything, I just like cars, they're rather nice
Tom: But you have driven, haven't you, um, round a track
Roger: Oh, only, only once, yeah, it was a very minor thing really, but it gives you a taste you know
Tom: You're not thinking of taking on Noel Edmonds down at Brands Hatch or something?
Roger: Oh, good God, I'd thrash him (laughter)
Tom: Hear that Noel? Ha, ha. Right
Brian: That's before he got in the car
Roger: Yeah, that's even before he got in
Tom: Anyway, that's our natural cue to 'I'm In Love With My Car' by Roger Taylor
['I'm In Love With My Car' is played]
Tom: 'I'm In Love With My Car' from 'A Night At The Opera'. John, I believe you're very interested in stereo photography (John: stereo photography, yeah) tell us about stereo photography
John: I just like the um, the old weetabix things, you know where you used to get the two things with the viewers, used to get two pictures, you know both taken from a slightly different position, and you look through a special viewer and you get a, a true 3D perspective effect, and you can have attachments that you actually put on cameras on special stereo cameras to take three dimensional pictures
Tom: Three dimensional slides? (John: um) um, I mean you can't sort of project it can you, or?
John: There is a means, you've tried it haven't you Brian, projecting?
Brian: Yeah, I got quite a long way into it, yeah, you can do it with a silver screen instead of a white screen and cross polarize and things (Tom: mmm), takes a lot of setting up, it's very interesting
Roger: Perfect for the average layman (laughter)
Brian: It's very unfashionable at the moment, 'cos it did, it was quite a successful form of photography in the nineteen (Roger: thirties) twenties and thirties or so, but it sort of went out of fashion for some unknown reason, because I think it's amazing
Tom: Brian, I would have thought that you'd have been interested too in um, holograms and er
Brian: Yes, strangely enough, holography was invented by Dennis Gabor who was a professor at my college, at Imperial College where I went, so we, we had a holography course, yes I was interested, I don't really think it has as much application to the rock stage as, as people think
Tom: You don't think you could incorporate holograms into your act?
Brian: You can, but it, it's, the art is not at the state where it, it's gonna be that good at the moment. The Who really are, are the people who have got most into using lasers as part of the stage show, but holography is a very dicey business really, even with lasers, and to produce large scale impressive things is more difficult than people think
Tom: I believe they are far more advanced than we are in the States with holograms?
Brian: Um, yes, it's surprising though I mean, I keep vaguely up with the developments, but it hasn't advanced hugely on the large scale, um, the small scale making of holograms commercially has advanced considerably, but the problems are still the same, you need a large source of coherent light, and you need a, a screen to work the thing from, you can't suspend it in thin air yet, the image
Tom: And back to John again, you're playing the electric piano on the next track, 'You're My Best Friend', how did you wrench the piano away from Freddie?
John: Well, Freddie didn't like the electric piano, so I took it home, and I started to, because I, I'd never played piano before, I really started to learn on the electric piano, and, and basically that's a song that came out, you know, when I was, I was learning to play piano
Freddie: I, I refused to play the damn thing
Tom: Was this a question of ethics, or what?
Freddie: They're tinny and horrible, I don't like them (laughter) why play those things when you've got a lovely super grand piano? No, I, I think it's, basically what he's trying to say is that there was a desired effect really, and
John: It was written on that instrument, and really it sounds best on that, you know, on the, often on the, on the instrument that you wrote a song on
Tom: Well, it got to number seven, in July seventy six, 'You're My Best Friend'
['You're My Best Friend' is played]
Tom: 'You're My Best Friend' with John fingering away like fury on electric piano. Now we come to the grand subject of marketing 'A Night At The Opera'. It's a fascinating subject, how did you conceive the album sleeve and everything else, and how did you go about marketing it?
Freddie: Well the sleeve had a sort of crest on it, didn't it, that's right, sort of
Tom: Now you designed that, right?
Freddie: Well, it was an adaptation of an earlier crest that I did, it was done by David Costa who sort of um, worked in conjunction with us, and made sure it was what we wanted, since then I mean as far as say marketing is concerned, it's a huge process, I mean it covers such a wide area, it's like we said before, we just sort of work on the album material and then we choose a single, in this case, 'A Night At The Opera' case, it happened to be 'Bohemian Rhapsody', and with that we made a film which helped us a lot, I mean we did it with Bruce Gowers
John: Yeah, we made a film (Freddie: a promotional film) in rather a short time actually, we were, just before we went out to tour in England, when 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was released, we were rehearsing, up at Elstree wasn't it, (Roger: yeah), yeah, and they just came in one night with a video truck (Freddie: we all came in) one or two little bits and we did it in about four hours didn't we?
Roger: The film opened up a new avenue for us, because the film was used all round the world, and worked very successfully, I mean it didn't only just get the record across, it got Queen across both visually and sort of aurally, and now it's really a part of the accepted pattern of marketing a single for any major, or in fact even a new band these days, or artist, to make the record, and then bring out the record, but they always have the film with the record, in fact you can show that film round the whole world, and literally promote your records with it without actually being there, I think Abba have, have turned that into great advantage, yes
Tom: John, how deeply do you involve yourselves with the marketing?
John: We involve ourselves artistically with the product basically, I mean like the, I mean obviously the album and the cover, and the film, we're very much involved with that, but as far as the actual sort of marketing, I mean, I mean a lot is up to the record company, you know, as long as they don't do anything that is grossly in bad taste, you know, I mean we like to keep an eye on what they're doing
Tom: Have you ever had a nasty shock, something you weren't expecting?
Brian: Oh yes (general agreement)
Freddie: Especially now, there are so many, I mean you get posters
Brian: Yeah, there's, there's been some really bad things, there's one particular example in America we were very upset about, where they, they put out 'Liar' as the second single, and when we heard it we discovered that they'd chopped it, they'd chopped a good ah, sixty percent of it out, just in a pretty random way, not even done the edits very well, and that was being put out as a single in America, and of course it was a flop, and we've always tried to fight for complete artistic control throughout the world, the normal thing is to, to send your copies of the mastertapes when you finish the album to various countries, and they cut it. Now, in cutting a record, which is actually physically putting it on the, the disc, there's a huge amount you can do with it, and you can completely ruin a record which has been, taken months to produce, and we've got some of the cuts back from countries that we've, that we didn't know about, and they've been horrific. It's funny, the first album, in America, was an interesting example, because they put it all through a very viscious limiter, which means that everything comes up to the same level, and everything pumps, they call it pumping, so if you have a continuous note and a drum beat on top, then the continous note goes up and down around the drum beat, and in fact that, that improved some tracks, or, or made them (laughter) it's very strange, it gave them a particular sound (Roger: yeah, we really knew a lot about the studio then), it gave them a particular sound on American FM radio, which we discovered when we went there, that it, it did get us across very well, and we sort of, we actually used that on subsequent albums, it's very strange how things can happen
Tom: Let's have some more music, Brian let's take one of yours, one that we're gonna play of yours in a minute, from 'A Night At The Opera', which is called 'Good Company', which has a George Formby style ukulele on it, and Trad Jazz, um, were you interested a lot in Trad Jazz?
Brian: I can remember the Trad Jazz boom, and I, I was very, very keen on a group called the Temperance Seven, who did a sort of revival of the twenties arrangements for jazz band, and that, that's the kind of thing I was going after on this track
['Good Company' is played]
Tom: Well Brian, now we come to your personal record choice, and I believe instead of just having one, you're gonna have half of one and half of another
Brian: Yes, I'm very greedy
Tom: Well, tell us what they're gonna be
Brian: OK, um, this is going to bring us onto Jimi Hendrix, who I'm sure we can talk a lot about, I'd, I'd like to play the beginning of a track called 'A House Burning Down', the beginning of this to me is the most amazing attacking beginning to a song I've ever heard, and it's the complete production job on guitars, bass and drums, I've never heard anything like it
['House Burning Down' by The Jimi Hendrix Experience is played]
Brian: And the other track is 'And Your Bird Can Sing', which is, I think it's just something that's very simple and very beautiful that The Beatles did, there's a lot of Beatles in us I think, a lot of influence there, whether it's conscious or unconcious, and that was one, one of the things which I liked, a very simple song, very well done, and also a little bit of double tracking from George Harrison, I assume it's George, playing the, the little figures that go round the vocals, and that was an inspiration aswell because one of my dreams was to be able to do multi-tracking guitar on records, at that time it was unheard of to do double tracking, I could name about three instances to do proper harmony work with a rock sounding guitar, and George Harrison was, was quite a pioneer, because he, he had a go at it on this track
['And Your Bird Can Sing' by The Beatles is played]
Tom: Brian May's choice, from Jimi Hendrix 'A House Burning Down' and The Beatles 'And Your Bird Can Sing', and now, can we talk about Jimi Hendrix, because I know Jimi Hendrix has been a prime mover to the group, and a great influence to you all, Freddie
Freddie: He was just a beautiful man, I think he was just a master showman, what can I say, he was just a dedicated musician, I mean he was just everything as far as I was concerned and I went to numerous places to sort of try and catch his shows, just magic, just magic, and it was really, it's quite sort of a treat to watch somebody just come on the stage, I mean he didn't have the kind of props and things that we have today, it all emitted from him, you know, from, from the person, it was just him and the guitar, very colourful, and just um, it was quite a stage act, you, you learnt a lot from that kind of thing
Tom: Roger, I believe that, when he died, you were at the Kensington Market, right?
Roger: That's true, actually yes, how did you find out? (laughter) um (Brian: I was) yes, I remember we couldn't
Freddie: We shut shop in his honour
Roger: Yes, we shut up our stall and went home and had a good ball, 'cos it was (Freddie: played all his records), really, it was dreadful when he died, for me, yeah
Tom: I also believe that when you did your big Hyde Park concert last year, that that was on the anniversary of Jimi's death (Roger: it was) tell us about Hyde Park, how did that come about?
Roger: It was an idea we had when we were touring in Japan, we thought it would be nice to do something different in England, rather than do the same old you know, yeah, tour, etc, the same old places, and we thought we'd like to do a free concert, and the best possible venue that occured to us was Hyde Park, because it was more central than any other, it was an awful lot of trouble, to, to get permission to play in the park, to hold the event, it cost us a fortune, etc, but in the end it was worth it, we wanted to just make a good gesture, er, to do something for nothing, um, a lot of people still don't seem to realise that, I mean there was no percentage from any angle in it, really
Tom: Well, let's have some more music, this time from 'A Day At The Races', and 'Somebody To Love', which got to the top ten in December 76
['Somebody To Love' is played]
Tom: 'Somebody To Love', with a very gospel sounding choir, Freddie, was that choir built up in the same way as you did on 'Bohemian Rhapsody'?
Freddie: In a way yes, I mean we had the, the same three people singing on the, the big choir sections, but I think it had a, a different kind of techincal approach, because I mean it was a sort of gospel way of singing, which I think was different to us, and this is me sort of going on about Aretha Franklin, and sort of made them go a bit mad, I just wanted to write something in that kind of thing, I was sort of incensed by the, the sort of gospel approach that she had on her albums, on the earlier albums, although it might sound the, sort of same kind of approach on say the, the harmonies, it is very different in the studio because it's like a different kind of, actually a different range
Tom: Can we come now to the territories in which you're very enormous, I understand you're huge in Japan, can we hear about
Roger: Sounds as if you swell up as soon as you, as soon as you arrive there (laughter)
Tom: It's all that sake, yes, well, tell us about Japan, why Japan, I know Freddie sings in Japanese, right?
Freddie: Not all the songs
John: Only on
Roger: Only on one song yeah, I mean that was more of a tribute I think
Freddie: That was afterwards I think
Brian: That was a long time after, really
Roger: You know, Japan really caught onto us fairly early on didn't they
John: 'Queen II' I think was the big one they picked up on really, wasn't it?
Roger: Yeah, and we knew that there was a sort of demand for us there, and so we sort of tagged it onto the end of an American tour, we had a holiday in Hawaii, and then it was sort of logical, so we went there, and we arrived at the airport, and suddenly realised it was on a scale different to that which we'd imagined, because there were thousands of people there, just to welcome us, you know, and normally you just don't get that sort of thing anywhere. We've had two really amazing tours in Japan since then, they sort of seem to have taken us to their hearts, and I think we've, we've had some influences from them, especially Brian I think
Tom: Which brings me to the next one, I mean, how, how do you get on when you're not on stage, do you all mix together, or do you all go off your separate ways?
Roger: I dunno, it's hard to answer, a bit of both really, yeah
Freddie: We have, in America we have, we have a limousine each, and we just, the moment we finish, just get into that, and do our own bit
Brian: Go to the four corners of town
Tom: So it is that
Freddie: It really depends, I mean if there's a reception laid on or whatever
Roger: It depends actually, yeah (Freddie: we've got to have freedom) we've grown apart a bit more, you know, but I mean we don't hate each other yet, which I think quite a lot of other bands do
Tom: Well this is very apt, this next title, because it's 'Let Us Cling Together', or, now you Freddie, you pronounce it for me
Freddie: Teo Torriatte
['Teo Torriatte' is played]
Tom: 'Teo Torriatte'. Brian, this is a very reflective, quiet song, which contrasts rather with the next song, which is 'Tie Your Mother Down', um, how can we get two such opposite songs on the same album?
Brian: Um, I don't know, we, we do tend to be attracted by opposites, if that's the right way of putting it, we tend to, if we go a long way in a particular direction, we tend to like to go equally far in the opposite direction, I think we still feel that we're kind of doing our apprenticeship in that we can try out anything that comes into our heads, if a song comes along, and suggests a certain approach, and you've written down reflective approach here, OK, then, then we'll follow that to it's extreme, and at the same time if another song comes out which is um, the heavy kind of stuff, then we'll follow that to it's extreme, and I think that's one of our strong points internally
Freddie: Yes, we, we're not scared of trying out different ideas, you know, I think one of the things that we really steer clear of is trying to sort of repeat the same formula, write different ideas
Brian: The old thing of light and shade really (Freddie: keep the interest there), which all the best rock bands have had on stage, I mean, the rock band which have the most impact are the people who can do a, a slow song, and then flatten the whole place with a, with a (Freddie: completely devastating) with a complete contrast, that's what gets me anyway, if I, if somebody comes on stage and blasts (Roger: it's dynamics) twelve bar blues all night, then there comes a point I think where it sags in the middle, although I love it, I mean I love hard rock well played, and I think it's the hardest thing to do, in some ways, but the way to do it is not to sort of rock and roll all night as far as I'm concerned, it's, it's to, to do everything um, in it's right place
Tom: Well let's have 'Tie Your Mother Down'
['Tie Your Mother Down' is played]
Tom: 'Tie Your Mother Down' from 'A Day At The Races'. Can we talk about your manager John Reid at the moment, he also manages Elton John doesn't he?
John: Yes he does
Roger: He's very successful, good management (Brian: will out) I think good management is, is, is pretty vital, yes
Freddie: It is, it certainly is, you need, you need (Roger: in fact it's totally vital) especially, say, for a band that's starting up, I mean they need the guidance and things, so a good manager is definitely vital
Roger: And you need somebody to take at least some of the worries away, that aren't to do with the music, away from you, you see
Freddie: But we're a very difficult group to manage, we demand a lot
Tom: Let us progress on this one, now there have been incorrect newspaper reports, I believe, that you are about to de-camp for the States because of tax reasons, Roger can we go on that one, how did that occur?
Roger: Well, basically, I, must have been something that I said, but it was (laughter), it was certainly um, it was taken completely wrongly whatever it was I said, I certainly didn't say we were going off to America, um, tomorrow, which was how the article came out, um, it's something that we might do in the future, but definitely in the future, certainly not tomorrow, or even next month, or the month after
Freddie: But we are going to America for a tour
Roger: Yes we're going for a tour (Brian: a highly paid tour) but we're not leaving England yet
Tom: I see, but they took it as though you were um
John: Becoming tax exiles really
Roger: Becoming tax exiles, that was how it was written up, yes, it really was
John: It said we were going to live abroad, yeah?
Roger: What I gathered from what it said, I mean you know, you know, you often, you do an interview, which is why we've learnt not to do many, and you sort of read it back and you think 'good God, was I there?', and er, people just sort of tend to turn things round to, to say what they really want to say, you know, whether it be the politics of one particular newspaper, the article will sound as they want to sound it, or the editor wants it to sound, as opposed to the interviewee
Tom: Now when you say something, somebody slaps a writ on you or sues you, can't you then sue them?
Roger: It depends, I'd rather go round and smack him in the teeth personally but (laughter), um, I haven't had any writs served on me so
Tom: Well that, that sounds the old fashioned way to do it, which brings us to (Freddie: oh) 'Good Old Fashioned Loverboy'
['Good Old Fashioned Loverboy' is played]
Tom: There were four songs on the EP, but it was priced at the price of a single I believe, why was this?
Roger: Yes, er, we just wanted to give something that was sort of quite good value, and that was a good sort of sampler of one track from the last four albums, I think
Tom: It went into the top 20 June 77, so was it for the Jubilee, was, was this a special
Roger: Not really, I don't think, um
Freddie: I think it was, it was, we wanted something released to coincide with the tour that we were doing at the time, and as we didn't have any new product, 'cos I mean we were, the way we did it this time was we did a tour and then we were going to go in the studio and do the new album, which is 'News Of The World'
Tom: Roger, we now come to you, and your personal choice, sir
Roger: Yeah, it's very hard to choose one record, all I could think of was a record that really excited me at the time, and it's a record by one of the, the best bands ever I think, and still are, The, The Who, very exciting, it was their second hit single, and it, as far as production in those days is concerned, it's the most over the top record I've ever heard, it had the first use of feedback that I can remember, I think, on record, it's called 'Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere'
['Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere' by The Who is played]
Tom: 'Anyhow, Anyway, Anywhere' from The Who. Your fanclub is one of the biggest fan clubs in the world, with about 45,000 people, and I believe you do a very nice thing, that you send them little personal letters that are then photocopied, Brian
Brian: Yeah, we try and keep in contact, we think it's very important to keep that sort of two way thing going, er, it's not the easiest thing to run, there are a lot of pitfalls in running fanclubs, you know, you can become too detached, or you can become too involved and not get any of your actual work done, you know, so you have to, I think it's important that we are kept in touch, with all the reaction you know, and the girls that work for us in the fanclub, and, and a guy now, who's, who's doing the organisational side, really make sure that there is this, this two way communication all the time. We try and keep the fanclub as an information service, that was what it was started off as, rather than as a promotion vehicle, because I think many fan clubs become tainted with that, if you start using it purely as a, purely as a selling device, the whole thing becomes horrible
Tom: Roger, in the last week of August you put out your own personal single which was called 'I Wanna Testify' which you sang, and you played every instrument on the single, tell us about this
Roger: It's not a particularly big deal, um, it was just something, we came back from America, and there's a sort of slack period, and I was a bit sort of bored, I had nothing to do, and I just went into the studio with our engineer Mike Stone and em, did an old song by The Parliaments I've got a version, an a-capella version, I just sort of heavied it up a bit and did it all by myself, just really as an experiment, and a, and a bit of fun, however I found the experiment was slightly more expensive than anticipated, and a lot of people seemed to quite like it, so it was sort of, eventually came out as a single
['I Wanna Testify' is played]
Tom: There we go, 'I Wanna Testify', a song played and everything else by Roger Taylor, but ah, has it then sort of given you food for thought to the future?
Freddie: After five, six albums, I think a lot of areas have opened up, and they're sort of, there are lots of things that one can do, and I think already we're sort of branching out and doing other things, just, just for mere
Tom: With the financial reward that (Freddie: comes with it) being a success, you know, of being a successful pop group, obviously now Freddie, I mean you could open up a fine art business, couldn't you, or, but I mean has it
Freddie: Come and see my gallery (Tom: has it) they call it a museum but
Tom: Has this crossed your mind that, you know, things you can now plan to do with the finance you've accumulated?
Freddie: Yes I think one must definitely invest, that's what my accountant says, I for one have sort of started up a little production company of my own, and have signed to it a person called Peter Straker, so that's a little venture that I've sort of got myself into, you know, alongside Queen, which is obviously the major thing
Tom: Now we come to your new album
Freddie: Yes it's called 'News Of The World'
Tom: 'News Of The World', alright, and I see down in front of me, the first track is 'Sheer Heart Attack', now Roger you wrote this one, um, tell us about 'Sheer Heart Attack'
Roger: Yeah, it might sound vaguely familiar (laughter). It was written in essence, not completely, wasn't finished (Brian: essence was brilliant) at the time of recording 'Sheer Heart Attack', but really we didn't have room, and it wasn't quite finished and for a number of reasons it didn't get on, and now it's been sort of, it, it lives again, and actually I'm quite pleased with it, it's, it's really pure energy, and it's one of my contributions to the new album.
['Sheer Heart Attack' is played]
Tom: 'Sheer Heart Attack', now we come to a John Deacon song, 'Spread Your Wings'. John, we haven't heard from you for a long time, tell us about 'Spread Your Wings'
John: Um, just basically just one of the two tracks I happen to have come up with, you know, this year and managed to squeeze on the album
Roger: Squeeze is right
Tom: John, does songwriting come easily to you?
John: No, it's, it's quite difficult actually, but it's getting a little bit better as time goes on, you know I only started really, the 'Sheer Heart Attack' album I had a little track called 'Misfire', but 'Best Friend' was the real sort of first proper length song I wrote really, so I'm sort of um, still new to it, but it's improving anyway
Tom: Do you compose on your electric piano?
John: Er, piano, guitar, I, I don't actually tend to compose on the bass, I'm usually on either on a just sort of accoustic guitar, or perhaps piano
Tom: 'Spread Your Wings' from John Deacon
['Spread Your Wings' is played]
Tom: Before we have our finale, which is gonna be 'We Will Rock You' and 'We Are The Champions', can Brian, as you wrote, er, 'We Will Rock You', can we ask you about 'We Will Rock You', and then we'll go to Freddie for 'We Are The Champions' who wrote that one, so, Brian 'We Will Rock You'
Brian: Right, we have two kind of chanty songs in a way, 'We Will Rock You' was just an experiment, the thing it's, it's designed to simulate is the effect of an audience just stomping and clapping, and the singing and nothing else, so there's not supposed to be any bass or drums or guitar or anything, the guitar comes in the end and plays along with it, er, just an experimental thing really, and we're, we're waiting to see what's gonna happen on stage
Tom: Can I just ask you, has 'News Of The World' cost you more than 'A Night At The Opera' or 'A Day At The Races'?
John: It might in fact be less
Brian: It could be less, we spent less actual time, which was deliberate, we, we came back from a tour of Europe, which we hadn't done for a long time, we didn't mention Europe, but in fact we neglected Europe up until last year and we did a proper tour and came back and we had very little time left to make the album
Roger: It's really a new departure, you know, because it's, it's a, a more spontaneous album
Tom: Alright, OK, Freddie, 'We Are The Champions', I know you are but tell us about 'We Are The Champions'
Freddie: It's the most egotistical and arrogant song I've ever written (laughter, then a raspberry), you know
Tom: Was it, was it at all influenced by Elton John and Watford, or?
Freddie: Oh, no
Brian: An interesting thing happened, may be worth mentioning, when we, one of the best gigs we did on the last British tour was Bingley, which is new for us (Freddie: Bingley Hall) and um, we, we did an encore and went off, and instead of just keep on clapping they sang 'You'll Never Walk Alone' (Roger: 'You'll Never Walk Alone') to us, and we were completely knocked out and taken aback, and it was quite an emotional experience really, and I think these chant things are in some way connected with that kind of feeling really
Tom: Well gents, it only remains for me to wish you a very successful 1978, and to thank you so much for coming in
Roger: Thank you
Freddie: Thank you very much
Brian: Thanks a lot
Freddie: Thank you
Roger: Thanks, thanks Tom
['We Will Rock You' is played]
['We Are The Champions' is played]