Queen 'On Air': The Interviews 1986-1992


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Queen 'On Air'

Released on 4 November 2016, as part of the 'On Air' deluxe 6 CD set only.
Length 74:42.

Tracklisting:
1-11. Roger interview, 'My Top Ten' with Andy Peebles, BBC Radio 1
12-21. 'Queen For An Hour' interview with Mike Read, 'The Miracle' album, BBC Radio 1
22. Brian with Simon Bates, 'Freddie and Too Much Love Will Kill You', BBC Radio 2
23. Brian with Johnnie Walker, 'Freddie and the Tribute Concert', BBC Radio 2

 

Compiled by Greg Brooks and edited with Wilfredo Acosta
Mastering and audio restoration by Wilfredo Acosta at The Soundhouse Studios, London


This page includes a transcription of all of the interviews which were released on disc 6 of the 'On Air' deluxe 6 CD set, which cover the period from 1986 to 1992.

The set included two other discs of interviews, covering the periods 1976-1980 and 1981-1986, two discs containing all six BBC Sessions, and a disc containing highlights of three live shows.

Most interviews contain excerpts of tracks, which are shown in square brackets below. In general, these fade out shortly after the start, and then fade back in towards the end, rather than being full versions.


Roger interview, 'My Top Ten' with Andy Peebles, BBC Radio 1


Tracks 1-11. Total length 24:42.
This interview was broadcast on 10 May 1986, is divided into eleven parts, and features excerpts of 'All Shook Up' (Elvis Presley), 'I Am The Walrus' (The Beatles), 'God' (John Lennon), 'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere' (The Who), 'Desolation Row' (Bob Dylan), 'Voodoo Chile' (Jimi Hendrix), 'Jungleland' (Bruce Springsteen), 'Love Is What I Say' (INXS) and 'Oh Superman' (Laurie Anderson), but edits out Roger's seventh choice, 'Anarchy In The UK' by the Sex Pistols, which was played and discussed between 'Voodoo Chile' and 'Jungleland'. It begins with a radio tuning sound effect.

Track 1 Dialogue (2:10):
Andy: Hello, good afternoon, Saturday at 2 o'clock, that means 'My Top Ten' as our series continues, and this week we're in the company of Roger Taylor. Roger, thank you for joining us
Roger: A pleasure, nice to be here Andy
Andy: Nice to have you here, what are we gonna start with?
Roger: I'm gonna start with Elvis Presley, The King I suppose, one of the sort of first things I remember him doing as a very young kid, and, well I was a young kid, he wasn't, and it's 'All Shook Up'
[Excerpt of 'All Shook Up']
Andy: The late, great Elvis Presley and 'All Shook Up'. Roger Taylor of Queen with us in the studio for this week's edition of 'My Top Ten', Roger strange that you as a drummer should start with a track where there are only brushes on the drum kit
Roger: Yeah, and there's a funny tapping noise on the off beat, it's strange, I remember when I, I heard that as a kid, everybody used to say 'well I can't hear a word he's singing', I can hear every word now, just shows how things have changed I think
Andy: Do you still enjoy mucking about playing music like that, I mean do Queen in rehearsal behind the privacy of a rehearsal room ever fool around with songs like that?
Roger: Well, yeah, we used to do several old Elvis songs, in fact until fairly recently we would often play 'Jailhouse Rock' or 'Rip It Up', something like that on stage
Andy: He really did have a great voice, didn't he?
Roger: Oh yeah, I mean it's seminal er, rock 'n' roll er, delivery, voice, way, the way he did things, just yeah, he had a wonderful voice, a gift
Andy: Was he one of the people in your youth that began to influence you, and channel you towards the possibility of what you've been doing?
Roger: Absolutely, I mean Elvis's early records were, were the start of rock 'n' roll, along with Bill Haley, who I loved at the time, and of course Little Richard, who probably had a, as good a voice as Elvis, in a slightly different way, and I quite liked Jerry Lee Lewis at the time, I'm not so keen on him these days, but
Andy: What about you as a vocalist in those early days, I mean were your early impressions of the possibility of stardom aligned to a drum kit and the kitchen section, or was it vocals as well?
Roger: No, I didn't used to sing, I used to try and imitate the trumpet
Andy: Did you really, what a strange thing to do
Roger: (does a trumpet impression) you know, um
Andy: Very good
Roger: But no, I, I always wanted to be a guitarist really, so it's you know, frustrated guitarist I think

Track 2 Dialogue (4:11):
Andy: Well, we shall trace your musical life, I've no doubt, in the next hour, what are we gonna have as number two?
Roger: Well um, I always think of this as being a sort of Lennon thing, but it's, it's The Beatles, and John Lennon I think was my favourite writer, and possibly performer, and it's, the great, the sort of anthem for me of the psychadelic era, which is 'I Am The Walrus'
[Excerpt of 'I Am The Walrus']
Andy: The Beatles, who else, and 'I Am The Walrus'. Roger Taylor of Queen is our guest in the studio on this week's edition of 'My Top Ten', interested that you picked that, and perhaps not 'A Day In The Life', but you see that as being one of the anthems of the era?
Roger: Yeah, well it's, it's hard to pick between that, 'A Day In The Life' and ah, 'Strawberry Fields', but that for me has the edge, I love that bit of the afternoon theatre that comes in at the end, um, little bit of a Radio 4 play I think as they obviously whipped along the radio dial
Andy: Poor old Ringo got some terrible stick in his early days as a drummer, but I think by that stage he had by
Roger: Terrible stick, ahh, ah
Andy: Yeah, sorry about that, sorry about that Roger, I should know better in the presence of a percussionist, but, but that having been said, I mean it is true, he was lambasted by pretty well everybody, by the time they got to record things like that, I think he'd, if we can use the phrase, got his act together hadn't he?
Roger: Oh actually, I think Ringo um, did some very original things, the drumming on for instance 'Ticket To Ride' is, is a completely unique drum pattern, and it was very new, I remember trying to perfect that when it came out, and it's
Andy: You went for the Merseybeat did you?
Roger: Ah, well, yeah, I don't know about Merseybeat, but um, oh no, I mean I thought he fulfilled his role in The Beatles very well
Andy: Who were your major influences percussion wise in the early days of tampering with drum kits?
Roger: Oh, well I mean I used to listen to, God, Joe Marillo and people like that, and Buddy Rich
Andy: Ah, the Dave Brubeck Quartet
Roger: Yeah, that's right, Take Five etc, but um, I think really the, for real influence I think I'd have to say John Bonham more than anybody else, because he's still the best rock drummer that I've ever seen, in a league of his own, and er, you know, miss him, but his son, Jason, is coming on leaps and bounds, in fact he, he's now joined a band I produced last year called Virginia Wolf, and er, he's a real powerhouse
Andy: There are many, many strings to your bow, percussion wise and drum wise, interesting that you mentioned Bonham, I mean do you feel now that Roger Taylor and Queen, or if you like Roger Taylor with Queen, have a definitive drum sound that we expect to hear on records?
Roger: No, I, I hope not, because we've never tried to tie our music down in any one direction, um, which doesn't please everybody, but er, it pleases us, you know, it's nice to think that, the drums really are recorded differently on everything we do, hopefully to suit that particular song, or that particular time that we're recording in, so no I wouldn't say we do have any kind of recognisable drum sound
Andy: I remember coming along with a girlfiend of mine to see you at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester in the mid to late seventies, on a tour, and you had a massive collection of, of drums surrounding you, do you actually like that, it's a question I've often wanted to ask a drummer, as to whether they like something small, you know a small Gretsch kit or one of those twenty inch bass drums they used to produce in the sixties
Roger: Well, small was never a word that was in the Queen vocabulary
Andy: No it wasn't, was it (Roger: um), do you feel happy, I mean there's almost a sort of psychological thing I think about drummers hiding behind this huge battery of equipment
Roger: It's not Freudian, it's not Freudian, um, no, I, I don't know, it used to look good, let's face it, and yeah I mean I used to hit every one, at least once a night, um, um, no, no, I mean, I, I used to like big drums, because I used to like the sound of big drums, I never had, sort of had as many drums as, as quite a lot of other people, and, and these days I mean I try and keep it as simple as possible, and just the, the drums that will do the job most efficiently, you know
Andy: What sort of collection of percussion do you have dare I ask, have you got sort of garages full and
Roger: Well, I've got a, I've got a very large room that's sort of pretty full of different, different drum kits and timps and stuff like that
Andy: Do you play every day?
Roger: No, I don't, no
Andy: You shocker
Roger: I'm afraid not, yeah
Andy: You shocker
Roger: No
Andy: No practice pads over breakfast and all that?
Roger: Oh, good God no, no

Track 3 Dialogue (4:58):
Andy: Right, track number three, which once again is John Lennon
Roger: Um, yeah, well I thought his first solo album 'Plastic Ono Band', was um, just incredible, it was new, completely different, it had a tremendous influence on a lot of musicians I know, and it had a terrific influence on me in 1970, and I think the intensity that he reached on that album has never been reached on any other album I've ever heard, the general level of intensity, and I know it's, it's, OK it's a very serious sort of song, but I think the song 'God' is possibly one of the best songs on the album, so that's the one I've picked, and I think the sentiment's a great
[Excerpt of 'God']
Andy: John Lennon, The Plastic Ono Band, and that is 'God', and before that 'I Am The Walrus', the song that he actually mentioned in the lyrics of that later recording, it's lovely to hear that again (Roger: um, great). What was it you admired about him, I mean I always say the wit and the politics behind The Beatles, with respect to everybody else
Roger: Yes, a rapier like mind obviously, and his incredible um, he had a great voice, he was the best songwriter, um, great lyricist, great singer, you know, he had it all going for him really, didn't he
Andy: Um, and where did Queen actually rear it's head, at what stage of your musical career, how long had you been going?
Roger: Um, well we'd actually, we started I suppose, really in 1970, and we sort of, we didn't wanna go through the pub circuit and everything, and, or come up the hard way really, we wanted to get everything just right and then sort of burst all over the public, and er, which in a way is what we did, you know
Andy: Yes, and it paid off really, I mean
Roger: Yeah, well it took us three years to get a record contract, it's a tough business, it's a very competitive, tough business
Andy: What stage of that career was John Reid, Elton John's mentor, actually managing you?
Roger: Well, we didn't get involved with John until we'd had um, the three albums, the 'Sheer Heart Attack' album and the two before that, and by that time we were pretty successful (Andy: you were established) yeah, and er, in fact the first record that we had out under John Reid's auspices was 'Bohemian Rhapsody', so he came in at a rather neat moment really
Andy: Good timing by JR if I may say so
Roger: Yeah, yeah, yeah, but we had a good, you know, association with John Reid, and we're still very good friends
Andy: How does that song appeal to you or not appeal to you these days?
Roger: 'Bohemian Rhapsody'? (Andy: yeah). Well I mean can hardly say, I mean I was very proud of it at the time, I thought we were doing something very different and daring and quite almost comical, in the middle, I mean we regarded that as being rather amusing, um
Andy: But does it like so many songs in so many repertoires become a miniature millstone around a band's neck if you
Roger: Well, I suppose so, but it's, it's a sort of diamond encrusted millstone
Andy: Well, voted the greatest single of all time in numerous polls
Roger: Yeah, I mean, I'm still proud of the record, I, I think it's a fine record, you know, and so really no, I can't regard it as a millstone, it's something that we're very proud of really, and are still, I mean I still think it sounds quite good, you know (Andy: it does). I wouldn't say much for the clothes that we were wearing in the video, but, but er, the record still stands up
Andy: How did the chemistry as far as the individual contributions forming a whole unit come about in those days, I mean was it four men all putting in equal inputs, or was there somebody who led the band
Roger: Oh not really, not really at first, I think it's more that now, four men putting in equal inputs now, more than it ever has been, because I mean we all write the same amount now, um
Andy: But was there ever bickering over whose songs were gonna be put out, I mean, for instance, you have to your name the hit single of the moment with Queen, and you've had them in the past with things like 'Ga Ga' and all the rest of it
Roger: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, um, I mean there's not really much bickering any more, we do have arguments, sort of, just basically because we have differences of opinion about things, you know, um, and whoever thinks they're right obviously argues for them, but in the beginning I suppose really the nucleus started off Brian and myself, and then Freddie, and then Freddie's a very powerful, dominating character, and a great cake to work with, I mean he's great, just as magical to work with now as he was earlier on, and then John, and John's sort of gradually, as he was the new boy, um, became a force, you know, as he wrote more, and indeed I wrote more aswell, I didn't really write very much at first, I was just happy to, to be a part forming this, this band, you know, which we thought would work, and all the ingredients were right, you know
Andy: John always did come over, I think, I would be right in saying, my opinion mind you, in the early days as being the quiet man of the group, he just got on with the job
Roger: Oh, he's the sort of guy who would forget to tell you he'd won the pools that morning, you know
Andy: (Laughter) lovely line
Roger: I mean, he, he really would
Andy: That's one of the better lines we've had on this series of 'My Top Ten'

Track 4 Dialogue (2:01):
Andy: And a good cue for another record, and another fine drummer, God bless him
Roger: Oh yeah, yeah, God bless him, this is one of the finest performance bands ever, and they are of course British, as all the finest performance bands were really, and I was a mod, and this is the great forgotten Who hit in my opinion, 'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere'
[Excerpt of 'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere']
Andy: I quite agree with what Roger has just said, definitely one of the underrated songs from the repertoire of The Who
Roger: Yeah, I remember seeing them do it live on stage and the whole, very early in their career, and the whole concept of actually smashing up this equipment which I was saving desperately to buy, you know, was, the whole idea of that was very sort of rebellious and anarchic, which was great
Andy: I don't know, but I always imagine that Keith never went near a tutor, as far his drumming was concerned, did you ever do that?
Roger: No, I didn't, no never, um, I think self inspec-, in the rock 'n' roll side of music, I think self taught is really, is probably best, because, I mean, I think too many rules, I mean, I think rules are sort of, they shouldn't exist really in our form of the, the medium, and I think the fewer rules the better, and the more they're broken successfully, the better, you know, because the wider things get then, so I think, I think, I think it's quite important not to be tutored, if possible
Andy: But, if for instance I
Roger: If you can't teach yourself, I don't think you have the basic ability anyway, so
Andy: Sure, I mean I was just going to say, if I took you now down to Ronnie Scott's club in Frith Street, and stand Tracy who's sat at the piano with a bass player, would you be happy to sit down behind the kit and play jazz?
Roger: Um, only if they paid me enough, no
Andy: I mean, do you have the ability?
Roger: I, I used to play some jazz actually, with Brian, we used to play in the Imperial College jazz club occasionally, um, yeah maybe, if I was in the right mood, perhaps I, perhaps I wouldn't be in the right mood, I don't know, you know, it's a sort of feel thing really
Andy: Um, of course it is

Track 5 Dialogue (1:35):
Andy: You've picked something from Robert Zimmerman, Mr Dylan
Roger: Yeah, yeah, I've picked his, his, the longest, most um, self indulgent record he ever made, but it's got this magical spell that he weaves with his lyrics on this, which can, just shows you the power of words, it probably, some people it won't appeal to in the slightest bit, but I think people that enjoy, sort of webs woven with words um, could enjoy this, it probably sounds very old fashioned now, but the power of the words remains I think. It's about thirty five minutes long, so I presume we're only gonna play a little bit of it
[Excerpt of 'Desolation Row']
Andy: Bob Dylan, from the album 'Highway 61 Revisited', and if you'll pardon the pun, a kind of magic there, you see that little long song suddenly became something considerably shorter, for which I don't really apologise, just giving you a flavour. A wonderful writer, and I've been fascinated to note that he's been in London recently, working with Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics
Roger: Yeah, that's right, yeah, so it'll be an interesting combination to hear what comes out of that
Andy: How about you and production and the many sides of Roger Taylor because there are many sides these days, and I'm sure you're happy about that
Roger: Ahh, yes, I mean I, I enjoy, quite enjoy production, I only like producing things that I like, I mean I wouldn't do it as a sort of, as a job if you know what I mean, I, I've just been doing quite a bit, I did a band called Virginia Wolf, and I did a, a record with Fergal Sharkey last year, and a record with Jimmy Nail

Track 6 Dialogue (3:18):
Andy: Let us play a track now by one of the great guitarists of all time
Roger: Yeah, I mean, ah, he was the greatest live performer I've ever seen, and I know Freddie went to see fourteen of his gigs in a row when he first came over here, it's the Jimi Hendrix Experience with 'Voodoo Chile'
[Excerpt of 'Voodoo Chile']
Andy: Wonder how many people listening to us this afternoon happen to have a pair of headphones on, listening on the stereo system, if they are doing that, they'll have found that pretty interesting
Roger: Um, brain strangling guitar
Andy: Would you have enjoyed backing somebody like that
Roger: Oh yeah, magic, I mean, because his sort of majesty and grace on stage was something to, to watch, I mean it's quite amazing, he was an incredibly graceful performer, and
Andy: I don't want you to get me wrong, and I certainly wouldn't want Brian May to get me wrong, but I've often felt that continuing in that sort of fashion as an inventive exponent of an instrument, Brian May has certainly tried and succeeded with a tremendous number of tricks of the trade with guitars, I mean he does, and continues I'm sure, to have a fascination with what the instrument is capable of producing
Roger: Yes, Brian has done a lot, he's explored a lot of the possibilities of, of guitar, I mean he's done orchestras and jazz bands all on guitar, and a lot of it's down, he's got, he's got a lovely lead um, vibrato technique, and he's, it's a touch really, and a, a very, and a good sort of mixture of sounds I think
Andy: How quickly does the magic come back when the four of you sit down to rehearse, for instance for something like Live Aid, which was a resounding success for you
Roger: Well it's, yeah, it's better really when we actually get in front of an audience, that's when the magic really clicks, I mean if, if there's no audience there we find ourselves trying a lot, you know, and it just sort of, the sort of chemistry clicks, um, when we actually get in front of an audience somehow, and it all just clicks into place and seems to work
Andy: Put me on the spot and correct me and slap my wrist if I'm misquoting you, but working backstage as I did at Live Aid, introducing the bands along with Tommy Vance, we had quite a number of very interesting conversations with various people that were taking part, I got the distinct impression that some people had hardly bothered rehearsing at all, but I know for a fact, I think I'm right in saying, that you and the band had spent quite a lot of time actually getting that particular performance
Roger: Well, not a lot of time, but we realised we spent in fact three evenings, and I should think in all we played about an hour and a half each evening, um, really we realised that it was going out to so many people, it was such a great thing, um, well also we didn't want to make fools of ourselves, um, and we thought we'd, we'd have to distil into twenty minutes really um, the sort of basic essence of the band, which really means in terms of a sort of mass audience, getting the most well known songs over in twenty minutes, which is what we did really, and it was just a case of sort of rearranging them a bit so we could fit them into that twenty minute time slot
Andy: Are you now gonna sit here and tell me that a lot of it was ad-libbed, or was it very well organised?
Roger: No, no, I mean all the sort of audience involvement etc is obviously ad-libbed, and there's no choreography or anything like that, it's basically just learning the beginnings and endings, and, and how much of the song we're gonna do, or if we're gonna snap a song into another song quickly, that's really what we rehearsed, not the actual songs, or the actual performance, it's really the beginnings and endings

Track 7 Dialogue (0:11):
Andy: How highly do you rate Freddie Mercury as a frontman for a band?
Roger: There, there's none, none better, none better, he's great, he's, he's such a powerful character, personality

Track 8 Dialogue (2:09):
Andy: Well there are different ways of doing it in the music business, and um, here's a young man coming up next who came to this country some years ago, played an ill fated concert at the Hammersmith Odeon, um, accused his record company of doing the wrong thing, I think I've got it the right way round, and now is one of the biggest names in the business. Just how much of a fan of Mr Springsteen are you?
Roger: Well, um, I've enjoyed his music for ooh, a long long time, way way before he became famous, when was playing in bars around Jersey, New Jersey, and New York City, um, and it's sort of gone up and down and there's been a lot of hype in the meantime, but there does, you know, when it comes down to it, he's brilliant, he's a great performer, incredible, just incredible performer, and this is one of my favourite tracks of his, from the 'Born To Run' album, Bruce Springsteen with 'Jungleland'
[Excerpt of 'Jungleland']
Andy: Bruce Springsteen on a Saturday afternoon with Roger Taylor with me here in the studio, I think it's fair to say that's almost his 'Bohemian Rhapsody', I mean it's a tour de force isn't it
Roger: Well, yeah that and he's got a couple of others, I mean 'Born To Run', 'Rosalita', but, I really prefer that to some of the new stuff, he's getting a bit patriotic and Reaganised these days
Andy: Yes, it's a bit 'hello Ronnie here we are' isn't it, some of the lyric content
Roger: Yeah, it's a bit, getting a bit that way
Andy: Yeah, interesting observation
Roger: Flag waving stuff, you know
Andy: Interesting observation. Now then, your world travels have presumably taken you how many times to Australia?
Roger: Um, three, three times actually, we haven't got there as many times as we have most places but the time, a few years ago we went there and there was this great band who I saw live in Sydney, and they've since become the number one band in Australia, and I think they're gonna become the next sort of, I don't know, Doors or something, you know, of, of this age, I don't know, they could be really big I think, they're called INXS, and this is a little known track over here, called 'Love Is What I Say'
[Excerpt of 'Love Is What I Say']

Track 9 Dialogue (1:34):
[Excerpt of 'Love Is What I Say']
Andy: The music of INXS, 'Love Is What I Say', and you, in the fairly near future, are going to be working with them I gather?
Roger: That's right, yeah, we're doing two concerts at Wembley Stadium, and er, they will be the first act on in the day, which is great, because, you know, nice, and we also have The Alarm and Status Quo
Andy: Do you see that as an immense challenge, I mean you were there for Live Aid, you know all about big gigs, you've played them all over the world, but Wembley must be something special, particularly to a British band
Roger: Well it's, it's something, it's certainly not the biggest thing we've done, you know, but um, it's very special in this country, I mean I think it's the biggest gig in this country, and it is the sort of national stadium, so, yes it's really something, it's a big kick, especially doing two nights there
Andy: Is there one night, is there, is there one night above all others in the history to date of the band's, that stands out in your mind as being a truly magnificent experience?
Roger: I suppose, I don't know, there was one particular night when we did, or two nights actually in Brazil, when we played to a quarter of a million people, and er, who just turned up to see us, with no support act or anything, and it, sort of that was a bit odd to see this massive amount of people and it was sort of all hinging on us, and if we, God knows what we'd have done if somebody had broken a leg or something, but I don't know, I suppose the greatest day really was, was Live Aid, because of, because of what it meant to everybody all over the world, you know

Track 10 Dialogue (1:50):
Andy: It strikes me Roger that, that you and the boys in the band have had a career which so far has been up, up, up all the way, there haven't really been any big lows as far as success is concerned, you continually come up with product which is successful, which makes the charts here, in America, in all the right markets, is, is there a key to it, I mean, do you know what it is?
Roger: Um, I don't know, I think there's, more than anything, I'd say we all still believe in what we're doing, and I think the songs are good, and, and I know that sounds very simplistic, but I think it's true. Also, there's the fact that we've never changed our line-up, we're the same band that we were when we started, and that's very rare, and we haven't allowed anybody's ego to get so out of control that they, that they've, you know, they don't think the others are good enough for them or something, so um, I don't know, those factors I'd say are important, but um
Andy: And the diversification element's important, that you can go away and do other things, that Freddie has a solo career, that Brian can experiment, that John can do things
Roger: Yeah, I think that's very important, just for, just so we don't feel completely constricted and, and trapped within this sort of monster called Queen, so it is nice to go and do those things where you have totally your own say, and you get away from the others a bit, but then that makes it better when you come back really and work together again
Andy: I presume I'd be stark raving bonkers to imply that you're in touch with one or other member of the band every day of your life, I mean presume there are periods
Roger: Not every day, but we're in fairly constant touch with each other about things, you know, I mean my lawyer talks to their lawyers (laughs), no, I'm only joking
Andy: But there is a, there is a stage I'm sure you would admit to me where the business starts to get too much, where, (Roger: oh yes sometimes) you've hit the nail on the head, you want to be creative, you want to be artists, you don't want the hassles
Roger: No but I think we try and isolate ourselves as much as possible from the hassles, but, from all the, from all that stuff, but, and we really, really we think mainly about the music, you know we leave the business side to, to business people

Track 11 Dialogue (0:44):
Andy: Well let's finish with a creative person, who's had one huge success so far, and I hope maybe we'll hear some more of her because she's bright
Roger: This is, yeah, I know all of these records have been fairly old, but they are my top ten I suppose, um, yeah this, this, I think this lady she either really annoys the pants off people, or people love what she does, and I think she's pretty good, it's Laurie Anderson with 'Oh Superman'
Andy: Roger, thank you for joining us
Roger: Thanks Andy
[Excerpt of 'Oh Superman']
Andy: Laurie Anderson and 'Oh Superman', the tenth and final choice on this week's edition of 'My Top Ten' with our guest Roger Taylor of Queen. The programme was produced by Jeff Griffin, but now with the time on Radio 1 approaching 3 o'clock, let's go Stateside and get the latest...

'Queen For An Hour' interview with Mike Read, 'The Miracle' album, BBC Radio 1


Tracks 12-21. Total length 41:13.
This interview was broadcast on 29 May 1989, is divided into ten parts, and does not feature any excerpts from tracks.
A longer version, lasting 54:44, was released as a bonus disc in the 'Queen Collection' US boxed set in 1992, while short snippets were also used for the 1991 track 'Queen Talks'. The 'On Air' version loses a number of sections, and Freddie talking about Aretha Franklin has been moved to a different place. The broadcast version will have been edited further, to allow room for the various album tracks and favourites which were played.

Track 12 Dialogue (4:45): ('On Air' loses the dialogue in red)
Mike: Are you rolling in there? So August 1986 saw the last Queen gig, at Knebworth, did the band actually break up after that, was it a sort of decided thing between you, you thought right we will split, or did it just drift?
Brian: No, we didn't split up at all, in fact, we just said, we want a rest, because for the last, er, whatever it was, fifteen years, we've been racing around the world, and then coming back, and making an album, and racing around the world again. So we thought we'd just take a break, but still exist as a band, really
Mike: Did you decide that before Knebworth, Brian, or did you decide after the gig, let's, let's give it a rest for a while?
Brian: I think during that tour we thought, we decided that, is that right? If we can remember back that far.
Roger: Yeah, Roger, here, no, we, we, just sort of thought it was a natural sort of flow really, it was a very big tour, and it was very successful, and it was a natural sort of comma, so we rested really for a while, 'cos we thought after this, wow, let's take a rest, and it was a sort of unspoken agreement, wasn't it?
Freddie: Yes, absolutely, Freddie here (laughter)
John: I agree as well
Mike: He agrees
Brian: He's John Deacon
Roger: And that must be John, yeah
Mike: So, Freddie, the album 'A Kind Of Magic', did you think at the time we've gone as far as we can go for a while?
Freddie: Yes, absolutely, we wanted, ha, ha, ha, yes I think, um, maybe this sort of long, sort of layoff probably stemmed from me, and I, I just decided myself that I think if I sort of come out with it and say 'look let's have a rest', and by that I meant that, not just a little rest and then we go back into the studios, we wanted to sort of change the whole sort of format of things that we were doing and also give us time to do certain solo stuff, basically
John: You were singing with that big lady, weren't you
Freddie: Well I wasn't then, as you know (laughter) and it just sort of happened, really I mean, when were actually doing the sort of Magic Tour, I mean I had no inclination that I was doing, that I was going to do a solo, solo, sort of project with Montserrat, but I did have in the back of mind that I wanted to do, do something by myself, and I think, so did the other lads
Roger: Mmm, we'd had so many years, you know, doing the same things, yeah
Freddie: Yeah, yeah, yes, and so it was just a sort of breather, it was just a breather, and to do some things that we wanted to do without each other, but it wasn't a split, wasn't it
Mike: It's very, it's very lucky that you were all in agreement, because obviously with any band, the vocalist, at least for the media, tends to be a sort of focal point ish, and, with some groups it's difficult to maintain that balance, I mean, you're lucky the other guys didn't say, 'oh come on Freddie, for goodness sake, we want to carry on'
Freddie: It's because I think, I think we know each other quite instinctively now after all these years, and there wasn't anything like 'oh I want to go and further my career without you', it wasn't that sort of thing, just, just something that um
John: Space to do something else
Freddie: Yeah, I mean, we've been together now how, eighteen years I would say, seventeen or whatever
Brian: Oh my God
Freddie: I really think that if egos had sort of, if egos came into it they would have done that a long time ago, and we would have gone our separate ways and all that, I think it's just, after a while we get, we get, bored with each other, and then sort of, we need
Brian: Need a bit of space
Freddie: We need a bit of space
Brian: I think we've learned to give each other our space (Freddie: yeah) which helps, which keeps the balance of the band, it's very hard to stay together all that time really, in fact that's the number one trick, in a way, it's the secret, if you do stay together and you can still use each other's talents, but at the same time give each other some space to be individuals, I think that's the secret
Mike: John, are you, are you in sort of musical harmony, the four of you, do you all think the same, or?
John: No, not at all, no we all have different ideas, which is why we bounce off each other in a way, we all
Mike: Do you use them all, or I mean, do you still have to fight each other a little?
John: We do, but I don't know, we, we, we bounce off each other in the studio, don't we, I mean, all different ideas
Roger: Each other and the walls (laughter)
Freddie: We bounce each other off, yes
John: No, very different, you know, so that's what makes it interesting, I think
Brian: That's right
Mike: So John, what have, what have you been doing, since the demise of Queen, you're probably the quietest one
John: Demise? There, there is no demise of Queen
(Laughter)
Brian: Oh dear, we better not talk about that
John: It's a hiatus, a hiatus, perhaps?
Roger: A mere comma
Mike: We'll do it, we'll do it again, so it's slightly, it's, what have you been doing over the last couple of years, John?
John: Not a lot really, I've been on holiday a couple of times
Brian: We'll rephrase that won't we
Roger: I don't like that phrase, word, demise, do you?
John: No, I don't like that word demise, no, strike that, strike that demise, we'll have that out
Mike: The six demises have all gone, so
John: Er, I've had a, not a lot really, a couple of videos for Morris Minor And The Majors, and that's about it
Mike: And a big hit
John: Yeah, one of them was, yeah, The Stutter Rap one did well for them, yeah, and that's about it
Mike: Do you find other people coming to you to do things, I mean, being a member of Queen and
John: They usually want the money, that's what they're after
Mike: Do they want to be associated with you?
John: Yeah, if I, if, yes, possibly yes, sometimes
Mike: Brian, you've been ah, working with Anita Dobson (Brian: yes), um, a lady with, with a good voice, I mean, people obviously know her through Eastenders, and then thought, here's Brian May, musician, working with her, but she is a good singer though
Brian: Yeah, I've done a lot of things which people have raised eyebrows about, I'm afraid, but I've believed in all of them, yeah I did Anita's album, which I think is very, very musically good, and I did, I produced the Bad News album, which I thought was very significant in it's way
Roger: Very musically bad
Brian: Very musically awful, but totally right, I thought, and I've done, I've played with a lot of people, um, which previously I didn't have the time to do, because Queen's been a very closed unit over the years, so I found myself, you know, playing with Black Sabbath, and, jamming around with Def Leppard and people like that, which I've really enjoyed, and um, but for the time being I, my opinion is that I shouldn't be a producer, you know, I've, I've done a lot of producing, but I prefer to play and um
Mike: Is that where your main buzz comes, playing on stage?
Brian: Yeah, if I produce people I end up playing anyway, so there's always that thing, and I think that's what I do best, so I'm very happy to get back to that, and when the group started to make the album again, it was, it's nice to be back part of that team, there's, there's definitely a good feeling about it, and there's a lot of, we do have very different ideas, but there is a balance, and we argue and all that stuff, but out of it comes something pretty good, I think, always
Mike: When Bad News were around, a lot of people were saying that that was a sort of English version of Spinal Tap
Brian: There's a lot of parallels, there's, there's some differences as well, yeah, but I just think they have, well I don't want to get heavily into it, but I think they're very talented people, in the same way as I think our group is, you know, as a bunch of um, comedians who actually have something to say, so, I, I, it was a great project for me
Mike: Do you still experiment with guitar sounds, I remember a few years ago, doing a TV show with you, and you were playing with different coins to get cello sounds on your guitar, do you still do that?
Brian: Yes, um, yeah, but I still use the basic guitar setup, I'm not heavily into guitar synthesisers and all that stuff, the modern technology. We're into technology in the way that we put it on tape but I like the way the guitar sounds, and I suppose I'm more into the natural guitar sound than I, than I was in the past
Mike: Who are some of your heroes?
Brian: Um, well, it's gotta be Jimi Hendrix, and probably still Jeff Back, um, Clapton I think is very, very wonderful, a lot of people, I listen to everybody (Mike: OK), and Mr Van Halen, I think is, you know, of the modern guys, is exemplary
Mike: While you've been doing that,
Roger's been working very closely with The Cross, with your band The Cross
Roger: Yes, it, that was really when we decided to, to take a bit of a pause, um, I thought I'd like to get involved with another band, but in a different capacity, so I'm, I'm the sort of singer of The Cross, and it's actually, they're developing now into a very much democratic group, but um, but of course always, you know, Queen does take priority over everything, which is why it was nice to get back in the studio again and make an album with the four old (John: men) men
Brian: Four old hags that we call Queen, yes

Mike: You're, you're
Roger: This is the BBC's now, can't swear
Mike: You're opening, you're opening
Roger: I like Brian calling us a bunch of comics just now
Freddie: Comedians yes
Mike: I was gonna say, your opening track on the album, er, er, 'Party' and 'Khashoggi's Ship', er, is rather unusual, and where did the whole concept of that come from?
Roger: Well actually, that was, that was really I think, er, I think Freddie and Brian, I think I was having a skiing holiday at the time actually, and I came back
Brian: That's where it came from yes
Roger: I came back, and they had the ideas for, no I think Khashoggi's we were all there, weren't we, but er, Party arose when I wasn't actually around

Track 13 Dialogue (5:17): ('On Air' loses the dialogue in red)
Mike: So the, the album, Freddie, is called 'The Miracle', the track 'The Miracle' lyrically very interesting, I mean was that an idea of yours?
Freddie: Um, the lyrics no, actually I think that's one of the songs where we all contributed,
and um, wouldn't you say? I think, I think on this album, um, it's the closest we've ever actually been in terms of actually writing together and that's quite true. Before we've actually had individual songs, that we sort of, um, put about and bring to the other people, and the other, I mean, you know, the, the others would sort of, put their sort of bits in it, but I think from the start, these sort of tracks have sort of actually emerged by the four of us, so I mean, I think, it is, that's why I think this album's got nearly all tracks written by Queen, um, but lyrically going back to 'The Miracle', I think the four of us really put everything into it, because I mean, somebody would come in with one line and say 'oh that's, that's terrible' and change it, and so, in fact, I mean, in one way I hate that because I have to keep singing (John: the different lyrics) the different lyrics every day, until, until we sort of agree on, on, on the final one, but um, I'd say lyrically 'The Miracle' is, is a definite four, four way split, wouldn't you say?
John: Um, yes, yes, on this album, it's the most that I think we've ever done together in terms of music and lyrics really, isn't it?
Brian: Um, that's right
Mike: Was that deliberate, or has it just happened?
Roger: It was a sort of pre-agreed thing so, Roger here, um we did actua-, that was the idea, we weren't sure whether we could actually do it like that, but it did turn out pretty much that way
Brian: It was a major decision in fact on this album, which we've never ever done before really. I, I guess we decided fairly early on, you know, that if we were all gonna contribute to the songs, we would say in the end it was Queen that wrote everything. And that, that doesn't sound like a very big thing, but it makes quite a
big, big difference in the studio, because, you er, you have a tendency to get very possessive about your own songs if your name's on it somehow, and from the, from the start we said we're chucking everything in the pool, and it's all gonna be written by Queen, and so we probably, you know, as the others have said, you know, we actually got more into writing as a team than ever before
Mike: Is this gonna set a, a trend for future albums, did it work as well so you'll say let's do it again?
Brian: I think so
Roger: It's, it's very satisfying isn't it, because, ego, ego-wise, it, it sort of helps, I mean, because you know, you're not sort of saying 'oh, I want this one because I think my song's better', because if you're, if you're, sharing everything I mean, it's, it's more democratic in a way
Freddie: Also staying away from each other for a couple of years helps, you see, that's the reason, I mean, we, it didn't feel like, like sort of, work in a way that, because
after we took this long sort of, holiday, or doing our solo stuff, we decided that we'd only come back together if we really wanted to, and we felt that we really wanted to, and I, I remember, in fact, some of first, the first couple of tracks, the, 'Party' and 'Khashoggi's Ship', you're talking about, is something that we just came into the studio, and things just evolved, naturally, straight away, so we were hungry for it. And it felt like the early days to us, and that's how we got very sort of excited, and saying 'ooh yes this is going to be a good'... and out came a whole load of tracks which we had to, in fact I, I think I seem to remember that we, we had to choose from something like thirty tracks to get down to this last ten, which is quite good, it's a good year, a good crop
Mike: So what do you
John: Good vintage
Freddie: Good crop
Mike: What do you do with the twenty tracks left over?
Freddie: Well, they're still running about, I mean (laughter), they're there (John: they might escape), but I mean I think, in one way it was, it was quite hard to, to sort of sift through all of them and actually decide, in fact that's where all the rows came in, but I mean that's good, so we had to decide, a lot of people had individual tracks that they, they liked, and in the end we had to sort of say, um, because we, the one thing I didn't want to do was actually work on all, all thirty tracks, and I mean, it's so funny, um, Paul McCartney happened to be next door, and he sort of had a very similar situation, he said literally had about thirty tracks, but he said he'd worked on virtually all of them, I thought my, that's a very painstaking way of, I'd rather sort of do a little bit on all of them, and then sort of say, 'OK, we'll just work on these ten', and so it's basically making the decision earlier on, and I think that's what we did, but I mean that's not to say that the others are sort of sub-standard, I think there's, they might come across later
Mike: Do you keep those ideas around, and then when the next album comes up say, if we don't have better ideas, we use the good ideas we have?
Freddie: We tend to say that at the, at the time, but I think, I mean, it depends when we actually go back in the studio, but I mean like, we had ideas way before, and when we came to doing this, we didn't touch them at all, so there, there's still (Brian: that's right) a lot in the can from previous albums (John: and we had a few ideas) there's some really nice ones I think (John: really good ones) but we just seem to, we seem to tire of them very quickly, don't we? Once
Roger: You always want to something that's fresh (Freddie: yeah) don't you, and you want to sort of start again each time (Freddie: yeah, that's true), so we've probably got an awful lot of tracks lying around
Freddie: I do feel, yes, I do feel sometimes that's to our detriment, because some, there's some great ideas that we sort of forget, but we're always, we always seem to get very bored with certain ideas if they're lying around
Mike: I think that's the same, virtually, with any group or any act, by the time the album comes out and you've worked on tracks, you've had enough of them, but they're fresh and new to the public, and then you have to go round promoting them and you think 'oh, that, that's following me around that album'. Is that, I mean, is that a pain, I mean people always perceive it publicly is that, it shouldn't be, they say 'well, you've done the songs, you wrote the songs, you must like them'
Brian: Um, it's a double edged sword isn't it, you know, because the things which are popular are popular, you know, and it applies to us as well as the public in a way, I think. Am I making sense?
Mike: You are making sense
Freddie: Not to me
(Laughter)
Roger: I didn't understand a word of it
Brian: What I mean is, what I mean is, it's um

Track 14 Dialogue (3:22):
Brian: Continuing what Freddie says, you know, we had all this, all these bits and pieces of tracks, and some of them were half finished, some of them were just an idea, and some of them were nearly finished, and it sort of happened on it's own really, you know, there are some tracks which you always want to get out and work on, and so they get finished, and there are some tracks which you think 'oh that's great, but I don't really know what to do with it at this moment', so they naturally get sort of left by the wayside, so we actually didn't have an awful lot of decision making to do, it, it, a lot of it just happened, the tracks which are just bursting to get out somehow get out, due to sort of public demand within the group
Mike: Do you have favourites on the album?
Roger: Well I suppose everybody does, I think we, hopefully we, we, we pick the tracks that fit together best and complement each other to make a good album, but er, I don't know if I, it's all so fresh in my mind now I don't think I do have any particular favourites actually
John: No, I'll tell you in two years time (laughter) when I can look back on it
Mike: Why did you record the album in London, as opposed to going to Montreux and doing it in your own studio?
John: Well we did a bit in Montreux
Brian: We did some in Montreux actually, yes, um, so that answers that one doesn't it?
Roger: In fact
Mike: Why didn't you do all of the new album in your own studio in Montreux?
Brian: Well we live in London I suppose, and it's just um
Roger: Yeah, we wanted to be at home, I think (Brian: it's a lot easier) for a change
Freddie: And also, I think, it took a long while to, to, to get this far, and I think we, we get very irritable when we're in one environment, so I mean we, in fact, um, we used about three studios didn't we, and that's, that's a short amount, that's a small amount for us, normally we go round, I think it's, um, Montreux was good, (Roger: it was very good actually) but it lasted a couple of weeks and we came back
Mike: Climbing the walls
Freddie: Yeah
Mike: The, the track 'Breakthru' on your album starts off as though it's going to be maybe another 'Bohemian Rhapsody', the big choir and the full sound, and then sort of breaks into this sort of punchy drumming, Rog, um (Roger: thank you) was it, is it, is it your intention on some of these to surprise, when people are lulled into that false sense, the choirboys have hit you and then suddenly, in it comes
Freddie: Well, can I answer that one, yes (Roger: yes I was going to say), it's quite, it's quite, it's quite easy, it's a prime example of what we were talking about before, I mean, it's, the track 'Breakthru' sort of stemmed from Roger, really, it's basically his track, but um, the sort of a-cappella vocal bit in front was from somewhere else, and, as, like we were saying, we had sort of thirty tracks, that was a little piece that I thought was quite good and I didn't want it to go amiss, so I just said, well let's just put in front of that one, put it in front of 'Breakthru', so it's basically another song, but it seemed to sort of segueway quite nicely, so it's, it's just a snippet of something else, isn't it, I mean that's the truth basically
Roger: But it sort of lyrically works (Freddie: but I, I don't think it was actually, yeah) so it was a nice, a nice interesting little, just you know, mix to it
Mike: Because to anyone listening, they would think it's part and parcel of the same thing, to you, you must think for a while, those are those two bits put together
John: But for now it's just a whole piece
Roger: I think you know whether they work or not
Mike: Yes
Brian: Yeah, there's been quite a lot of that, because we wanted to distil as much of the ideas that we had into the, into the album, so it has got very compressed in a way, there's quite a few examples of that, and obviously you only put things together when they make sense, but strangely enough, if you're all together working on particular ideas, the ideas do tend to mix very well, because I suppose, you know, you're talking about it and things come out of that

Track 15 Dialogue (0:57):
Mike: So the album is very Queen as well, I mean in the last two years, you haven't really allowed too many outside influences from anyone else to come into the album, it's very much a Queen album, isn't it
Roger: I think it would have been very silly if we'd tried to, to sort of say, end up sounding like Prince or whatever's happening at the time, I mean I think we have to stick to our guns, and um, I think, and really make an album of the kind that we feel that people wanted from us, um, you know, we are there to sort of please people with, with the music, and I think this is the, this is that kind of album, um, so no it's not fashionable really, and it's not, er, it's not heavily influenced by outside sources, I think it's, it's very us, and it goes right back to our beginnings in many ways, you know, and there's a lot of guitar on it (Brian: oh yes), Brian's playing better than ever actually (Brian: thank you), a lot of real playing you know, back, back to live playing in the studio
Mike: OK, I'll come back to the album in, in a moment

Track 16 Dialogue (6:09): ('On Air' loses the dialogue in red but adds the dialogue in blue)
Mike: Freddie, Montserrat Caballe, you had a great success there, um, one always got the feeling that although you're enjoying it, and you obviously like opera, that you're also having a wonderful laugh inside as you're doing it and thinking 'this is outrageous but I'm enjoying every moment of it'
Freddie: Ha, ha, ha, quite true actually. It's like a tidal wave, hoo, hoo, hoo. It was, it's quite ridiculous wasn't it, actually at that point I wanted to do something totally different, and I think it all sort of, it snowballed, really, because I really didn't think that she was going to, sort of, accept my sort of offer, as it were, and to cut a long story short, at first I actually thought it was only going to be the one track, but she said let's make an album, and I thought my God, what am I going to do now? And so I was sort of stuck and I thought, you know, you just don't turn the super diva down, you know, and um, so in one way I think it was good, because I didn't have that much time to think about it, but then having said that, I spent a year trying to make sure that, um, and I was very nervous, I must say, and sort of, you know, she put me about, ha, ha, and er, but it was such a different thing to do, for me to do, and I'm glad I did it, because I mean it's, sort of, very nerve wracking, totally different, totally un-rock 'n' roll, and, and something that really required a lot of discipline, but I'm glad it's over actually, and don't ask me if I'm gonna do another, another album, because I'm not
Mike: I wasn't, what I was, what I was going to say was, do you need the, the discipline, do you feel that you're liable to get undisciplined, you need that to peg you down, to keep you pushing yourself?
Freddie: Well you, yes, well you do, because it's a kind of discipline that was totally different to me, was totally new to me, I mean you have to sort of, I mean you can't, I mean I had to write all the pieces, with Mike Moran, and it was different, I mean, I, I didn't know her way, I didn't know er, what, what she was used to, and, and she's coming from a totally different world, and so I had, I realised that I was learning so much while I was actually sort of with her, and so I had to do things in a very, very different way, it's very hard to sort of explain, but, it's not like rock 'n' roll, I couldn't work with her instinctively, because I mean, I, with Roger, Brian and John, I mean, I know over the years, you know certain things, and it's easier, but it was total, totally new sort of box of tricks for me, and so I, I was sort of feeling my way at the same time, as well as, sort of, trying to understand how she recorded, how she works, how she breathes, and how she, what kind of stuff she likes, so I mean while I was writing away I was sort of trying to find my way, to make sure that she liked the pieces, and if she didn't like it, she'd tell you, so I
Roger: You, you taught her some things though, didn't you?
Freddie: Well yes, I mean there was sort of, the recording techniques were different, I mean she was used to just coming in, sort of, doing her bit and running off, and I said, no, no, no, you don't do that anymore, and she said well I'm not used to that way, and I said well, and so I was teaching her sort of, that no, you can, you can sort of, sing differently, and, she, it's a different world she comes from
Mike: So no touring the country with her in a fifteen hundred weight Commer van, or anything like that?
(Laughter)
Freddie: For my dresses, yeah? (laughter) no, no
Mike: Have you got any, any ideas to, is there anybody else along those lines you think as a real flyer, I'd like to do something with them?
Freddie: Er, you mean, um, to do a duet with somebody else?
Mike: Yes
Freddie: Well Aretha Franklin was one,
but I mean, she's, she's, I can still, um, she's still, I can still see her as part of my world, but I mean with Montserrat, I mean I just didn't know where to start, basically, I mean. I, I must say, it was something, it was like a flippant gesture from me to start it off with, and I, I really thought it would never come to any sort of fruition, and when she accepted I just, I was dumbfounded, so then I thought my God I'd better put my money where my mouth is, and, but I'm glad that I did it, it was a, a totally different adventure, you know, which I don't think would, will ever happen to me. I'd like to see, I'd like to, see, um, other rock and roll singers try things like that, you know, and see if they can get away with it
Mike: They probably couldn't get away with it Freddie, but you did
Freddie: There you are, I'm wonderful, aren't I?
Mike: Yes, absolutely (laughter).
So talking of all time favourite singers, Freddie, Aretha Franklin, would one of her singles be one of your all time favourites?
Freddie: Yes, I think, 'Natural Woman', I mean she's got so many singles and tracks that, that I like, I love the 'Amazing Grace' album, I don't know if you know it, it's a double sort of gospel one, which I play from time to time, and get loads of inspiration from, from that, but 'Natural Woman', anything by her really is great, and that's, I'm mad that George Michael did a duet, I could have done it better (laughter) but no I think she has
Brian: Ooh
John: Oooh
Roger: Course you could
Brian: What, you and George Michael?
Freddie: Mind you, having said that, having said that, I think George Michael has a very good voice, I think he's one of the other, sort of, singers that I like, Robert Plant is the other one, but um, so I mean it's either Aretha Franklin, um, 'Natural Woman' or George Michael with 'Careless Whisper', yeah, lovely track
Mike: How would you, if you wanted to do something with Aretha, how would you approach her, because the man in the street would think, well Freddie, get on the phone and say 'Hi Aretha, Freddie here, how about singing together' but obviously it doesn't work like that?
Freddie: No, after Montserrat, I think those big mammas, I mean I'll sort of leave them (laughter) I should leave them for a while, I mean I'm glad to get back to the rock and roll bit with Queen, but I think um, I don't know how I, I mean I, you know, I'd do my best with her, and just sing, I mean with Aretha, I'd do something, sort of, gospelly, 'cos I mean we do, I like to do certain, which we have done, you know with Queen, sort of gospel overtones, I mean, 'Somebody To Love' had that say. I'd love Aretha to sing 'Somebody To Love', actually, that would be a nice thing, if somebody approached her and said try that. But, um, no I mean, I mean, trying to sing with her, um, I don't know, she hasn't approached me yet
Mike: I'm sure she will

Mike: The visuals for that of course were absolutely, er, stupendous and over the top, as they have been for various Queen videos and things in the past
Track 17 Dialogue (6:38): ('On Air' loses the dialogue in red)
Mike: For the new album, do you have any over the top visual ideas? You must do, obviously
Brian: Well, I think, probably yes, but for the time being, the first video is, is meant to be very un-gimmicky, we wanna just be a band out there and be seen as a band again, which we thought was important, so the, I think the gimmick store, I don't know if gimmick is the right word, I think the um, the large spectacle stuff will be absent from the first video we do, we just wanna be a band on stage
Freddie: You don't know yet, Mallet's doing it
Brian: Mind you, with David Mallet, yeah, what can you say? Cast of millions it could turn into
Freddie: He's fab
Roger: You're expecting the Cavern, and you get the Place De L'Concorde or something else
John: We have a strong visual for the cover of the album
Mike: Which is what?
Freddie: Well the radio listeners will have a good time here (laughter)
Mike: Well we'd like to hear your description of the cover, John
Roger: Holding it in front of the microphone now
John: Oh, I can't describe it, no I can't, but it is unusual, and different, and you'll have to buy it to find out
Freddie: Good one
Mike: Ooh, very sneaky
Brian: I could describe John Deacon's hat to you at this moment
Mike: Talking of rhythms, as we were, earlier, the um, on, on 'Rain Must Fall', very much a sort of Latin feel, that sort of samba come funk feel, Roger
Roger: Yes, that's, that's a sort of a bit of a mixture, that's a, a mish-mash really, there's sort of quite machine like in some ways, but with sort of African overtones
John: And a lot of overdubs on top
Roger: Yeah, there's a lot, there's a lot of sort of percussion on top that I did, on top of that one, so there's all sorts of things happening, but they made me take most of it out of course, to make room for the guitars
(Laughter)
John: And the vocals
Roger: And the vocals, yeah, yeah

Mike: The, er, going back to your group, The Cross, um, December '88, big party at Hammersmith Palais, where you played
Roger: Oh yes, yes, in fact that was a sort of Queen Fan Club, um, Christmas do, yes, it was a sort of, er, party, and we just, we sort of went on and did a fairly spontaneous sort of forty minute set, just short set, it was good fun actually, and then Brian came on, and er, and er, we did a sort of blues set, it was good fun all round, yeah
Brian: Great fun, yeah
Mike: So you have to let off steam in some ways when you're not working
Roger: Yeah, oh yes, I mean that was just, that was just purely letting off steam, and er, we thought everybody would, maybe enjoy it, and have a good time

Mike: Do you do that at home, when we see the album coming out and all the rest of it, I mean, do you get together privately? I mean, obviously you all, you all get on very well, I mean you're obviously soul brothers that need to spend a bit of time apart, but like each other underneath, do you get together socially at all and play, or jam?
Brian: We get together socially, we don't often play together to be honest, we more often play with other people strangely enough, but I suppose that's normal in a way, no, we see quite a lot of each other socially, yeah, probably more than we did in the sort of mid-period where we drifted apart, I'd say, I think we're very much back together, and it's, it's very corny, but it is like a sort of family in a way, and particularly when you, you know, you go through dodgy bits of your life, sometimes the group is the, what you regard as the centre, you know
Roger: Yes, it seems to be a sort of anchor, in, in, well in my life, in our lives maybe, you know, it's always been there, for, for so long now, eighteen years or something, as Freddie was saying, and it's, I don't know quite what life would be without it, you know, as a sort of, fulcrum or something. But we don't really jam when, when, if we do see each other, you know, 'cos that would be sort of like getting back to work, you know, so it is either work or sort of social, I suppose
Mike: While you've sort of had a couple of years sojourn and doing other things, er, have there been anyone when you're listening to the radio, or listening to new records, that you've thought 'hey, they've come through and they are great, I love this group', I mean, as you've become maybe radio, radio listeners, record buyers, whatever?
John: Bananarama
(Laughter)
Mike: Yeah, was it the harmonies that appeal to you John is it? Their three part harmonies?
John: Well it could be, yeah those vocal unisons are something that are
Mike: It's quite incredible to get three people to sing in unison on a record isn't it?
I hear an enormous edit, but never mind
(Laughter)
Mike: We can use that for the Bananarama special (laughter) the Bananarama special
Brian: Yes, it's our tribute to Bananarama
Roger: Bananarama, yeah
Mike: What about some of your favourite songs, I mean stuff from your collection, or things that you like. John, one of your favourites is 'Veronica' maybe I suspect not just because of the song, but because you ought to like it
John: No, no, no, no, no, no, the reason for this is I was told before we came in today we had to choose a song, and I said well I don't know what to choose as a favourite song (Roger: it's the rolling pin for you mate) so I said well I better choose that one because it's my wife's name, and it's got Paul McCartney playing bass, which is quite nice
Brian: Cor
Mike: Was Paul your favourite bassist as you were learning?
John: No, he's, he's very good, but he wasn't necessarily my favourite when I was a young lad, no
Mike: Who were some of your bass influences?
John: Um, I actually used to like Chris Squire when I was quite young, I used to go and see them playing with Yes, and er, who else was there... the guy who used to play with um, Rory Gallagher, he was quite good, Hugh McCracken
Roger: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah
Brian: Mmm, mmm
Mike: He was good actually, I saw him at the Marquee, very good
John: Yeah, but lots of different ones, Paul was very good as well, not bad, you know
Mike: So Veronica, just so we can get it clean because we're gonna play the track anyway, er, I believe 'Veronica's one of your, your current favourite singles
John: Well yes, it could be, yeah, they play it on the radio at the moment, I've heard it
Mike: And because it's your wife's name
John: It is yes
Mike: That'll edit really badly, but never mind, I'm sure we'll play the song anyway
Producer: Mike,
Mike, can you get Freddie to say his one when you talk about
John: Can we have a break?
Mike: Yeah, well we (producer: can you do Freddie, and then) yeah, well we'll, yeah well we'll do them all
Freddie: We'll come around, well I might change my mind by the time it comes round
John: I know
Mike: That's right. So talking of all time favourite singles and singers, Freddie, Aretha Franklin, would one of her singles be one of your all time favourites?
Freddie: Yes, I think, 'Natural Woman', I mean she's got so many singles and tracks that, that I like, I love the 'Amazing Grace' album, I don't know if you know it, it's a double sort of gospel one, which I play from time to time, and get loads of inspiration from, from that, but 'Natural Woman', anything by her really is great, and that's, I'm mad that George Michael did a duet, I could have done it better (laughter) but no I think she has
Brian: Ooh
John: Oooh
Roger: Course you could
Brian: What, you and George Michael?
Freddie: Mind you, having said that, having said that, I think George Michael has a very good voice, I think he's one of the other, sort of, singers that I like, Robert Plant is the other one, but um, so I mean it's either Aretha Franklin, um, 'Natural Woman' or even, or George Michael with 'Careless Whisper', yeah, lovely track
Mike: How would you, if you wanted to do something with Aretha, how would you approach her, because the man in the street would think, well Freddie, get on the phone and say 'Hi Aretha, Freddie here, how about singing together' but obviously it doesn't work like that?
Freddie: No, after Montserrat, I think those big mammas, I mean I'll sort of leave them (laughter) I should leave them for a while, I mean I'm glad to get back to the rock and roll bit with Queen, but I think um, I don't know how I, I mean I, you know, I'd do my best with her, and just sing, I mean with Aretha, I'd do something, sort of, gospelly, 'cos I mean we do, I like to do certain, which we have done, you know with Queen, sort of gospel overtones, I mean, 'Somebody To Love' had that say. I'd love Aretha to sing 'Somebody To Love', actually, that would be a nice thing, if somebody approached her and said try that. But, um, no I mean, I mean, trying to sing with her, um, I don't know, she hasn't approached me yet
Mike: I'm sure she will

Mike: Brian, what about your favourites?
Brian: Um, well there's loads of guitar stuff that I would cite, I suppose, you know, but um. You want me to say the favourite record?
Mike: Well, you can, you can lead round to it
Brian: Sorry, a deathly silence there
Mike: You can, you can ramble round to it, ramble round to it and end up with that one, I think that's probably a good idea
Brian: Well, well I'll wrap it up in the right things, um, yes my favourite record when I was growing up was, was Smoky Robinson record and 'Tracks Of My Tears', The Miracles, and I think it probably still is, because um, um, to me it doesn't matter what the record is, is made up of, it's whether it grabs you or not, you know, and that for some reason just has it you know, the way he reaches out and sort of grabs hold of your heart is, to me, what pop records are all about, and so I, I would still say that one really
Mike: Roger, I believe one of your favourites is one John Lennon wrote, that was inspired by a two-tone police siren
Roger: Yeah, that's right, that, dee-dee-dee, that's the, yeah, um, I don't know, I just find that 'I Am The Walrus' by The Beatles is, it's very difficult to name one song, but I think that's a sort of surreal masterpiece in song, and what he did with the lyrics, with those sort of Lewis Carroll type in many ways, but with those lyrics was marvellous, and the, and the sound textures on the record are wonderful, and it's got hidden depths, and I still hear different things in, in the record each, each time I hear it
Mike: You turn the end up just to catch the spoken word to see how far it goes
Roger: That's right, that's right, catch the Radio Four play at the end which comes in, yeah, as they go down the radio bands yeah, it's a wonderful record
Mike: OK, going back to the album, and the track 'My Baby Does Me', which we're gonna play next. How did this one, I mean how does a song like 'My Baby Does Me', and a sound, how it does it start?
Brian: You have to look over to that part of the table to, to find out (Mike: tell me, Freddie), the is one from Freddie and John

Track 18 Dialogue (1:23): ('On Air' loses the dialogue in red)
Mike: Freddie, how did, I mean 'My Baby Does Me', where does that sort of emerge from, you've got nothing at all to start with
Freddie: Well
John: You came up with the bassline, which you made me play, yes?
Freddie: No I thought you did it
John: No, you came up with it
Freddie: Oh, well, I think that song stems from John and myself, and I'm Freddie by the way, um (laughter), it was just something I, I seem to remember that we, we were trying something, I wanted something a little more relaxed than the way the other songs were going, and I thought we're getting so involved and they're very heavy, and there was so much sort of, there was a lot of guitar input in some songs, and I, I felt that we, we didn't have something that was quite sort of, a little bit more pristine, a little bit more, sort of, clear headed, and, and not too involved, and so we decided, I, I thought let's just go for something quite straightforward, and something that's, that we hadn't, that we hadn't got in, in, in the batch. Am I making sense? No I'm not actually
John: It is very different from other tracks on the album
Freddie: Yeah, so we, we decided that we should have something with just a very easy backbeat, and something very listenable, and I don't think it was going to go on the album at first, we just decided that that would be a nice breather at the, at the end of the second side
Mike: It's probably the most basic song
Freddie: Yeah, that's, that's the word I was looking for, and so we kept, kept that in,
but um, apart from that there's no sort of, wonderful, um, idea behind it
Track 19 Dialogue (9:45): ('On Air' loses the dialogue in red)
Mike: How did you decide on 'I Want It All' for the first single, again, is that democratic, do you all sort of write on a piece of paper
Freddie: It was a huge shit fight
Brian: As I say, out of the whole process of making an album, choosing the first single is probably the hardest bit of all, it's always really dreadfully difficult to know what to put out, yeah, I mean it's really difficult, so I suppose yes it was democratic, we also tried to get a few other people's input, you know, people in the business, friends, people in the record companies that we work with the whole time. And in the end you never know if you've made the right decision really, you probably never know, you know. Um, we just got some feedback, I suppose first of all from America, that maybe that would be the right thing for America, and Germany, um, I think the, the territory we were least sure about was England, because you have this thing where um, you know, Radio 1 has a certain sound, and if you don't fit into it, you can be worried that you, you don't get, get, get a look in, you know,
so we, we still
Mike: That can be a, yes, that can certainly be a negative thing with, with radio that, that dominates a country, where you've got one national pop station, um, which it does, yeah, (John: radio) Radio 1, yeah, that's what I'm saying (John: plug) if you are (Brian: which we are on, I have to say), there's no need to plug our own station, um, no, where, where do you get that, that type of (Roger: we hear the jingles all the time) of a station getting a sound, um, I think it can be quite worrying because if you're making your own music, you don't want to tailor it to fit into that, into that sound, (Brian: mmm, yeah, that's right) yet at the same time you want it to reach people
Brian: Yeah, we always had the idea that we really wanted to, to lead people to somewhere new, rather than fit into what was going on, but it's always a risk, and so, I mean there are other tracks on the album which would more easily fit into, for instance, Radio 1 programming, but we felt we would rather put forward a certain atmosphere first
John: It's very difficult, we all had different ideas of what the first single should be
Brian: Yeah, it's not easy
John: Yeah
Roger: Yeah, though I think
Mike: I think it's very, it's very sad hearing someone say 'fit into Radio 1 programming', because it (Brian: well you are kind), yes I know but I mean, I always think that, if the music's good it's good, if it's not it's not, wherever it comes from
Roger: Unfortunately I don't think that's the case though in this country, I mean it, the music might be good, but I think the quality of the music doesn't seem to bear any relationship to whether it, it gets played or not (Mike: I agree) quality is not the, the, the thing it's judged, the yardstick it's judged by, as Brian said it's got to fit into that kind of thing, and strangely enough, the record we chose for our first single doesn't really, it isn't, it's certainly not Stock, Aitken and er, thingy, um
Brian: And we may be making a huge mistake folks
Roger: But it's very us, but it's very us, and it might be a mistake, you know, and we will know if it's a mistake if it's not a hit
Brian: Who knows
Freddie: You can't, you see,
you can't please everybody (Roger: no you can't) and that's what we want to do, it's to please as many people as possible with just the one single, and that's why I mean, I think Queen have always been, you know, versatility that, that we like, and there's, and we have four sort of songwriters, and we all write very different songs, and I think the only way to get that is by buying the album, and then when, when, when we're left with the choice of one, it's very difficult, and I think that sometimes we seem to do it in a way that we have like four singles all ready to go out, and they're all sort of different, one after the other, and that's how, I think, one would say that in the end the way to get across that is to have four singles, one after the other, and then you'll get the idea, but I think basically, I would say, it's the album that one should listen to, and I think (Roger: yes, yeah, yeah, yeah), I think that it's, this is just breaking the ice, it's just, in the end you have to just say let's go with the first single, and then, and then, out will come the other three
Brian: It's funny, it brings back memories of years and years ago, because we always did say that, you know, people asked us what we were about, and we used to say, you have to really listen to the whole album, because that's what we're about, and we always were sort of an album group I suppose (Roger: yeah), even the very, very early days, we used to say please, you know don't judge us by a single, listen to the album and, and find out the whole balanced picture of what we're doing
Roger: But I remember lots of people telling us not to release 'Bohemian Rhapsody' because it was commercial suicide, because one it would never get played on the radio, because it wasn't suitable, and two it would never get played on the radio, because it was too long, and we stuck to our guns, and we didn't cut it down, and we released it as it was, and luckily it sort of went, the story went the right way, but um, it could have gone the other way, you know, I mean we could have disappeared
Mike: I'm sure most people would be surprised to think that, that you're actually still worried about it, being a major band for so long, they would assume that you'd be blasť and think, 'well, we hope the album goes to number one, we expect the single will be a hit', er, but seemingly not, because you must be worried about it, you're obviously worried about it to a certain extent
Brian: We care a lot, still, it's just the same as the early days, it's just the same, you know, you want people
Roger: Maybe that's why we are still going
Brian: That's right, you want people to hear what you've been doing, you know, it matters a lot, yeah
Mike: OK, the song 'Invisible Man', was any one of you
Brian: Ask Roger, yes
John: Roger
Mike: Roger, are you 'The Invisible Man'?
Roger: No, no, um, I wish I was, er, sometimes I wish I was, um no I'm to blame for that one, sort of, but then everybody came in and that went through quite a few changes, due to everybody else putting in different bits, and restructuring it, etc, etc
Mike: Did the idea of the lyric come from anywhere?
Roger: I, do you know I can't remember, somebody was asking me the other day, and I, I, couldn't, can't remember where the idea did come from, I think it came from a book I was reading, but er, and it just seemed to fit in with a sort of, a, a, a rhythmic pattern I had in mind, and er, it sort of came there, from nowhere really
Mike: OK, and 'The Miracle'
Brian: You told me you were in the bath one day and, and singing it and there it was, Rog
Roger: No, I think that was Fred's line about something else
Brian: No, you said, in the bath you said
John: That's 'Killer Queen' wasn't it?
Roger: That was Crazy Little Thing, wasn't it?
Freddie: 'Crazy Little Thing', that's, true story
Mike: We seem to have fairly extensively covered the album, their own tracks, we have enough there I think easily for an hour, I think maybe a little, a little trailer from everybody saying 'hi, this is Bob', 'hi this is' you know, 'Stephen'
Producer: That'd be great for the programme, yes, OK, and your favourites, and er, wonderful stuff I must say
Jim Beach: And we've let it run on a bit

Producer: Just, do you wanna keep on, on going, sort of, you know, just chat, about plans for the future, (Mike: we'll talk about other groups) plans for the future, and whatever you know, and let's just go, go for it (Mike: yeah, OK, alright), good momentum building up actually
Mike: Is it, oh golly, we'll keep going then, oh, oh, don't let it go now, we might win something
Producer: Champagne will open in a minute
Mike: Oh, fine OK
Freddie: There are other tracks, I mean
John: You've missed the last one
Mike: I mean, it's an hour special
Roger: Yeah, I was gonna say that
John: You haven't mentioned 'Was It All Worth It'
Roger: 'Was It All Worth It'
Mike: No but, we can, we can only get so many tracks in sixty minutes. There's chat, your favourite songs, and a little medley at the beginning. Which is, we'll mention it, we can always change tracks. Which is your favourite track from the album, John?
John: This one, I don't know, it's difficult to say at this point because we've just finished
Mike: No, we haven't the tape's still rolling
John: No, we've just finished making it (laughter) we've just finished making the album, and at this point, you cannot
Mike: What was the one you were just about to mention was one you liked?
John: Oh, 'Was It All Worth It'
Freddie: You do like that one
John: I do like that one, yes, it's, it's the last track on the album
Brian: That's why he likes it
John: Well yes, it has a semi-autobiographical feel about it
Mike: Whose autobiography?
John: Well the band's
Roger: Ours really
Mike: All of you?
Roger: Yeah
Freddie: You included if you want
(Laughter)
Mike: Thank you (Roger: on spoons). What about plans for the future, are you going to tour?
Roger: (laughs) I'll pass this on to the next person
Mike: Have you asked each other yet whether you're gonna tour? Would any, listen, would any of you like to tour?
Freddie: Well I wouldn't, I know they're waiting for me to say.
At the moment, I don't think I'd like to tour, it's, it's going in, oh dear, it's going back to the thing about, I wanted to, to break the format, and, and, as far as I'm concerned, I've been in the studio for two years, I mean having done the Queen album, and just before that, the Montserrat album, and I just think it would be, for me, it just wouldn't be right, I just feel it would be back to exactly what we said we wouldn't be doing, and I think it's just a matter of time, I think we've just gotta wait and see, and then if, if, if something comes up and then we decide that we want to tour, we will do it, but I didn't want, personally, to tour on the same pretext as before, that here comes an album, so we go, besides, I mean, we've just as far as I'm concerned, we've done all those big venues and everything, we've got to think of something different
Mike: What is the new, I mean everyone tours, and then they stop touring and then they make albums, er, so, is it time for people to sit down and come up with a new concept of putting yourself over to people?
Freddie: Well I think it's up to the individual, and I think as far as Queen is concerned, my,
um, outlook on it is, is, is that, is that we have to think of something new, and at the moment nobody's come up with anything, and I just don't
Mike: The, the nearest being Jean Michel Jarre, maybe?
Freddie: Well, I don't mean that way, it could, it could mean, it means
Brian: Who?
John: What does he do?
Freddie: It just means stepping outside of Queen, (John: lights, and fireworks isn't it) and things like that, which is what I did,
I mean, OK, and I wanted to, I mean otherwise
Brian: Oh that guy who mimes, with lasers
John: That's the one, yeah
Roger: Imagine that
Freddie: Otherwise we'll grow too old, you know and I'm, going back to the Montserrat thing, I'm glad I did that, I would never have had that chance
if, if, if, if we'd kept the ball rolling, and it kept, 'cos at the moment, I mean, over the last years, all we've done is a, is a studio album, or an album, per year, and then you tour, and you go round the world, and then by the time you come back you think of, of the next album, you've got to, I think, for us to get to this level, for us to actually sit here and talk to you about this new album, I think we would never have sort of arrived at that if we hadn't taken that two year off, I think, those two years off (Roger: um, yes, it probably wouldn't have happened), I really do, it's actually, sort of stepping outside of Queen, doing something, and saying we miss Queen, and that, that we want to come back and do something, is, is why I think this album sounds so fresh
Mike: While you all still look much as you did when you started, I mean none of you have aged an awful lot since you started
Brian: Oh, Mike, you're so kind
John: Oh, Mike, oh
Mike: I'm lying (laughter), no, while you look
much the same as you did when you started, have you thought about doing a definitive film, the Queen story?
Brian: Well, there is a thing out there, there is a whole sort of video anthology of sort of the history of Queen out there in three extremely long volumes (Roger: Meryl Streep in it)
Mike: Yes, I mean as an actual film
Brian: And Jack Nicholson plays me (laughter)
Freddie: Do you mean that, that we actually participate actually in the acting
Mike: Yes, that you, that you play yourselves in the story of Queen
Freddie: Oh, how boring
Roger: Oh, no, I think that would be absolutely horrendous
Freddie: Start taking acting lessons and things like that
Mike: What, to be yourself
Freddie: No, in being a sort of, you know, actually go and,
what to be directed by, I don't think anybody, none of us have any sort of big ideas, I personally don't want to be a film star, and things like that, I mean, I know (Roger: snap) there's Sting and people like that, I mean if we wanted to that, we would have done that a long time ago
Mike: What do you want to do?
Freddie: Well, I just want to be a boring old fart and carry on like we are (laughter)
Roger: Actually, it might sound strange this, because I know, I think, we've built a lot of our reputation on our live stage act, but I think until we are ready to sort of, ah, to, to, to maybe perform again, you know, so that all of us are ready, that, you know, maybe, we won't, but hopefully we will, at some point, I'm, I'm waffling aren't I?
(Laughter)
Freddie: It's, it's, it's a delicate subject
Roger: I, I, know it sounds a little odd because, and we know there's a big demand there for it, but I think the time will come, and we'll choose the right time, hopefully
Mike: Do you need to be hungry to do it, or not?
Brian: No, I don't think it's a question of that really
Freddie: I need to be, this is Freddie talking, you see, this is it, you, you're talking to four people who have very, very different ideas, and very strong individuals,
and I, and it does need four people to actually want to do it, and if one person doesn't want to do it then you can't, and I'm afraid, I think I'm the actual spanner in the works at the moment, and I'm being very honest in, in saying so
Mike: What, that the others would like to tour?
Freddie: Yes I think so, yes, I'm the one that doesn't want to
Mike: Do you they hate you for it?
Freddie: I dunno, I don't give a damn actually, what, what they think, it's just that I don't want to do it, and I don't think I'm letting them down or anything, it's just,
I think after all these years, I think you have to sort of believe in, between the four of us you have to believe in each other, and if one person doesn't want to do it for something, and if he has a grievance about it, I think one, I'd, I'd, I'd do the same if say Brian suddenly didn't want to do it, I mean if one of them didn't want to do this album we'd have to agree, because I mean there's no point forcing somebody, especially after (Roger: it wouldn't have happened), especially after these years, it would be so awful, it's like you say, are you hungry, and I, I agree, you have to be hungry, especially after all, all these years to do whatever we've done all these years, otherwise we'd be, I hate, I don't want to bring up any names, but I'd hate to do that sort of slogging thing for the sake of doing it, I mean we don't need any more money, actually to be honest, so we don't do it for the money, but I think we do it for the music, which is, I know it's a boring thing to say, but, because we still have the music in us, and I think, every now and again if you stay away from it you think my God, I wonder how people, are they still going to accept us, and things like that, that's still there, so the hunger has to be there, and I really don't think this album would have come about if we weren't still hungry for our own music, so I think we have to be interested in our own thing, I mean we're, we're very happy with the way things have come out, and I think we, we would only have done it, there was a time when I just thought after about two or three months, I thought it was all going to sort of disband, meaning, come to pieces, and we were going to disband this project, but, we, we carried on. So I think, from my point of view, I think, and it's much, it's harder now, than it ever was, I think we really have to want to do these sort of things
Track 20 Dialogue (1:27): ('On Air' loses the dialogue in red)
Mike: So how do the rest of you get rid of the frustrations, as the three of you maybe would like to tour, do you then think, 'oh we'll have to go and play somewhere else
Freddie: Well he has
Mike: Yes well you're playing with The Cross
Roger: Well I mean, I, I've sort of played with The Cross, and I really do enjoy that, that's a real outlet for me, and it's also different, as I say, I'm not the drummer in that band, so that's very interesting. I mean, I can, I can live with that, and er, you know everybody has their own way of thinking, we,
we've always done things that, that we've all wanted to do, and we can't, you know, possibly go on tour if one of us isn't keen, you know it wouldn't, it would be us cheating, really, so, there we go, you know
Mike: So what, what about future projects for you Roger, anything coming up?
Roger: Yes I hope to do another Cross record at some point, um, it's, not sure exactly when, and ah, we'll see what happens there, but
in the meantime, you know, I hope, that this Queen record is well accepted, and er, it'll be interesting. This a very funny stage, we've just finished the record, and so we don't really know, we're a little bit shell shocked, you know, we've been in the studio for a year, and er, so, it's probably not the best time to sort of ask us, because we've got no retrospect on it, no perspective on it
Mike: What about you Brian, plans for the future, anything that you want to get your teeth into?
Brian: Um, well, I've, I've had a solo record on the cards for a long time, I've done a lot of stuff for a solo record, I just haven't quite got it in the shape that I want it yet, and um, I suppose I've got a taste for um, for um, for being a front man as, as well as a, a guitarist, I mean, um, I enjoy it, I mean I found when we got up and, you know, with, with Roger and John at the Queen convention thing I got up, and I just enjoyed being able to sing a bit, as well as to play. I'm not a singer, but to have the freedom to be able to put ideas forward with the voice as well as the guitar was a good feeling, you know, so I don't expect to play Madison Square Garden or Earl's Court or wherever, but if, but I would quite enjoy just doing some clubs, um, singing and see what happens, you know, because I feel like I've got something to say on my own, as well as with the group
Mike: Do you ever have any feelings towards getting a small blues band together, for example?
Brian: Well I suppose I've come close, some of the stuff that I've done for the solo project is like a kind of blues band, it's funny you should say that, yeah, and I suppose I'm a bit closer to blues than er, than maybe the rest of the band, I don't know, I, I get a, a kick out of that, I feel sort of close to home doing that sort of stuff, so we'll have to see you know, and I'm a great admirer of what Eric Clapton has done with his, with his career, and he's managed to get all his playing, er, ability into the stuff that he does, and he has a lot to say, you know, so I think as a model I couldn't choose someone better than Mr Clapton

Mike: Right, John, any more Morris Minors in the pipeline, or?
John: Yes, there is one, I'm afraid, um, yeah, er, but apart from that, er, I have, I have no plans at the moment. We've just spent a whole year in the studio, we're absolutely, I feel actually quite exhausted by it. I mean, it's been a long hard slog, and even doing this interview is worse, but
Mike: Come on, you've had a nice skiing holiday in between
John: Ah well, it was five days, six days (Mike laughs) that was, that was more exhausting than being in the studio, um, so at the moment, I, it's like take a break, going away for Easter with the family, and then see what happens, but I have no plans at all after that
Mike: John has no plans
John: Well, no not really no
Mike: Oh right, nice
John: I'm open for offers, I'll put an ad in the Melody Maker
Mike: Well you should have said, it is classified (laughter).
John Deacon, seeks gig, (producer: Hi Paul, can you hear me?) no hippies, no buskers
Track 21 Dialogue (1:30): ('On Air' loses the dialogue in red)
Roger: Individually, or?
Mike: Well, just, just, a load of waffle, and then Paul can spend a week cutting the trailer up. OK. Well, normally of course, I don't like Mondays, but this Bank Holiday Monday is going to be an exception, because, ah, we have four Queens for an hour, and they are
Roger: Roger Taylor here
Brian: Brian May
John: John Deacon
Freddie: And Freddie Mercury
Mike: There we are, told you
Roger: Join us
Brian: The boys from the Queen
Mike: Er, we'll do a few more bits
Producer: Just,
once more please, what you were saying, 'the boys from the Queen'
Brian: What's the er, title of the show again?
Roger: Queen For An Hour
Mike: Queen For An Hour
Brian: Queen For An Hour
Mike: Normally of course, I don't like Mondays, but this Monday is going to be different, because we have four guys who are going to be Queen for an hour, and surprisingly they are
Roger: Roger Taylor, drums
Brian: And er, Brian May
John: John Deacon
Freddie: Freddie Mercury
Mike: Told you. Trust me!
Brian:
Ha, ha, ha. That's got you ain't it
Mike: Go on, Freddie, say something
Freddie: Oh I see, I thought you were going to lead me in
Mike: No, no, no, you just, you just go in your own time there. We can use all this. Go on Freddie, say something
Freddie: Hello
Mike: Oh sorry, sorry, sorry, go on Freddie say something
Freddie: Hello this is Freddie Mercury, I hope you like some of our new tracks from an album called 'The Miracle'
John: Hello, this is John Deacon, you're listening to Radio 1, and we are with Mike Read
Brian: Who is going to be Queen for an hour, this is Brian May
Roger: And this is Roger Taylor, join us, on bank holiday
Mike: I'm not the Queen for an hour, but they are
(Laughter)


Brian with Simon Bates, 'Freddie and Too Much Love Will Kill You', BBC Radio 2


Track 22. Length 5:51.
This interview was broadcast in August 1992, and features an excerpt of the Queen version of 'Too Much Love Will Kill You'.

Dialogue:
Simon: Twenty one minutes to eleven, er, talked to Brian May last week before he went on holiday, and a well deserved one, it's the first holiday he's had in three years. Let's talk now about the decision process and how do you decide, if you're someone like Brian May, what becomes a Queen song, what becomes a Brian May song
Brian: Some of them along the way nearly became Queen tracks, I mean a lot of the stuff I've written over the last few years does go that way, obviously, and there's a great temptation to do that, so there's a few songs, like for instance 'Headlong' or um, 'I Can't Live With You' which might have ended up on the solo album, if the timing had been different, you know, but while the Queen vehicle was there it always seemed worthwhile going for it, you know, once you give a song to Freddie, you know, it becomes something else, you know, and the band in general, you know, there's such a chemistry there that in giving away a song to the band, you actually gain more than you give, you know. I always gave the best stuff, I think it was, it was always nothing but the best for the band, yeah, that's the way we were always working, which now doesn't happen, yes, because we don't have a band, yes
Simon: One of the things which was extraordinary about Queen and about the people around Queen was the protection that you all provided for Freddie which I think was fantastic
Brian: Yes, we lived very effectively didn't we (Simon: yeah) and I totally stand by that
Simon: I think it's something which you should be very proud of
Brian: Thanks, I appreciate it
Simon: Um, and so should Freddie, because he's got friends
Brian: Yeah, absolutely, and we respected his way of living, and I think it, it totally worked for him, um, he was a very unusual guy Freddie, he really was, I think even more unusual than people realise from his public image, in that he was so in control of himself, I've never really met anybody like it
Simon: What do you mean?
Brian: Well he was um, I think most of us respond to the stuff which was put into us in the first few years of our lives, you know, and we fight to escape from being the things which our parents expected us to be, you know, or our friends, or whatever was going on at that time, and I think very few people ever escape, to the point where they are their own person, and I think Freddie actually did it at a stroke, you know people go on courses to do this, est and all that stuff, you know, and sort of self realisation, and Fred in his own very simple and direct way just decided at one point 'I ain't gonna be what anybody else wants me to be, I'm gonna be what I want to be', and he had an image of himself he wanted to be, he wanted to be this Mercury person, you know, and he became it, at the age of about, I don't know, twenty, twenty to twenty two, something like that
Simon: So you saw this happen?
Brian: Absolutely, yeah. I think he became, and he, he was so single minded, and part of, you know, his way of dealing with his death was part of that, he decided that this was how he was going to do it, he didn't want any fuss, he didn't want any sympathy, or any special treatment, he just wanted business as usual until it stopped, and that's what he managed to achieve, and we um, we er, helped him to achieve it. I think he's a, he's a great example, I just hope I, I die as good as that, you know, and live as good as that
Simon: It's interesting when you talk to Brian May about Freddie Mercury, sometimes he's in the present tense when he discusses him, he'll say 'Freddie does this' and 'Freddie is that', and then suddenly he'll correct himself, and he'll put Freddie in the past tense, and that's something that came out of our conversation about Freddie
Brian: It was, it was a traumatic period yes, in many ways, yes
Simon: Are you able yet to put it, and adjust to it, and, and, and judge it now, or can't you stand back yet?
Brian: Um, I think it's on various levels. In one way, I, I suppose you, you make a decision, my decision was that I was going to plunge into work, and that was going to be the way I was going to deal with it, and I've always found that's the best way to, to get through traumas, so on one level, I'm going on alright, you know, and I'm, I'm functional, but on another level down there somewhere, I haven't quite got used to it yet, there's still points where people will say to me something about Freddie, and I'll think 'yeah, he'll' and then I'll think 'no he won't', you know, he won't be there, and it's, there's a sort of jarring that goes on, because he was, it's like a member of the family really, it's like a very close member of the family, because we were together for most of our adult life in one way or another, yeah, and it happens most, actually I suppose most in the studio, because that's where we were, where I was closest to him, you know
Simon: Very hard, how long will that take do you think?
Brian: I don't know, I suppose it will always be there in a way, in some ways I feel quite positive about it now, I've got to that point at least, you know, because I think his influence, I think I appreciate more his influence now than before, because we used to, I mean the band as a whole always fought about everything, you know, so sometimes you would grudgingly give each other credit for things, you know, and um, but I feel sort of freer to, to recognise his influence on me now than perhaps I would have been before, you know, before I might have said, no, no, no, no, you know, I, I was the big influence on him, and he was a big influence on me, but now I, I feel very free to say yeah, I mean a lot of stuff that I do is actually motivated by things that happened with Freddie
Simon: Ah, there's the Brian May version and there's the Queen version
Brian: Eventually you will hear a Queen version of this song actually, which is hidden away in the archive somewhere, because we did it, yeah, um
Simon: Who sang?
Brian: Freddie sang it, yes and it's great, it's wonderful, it's very, very different from this
[Excerpt of the Queen demo of 'Too Much Love Will Kill You']
Brian: And I think um, you know both versions will see the light of day eventually, and people can make their own judgement, you know, but what I wanted to with this version, I mean we did the other one very much on the lines of um, the way Queen are able to do things, you know, it all the breadth and the dynamics and a lot of power at the end, as you would kind of imagine the song you know, would, would benefit from

Brian with Johnnie Walker, 'Freddie and the Tribute Concert', BBC Radio 2


Track 23. Length 2:49.
This interview was broadcast in October 1992, and features an excerpt of 'Back To The Light'.

Dialogue:
[Excerpt of 'Back To The Light']
Johnnie: The title, great ending there, the title track to Brian May's new solo album, in the chart. Does it sort of mark a, a crossroads in a way of being able to put the past behind you, it's been a difficult time the last few years?
Brian: Yeah, in a way
Johnnie: And in a way, you do feel in a way you can get back to the light, and be a bit more optimistic
Brian: That's right, it really does help, it's like a sort of therapy thing I suppose, and it does get all of that stuff out of your body, and onto a piece of plastic, yeah it's, it's great for me, I've very pleased, and I hope that I can kind of be more free to move on because of that
Johnnie: What about the future though, for you and Roger and John, is it, do you still have to regular meetings, in a way, do you not about
Brian: Yeah, well we like having meetings anyway, we all get on very well, you know, and um, it's complicated, um, there are certain things we can do, you know there are a couple of tracks which Freddie sang on, which we can finish, maybe there's enough for an album I don't know, so when we feel like it, which is not yet really, I think we'll go and have a look at that. But as regards going on a stage, the three of us without Freddie, it's, it's a much more sort of tricky area, I'm not quite sure, I mean my instinctive feeling at the moment is that I wouldn't want to do it, um, but I guess, you know things can feel different in, in later years, I don't know what will happen, you know, I was talking to Mike Rutherford the other day, and he said 'well, we didn't think we could go on without Mr Gabriel', you know, but it's not quite the same, you know, it's really not the same, Queen could never really have that spirit without Freddie
Johnnie: What, what do you think Freddie would have wanted?
Brian: Er, I think he would have wanted us to get up, and get out, and get on with life in a way, in whatever way we wanted to, that's definitely what I feel, and he actually said as much to me, you know, he heard some of my solo stuff and he said 'get on with it Brian', you know
Johnnie: The tribute concert was a massive undertaking, and a way, was it yourself that sort of began the process that ended up with that huge concert?
Brian: Um, it was the three of us, actually Roger made most of the phone calls
Johnnie: You've been whizzing around Europe doing, on the promotional trail
Brian: I have, I've been having extreme death by promotion, yeah, this is where they sit you in a room in Amsterdam or something, and wheel people in and out and they say 'Brian, so how did you boys get together in' and you go 'ohhhh'
Johnnie: Well, I'm really glad you asked me that, because I've never told this story before
Brian: Exactly, it's wonderful
Johnnie: And up to, yeah, up to three cities in one day sort of thing is it?
Brian: Yeah, we really went for it. Well I figure once you devote a piece of your life to doing it, you might as well do it properly, so that's what we do. It's actually quite nice for me because I've been kind of stuck away for six years unable to tour, and you don't see much of the world, you know, you get used to, in the first part of our career we did it all the time, and it's nice to get out and meet people, and get a reaction
Johnnie: Thanks for being with us
Brian: Thank you, cheers Johnnie
Johnnie: Brian May. BBC Radio 1 FM, at four thirty

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