Interviews: Brian May: BBC Radio 1 '00
Mary Anne Hobbs Interviews Brian May Transcription by JenX
Special Guest Brian May's Choice:
Queen - We will Rock You, Van Halen - Best Of Both Worlds, Rainbow - Since You've Been Gone, Foo Fighters feat. Brian May - Have A Cigar, Guns N Roses Welcome To The Jungle, Beatles - I Want To Hold Your Hand, Led Zeppelin - Kashmir, Buddy Holly - Think It Over
Plays: WE WILL ROCK YOU (Queen version)
Mary Anne Hobbs: Queen, the track of course is We Will Rock You and there is a very specific reason for playing that. It's because Emma and I, we do like to deliver a Deity to you on this programme....
MAH: on a pretty regular basis, and tonight the man...
Brian: (in Goonish voice) The Deity 'as been delivered.
MAH: the man chuckling over in the corner is Queen guitarist, Brian May, and we're absolutely delighted to have you with us.
Brian: Oh, cheers Mary Anne. Yes very... I'm very happy to be here. Pleasure.
MAH: Yeah. So of course you're in this evening to talk about the Mission Impossible II soundtrack.
MAH: .. and the collaboration, of course, with the Foo Fighters, which we'll come on to - and you're also gonna play some of your favourite records for us and that was one that you selected yourself, wasn't it, We Will Rock You?
Brian: Who was that band? (laughing) Yeah, its the only one, the only Queen track I selected, (silly voice) cos I thought, you know, should throw one in. But, um, it makes me happy the track's still... you know, cos it still has a life of its own. I think I get a copy from somebody whose sampling it or rejigging it every week in the post.
Brian: Which is great - it has a real life out there, and you know there's gonna be, there's a new version with 5ive coming out.
MAH: Yeah, well of course
Brian: Ah ha.
MAH: You were spotted lurking about on stage at the Brit Awards with 5ive, weren't you.
Brian: (laughs) That's right, yeah - lurking. Yes, I was lurking. But, you know, they're good boys and what makes me happy is that um it can get to a whole new and different generation, so.
MAH: Come off it. You've always dreamt of being in a Boy Band - that's what this is all about.
Brian: Yeah, I know, I did a "5-minutes-of-being-a-pop-star" again, So... (laughs).
MAH: Is that record coming out as a single then?
Brian: It is - next month. Yeah.
MAH: Great stuff.
Brian: Its a new mix. I got into co-producing it with them in the end. I think its really good. I mean I actually think its a good version and it takes the song to a new place. I'm very happy about that.
MAH: Mmm. So we begin this evening, or well the second record I should say that you've chosen is Van Halen.
MAH: A track featuring the second vocalist in the band, Sammy Hagar.
Brian: Yeah. Yeah. I was down there. Sammy had only just joined the band and I was down there with Ed, who I see sometimes. You know, we don't like, talk to eachother every week, but I see him a lot and I hugely respect Van Halen. I mean he's one of those few people that you don't want to be playing a guitar with studio most of the time, he's just completely...
MAH: The duels are very bloody, are they?
Brian: Awesome. Ah, no, he's a wonderful, wonderful player, you know. But I was down there at Eddie's studio and they'd just put a few tracks on while they were making this album, just to play me, and I made a terrific blunder, which I'll admit to now, 'cos he put this track on and I said 'Oh is it that old Celebration track?' and Ed went "(pause) No." There was this horrible silence and I just thought "I wish I hadn't said that", um but it is kind of like the Celebration track, but what a wonderful piece of, you know, total guitar and that meshing between the drums and the guitar that is totally in gen, cos they're both brothers, you know, and because they're both shit hot. Ur, its wonderful I think. You know, no frills. Rock and roll really,
MAH: Brilliant. Let's hear it.
Plays: VAN HALEN - Best Of Both Worlds
Brian: Hum. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
MAH: This is just indulgent, isn't it?
Brian: Even here you can hear like Eddie and Alex just beading with eachother, can't you. Totally locked.
MAH: Beautiful. Van Halen. The track is "Best Of Both Worlds" as selected by my very special guest this evening on the Radio One Rock Show, Brian May of Queen.
Brian: Thank you Mary Ann - I'm having fun.
MAH: That's good. Can I tell you a story?
Brian: Uh oh! Yes.
MAH: This is about my first, ever experience of Queen and Emma insisted that I told this to you.
MAH: My very first Queen album that I bought was Jazz and I was 14 years old, and when I got the album home - and I bought it at the local toy shop which was called 'Mear's Toy Shop' and I got it home and inside was that incredible pull-out with all the naked girls....
MAH: ..on bicycles and as I said earlier in the programme, I came from a very very tiny village, on the ledge, on this little ledge on the edge of the Pennines, and I'd never seen a naked woman before in my entire life. Never.
Brian: Not even yourself?
MAH: No - well I was a girl at that point...
MAH: .. and I really thought... (both laughing) ...records at the time, I also should add, were banned in my house and I thought...
Brian: On no!!
MAH: ... I should be beaten to death if my father finds this pornography in the house.
MAH: It was extraordinary.
MAH: That was my first experience of Queen. But I have it on pretty good authority actually - I have to find out whether or not this is truth or folklore, that you borrowed a load of bicycles to actually do that shot and when they were returned to that shop...
Brian: (sharp intake of breath, and chuckle)
MAH: ... the saddles had to be exchanged - every single saddle on the bikes.
Brian: Wow. I think somebody made a lot of money out of all that. I don't know. It was nothing to do with me.
I don't think we'd get away with that these days, and quite rightly so, actually. I don't think I would do that anymore. You know I hate to be a spoil sport but I wouldn't, I wouldn't feel right about doing that these days. I mean it was done in the best possible kind of ... it was kind of fun, you know, and everybody was involved - the girls were all into it, you know. But um - I don't think I would do that now - strangely enough.
MAH: I tell you what...
Brian: It's just having respect - isn't it, you know?
MAH: Yeah. We we, when we said you were coming on this programme, we've been absolutely deluged emails from a lot of the listeners and what these emails appear to indicate is that many many people in your audience today are incredibly young - really, really young, and there's one here from:
Stephen Epsom, who says:
"I'm only 19 but I find listening to Sabbath, Maiden, Queen, Zeppelin and Floyd far more interesting than....."
and I quote....
"Limp Dick Dick Crap"
in inverted commas.
MAH: I think he's referring to Limp Biscuit. I mean far be it from me to speculate, but....
Brian: It might not be... it might be other referring to other things. I'm guessing here. Yeah. I thought there was going to be a different list of names there. Ha Ha Ha!! We shall see.
MAH: (laughs) Are you surprised about the fact that you still seem to, you know, attract such an incredible amount of attention from such a young audience though?
Brian: I've sort of got beyond being surprised at anything to be truthful with you, um, and the vagaries of fashion are completely unpredictable, you know, and, and for the last few years the fashion in sort of day time radio has been utterly incomprehensible to me. Um, so its always a nice sort of warm feeling when I walk out into the street and I meet real people who are genuinely into what we do, because where would they hear it these days. You know they won't hear it on Radio One in the day time but [enthusiastically] they will hear it here!! You know and they won't hear it on any of these stations, you know, these erm ... so people have to have a really a mind of their own to get into this stuff and I think it is rewarding, I mean not just my own band and my own music know, but, but that whole kind of 'um genre of sort of 'thinking man's' rock music is there to be enjoyed and its a wonderful world I think.
MAH: Mm. Are there any particular new bands that you're listening to at the moment? Brian: Ummmmm -
Brian: I have as a matter of fact. Yeah - yeah, yeah, yeah ... I like the ways things... You see a new band to me is Supergrass and I'm sure they're not very new, but I like them, you know. I think there's a lot of creativity and stuff there [sharp intake of breath] Ummmm... that's not very new though, is it really? I probably don't get out very much and more and a lot of the time I spend in the States, so I tend to hear more new stuff there than here, and um, I only get to hear it here by word of mouth - somebody will actually put a CD in my hand and say "Listen to this", and that's the only way it happens, really I suppose. Actually Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters has done a lot for me in in getting me into new stuff, which is great, but um...
MAH: We've got that record coming up very shortly but um, first you've chosen Foreigner.
Brian: Foreigner? Did I? Oh no, no - well its not really Foreigner...
MAH: Oh no, its Rainbow.
Brian: Its Rainbow - yeah, yeah, yeah.
MAH: .... I was talking about - yeah.
Brian: Foreigner did the cover version.
MAH: Yeah they did.
Brian: Two thousand and fifty-three.
MAH: So what have you picked for us tonight and why?
.....GAP for tape return (check back here later).......
Brian: And really was one of the world's most wonderful drummers, um and influenced all of this generations's drummers, drummers of course. Um.... partly because I think its a totally um vintage, wonderful sort of epitome of what um a good rock pop record is all about ..um.. and of course I knew Cozy very well and it, and I always think about him when I hear it. We did it on tour with him. We also after he went, sadly in his car to another world - we did the track as a tribute to him on the last tour that I did around these parts. Um - I remember him telling us about it when it came in, cos it was a pop song from from some girl group in America. It was just brought into them and their Rainbow. They're like [silly voice] heavy met-ul. You know, they're macho group - you know they're not supposed to do pop music (laughing) - but they all listened to this and went: "Yeah - OK - we could do this" huh, and they, they they did like two or three takes and like just nailed it, and um of course the guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore, is one of the world's most kind of unpredictable talents you know - and he's, he's an amazing guy to see on stage - or he certainly was in those days and I'm sure still is now though I haven't seen him for a while - and um - this solo is something very off-the-wall. I mean the whole thing just reeks of, of class in my opinion. It gets me excited still. Its vintage wonders.
MAH:Um - magic - let's hear it.
Brian: (laughs) Don't let me drivel on any more.
Plays: RAINBOW - Since You've Been Gone
MAH: Rainbow. The track is Since You've Been Gone as selected by Brian.
Brian: [in northern accent] - Eh, them wer't days.
MAH: So let's talk about this new collaboration with Foo Fighters then.
MAH: A tune for the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack.
MAH: And I have to confess, they have been on this very programme and um..
Brian: So I hear.
MAH: Yeah, they did say they were giant Queen fans, and were having some trouble digesting a curry. Certainly Dave Grohl was...
MAH: .. cos he was sitting next to you and he did confess that every 10 minutes he started to panic inwardly and he was going [high pitched voice] "Oh my God I'm sitting next to Brian May from Queen - oh oh God, he's taking some of my naan bread". And he said he was hyper-ventilating and trying to sort of, you know, calm himself inwardly so that he could maintain some decorum at the table but was finding it tricky, so we know that there's been contact there before.
Brian: (laughs) Well he does a good job of hiding it, Dave, he's very cool you know, but Taylor makes no attempt to cover it whatsoever, and he's totally excitable. Um. I, I love those guys. I mean, I think they're brilliant and they, they have so much talent, and they fight like little boys. You know - they fight like brothers. (laughing) I don't know why they're not brothers, they they act like it. Um - yes I remember that [clipped Indian voice] 'cur-rie, yes I remember that.'
MAH: Yeah, yeah. So many many people are asking - we've got hundreds of emails literally that have come in asking how did this particular collaboration actually come about?
Brian: Well to be honest it was more for the fun of it than anything else. I mean there was this reason, there's a sort of a hook to hang it on - it's gonna be in this film, Mission Impossible 2, but really we did it cos it was fun. And Taylor rings me up and leaves me a message on my answering machine every week, going [Taylor Hawkins excitable impression] "Brian its gonna be a first, gonna be incredible.... [tails off incomprehensibly]" and he's totally excitable and um, and he was talking about this for age. You know: "We wanna do this thing, and you've heard the B-side. Let's do another version. We wan' you to be on it and its gonna be be incredible. (laughing) Um - we just....
They came down my house, which was great, cos I have my studio down there. Normally its fairly quiet down there but they came down and invaded and we had a brilliant weekend just kicking stuff round and doing this track which was really no effort whatsoever, it just happened. And I, I got to have Dave Grohl playing drums in my studio, which was big thrill for me (laughing) I have to tell you, you know there's two way traffic here, you know. I've, I've recorded Cozy in there and I've recorded Roger and a few damn good drummers, but er God, the guy's unbelievable. You know, they have, I, I don't know how they sort it out between Taylor and um, Dave, cos they're both incredible drummers. But for this track you're hearing Dave Grohl on drums, and you're hearing Taylor Hawkins - the magnificent - on on vocals and um ...
MAH: Yeah - you have liberated him from behind that drum kit for this track.
Brian: Oh I tell you you know this, oh drummers, you know there's know holding them, the bastards. (laughing) They'll um, they'll get out there if you can, if you don't stop 'em you know. Yeah, I think Taylor always wanted to be lead singer and hes damned good.
MAH: We did also have an e-mail from a guy called Pieter Cargill who who was so impressed with the track when we played it the first time last week, he's now asking:
"Is there any chance of you doing a whole album with the Foo Fighters in future at some point?"
Brian: [silly country voice] 'Wow, I don't know, I don't know' - uh we haven't talked about it. It's very easy and nice to be around them, I must say. They, they know - I guess in a strange way they come from the same place that I did, because they grew up on all the stuff that I loved, like Zeppelin and The Who and stuff. I mean they're much more into that than the stuff they would normally have been surrounded by, growing up in LA. They sought it out, much in the same way that kids do here - you know, people who listen to this programme are into it because they just feel something, and those guys in the Foo Fighters are like that. Um - so that's it.
MAH: Yeah. So there's a concept album on the way, that's what we're saying.
Brian: Well yes, okay - I'm up for it.
Plays: FOO FIGHTERS/BRIAN MAY - Have A Cigar
Brian: (laughs) Mm, mm.
MAH: Foo Fighters in collaboration with my guest this evening on the Radio One Rock Show, Brian May. The track of course is "Have A Cigar", and you can find it on the Mission Impossible 2 Soundtrack. That, is spectacular, I have to say.
Brian: It's good fun, i'nnit?
MAH: It's so raw.
Brian: Yeah. It didn't get the corners knocked off it. It didn't get over-produced, and actually what you hear is what we did, I mean, and the solo that I play I wasn't too sure about - and Taylor thought it was just fine as it was, so we didn't screw around with it at all so its pretty much, you know, real, in the studio, which I like.
MAH: You didn't give him any Locketts before you started either did you?
Brian: [affected voice] 'K-new.'
MAH: There's absolutely nothing that's taken those serrated edges of his voice. It's, it's incredible.
Brian: That's right - he is a very good singer, isn't he? Yeah. Aw - damned good as far as I'm concerned.
MAH: Anyway, speaking of good singers, we've heard a lot of rumblings, a lot of rumours about the fact that you've been doing some recording with Axl Rose, and in fact, many of the listeners, people including Louise in Inverness, Charlie Dixon, Ravi and Seth Lubin have sent emails in saying:
"You must ask Brian, what's he been doing with Axl? What's the score?
Brian: Okay - well I have a lot of history with those guys as you know, um, because, well I was on tour with them for a while - you know, my own band supported them - which was great fun. They also did the Freddie Tribute with us, and I think I regard them as great friends, Axl in particular. Um, and they just said "Come over and do some stuff." It's a long story to be honest and I won't bore you with all the details, but Axl was feeling that er he was in a difficult place because the guitarist that he'd been working with on this new album had sort of replaced Slash, because er they fell out, sadly. I think that is sad actually, 'cos they both, well you know, brilliant talents and great with each other, but the guitarist that had done most of the tracks had departed and Axl had a real emotional attachment to what he'd done, and yet he didn't want him on the album - and I hope I'm not saying too much here - he didn't really want him to stay on the album because he'd disappeared, you know - so he's feeling a kind of divided loyalty and he said: "Brian, can you come and do stuff which I WILL LIKE, (laughing) and I won't feel too bad about ditching this other stuff?" So I did, I went over there, and I think I played on three tracks, um and messed around on various other things, but it worked out pretty well as far as I can tell. Um, and its very strange cos most of the Guns'n'Roses people are not there cos Axl sacked 'em all, you know, so you're talking about Axl and the new Guns'n'Roses, but BOY is there a lot of energy there, you know, and his singing is outrageous. There's some great tracks on it.
MAH: Now this is really interesting, because there has been so much speculation about this new album, "Chinese Democracy" potential its called....
Brian: Mm, yeah.
MAH: ... There are many many people, who've spoken to journalists, who've have played with Axl over a number of years now, who have laid claims recently that the only one track that Axl has ever laid down a vocal part for is "Oh My God", which is obviously featured on the Schwartzenager film, "End Of Days", but you're saying there are more vocal parts then?
Brian: Oh yeah - there's a whole album of vocal parts - in fact there's two albums' worth that they've got there, at least. Um, they played me EVERYTHING. Axl actually sat down and MADE ME listen to everything (laughing) and there's some wonderful stuff there. Yeah.
MAH: How do you deal with somebody like Axl though, when he sits you down and says: "Listen to all of this." I mean, can you really critique him and sit there and say: "Do you know what, Axl, that's rubbish mate. You wanna bin that one!!"?
Brian: Well (sigh) Axl sort of holds Queen and, and our whole thing in a great deal of respect so I always figure as long as I tell my truth, he's fine - and, and its always held out so far. He's always been very good, you know, to me. He will tell you if he doesn't agree what, with what you say. I mean, I went in and immediately, you know, Brian May opens his mouth and "Blab, blab, blab" - and I told exactly what I thought of, of the stuff as it was and some of it he went "Yeah", and some of it he went "I couldn't do that" - you know like some of the suggestions you know and that's it, and Axl's a very emotionally kind of 'connected' person, I mean, to the point where he, he's so intense about EVERY single note that's on there, and the solos that I played, um, he was totally into it VERY much in the way that Freddie used to be. You know, Freddie used to go through my solos and, and say "You know there's this particular note here and I think if you did this and this and this", you know and I thought I would just go in there... I'd forgotten, you know, what Axl was like, and I thought I would just go in there and he'd like it. He did like it, but he wanted to get into EVERY single take of every single note, and sort of string, you know ... I would go in there and he, from, from one day to another, Axl would have been in there like from 5 o'clock in the morning to 7 o'clock in the morning, comping little bits of my solos and saying "Can you get Brian to try this?" You know, he's UTTERLY meticulous.
MAH: That's amazing. So what's your position? You've just played this amazing solo as far as you're concerned and Axl comes along and says: "Do you know what, I really don't like that B flat or whatever it is. Can you just change that?" Do you, do you say...
Brian: Oh I'm fine - I don't care - you know, because I'm there to to deliver, you know. And in in this context, I'm, I'm a session player, you know and, and people can take what they want, it doesn't bother me. I'll give me best, you know, and if someone will make a comment, generally it will be - you know if someone makes a comment to you about your playing, and it's someone who cares, and then its probably gonna do you some good whether you like it or not. So I'm always open to that stuff - always.
MAH: Mm - very interesting.
Brian: There's always room for improvements.
MAH: The other big question on the lips of our listeners this evening "Would you ever consider touring with Axl if he asks you to join the band?"
Brian: I don't know if I would be up for those long tours anymore, you know. I did that for twenty years of my life, nine months a year and I'm not in that position anymore in my life you know. I don't feel like I wanna have that kind of chaotic lack of balance in my life any more. I dealt with it, and I loved it, but I'm just not in that place anymore. I don't think I could do that. If it was a short tour, its possible, but um....
MAH: Even if he promised never to ruin one of your solos again.
Brian: (laughs) I tell ya, Axl is a very persuasive guy you know. He's magic. Really he is, you know, and, and I think he's not always easy, as, you know, genius very often isn't. You know, Fred was not the easiest person in the world to get on with, but, um, you know someone who has that amount of passion and gives a million percent of themselves, you'll take any amount of stuff from, you know, and I would from Axl. I think he's that good, you know.
MAH: Mm. Shall we play one of his records?
MAH: What have you chosen?
Brian: Er - its "Welcome The Jungle" isn't it? I heard this many many a night because we toured with him all round the States and had a great time, and everyone goes [whispery gruff voice] "Oh, was it really terrible? Are they complete bastards?" And I go: "No", because they treated us with the utmost respect and consideration and had some very good times.
MAH: Great stuff. Let's hear the track.
Plays: GUNS'N'ROSES - Welcome To The Jungle
MAH: Brian May smiling...
Brian: (laughs) Familiar sounds.
MAH: (laughing) Ah... that was Guns'N'Roses of course with Welcome To The Jungle.
Brian: Yeah. They were such a great live band, you know. Its one of those moments in time when everything happened in the right way. I think really the last kind of dangerous, magnificent rock and roll band really, so far.
MAH: D'you know what I think about you? You've just told us about collaborating with Axl and the way you speak about, you know, your passion for music in general, you seem to be a very willing collaborator and yet I wonder if you really do yearn to be right at the epicentre of another band that you could call your own.
Brian: (sharp intake of breath) It's a very interesting question. Um, there are times when I miss that feeling of contact with the pulse, I suppose, you know, and I love what I do. I'm a very lucky man - I can do what the hell I want really, you know. I make music when I feel like it, um, and I'm so lucky that I know lots of great people that I can play with, but yes, there were moments in Queen's history where we were at that epicentre, as you call it, you know, which is exactly, its a good description and you just know that if you kind of make any kind of noise it will just ripple out to the edges of the universe and um those moments don't come every day you know. I, I don't know that we necessarily, necessarily deserve another one, you know, we had one and that's enough and I'm very thankful for that. (laughs)
MAH: Mm. Of course we've got another welter-weight of e-mails asking: If there is any way that the remaining members of Queen would consider um ever replaying the songs in any shape or form, really I suppose, performing in any way?
Brian: Well, you know, we talk about it all the time and its just a question of coming up with the right way to do it which wouldn't kind of be a pale imitation of what went before. Um - I mean, me and Roger talk about it every time we meet which is, you know, very often, you know - most weeks we talk, um. To be honest with you I don't see the way that it could be done right at the moment, but if some miracle happened, you know, if there was some collaboration which suddenly opened up the doors, then yeah, .. would be up for it.
MAH: It's really interesting actually because I was watching a documentary about you on television quite recently and there was footage from, er the Freddie Mercury Tribute at Wembley, and the most extraordinary thing about watching that footage again was was seeing that so many of the other vocalist who were involved, respect to all of them of course, but couldn't actually manage to emulate Freddie's parts, it was really only George Michael of all people, who could seem to be able to hit the mark, you know.
Brian: Yeah. They all said that. Everybody was incredibly sort of um respectful you know in a new way about Freddie's powers you know. I mean, yeah, how do you find another one of them?
MAH: Mm. S'tough call, i'nnit.
Brian: It aint easy.
MAH: Let's play a record that you love - to cheer you up, having depressed you immensely....
Brian: No I'm fine - it, it's my every day kind of thoughts, you know, I wake up with that stuff in my head, but I just feel good. I feel grateful that it happened. It was a wonderful place to be and er we, we got to kind of fulfil all our dreams. So um, you know, you can't complain.
MAH: Mm, good. Beatles then.
Brian: The Beatles (laughing). I remember waking up one morning and putting on the radio on - not speaking properly am I? - Putting on the radio on, and hearing this stuff just bursting out and its difficult to put yourself back to 19.. what is it 60-something - I was about 12 or something, and I had never heard anything like this. Just the er, the power of it and the commitment, and there's something about the first few bars. This is "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and um the first time you ever hear this record I defy you to tell me where 'one' is unless you know the secret which is kind of divulged later on in the track. And its just, you know, their guitars were not distorted like ours were, you know - there wasn't the heaviness in that way. The drums weren't huge erm - but somehow there's such power in this very elementary pop record. I think its the best pop record of all time. It just does everything and John Lennon's voice is KILLER.
MAH: That's quite a recommendation. I think we should hear this.
Plays: BEATLES - I Wanna Hold Your Hand.
Plays: LED ZEPPELIN - Kashmir
MAH: Its Led Zeppelin and its the Radio One Rock Show with Mary Anne Hobbs and Brian May of Queen.
Brian: Yes Mary Anne.
Brian: Here we are.
MAH: You know, you were apoplectic when that record first came on.
Brian: I get chills when that starts, yeah. I just think its...
MAH: See you try to act all cool now, but we saw you. Hands in the air going "Yes".
Brian: (laughing) Yeah well I, you know, the lucky thing is we don't have to grow up isn't it, you know, and I will never forget those moments when I first saw Zeppelin live and it was stupendous. It was huge, and um I remember seeing them do that particular song in The Forum in Los Angeles and we were just boys. We were there for the first time and our Manager was there and he said "Couple of years time, you'll be doing this", you know, and I thought "Arghhh" and - we did, which was great, but at the point when we were watching them, they just seemed like Gods. You know you said this thing about Gods at the beginning you know, and Zeppelin really were at that point, er, in a space of their own, and I think deservedly so, because it was so blindingly creative. And I mean that's quite simple, you know, but its just wonderful, in my opinion, you know, and Bonham was probably the, you know, the greatest drummer of the greatest sort of seminal rock drummer of all time, and Jimmy Page has to be the sort of greatest rock, [corrects] ONE of the greatest rock brains of all time, along with Pete Townshend and a couple of others I could mention.
MAH: (laughing) Oh yeah.
Brian: But God, you know it still blows my mind. I think its amazing.
MAH: Mm, and of course Peter Grant who pretty much changed the entire shape of the industry, didn't he, at that time?
Brian: Yes. Peter Grant really restored that balance, you know, and the artist was always the underdog, and Peter Grant put himself, his whole weight, which was CONSIDERABLE, he was about about 24 stones, he put his whole weight behind the artist, and suddenly the artist was in power instead of the record company or the manager. Yeah, he did, he did a wonderful job.
MAH: Mm. So there's one other collaborative project that you've just told us about that you wanted to talk about this evening. Um, straight over to you...
Brian: Yeah, the next record put us in mind of this, didn't it, er, which is going to be Buddy Holly. I recently, two nights ago, had the pleasure of playing with Scotty Moore, who was Elvis's guitarist and played on all those early Sun Records sessions, and he's a hero of mine, so I went in there very nervous to Abbey Road Studios, Number 2, where the Beatles did all their stuff and its [silly voice] 'very cold', and sort of unatmospheric and, um, I was very nervous. You know, I just felt like a kid again, and um, eventually it happened, but it took a while for me to get over my sort of um reservations, I suppose, but Scotty Moore, if anybody's into that stuff is, is one of the creators of the modern rock guitar, so it was a great privilege for me to be there doing stuff with him, and we did a STRANGE old blues track, which I WISH I could play you, but it'll be out some point. (laughs) It's very obscure, but it gets, it, it gave me a chance to scream, and I like singing you know - I love playing the guitar, but I actually like singing and they wanted me to sing, so um I got the pleasure of sort of being sort of Elvis for a moment.
MAH: Can you do the whole hip swivel thing?
Brian: No, I didn't do the hip swivel...
MAH: Oh no.
Brian: I just sat on my stool very....
MAH: I bet you could if you tried.
Brian: (laughing) Oh no, no, no.
MAH: Yeah. It's interesting. There's just a few e-mails, I think we've got about four or five minutes before they kick us off air - there's just a few e-mails that I'd like to touch on before, um, we wave goodbye to you and sort of despatch you into the night, one of which is from
Aaron Phillips and he says "Brian has been one of the major influences in my life. I rate him so highly. He's one of the best guitarists in the world. Could you ask him what modern day guitarists, while we're on the theme of guitarists, have impressed him in the last few years and what do you thing of Dimebag Darrell of Pantera?
Brian: Oh, I like him a lot - I love Pantera. Yeah. Um, there is some WONDERFUL players out there. I suppose um Steve Vai and Joe Satriani er would be the first names that come to mind for me, um, its more, strangely enough the people that I hear are normally more, more often Americans, because somehow the tradition seems to be a more continuous thing over there. You know its very unfashionable to play good guitar over here, and anyone that I ever meet who is genuinely into it and um a great technician and a passionate player, er none of them you would ever have heard of, um, which is very sad you know, but we know what its like here. It's very difficult, um, but those guys will make it and we'll all hear of them in the end.
MAH: Mm, that's lovely.
Er, the second question is from, er, let me see, this is Jen, WebMistress
My question is here. Your pre-Queen, 1984 and Smile, were also cover bands, the sets you performed make fascinating reading - do you think there may be any chance that you would consider making this stuff, this early stuff available at some point in the future?
Brian: Er, I suppose its possible. Um, we're distantly working on THE Ultimate Queen Boxed Set, you know, of all the sort of bits and pieces which got thrown away at the time, so its possible that some of that, that stuff could come out on there. The very early stuff - um, you know it, it has a mystery, but um I'm not sure ..
MAH: Doesn't cast you in your best light, that's what...
Brian: No, it was very developmental you know, and, um in some ways I'd rather be, I'd rather have people listening to what I do now.
MAH: Yeah. Well, one final e-mail (laughs) this is from Marko...
Brian: "What's that?" they're going.
MAH: It was so sad, honestly. Erm, Marko, 17 - and the only reason that I'm cantering through this is cos we've got three minutes to go and I've got to read this to you.
My name is Marko. I'm 17 from Croatia. Two years ago my biggest dream was to see Brian in Italy Modena, but sadly the show was cancelled. I went to see him with my dad, who's also a massive fan of Queen from the earlier days. We were in the car for two days. And we stayed in Italy for the next two days to try to get tickets for his next show in Milano, but we didn't make it. Please, please Brian, when are you coming to Croatia. Love from Marko who's obviously listening via the internet this evening.
Brian: (groans) Wow, well I'd love to and I love playing. I love playing live cos that's the centre of it all. Um, at some point, yeah, I'd love to do it, but I don't know when it's gonna be. You have to be in the right frame to do that. Yeah. One day. We'll get out there.
MAH: Mm. Brian, its absolutely tremendous having you in this evening.
Brian: Thanks Mary Anne.
MAH: Thanks very much indeed.
Brian: I've enjoyed me-self. I've had a brilliant time.
MAH: Oh brilliant.
Brian: This stuff doesn't happen any more, you know (laughing). I've found friends, folks. I love this.
MAH: Oh great
Brian: Yeah. Very happy. Thank you for having me. Its brilliant.
MAH: You're most welcome, and you're welcome back at any time you like, but um tell us what we're gonna play out with this evening, its Buddy Holly, isn't it?
Brian: It is, and I think everyone should write in and demand that Mary Anne's on every night of the week. Tell these Radio One people what is actually happening, okay folks.
Okay. Its Buddy Holly, yes, and Buddy Holly's really the, the reason that I'm in this business more than anyone else apart from possibly Jimi Hendrix. We didn't get round to playing Jimi Hendrix, but Buddy Holly was just er revolutionary and wonderful and wrote and did more in two years than most of us do in our lives. I don't quite, this sounds sort of very old, but its just the beginning of guitar music as such for me, with especially with these wonderful sort of mysterious harmonies that Buddy Holly and the Crickets did. This is sort of my childhood.
MAH:Lovely. Thanks a lot, Brian.
Brian: Thank you.
Plays out with: BUDDY HOLLY - Think It Over.
MAH: So that's about the size of it as far as we're concerned. Thank you so much for listening. Check out Ceefax page 658 if you want a track listing for tonight's show or it'll be posted up tomorrow on the Radio One website. Thank you - MASSIVE THANKS TO MY TREMENDOUS SPECIAL GUEST THIS EVENING, BRIAN MAY, from Queen, and we're back with the Radio One Rock Show next week at the usual time, midnight on a Tuesday...