Interviews: Brian May: Birmingham Evening Mail '98
Rock superstar Brian May has revealed that Midland Queen fans are responsible for the band's anthemic songs that have gone on to become favourite terrace-style chants at sports events.
The mild-mannered 51 year old says it all started when the band performed at Stafford Bingley Hall. "As we left the stage the fans were singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' and Freddie and I looked at each other, thinking 'We've got something here!'
"He went off and wrote 'We Are The Champions' and I came up with 'We Will Rock You'."
Both tracks became big hits with sports fans who adopted them as their team's anthems.
"Initially, we were irked with the singalong aspects at our concerts but then realised it was something positive," Brian admits.
He hopes fans will now be singing along at his solo gigs - The Brian May Band plays Birmingham Academy at the National Indoor Arena on October 28.
It's Brian's first tour for five years and timed to coincide with his second solo album 'Another World'.
"I'm a workaholic so I've been finding plenty to do between solo albums," he says. "I've written music for films, television, radio and other people's albums - and then there were the two Queen albums 'Made in Heaven' and 'Queen Rocks' which took around two years work. As far as I'm concerned Queen is just about dead and buried, I don't want to live in the past, although I do perform Queen songs in concert but they are done in a different way which brings a new meaning to the songs. I also plan to do some Queen material that I haven't done live before. There's an archive boxed set planned as well and I'm quite happy about that."
Brian's touring plans have already been hit by a hammer blow - the tragic death of his drummer Cozy Powell in a car crash.
"He was a pillar of British rock music and a hero of mine ever since we first met at a concert in 1976," Brian says. "It was always a dream to play with him and when he came out on tour it was a great thrill."
As a tribute to his pal, Brian dedicated the album track 'Business' to him and made sure it was released as a single. "It sold to people who cared but in financial terms I should have released something more commercial. However, it summed up my feelings and I did it for Cozy."
The rock legend's place on the drum stool in the Brian May band has been taken by former Kiss sticksman Eric Singer.
Brian recalls: "Eric was recommended to me by me friend Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath who rang me when he heard the news. We had to decide whether to get a new drummer or cancel the tour. Cozy's death was a hard knock - it still is - but when I heard Eric play it blew me away. He's incredibly explosive and technically brilliant."
Brian is looking forward to returning to the live scene but what can fans expect from the shows?
The guitarist considers for a moment before proclaiming: "They'll be loud - and the music will be all real. Everything will be real!"