Interviews: Queen: BBC Pop On The Line '97
On Sunday 16th November we were joined in the studio by Roger Taylor and Brian May from one of the UK's most successful rock bands Queen.
Formed in the early 1970's they scored a string of hits throughout the 70's and 80's including classics such as Killer Queen, Somebody To Love, Another One Bites The Dust, Radio Ga Ga and the classic Bohemian Rhapsody.
Sadly the band's lead singer Freddie Mercury died in 1991, but the group's legacy and sound continued.
In 1995 the band released a new album called 'Made In Heaven' which featured the surviving members of the band adding backing tracks to unissued vocal performances of Freddie.
That it seemed was to be the final curtain for the band. But in the world of music nothing is final, and this year has seen new activity from the band. Released on November 3rd was a new compilation album called 'Queen Rocks' which features the ultimate rock tracks from the band alongside one remixed song. But the most exciting part of the project is a brand new song called 'No One But You' recorded by the three remaining members.
Also released is an exciting interactive CD-ROM game called 'The Eye' which has been inspired by the music and art of the band. Alongside its release is also a full colour book and a novel based on the game. QUEEN are back.
Over the last few years the band haven't been sitting around doing nothing.
Roger Taylor released a solo album in 1994 called 'Happiness' which also saw him tour the UK and Italy. He is currently recording his next album at his studio in the country. He also found time to appear on the BBC World Service quiz show 'Monster Music Quiz'.
Brian released a solo album in 1992 called 'Back To The Light' and it will soon be followed by his second solo album. In 1996 he also provided the original music for director Steve Baron's screen version of Pinnochio.
Hello I'm Lynn Parsons and welcome to Pop On The Line, the programme that gives you a chance to talk to some of the world most popular music artistes. In todays programme for the next hour, we'll be linking your calls to my special guests, Brian May and Roger Taylor, from the band Queen. Queen made their chart debut in 1973, and for the next 2 decades became one of the world's most consistently successful groups, with over 40 hit singles and a string of multi-million selling albums. However the sad news of lead singer Freddie Mercury's death, in November 1991, shocked the world, and it seemed Queen would be no more. The following year, Roger, John and Brian, along with a number of fellow rock stars, paid an emotional tribute to Freddie at London's Wembley Stadium. The stadium was packed to capacity and it was televised live to over one billion people around the world.
Over the next few years, Brian and Roger both released solo projects, but two years ago Queen returned with the worldwide release of Made In Heaven, which featured the last work to be recorded by the band with Freddie Mercury. To many, the album not only turned out to be their most personal, but also their finest.
This year has seen the most active 12 months of the decade for the band. In the earlier part, they reformed with Elton John for a performance at the Theatre Nationale Chaillot, in Paris, for the staging of Maurice Béjart's 'Ballet For Life'. This month has seen the release of a new album, called 'Queen Rocks' which features the best of the band's more heavy tracks, and a computer game, called 'The Eye', which is an action-adventure inspired by the music of the band. Also published, is a novel based on the adventure and a full colour book featuring images of the game. But the highlight of all this activity is a brand new single from the group called 'No-One But You' which features lead vocals from Brian and Roger and becomes the first record to be issued by Queen without Freddie or a guest singer. To talk about these new projects and answer your questions, it should be Brian and Roger, but it's just Brian at the moment.
Brian: Yeah, I think Roger's stuck in traffic someplace, but here I am.
Lynn: We have lots and lots of calls coming through - just before we start, you've come back from Spain, where you had an award?
Brian: Yes Lynn, the Premier Hondas Awards in Spain. It's the first time we've ever had a major award in Spain, so it was a very nice thing. In Barcelona, and we got the Lifetime Award for, you know, service to the industry or whatever - it was very nice, we got our medal, you know..
Lynn: A lot of the newspapers over here have been focussing on the British band, the Spice Girls. They've had a lot of problems, I know, but they were at those awards and they had a few problems there, didn't they?
Brian: They were, it was the first time I've actually met any of them actually, and they seemed very charming, I must say. Yes, there was a bit of a problem there...it was...I think they had a management decision to refuse to go on if there were any cameras in the audience. So those things are tricky, you know, you either stick to your contract or you have a bit of flexibility. Unfortunately, if you don't have any flexibility, you lose friends very fast in those situations, especially when you've got a lot of TV technicians hanging around...
Lynn: So they didn't end up actually appearing, did they?
Brian: They DID appear, but there was a very bad reaction from the crowd when they did..although I should say a mixed reaction, which I think is probably not their fault totally, you know...
Lynn: Right, This programme is about you..we've got lots of calls coming in, so let's go, to start with, to Natasha, in Malaysia. Natasha, you're through to Brian.
Natasha: Yes, my question is..my father followed Queen when he was young and my brother and I also listen to Queen because it's quite interesting. Do youfeel that Queen still appeals to young rock fans or more to people of my father's generation?
Brian: Ooh! How old are you Natasha?
Natasha: I'm 16
Brian: Ah..well I'm glad we appeal to you. I think we aim to appeal to everybody really. I think the days have gone where we thought we had to appeal to a certain age group. I think rock music now really crosses every barrier of colour, creed, race and age and sex and whatever. I would certainly like to think so. I think rock music is a state of mind,. It's for those of us who like things to be human and passionate and I think it will live forever. I really feel that way, and I don't think it matters what age you are.
Natasha: Well, I would also like to know how much you really do focus on young people nowadays.
Brian: I'm very conscious of it myself. I have three kids, and I'm very conscious of what they like, and generally they have pretty good taste. I usually start off thinking 'what the hell is that that they're listening to' and then I think 'mm..ok' It's happened in a lot of cases. I can think of Coolio coming in the house and I thought 'Wow' - that is actually abrilliantly made record and has something to say, and the same for lots of things, whether it's the Spice Girls or whatever - I end up listening to it and thinking 'hmm..ok'
Lynn: Do you test it on your children, when you've got some new stuff?
Brian: Yes, I always play my stuff to my children, and they've usually got very good things to say.
Lynn: Natasha, thank you for your call.
Brian: Thanks Natasha.
Lynn: Let's cross to Anna in Brazil...
Brian: Hi Anna
Anna: Mr May..what is the real significance of the explosion on the cover of the new CD? Does it mean a rupture with the past, a new beginning, or is it because of the explosive nature of the songs on Queen Rocks One?
Brian: Hmm. I'd say all of that really. Very perceptive of you. Yes, it is kind of an explosion of the old crest that we have had for many years, which Freddie invented, I have to say. It has the astrological signs of us all on it, the two lions being Roger and John, the two little virgins being Freddie and the crab being myself. Above it all is this nasty looking bird, whose the phoenix, whose rising from the ashes. Strange that he should be in there really, but he's been in there for, I guess, twenty years now. So yes, the idea was 'let's explode it' because things are different now and it is an explosive album. It's all rock, it's all pretty heavy stuff, and that was the idea. I have to mention at this point, if I may, that probably we're going to have a different version of the album cover later on, which will be a sort of celebration of the fact that it's gone out incredibly quickly, so when get to, I think it's a million copies, we're gonna surprise people. (laughs) And the bird will have flown.
Lynn: Anna.does that answer your question? Do you have the new single, Anna?
Brian: The 'No-One But You' single...
Lynn: Which is..there are 18 tracks on the album, and No-One But You is the new one that the three of you have recorded, and both you and Roger sing on it. But that's got an interesting front cover as well. That's Icarus, from Greek mythology..is that right?
Brian: That's right. I kind of thought that everybody knew that story, but I should perhaps mention it, because it was part of the inspiration for the song really. It's a Greek myth in which Daedalus and Icarus, his son, are imprisoned in a castle, and the only way out is upwards, as they're in the middle of the sea. So they make wings out of feathers, birds feathers and wax, and attach them to themselves, and they fly out and escape the castle..I think it's on Crete...and the legend says that Icarus was so excited and exulted, that he flew too high, too close to the sun, and his wax melted and he fell into the sea. So it's a very interesting little symbolic tale and has a lot to with the song, as you will realise when you hear it.
Lynn: And we will hear that shortly. But before we do, let's go to Mongolia, where Arianne Sowna is..
Arianne: How are you?
Brian: Very good! I'm glad to hear from Mongolia - I was there not long ago, believe it or not, to see an eclipse of the sun. It was wonderful - what a great country, I had a fantastic time.
Lynn: You need to write a song about it sometime..
Brian: Yeah..how are things?
Arianne: Here's my question. If a magician asked you to tell him your best three wishes, what would they be?
Lynn: (laughs) Good question, good question!
Brian: My god. How about a difficult question. God that's difficult. I think I'd like a little peace for myself, I'd like a little peace for the world, and I think I would like a change in the attitude that mankind has towards the other creatures that he shares the globe with. That's what I would wish for, I think. That's off the top of my head. I'm sure there are lots of other things...
Lynn: Let's go from Mongolia, to Holland, where Robert is..Robert, you're through to Brian.
Robert: Good afternoon
Brian: Good afternoon
Robert: Here is my question. Is it true that Queen recorded almost every live show they ever did, and if so, will Queen ever release a definitive live album in the near future, for example, all the cover tracks Queen ever played, like Imagine, for example, but also Queen versions?
Brian: Very interesting question..how did you know that? Well, yes it's true - we normally did have a tape machine running on the desk. Now the thing is, that records something very dry, and it was really for our own use, in other words, there's no ambience from the room and there's no audience on there, so the things tend to sound very kind of sterile. And so we used it to check our own performance and to find out how we were playing together and stuff. They weren't generally held to be intended to be heard by the general public. But it's all locked away somewhere and I suppose it could be looked at. There ARE a lot of bootlegs around. I mean I have about 50 bootlegs from around the world now, and I haven't even tried...I know there are hundreds of them out there. So you probably get just about every live show we ever did on bootleg albums - not that I recommend it (laughs).
Lynn: Robert, thank you for your call. Let's go to the States. Joe Pace, where are you?
Joe: I'm in Ohio.
Lynn: Is it good in Ohio?
Joe: It's cold here.
Brian: Welcome Joe.
Joe: Hey Brian..it's great to talk to you again. I met you back a few years ago when you toured the States. I have a rather simple question. First of all I want to mention that I'm one of the fans who is frequently on the internet - we're strong for you there.
Brian: Oh brilliant. Thank you guys, thank you.
Joe: My question is a simple question - who played piano on No-One But You?
Brian: I did.
Joe: That's what we thought.
Brian: It's a kind of nod to Freddie's style though, because Freddie did have a very individual way of playing, like nobody else, and I was conscious that I was doing a little bit of a Freddie on there, I think.
Joe: Well, say hello to Roger for us. I hear he's late, but I never did get a chance to talk to him, but..great to talk to you again Brian, we love ya.
Brian: Thanks a lot, give my love to Ohio.
Lynn: Let's hear that song now..No-One But You
(No-One But You played)
Lynn: No-One But You. Brian and Roger on lead vocals. The first time that Queen have recorded without Freddie or a guest singer.
Brian: That's right.
Lynn: Is it about Freddie?
Brian: Yes. I wrote the song about Freddie. It also kind of is about a lot of other people as well...
Lynn: Here he is! Here's the boy!
Brian: Ah! Roger!
Roger: I've made it...
Lynn: Just while you sit down...
Brian: In from the traffic...
Lynn: Let me tell you, if you've just joined us, it's the BBC World Service. This is Pop On The Line, and live in the studio, Brian May and Roger Taylor. We just played the new single, and we were asking whether it was specifically about Freddie, or perhaps everyone that disappears before they should.
Brian: Yeah.I think the song becomes a little broader in meaning in the light of things that have happened recently. You know, Princess Diana went, and Gianni Versace went, and I work a lot with children with leukemia who go long before their time. It's an amazing thing. But the song really is about living your life, and it's a positive thing.
Lynn: Right - Herman is in the Netherlands. Herman, you're through to Roger and Brian. What is your question?
Herman: I just wanted to know when he wrote the song, No-One But You. Before or after Freddie died?
Brian: Yes, after Freddie died. And most of it was written when we unveiled the statue to him, which stands at the end of Lake Geneva, in Switzerland. But little bits of inspiration came at other times too.
Herman: Thank you
Brian: Thank YOU!
Lynn: Is there any chance of a statue being unveiled here in the UK?
Roger: Well, according to the London council where we used to live, Kensington and Chelsea, by name, absolutely none whatsoever. They like putting statues of generals on horses, which I don't really like...
Lynn: Should put Freddie on a horse...
Roger: (laughs) Yes..put him on a horse..give him a nice helmet, probably get that up in Hyde Park then...
Lynn: Let's go to Australia.
Brian: Once you've killed a few people, you're stood a better chance, I think...
Lynn: I'm sorry..Edwin is in Australia.
Brian: Sorry about that..
Lynn: Edwin, you're through.
Edwin: How are you doing?
Edwin: I was just wondering, when you guys did the tribute concert, I was wondering if you were going to bring out an album of that?
Roger: Ah, yes. Roger here. I don't think we really could, because there are so many different artists on it, and it was done for a charity thing, the Mercury Phoenix Trust, it was released on video, and all the money went to those causes, but I don't think we ever thought of making an audio release, I think it may have been a little patchy in places.
Lynn: Edwin, thank you for your call. Let's go back to Holland where Hannie is. Hello Hannie, I hope I've pronounced that correctly. Is that Hannie?
Lynn: You're through to Brian and Roger
Hannie: Hello Roger, I have a question for you, and Brian. Are you aware of the substantial influence your music has on people, and doesn't this encourage you to make new music, and knowing that so many people love and your music, including me.
Brian: Yes, thank you Hannie, very nice thoughts Hannie. Yes, it means a lot to us, but the reaction comes back that it does something for people, yeah, wonderful. I don't think there's any greater tribute to what you do. Because I think we all go through a lot of times when we think we're crap. I think I certainly wake up many mornings and think....
Roger: Yeah, we're not very good
Brian: You know, I think 'Should I be really doing this?, have I got anything to say?'. Because very often in the media in England you get a lot of negativity and stuff. So it means a lot that people like yourself come back and say 'It means a lot for us'. It's worthwhile, brilliant!!.
Roger: Yeah, yours is precisely the reaction that makes us want to continue. Thanks.
Lynn: Thank you for your call, Hannie. Daniel is in Australia, whereabouts in Australia are you Daniel?
Daniel: I'm in Sydney. Hello, my question is actually. What's your general reaction to the huge amounts of Queen related web sites on the net. I mean that wasn't around in the 70's or 80's. So it must be something new for you. Do you surf the net? (laughs).
Brian: (laughs), yes I do sometimes. This is Brian. Yes I find it quite fascinating, for a while, there's so much stuff on there that you get overwhelmed after a while, and it will consume your whole life if you spent your life reading it. Yes, I sort of cruise around and see what there is. There's a sort of Brian May shrine in there which I thought 'What the hell is this?', very nice to someone. But yeah, it mean it is wonderful, it is a new way of communication.
Lynn:Does anyone check it to make sure it's all true?
Roger: No, no, I mean I've never surfed the net in my life!... (laughs)
Lynn:But you're into computers, because you made 'The Eye'.
Roger:But that's not the internet.
Lynn: Andre is in Russia.
Andre: Hello, Brian and Roger. I would like to say that I love your guitar playing.
Brian: Thank you
Andre: Well my question is that I was once given a tape of songs, and in a booklet accompanying it, I have read that a special guitar in the form of skull and bones was made for the particular song. It's A Hard Life I think.
Brian: Oh yes, a special guitar.
Andre: Did you really play this guitar in the song?, and did you ever use it since then?
Brian: Well, I have to be honest, it's more than a prop than anything else. You can just about play it, but it was made especially for the video. But it was made more for the looks than anything else. Yes, I have played it but you won't find it on any record I'm afraid.
Andre: They wrote that it cost about 1500 pounds. It's very very expensive.
Brian: Oh, well maybe I don't know. How are things in Russia. I'm so happy
seeing people calling from all these places, and I would love to know how things are. Are you happy?
Andre: Roger and Brian, please continue, we need your music, come to Russia, come to St. Petersburg.
Brian: We'd love to. Thank you.
Lynn: Thank you for your call. On the subject of Queen videos, there were some incredible Queen videos. What happens to props and things?
Roger: I don't know, they don't seem so substantial as they look. They might look wonderful, but then you find out that it's made out of polystyrene!
Lynn: Our next call is from the UK, Rosemary.
Rosemary: Roger, I would like to ask you: When you wrote I'm In Love With My Car, was it a particular car you had? or was it the first car you had?
Roger: I remember my car at the time, because I think we've got the exhaust on the record, and that was a little Alfa Romeo. But I think it was more about people in general, for instance boy racers. In particular we had a sound guy/roadie at the time called Jonathan Harris, who was so in love with his car, and that inspired that. I think he had a TR4, Triumph TR4.
Brian: Which we used to sleep in!
Lynn: As opposed to sleep with!
Brian: Well, yeah
Rosemary: Thank you very much
Lynn: Luber is in the States, Luber:
Luber: Hi Roger and Brian. I have a question. Were the rumours about George Michael joining Queen were true at the time?
Brian: No, they weren't. I think they were started by someone in the English press I think. You know, were very good friends with George, and he did a wonderful job at the tribute. But at the moment it wouldn't suit either him, or us to team up in some way. I think we have our separate ideas about our careers. That doesn't mean that we never want to work with him, I think he's fantastic, but the rumours were not true, he was never joining Queen.
Roger: No, George is a great singer, but he's getting older, and were getting more childish.
Lynn: Ruth Williams is in Australia, Ruth you're through to Brian and Roger.
Ruth: Hi guys
Brian: Hi Ruth
Roger: Hello Ruth: I was going to ask: What was it like being in the recording studios?, was it really competitive or was it always fun? Just interested.
Roger: Yeah, it was both. It was a lot of fun, a lot of repetition and tedium, and sometimes very competitive. That's the best way to get things to get things done.
Ruth: I was just gonna say it's great you're back
Brian: Oh, thanks a lot that's wonderful. I think it's safe to say that we've had the best and worst of times in the studio. Sometimes it was so intense that we all left, and sometimes it was incredibly fun.
Lynn: Was it refreshing to get back for this? Cos you hadn't actually done anything together for a long time, had you?
Roger: Yeah, It was surprising really, it just suddenly happened, and I was fascinated at how quickly we gelled and came back to ourselves. A bit of chemistry there. It's just like putting on an old pair of gloves or something.
Lynn: Paul is in Holland. Paul, you're through.
Brian: Hello, Paul
Paul: My question is about the new song No One But You. In what way was Freddie part of the writing and recording process, other than the song is about him, and others dying too young?
Brian: Well, he couldn't be part of the writing and recording process directly, but indirectly yes. Whenever we're in there, or wherever I'm writing or playing, I would think there is an influence. I sometimes think 'Well...what would he think of this?'. And very often you know what he would have said, but it can still be inspiring.
Paul: It's the same with listening to the song, you can almost hear Freddie sing the song. For me that is
Roger: Yeah, I think we've been together for so many years in the same band, so he's like a constant mental presence because you know exactly what he almost would feel, and what he would have said, to any one given situation.
Paul: A studio band, between you, Brian, Roger and John, what would Freddie have said about it?
Brian: I think he would have been very happy. I'd have loved to have heard him sing this. In the past of course, I probably would have sung it anyway and then presented it to Freddie, and he would have done his own thing with it, and it would have become something different but I think he would be happy.
Paul: Well I'm happy too. Because I think it's a great song, whilst using the name Queen. Can I ask a question about that?. Aren't you afraid of criticism from people for using the name Queen without Freddie?
Roger: Well, I think if we'd been afraid of criticism, then we would have given up 20 years ago!!. We all have PhDs in accepting it!
Lynn: Paul, thank you very much for your call. Nazima is in South Africa.
Nazima: My question was when was the group Queen first formed and what was the first song that you recorded and when was it recorded.?
Brian: Oh..I'm not very good with dates...I'd say about 1970 probably, and the first song we recorded was Keep Yourself Alive, which we recorded as a demo, in De Lane Lea Studios in London. It was one of the few songs which we'd written ourselves at that point, and that was it. But it was a long time after that that the first album came out.
Nazima: How does your group feel about The Braids reproducing Bohemian Rhapsody?
Roger: That was always the hardest song to do on stage, in fact we never even tried or pretended to do the...perform the middle section - the mock operatic section - so we used to play the whole song, and used to leave the stage at that point and let the tape take over and then we'd emerge as butterflies, wearing different things I think...
Lynn: I was just going to say, whenever there are stories on television, particularly in this country, about the history of pop, they always kind of mark that video as the start of pop videos..do you think it was?
Roger: I'm not sure it was the absolute start, but it was certainly the first video that made a serious global impact and became what you'd call a promotional tool really, so I think even we had made videos prior to that, hadn't we?
Lynn: Perhaps the most memorable.
Roger: Yeah..But it was the first to be effective.
Brian: As far as The Braids - I'm very happy if anyone does our songs really, as long as they don't put abusive lyrics in. We get a lot of tapes sent to us, almost every day, I'd say, by people who do our songs. I think it's a great compliment that people do our stuff, and usually we have a choice - if people change the words then you have a choice whether you'll let them do it or not. But in most cases I think it's very healthy, and good luck to them. I don't have a copy of The Braids record. I've been trying to find one.
Lynn: Aneke is in the Netherlands. What is your question?
Aneke: I've got a question concerning today's pop groups like Oasis and the Spice Girls..they get famous and rich quite soon after they've begun, and they get hyped up by the media, and when they have to deliver, they simply do not live up to the expectations, and it seems to me that is what my question is about. When you began in the early 70s, you had to wait a lot longer for the fame to come and that you really had to prove yourselves before you had a big hit and became famous. Nowadays it's just the other way round. First they get all the money and the image is built, and then the actual performance, and I'd like to know was it really different back in the 70s for new groups to start and what's your opinion about the development in the music world, where groups get the fame and the money first, and they care less about the real talent of the group...
Brian: Very interesting question. Roger is gonna answer you...
Roger: (laughs) Thanks Brian. You know, I think not much has changed in a way. We were a performance based band, and so the idea was that we would be a live band and yes, it did take us quite a while to work our way up, to having hits, and to being popular in a big way, and we sort of did it the hard way. But at the same time there were bands that were happening very quickly, and sort of overnight successes, like the Bay City Rollers, all those sort of pop bands like that, which I suppose you could liken the Spice Girls to in a way. So I think there are different kinds of artistes. I mean there are bands now like Radiohead for instance, who I think are a fantastic band, and they've come up the hard way, really rather like we did, you know, through live concerts and writing great songs, in their case anyway, I think.
Lynn: But in terms of charting, you don't have to sell so many records now, I think, to get to number one.
Roger: Well, not in the UK. I think things are a little bit more realistic in other countries. I think we've gone on a rather strange sideline. The singles charts in the UK are very strange at the moment. You have to sell about..very few copies...
Roger: About three copies! You come in in the top three and then you disappear forever! So it's a very strange thing in the UK.
Lynn: Are we going to go to a piece of music now, or do we have another call? We have another call. This is Stephen in Germany. Stephen?
Stephen: Hi, Hi Brian, Hi Roger.
Brian & Roger: Hi Stephen.
Stephen: Great to talk to you. I've got a question to you, Roger. I want to know, why are you always wearing sunglasses?
Roger: Well, believe it or not, I'm short sighted in my right eye, and so they are actually prescription sunglasses. In fact, I'm wearing normal ones at the moment, but, this is radio (laughs) So that is why.
Stephen: Ok - that is my first question. My second: I want to know, on the song 'Bring Back That Leroy Brown' on the Sheer Heart Attack album, there's one little section with a deep deep voice, do you know what I mean?
Stephen: I want to know ...who sang that?
Lynn: Do you remember?
Roger: It was either Brian or Freddie..
Brian: You know, I can't remember..I'll have to have a listen. (mumbles) bring back that leroy brown...
Roger: Yeah..I think we maybe cheated it with a bit of... I think we might have speeded the tape up a bit, so it sounded REALLY deep..
Lynn: Are you happy with that Stephen?
Stephen: Yeah ok..that's right. Thank you.
Lynn: Thank you for your call. Carlos is in Singapore..
(Dead telephone tone)
Lynn: No he's not (laughs)
Brian: He's been bleeped. It's been good so far..it's been a good technical record so far.
Lynn: Nobody's asked about The Eye yet. Now I'm interested in this. There is the book, but of course, there's this PC CD-ROM. And it says that it's completely different to any CD-ROM that's been released before. What's different about it?
Brian: Well it's a game, and a very ambitious kind of game. They're saying really that this is the first time there's been as much contribution of music in a game, I think. And visually it's very ambitious as well, there's five CDs in this thing, it's a very rich environment which the game is played in. And one day it may be out.
Lynn: Have you played it?
Brian: I've played some of the..I've played it in it's demo form. I haven't actually seen a completed version yet.
Roger: Yeah..the graphics are quite extraordinarily complex, and it's quite interesting to look at.
Lynn: And it's called The Eye
Roger: The Eye.
Lynn: Let's cross to...
Brian: I'm hoping that it will do well...
Lynn: It will do, I'm sure it will.
Brian: ...hoping it'll be as fantastic as the other things we play...
Lynn: Hong Kong is where we cross to now..Superintendent Khan?
Khan: Good afternoon to you.
Lynn: Are you a policeman?
Khan: That's right yes. I've been serving the British Government for the last 40 years but now I'm in China.
Brian: Wow. He's writing history.
Khan: Yes it is. What I would like to ask you guys, whether someone has ever asked you this question - besides many many millions enjoy your music to listen to, has anybody have told you that it is also for some of your listeners when they are in trouble or completely depressed?
Brian: Yes, well we have had some letters from people like that, in fact I had a letter from a girl not too long ago, and she said that she felt that she was gonna commit suicide, and that listening to us changed her mind, which is great. I don;t know if there's any people it happens the other way round to (laughs). But yes, I'm glad you say so Superintendent..
Khan: Because today I almost jumped out of the window, then I played on your record, and I feel like a youngster of 16 years old again.
Roger: Whatever you do...
Khan: Keep up the good work - we do need good people like you around.
Roger: Please, don't do that..just put the record on..
Khan: I'm not joking about jumping out..it was very depressing. But don't worry..as long as your music is around I will not do anything seriously.
Roger: Well good luck in Hong Kong.
Lynn: Superintendent Khan, thank you for your call. We're going to play a song from the album now. Now, is it slightly remixed? It was originally on Innuendo? I Can't Live With You?
Brian: Oh..it's more than remixed. It's kind of re-performed really. It's a sort of rock n roll version which was done as a celebration of Queen Rocks.
(I Can't Live With You played)
Lynn: I Can't Live With You, from the album Queen Rocks. You're listening to Pop On The Line at the BBC World Service. Live in the studio, Brian May and Roger Taylor and we've got lots of calls to get through, so let's move straight away to Australia. Thomas Docherty, hello..
Thomas: Hello, how are you?
Brian: Hiya Thomas, pretty good.
Roger: Fine Tom.
Thomas: G'day boys, greetings from Melbourne.
Brian: Thank you.
Thomas: The holiday season's upon us, and I know..my brother, he's in New York, and he sends down some really obscure Christmas music every year, and one thing that he had years ago, was I think it was 'Yes And It's Christmas'. Have you guys ever done just a full Christmas album?
Brian: Oh my god, no.
Thomas: The hard hitting questions.
Brian: No, but we did a Christmas single. Don't know if you've heard that?
Thomas: Is that the one that says (sings) 'yes and it's Christmas, Christmas my dear' That one?
Roger: I think it was called Thank God It's Christmas.
Thomas: That's the one. That's it. Thank God It's Christmas.
Roger: Yes, we did do that
Thomas: The only one? really?
Brian: Well the funny thing is that you have to make Christmas records in the summer, and you just don't feel like it. Cos if you start making them at Christmas, obviously it's all over before you've got it out.
Thomas: I had this perfect marketing thing. We could call it Queen's Christmas Message.
Brian: You're hired!
Thomas: I'll do all the southern marketing for Australia.
Roger: (laughing) Better than a lot of the ideas we get...
Thomas: Just remember the name!
Brian: Well done..
Thomas: Listen..all the best to you, and this is so cool, talking to you guys..
Brian: Right. Keep up the singing too...
Roger: You don't sound very Australian though.
Thomas: Actually, no, I live down here, but I grew up in New York. I remember you guys from in Brooklyn, growing up. And I mean like, I mean, the thing was, that, remember Wayne's World when it came out? And those guys are driving around with Bohemian Rhapsody? I mean, I KNEW guys like that.
Brian: We WERE guys like that.
Roger: We were sort of like. I thought it was a very funny film...
Brian: Yeah. Very good. Yeah..well have fun down there. Do lots of scuba diving for me, eh?
Thomas: Actually no, we're down in Melbourne. We're the sporting capital of the world.
Brian: Yes you are, aren't you?
Thomas: Have you ever been to Australia?
Roger: Yeah. Several times. Had some great times in Australia.
Thomas: Where did you get? Up north? Or did you get down to Victoria?
Roger: We did the five major cities, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Thomas: Where did you play in Melbourne? Did you do the MCG?
Roger: Yeah..whatever it's called. That sort of entertainment centre or something...can't remember what it's called.
Lynn: Very difficult to remember.
Roger: I remember the lights failed and Phil Collins was there.
Lynn: It was his fault!
Roger: I think he'd been at the mains with the screwdriver.
Lynn: Thomas..thank you for your call. Rachel's in the UK..
Rachel: Hi Brian, Hi Roger...
Brian & Roger: Hi...
Rachel: Can I just say before I ask my question, Brian we had a party for your birthday here in Birmingham...
Brian: Oh.. that's very nice of you...
Rachel: Yeah.. you did write to us, you sent us an card... really nice of you..
Brian: Oh.. it was you..yeah that's right...i remember..
Rachel: I would just like to ask, about the Mercury Phoenix Trust, are you surprised that the results of the Mercury Phoenix Trust is still growing, even six years after Freddie died?
Brian: it is amazing.. we started the trust, at the time of the tribute concert, to channel the money that generated to aids charities. we thought it would be a short term thing.. but yes, it is still going very strong. and i think four and a half million pound has gone through it so far... lots of things contribute, there are a lot of royalties coming from us and from other people who have pledged their help.. you know.. people.. you know.. especially George Michael, who did the record from the tribute. and Guns & Roses, and yeah.. its a very healthy thing at the moment.
Roger: yes, we thought it was a thing that would wind down, you know, but it is almost six years since the tribute.. or since Freddie's death.. and its a long time.. its still going, and we are still channelling the money through..
Brian: yeah, and the proceeds from the 'No-One but You' record will also go there.. and the writing and stuff will go to the found that I am involved with, British Bone Marrow Donator Association. Which helps children with Leukemia...
Rachel: now, can I ask if it was conscious decision to release 'No-One but You', on the anniversary of Freddie's death?
Brian: yeah, well, we thought it would be a nice thing... that's all I can say, yeah, obviously this song is mainly about Freddie. But there is a kind of wider meaning to it I guess.
Rachel: We love the song, and think it is wonderful, thank you ever so much for everything...
Brian: Brilliant.. thank you..
Lynn: Ok, Peter is in Germany... Peter, you are through..
Peter: I presume you have heard about Dolly the Sheep, and about headless frogs.. my question is, would you like to live 300 years? What do you think about life extension?
Brian: I would rather have it extended backwards myself..
Roger: I don't understand the question, or the answer... can you explain?
Peter: the question???
Brian: well, he is saying... you know..
Peter: The Question is simple... would you like to live 300 years? What do you think about life extension?
Roger: I would like to live 300 years.. if I could be equivalent of 25, I think the idea of actually slowly. running down is not so good.. so if you could, maybe, I don't know. I'm quite happy with what we get though.
Brian: Yeah, me too.. I wouldn't. Who needs that really..
Lynn: Peter, thank you very much for your call... We come back to the UK and Gerald Leeves is on the line.. Gerald hello!
Gerald: Hi Roger, hi Brian.
Roger & Brian: Hi, Gerald.
Gerald: hope you both are fine... my question is: have you ever considered making a Film production of the life and times of Queen. And particularly up to the point when Freddie was probably at his life-time-peak, around the late 80's, or so...
Roger: well.. actually the short answer is no. its so hard to do.. Do you use actors? we cant act..
Lynn: who would play the part of Freddie?
Roger: Exactly, who would do that?, but at the same time.. there is actually, on the way at the moment.. we are collaborating with Robert DeNiros company, he's got a theatrical company. they are trying to develop a musical, a stage musical, based on Queen.. I think you have, slightly more license with things there.. to try and make a sort of, factual lyric...
Lynn: Would you be involved with the music for that?
Roger: well, we are just involved in contributing ideas to the way the music is used.. and I think that is as close as we will ever come to sort of...
Lynn: so, is that definitely going to happen? or is it just at a tiny little, you know.. idea stage..
Roger: well, that is actually being developed.
Brian: Yeah, I know what you are thinking..and we kind of thought that too.. a bit of a reaction to the musical genre.. but, Robert DeNiro is really into it himself, and he thinks it can be a real rock experience, so maybe it can be something new and different..
Roger: yeah, as Brian says.. musicals, are not our scene at all normally, but we hope we can make this work..
Lynn: Gerald, thank you very much for your call. Jason is in Canada..you're through to the guys.
Jason: Hello, how are you?
Brian: Very good Jason
Jason: Well, my question is regarding the Made In Heaven album. In the album sleeve there are three pictures...each of you in a separate picture with Freddie, so I was wondering if you could tell me about the background - the story behind the pictures?
Brian: My one is a very early one..this is Brian..it's just me and Freddie at the Marquee - it's one of the first sort of proper gigs we ever did, and it's taken from a camera down in the front, and there's no kind of proper stage at the Marquee, I don't know if you've ever been there, at least in those days it was a very low thing, and you can see that there's a monitor cabinet in the way - which sort of obscures the bottom half...and that's it..it's a very very early picture, about 1975-4, I dunno, something like that...
Roger: This is Roger, and the one of myself and Freddie was taken during...we had a very interesting experience in Mexico, and that was taken halfway through a concert - we used to have a little room we used to make up, and we used to go in there, and just sort of cool off and relax while Brian played his guitar solo - and whilst we were in there, we put on the stupid hats, and somebody took the picture.
Lynn: Very attractive too (laughs)
Roger: It was quite a difficult tour, that.
Brian: I'm just looking at John's picture with Freddie...I dunno where that was taken, I would guess South America too though probably.
Roger: It could be Argentina...taken in Buenos Aires maybe
Brian: Nice live shot
Lynn: Jason, thank you for your call. We must move on, because we need to get in as many as possible in the next seven minutes. Rachel is in the UK. Rachel, you're through.
Rachel: Hi Brian, Hi Roger
Brian & Roger: Hi
Rachel: Before I ask my question, I'd just like to say that I've waited so long to speak to you and it's a great birthday present, cos it's my birthday...
Brian: Hey...happy birthday
Roger: Yeah, happy birthday
Rachel: My question is, which person would you most like to meet, or have met, or have you met that person, and did they live up to your expectations?
Brian: Well, I think Jodie Foster would be very interesting to meet, I always thought she would be very interesting. I always wanted to meet Natalie Wood, but it's not possible now.
Roger: For me, I had three main musical heroes, Bob Dylan, Jimmi Hendrix and John Lennon, and I never met Jimmi Hendrix or John Lennon, and I'd have loved to have met either of them, or both of them preferably, but I met Bob Dylan, and he was great.
Rachel: Did you ever see Jimmi Hendrix play?
Roger: Yeah, many times. In fact Freddie saw Jimmi Hendrix play 14 nights in a row, in London.
Brian: He was a huge fan...
Rachel: He's one of my favourites, as well as you.
Roger: He was magnificent onstage.
Rachel: I was born too late for that...
Lynn: Rachel, thank you for your call..
Rachel: Thank you very much.
Lynn: David Pritchard's on the line now..David?
David: Hello there..nice to speak to you..lifelong fan actually. The question I wanted to ask was..a couple of years ago, Band Of Joy released an album of the BBC session music from Queen, and I can always vividly remember when I was a kid listening to the radio on a Saturday afternoon on the rock show, there was a session with you with Alan Freeman - a particularly good version of Spread Your Wings, and I was wondering if these sessions might ever see the light of day?
Brian: They might actually, yes we do have all that stuff now. We managed to kind of find it all, and we do have the masters of that, so it could be, yeah.
Roger: I've forgotten about that actually. I remember we used to listen to Alan Freeman when we were on tour a lot...
Roger: ...and usually going somewhere, and we'd always listen to that show.
David: Yeah, I used to listen to the rock show, obviously cos we used to cram around the radio trying to hear some new stuff from Queen. I remember the days then, back in the seventies, queuing up on cold nights waiting to get the album and whatever, and also queuing up for a long long time to be on the Champions video at Drury Lane when you shot that.
Roger: Were you on it?
David: Yeah..all those years ago
Roger: Thanks for that!
David: Ok? Thanks very much.
Lynn: Thank you David. Ok..Ian is in the UK. Hello Ian.
Ian: Hi. Hello Brian. Tell me - what control do you have over your record company, concerning the release of material?
Brian: They're very kind to us, basically. Yes. They tend to let us get away with murder, and they've been very good. Yeah. Generally they will do what we ask them, within reason (laughs).
Lynn: What would happen about those lost recordings though?
Ian: Well..there's material..going back pre-Queen to Smile. You can get it imported, but you can't buy it in the UK. And that's a shame really.
Brian: Yeah, that doesn't come under the EMI contract, strangely enough, that's before we signed to EMI.
Roger: I think Brian and were signed - in Smile - we were signed to Mercury Records I think, weren't we? I think we had 1% or something...
Lynn: Let's move on and try to get as many in as possible. Victoria Jane, hello.
Victoria: Hi, great talking to you both.. a bit of a strange question.. obviously queen worked.. but IF queen hadn't worked.. what bands would you like to work with then
Brian: I suppose,, we are all huge Beatles fans.. it would have been great to be a part of the Beatles I'm sure.. right now if I had the choice.. I would be with the foo-fighters.. that's where I would be
Roger: Boy, I don't know...
Lynn: Not the Spice Girls.. I trust..
Roger: No, I mean I have got nothing against the Spice Girls..
Brian: NOR ME!!!
Roger: They do what they do very well..
Brian: Good Luck to them..
Roger: But I don't know.. Oh..Led Zeppelin maybe..
Victoria: Thank you very much
Lynn: Thank you Victoria.. Jacky, what is your question?
Jacky: Hi Roger.. I'm from a fabulous play park called amq in cyberspace.. (its alt music queen)
Roger: where is that?
Jacky: We discuss yourselves.. and I think a burning question is we all want to know if you have heard John sing.. and what did you do about it?
Roger: I'm afraid I have to admit.. I have heard him sing.. and that's why you cant find him on the records.
Jacky: I have heard he have a fab singing voice.. especially in the shower...
Brian: Oh? have you been there?? I must have missed that..
Roger: I wouldn't have known about that.. he's a great bass-player though.. for a singer..
Jacky: so he doesn't actually sing on any of the records then.. or anything like that?
Brian: I don't think he's ever been nearer than a couple of a inches to a microphone and made any kind of noise what so ever..
Jacky: o, that's a shame...
Roger: well actually, he is quite silent.. he enjoys.. not saying much
Jacky: Yeah. this was like a burning question.. does he sing or doesn't he.. and there's lots promotional pictures of John with his mouth open.. and we didn't know if anything was coming out..
Brian: I have to tell you I do remember John singing the lines to Another one bites the dust to Freddie. so it is possible you know.. but he's a bit shy about it.. he doesn't like to sing in public
Lynn: Our last call on pop on the line comes from DeDe Faulkner.. hello DeDe would you like to put your question to the guys?
DeDe: yes, I was just wondering.. how has your general overall success been now that Freddie is passed on..?
Roger: Generally overall... oooo..
Brian: It's a bit hard to say really.. because this is the first time we ever put out anything without him, the reaction has been fantastic so far, i must say.. especially all around Europe I say.. I don't know if there is a new Queen as you would say.. we just made the record..
Roger: We never really planned on sort of continuing our careers.. so..
Lynn: Thank you very much for your call DeDe.. and guys.. thank you so much.. Brian May And Roger Taylor.. good luck with the single, although it wont need it course its gonna do incredibly well, and good luck with the solo careers too...