Interviews: Roger Taylor: Film Festival, Cannes '96
Roger, when you first saw the eight films that have been produced, what did you think of them?
I had mixed feelings, actually. I think some worked very well, and others don't work quite so well. And things tend to look different on a big screen than, than on the small screen. So some which weren't so strong on the small screen looked great on the big screen. And ... but there are a couple of them that worked absolutely brilliantly, I thought.
Which was your favourite out of all of them?
I think my favourite is a, is a short film, it was probably 'Mother Love' that, one set in outer space, is a little mini-space epic story which I thought was very cleverly done on a shoestring.
And did that in any way reflect how you've seen the music? Or were these pieces completely different to how, to your interpretation musically of the pieces?
Well ... yeah, they were, I mean they were completely the creations of the directors and, and the producers, I suppose more than half of the producers. But the directors' ideas, I mean, we sort of ... All creative decisions stopped after we'd just said, "That sounds like an interesting treatment, go!" You know, and then they would, we would have nothing more to do
Why did you decide to do this? Was it because you felt that in many ways people associate Fredd ie as a sort of the upfront face of Queen and that obviously without him it was going to be difficult to do the videos and illustrate the music?
Well yeah, to be quite candid, we had a problem, we had an album with Freddie on it, and we obviously couldn't do any sort of standard music videos, because we didn't have him anymore. And these days the pressure is very great to have some kind of visual representation of the music. So you get on "Top of the Pops". And that's a ... But anyway, so ... We really thought we'd kill two birds with one stone and that would solve our problem, it would give us something, and it would also be a kind of an interesting experiment, finding some new cutting-edge directors. Britain's very good at throwing up directors.
We're actually doing ... We're actually doing a piece on a 'Special on Sunday' which focuses on, you know, the British here in Cannes and the film industry generally in Britain. Do you think that we have got some good talent out there, for making these, from what you've seen, for making these films?
Well, I'm sure we have, I mean historically we've got, had some great people like Ridley Scott, you know, who came up through commercials, people like that, and we can find, if somebody new comes through like that, it would be great. And it's got to be positive, you know.
I think Queen's really credited, aren't they with, with the first pop video. Everybody says that 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was quoted as one of the first pop videos. Do you think what you've done is something that other musicians might consider, giving ... giving people chance to put an interpretation on their music?
I think they might. On the other ... the other hand ... the other hand, it's, it's a whole new sort of avenue of possibilities of pretentious short films. I mean, it could really get that way, I think these, some of them work very well, and others don't work quite so well.
But I suppose also you were in a unique situation, I suppose, thinking about it, weren't you.
Yes, we were in a unique situation which probably forced the situation, I mean, that to happen. I wouldn't be surprised if it did happen, but let's face it, videos are usually promotional tools just trying to sell a product, you're trying to sell a piece of music. And they are an expensive promotional tool, normally. I think in this case, it's a little bit of both. So it's a meeting of the two worlds, in a way.
I think when you look back at it, when you tried to put 'Made in Heaven' together, how, how difficult a time was that for you?
It was quite difficult. Ehm, it was difficult to actually conceive the way in which we'd finish the album, yeah, to actually polish it off, if you know what I mean, as a properly finished, coherent bit of work. And that was really what took the work and then we had the sort of bits of the jigsaw puzzle and we had to sort of polish them up and make them fit. And I think it turned out very well, actually.
I think it was smashing, but also, was it a difficult time for you emotionally?
I think really that the hardest time was the two years after Freddie's death. We were just getting used to the idea of him not being around, and we, we hadn't, we didn't do any work on the album then, 'cause we didn't particularly want to. I think that after a while, you know, you get used to it and the other two tapes hold again and, and ... I think everybody felt that the album had to be finished, you know.
What do you think Freddie would have made of the short films?
I don't know, actually. I think he would have been, I think he would have liked some of them. Not like us, but he would have liked the idea. When he'd have loved the idea actually of actually having some films that he didn't have to appear in.
And what now for Queen? I mean obviously, Freddie's ... Freddie was the face that ... we would associate all of you with Queen, but Freddie was such a, such a vibrant character. What will you be doing now, will there be another album?
The focal point. Ehm, I obviously don't know, it's a difficult question, but ... I get asked a lot. I don't actually know the answer. I can't conceive that we wouldn't ever do anything together again, the three of us. Because there is a definite chemistry there, just instrumentally a chemistry. So I mean I imagine there'd be something that we'll be doing. But in the meantime, I think Brian and I are doing different, you know, things on our own. And life's very full.
Brian's told us about his Pinochio project. What things he's up to at the moment?
What am I up to ... I'm doing some, I'm doing some, having a look for some news for younger people. And I am also doing some solo work. And working with another singer as well which is ... it's quite interesting.
Are you enjoying that?
Yeah. Yes, I do, I mean, I am a musician and, so I make music.