Interviews: Roger Taylor: QFC Magazine '95
Q: Why has it taken four years after the death of Freddie Mercury to release this album? It is nearly five years since "Innuendo" was released.
Roger: In fact, for a long time, we didn't want to touch it. It seemed really too much to manage this project.
Q: Was there ever the question if it would never be finished?
Roger: Yes, certainly. For two years we didn't want to face up to the question whether we were able to take it on. It was something too emotional for us... for two years we ran away from the project, until we finally decided to do it in 1993. We had to take a complete and total break to get ready for the work. Still now it is a delicate project.
Q: Was there ever pressure on you?
Roger: No. We were left alone. The group had its past record, the power of its name, like in the case of Pink Floyd. When a band delivers the final master tapes of their album, it is a product like any other; but when a Queen album is finished, it is something more.
Q: To what extent has this album been a struggle, an effort?
Roger: We have done our best, pushed the current standards, and produced something of which Mercury would have been proud. I am convinced that the fans will not be disappointed in that we have finally given what we can do best. There were no opinions that we should release something quickly, and we have worked in tranquility. We had to overcome our emotions, and we agreed on long periods of rest and inactivity, because we had to work some hard hours in the studio. In that this helped us to produce our best, we have worked intermittently.
Q: What do you think personally of the finished product?
Roger: Very happy and proud, because we have done an excellent job on the different pieces which were at different stages of completion. Some were simply good, and others were fabulous. I only hope that the public will like it. I know that many people wished we'd hit the rocks, but that's not the case in my opinion. It is only human to wish that, but therein, there are some really good pieces.
Q: How do you respond to some current critisism claiming that you are just getting rich through the name of the group?
Roger: It is very hard when I read an unfavourable article, and it really hurts me. I know it's just one opinion of an individual, but above all we are human beings, and that knocks a sensitive point. Freddie certainly could have been the most affected by that, but we didn't feel any better together in the same situation. Freddie has done all he could to record as many tracks as possible, and he asked us to give him the maximum material possible to sing. He had a perfect voice and would have done an excellent job. We have all written and re-recorded certain songs.
Q: Now, you leave us with the memories...
Roger: There are many of them and they are so important. If I begin to think of them all, it would take a long time. The most painful is not to have played live for such a long period.
Q: Is there a bit of logic in thinking that a drummer gets his real chance to express himself during a live show?
Roger: Possibly... it was something that I really liked. It is still the case. My like of concerts explains the foundation of my group "The Cross" and why I am still looking to play in a group. Freddie found that difficult and we had to respect his wishes.
Q: Was that for you the biggest personal disappointment in your career with Queen?
Roger: Probably, although I have never thought like that. We were able to do many concerts. There was a pernament demand to go on tour. Nothing can equal playing in concert. Working in the studio is good, but the major difference in playing live is that you deliver your music directly to the public. You divert it...
Q: What will the members of the group do now?
Roger: Nothing new collectively. It is the end, and there is no further project left for the group.
Q: If you do nothing further with your music live, then others will take it up like the Queen tribute bands...
Roger: I have heard them spoken about, but I have never heard them and have no opinion on this question. There exists a multitude of groups like this one in nature: some do a good job, and others are abominable.
Q: One asks how that can possibly work given that Freddie was a singer very difficult to replace.
Roger: On my side, after having been a member for 25 years of this masterful success, it is finished. Until the end of my life, I will be known as the founding drummer of the group Queen. That's good for me because I am proud of my past. And, this album finishes it on the best possible note.
Q: Not bad for someone who wanted to take up dentistry!
Roger: Right. I only spent 18 months studying it, and stopped for a year to open up a little shop with Freddie in London (Kensington Market), then I returned to my studies, notably biology. In fact, I abandoned it all because the group took precedance. I have taken my son to see the shop, and it is still there like it was before. It was really funny to think of that - a real flash from the past.