Interview by Freddie Mercury, Munich, 1982.
(DVD “Queen on Fire. Live at the Bowl”).
Age rating: 12+.
F.M. – Freddie Mercury.
J. – Journalist.
J.: Can you tell us how is the tour going so far?
F.M.: It’s going well. It’s going very well. It’s getting better every day because I think it’s a new tour and we’re learning a lot after every show. And I personally take… Do a lot of research after every show to find out what’s going right, especially like the lights that we were talking about before. They’re very sophisticated lights and they can do so much more. And every day I learn something, I ask the lighting man to do something new. Also we’re interjecting the show with new songs so every time we do a new song we have to have new lighting. I ask him to try and do different things every day. You’ve seen the shows before, I don’t know if you find them different but the light cues can be different forever. You can have a new show every day if you wanted to.
J.: How long did you rehearse for this show?
F.M.: We rehearsed for a week. In Los Angeles. For two weeks. It was all on technical things to make sure the lights would work and… Even then, we didn’t rehearse that much and we didn’t rehearse the new songs. Basically, we were trying out the lights and also trying to introduce the new keyboard man, trying to find out if the new songs would work with an extra musician cos we’d never done that before. Most of the time was taken up by that. So we didn’t have time to do the new songs.
J.: We recently spoke to Mack in Munich…
J.: What do you think of him?
F.M.: Mack is an absolute genius. He’s an absolute genius. I think I personally wouldn’t want to work with anybody else. And if I was doing any solo projects or anything outside the format of Queen, I would use him.
(With smile) What did he say about us?
J.: He said exactly the same! Exactly the same. He said you want to do it quick…
F.M.: Is that what he said? That’s good. The rapport is good.
J.: So it’s now the tenth anniversary of the band, officially. Is it hard today to last for ten years?
F.M.: Oh, yes. I mean, touch wood… We’ve been very lucky and, I must say, I didn’t really think we were gonna last that long. You don’t get up and think, “My God, is it gonna be over?” You just carry on and come up with some fresh ideas and think about what to do. It’s like a big business thing. And as long as we don’t take it too seriously. Earlier on, we used to take it very seriously and I think it got a bit too serious. And I just thought to myself, “We should try and inject some fun into it”, so that you don’t, you know, you don’t get too serious and too moody about it. And I think sometimes that comes… That gets into the songs as well. You know, get a bit of fun in there…
J.: Does the way have changed how you are together as a band? Ten years ago, you probably stood all the time together…
F.M.: Very true, yes. Now we’ve learnt to accept each other instinctively, we know it’s a kind of job and we come together for… Which is good cos if we stayed together all the time, we’d get on each other’s nerves… There was a time when there was a lot of friction but then we sort of ironed that out. We just, you know, we argue a lot, we fight a lot but in the end, what’s really… We must come up with some product, and some good stuff. So we know and I think we used an intelligent… We don’t get too… It’s easy to get very egoistical and say, “I’m the greatest”, and all that. It’s quite a fight. And it’s not easy cos egos can run wild and all kinds of things can happen. You have to keep them down a bit and keep one foot on the ground. It’s easy to say, “I’m a big star. I want everything.” It’s very easy.
J.: Do you think the values in the rock music scene have changed a little bit since the late ‘60s, early ‘70s? Maybe at that time the cliche of sex and drugs and rock and roll was…
F.M.: I think you get various elements always true. There’ll always be a change cos the whole industry needs something like that. Every now and again you get a new phase and then it gets too easy-going and then somebody new comes up and everybody who’s gone before says, “We better make sure…” It’s good, it’s like getting a fresh injection. And I like that, it’s good competition.
J.: The rock music in your show is very… A very visual show. Is the visual element more important today in rock music or has it just developed…?
F.M.: I think a kind of visual element is always gonna have to be there, it’s a form of entertainment. And I think there’s no way… People want to be entertained in various ways and one way I know they don’t want to be entertained is for people to just play songs, cos they can hear that on the records. That’s why people try different things and a lot of visual theatrics, it’s always been there, from any kind of theatre entertainment, like Gypsy Rose Lee, from The Stripper, you’ve got to do something – to strip – It’s a kind of entertainment. So it’s visual. Visual theatrics will always be used. All the greatest acts have used it in one way or other, like Jimi Hendrix, or the Stones or… It has to be there, it’s a form of entertainment. It’s like “plus”. You do your music and then entertainment plus. And l, personally, like doing that anyway. I’d hate to go on stage and just sing my songs, I have to move. And it depends on each song. If there’s aggression, I have to show it.
J.: Last question, when you look at the Stones, they have their 20th anniversary this year…
F.M.: Good Lord! ls it 20 years? Good luck to them.
J.: Can you imagine to get to the same age with your band?
F.M.: What? 20 years? I wouldn’t know (laughs)! I really, at this time, I wouldn’t know. It would be nice if people still buy our records and we still feel… The most important thing is for us to feel… I would hate to just do it just because we want to do it to sell records or just to make money. If we weren’t interested in it, I wouldn’t do it. At the moment, I want to do it. If I lose interest, I’ll do something else cos I feel I can do it. I like trying out different things. But at the moment there’s a lot within Queen that we all can do. And one day I will say to myself I’ve done enough with Queen and I’ll try something else. I couldn’t tell you if that can happen tomorrow or two years’ time or ten years but let’s wait and see.
J.: Thank you very much.
F.M.: Ok Thank.
J.: Thank you.
Thank you very much.
F.M.: Great. All right.
Text by Shmanich.