Queen - A Kind Of Magic

Source: BBC Radio 1 December 1995

Submitted by: Richard Orchard

Queen - A Kind Of Magic

Transcribed by Rebecca Makin (r.makin@ic.ac.uk)
Welcome to this Sunday evening special presented by Kevin Greening on a band who can only be described as phenomenal - Queen

[snippets from A Kind Of Magic, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Invisible Man, Bohemian Rhapsody and Radio Ga Ga]

Freddie: We've all had ego problems, like any other group, but we've never actually let it go that far where we actually said OK let's forget it, because I think we've all, the four of us have actually said that this chemistry that's worked has really worked for us, so why kill the goose that laid the golden egg, and, er, the survival instinct that I have in me and I think the whole group has, through any thing we will just carry on, you know, until one of us drops dead or something, we'll just replace. I mean if I suddenly left, they have this sort of mechanism, you know, and they'd just replace me. Not easy to replace me, huh?!

One of the most successful British rock bands ever lost its lead singer in November 1991. With 21 years and 19 albums behind them, Queen had had a phenomenal reign. But there were still some surprises to come. Brian May, Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor and John Deacon were intensely competitive individuals. Perhaps that was the most important part of their chemistry as a band. That, the ir talent, and of course a little bit of luck. Brian May.

Brian: There aren't very many sort of real groups born every day, that's definitely true, and obviously there's a fantastic amount of luck involved. By some strange process we came together, and it was a very efficient little machine, you know, four people who certainly, viewed from the outside, would be seen as a very efficient machine. They're all kicking the shit out of each other inside the ma chine [laughs] but from the outside there's no doubt that everything was there. We had the skills to cover every area, and you couldn't put that together from the outside, make it happen. There has to be a bit of luck.

[Killer Queen]

Queen fought from the word go, the moment they met. It was all argued and highly confrontational, particularly in the studio

Freddie: A Queen album is made up of that anyway. You have to fight. I think that's the best way. I mean, it's like ... I think with me, if it was made too easy, I think I would come up with ...lesser material, if you know what I mean. I like to fight, and I think I make everyone else fight as well. I think because we all fight, it makes it much more interesting and I think then you get the "creme de la creme" , you know, it's the cream of the crop, so I mean, the fighting for the Queen songs has been one of the worthwhile factors, to be honest. So you get the best songs. Some of the ones that were discarded ended up on my solo album, but they're good!

Brian: Everything, almost every note was a compromise [laughs] I remember that famous quote of Freddie's, "we don't compromise", which is true, but he meant we don't compromise with anyone else, you know, which is true, so if someone else comes along, he gets kicked out of the door very quickly, or else can't stand the heat [laughs]. It was pretty hard for anyone to sit with us, you know, as a producer or whatever, and the ones that managed it managed it by having very strong personalities. They sat with 4 very precocious young men becoming old men and sort of made the best of it they could, I guess!

Queen bust up points were usually near the end of albums, when crucial decisions had to be made about tracks and the first single. Freddie was often a compromising force in the studio. Even so there were walk outs.

Brian: Definitely, yeah. I think we definitely all walked out at least once every album I think. Maybe that's a slight exaggeration but there was times when all of us thought that it was enough. But we generally came back the