Queen's Speech

Source: Disk Magazine 1973

Submitted by: Richard Orchard

 

There are often some questions best left until right at the end of an interview, the reasoning being that if you get flung out for asking them, at least you have everything else you want to know.

In the case of Queen, such questions obviously centred around the band's name. A late attempt to cash in on the fag-rock boom? A British answer to the New York Dolls? An all-out drag act?

None of these apparently, as lead vocalist Freddie Mercury explained. "We prefer to think of Queen in the regal sense rather than the queer one. We like to think of our music as rather majestic so it fits. And we are quite dandyish, thought we don't wear make-up or anything like that."

"I suppose," continues Freddie, "That some people will come and see us for the wrong reasons, but the moment they see us onstage they'll realise their mistake."

So far, not a lot of people have seen Queen, for their gigs have been few and far between, mainly because Freddie, Roger Meddows-Taylor (drums, vocals) and the rest of the band, Deacon John (bass guitar) and Brian May (guitar, vocals) have been busy finishing off degree courses.

Playing safe? "Yes, you could call it a kind of insurance," says Freddie. "We were semi-professional for a long time and now that we have degrees behind us should we ever need them, we feel happy being professional."

Queen's first album, entitled simply Queen, was released just a couple of weeks ago. Wasn't three years of being together rather a long time to take getting a first album out?

"The album was completed 14 months ago," explained Freddie, "and the songs on it are nearly three years old. Frankly the delay has just been a question of money -- waiting to get the right deal."

"We're going to Trident in August to start work on our second album," continued Roger. "We have a terrific backlog of songs to catch up on, about two-and-a-half albums worth."

They also have a single out, Keep Yourself Alive, taken from the album. On the LP's sleeve notes there's a line "nobody played synthesiser." Why?

"We put it on as a joke at first," said Freddie, "but it turned out to be quite a good idea, because we even managed to fool John Peel. He said something in a review of our single about there being good use of moog and actually it was just multi-tracked guitar. We don't use any synthesiser at all."

But wasn't it very difficult to simulate the sound of all that multi-tracking onstage?

"No, it seems to fill out quite well," says Freddie, "but Brian has invented a tape loop thing which will enable him to repeat any phrase he wants to and he can set the delay to whatever he wants with a footswitch."

This intriguing gadget may well make its first appearance when Queen hit the road for their first British tour in September - "When the universities restart."

Were they not becoming rather bored with waiting 15 months for their album to come out with only a few gigs in the meantime?

"Ah yes," sighs Freddie heavily, "the waiting game."

"But we have done some session work," adds Roger.

"Have you heard the name Larry Lurex?" continues Freddie mysteriously.

Oh yes, we'd all hooted hugely and speculated about who it might be when the gentleman's single came out a few weeks back.

"Well, that's me," says Freddie. "I was asked to do it and came up with the name as a joke and we ended up using it. It was going to Larry Lurex and The Voles From Venus, but we decided that it might be just a bit too much."