Roger Taylor: I think it's a very impoRoger Taylorant thing that any group has to be good in liveperformance, so we attach a lot of impoRoger Taylorance to that.
I: I remember when your first album came out, and it was all like a RogerTaylor solo project. Did you ever intend or it to last that long?
Roger Taylor: It was never meant to be a solo project, you see. It was always meant tobe a group, and this has been a big problem - I've never been able to convincepeople that it's a group - everybody writes, everybody shares the money equally,really it's not the Roger Taylor solo experience, and I'm just the singer.
I: When did you want to be a singer?
Roger Taylor: I've always been a singer. With Queen I've sung all of the harmonies, formany years, before that I was a singer anyway, and a drummer. Live, I would singin every song, harmonies at least, and in some songs, like I'm In Love With MyCar, I would sing the lead anyway, so I'm use to singing, so that wasn't new.The thing that was new was to be at the front, not playing an instrument toomuch.
I: Why do you never play drums?
Roger Taylor: Because we have a drummer! And I'm not the drummer. This is what I can'tget people to understand - I'm *not* the drummer!
I: And how did you find the other members of the band?
Roger Taylor: Er... Spike was a friend, who had played the keyboarswith Queen on their tours, 'cause when Freddie has to sing, you know, and get upand move and thing, somebody else has to play the keyboards, so I knew him forabout three years. And, er - we decided to staRoger Taylor this thing up, you know, so wewanted to find three younger people just so it wasn't all older people whoweren't influenced by what was happening, or anything. Then we found the guys,we made the band, and we staRoger Taylored it - you know. It's been very hard, very tough.
I: Is that because many people still think it's Roger Taylor?
Roger Taylor: Yeah. You just can't get away from it. Um - It's frustrating really.People like to put you in a drawer - you know - in a box. This is a differentthing - completely seperate.
I: This album was recorded at Real World Studios. A studio where there's alot of world music being done. Did that have any influence on you, or did youjust pick it?
Roger Taylor: Er... when you say world music, you mean music from other countries?
I: African music and things.
Roger Taylor: Yeah, well Womad is based there, yeah - No, we picked it because we likedthe look of it. Our music is like classic hard rock, and I like the idea of theworld music thing [laughs] but no, that had nothing to do with it. It was a goodstudio, a good location, and a nice place and we liked it very much indeed. I'veknown Peter for many years. Very many years.
I: How pleased are you with the new album?
Roger Taylor: I don't know. If you want me to be honest - I think it's quite good. Wehave a producer this time. I think the album is good - have you heard it? Do youlike it?
I: I like it.
Roger Taylor: Good.
I: The second song is the single, isn't it.
Roger Taylor: I think it's the second one, yeah.
I: It's the second one yeah. It's my favourite anyway.
Roger Taylor: Really? Oh good, well good. Um - yes it's difficult. I usually have towait six months before I know, you know, how much I like something, but we'veworked hard, and I hope people like it. I can't say a lot more than that really.I hope that the music is real. It's not pretending to be anything. It's soRoger Taylor of,quite grown up rock music.
I: Was it difficult to work with a producer who's ever so young?
Roger Taylor:No. Ever so young? He's not that young!
I: He's only 31.
Roger Taylor: Oh - 31 is not that young. He's very experienced, he's worked on TheJoshua Tree, U2, and assignments... Jeff Beck, this is all the stuff we like,and so he's great. He's older than three members of the band you know, so - notolder than me, but he's older than the others. But he was very good, it'sfantastic. I really enjoyed him telling me what to do. I enjoyed that for achange.
Roger Taylor: Yeah. Nice to receive direction, than give give it.
I: But you produced the others yourself?
Roger Taylor: Really, yes, and the rest of the band also, so you need someone from theoutside to give you that outside direction, I think.
I: To tell you?
Roger Taylor: Yeah, 'cause you're too invlove, you're too closely involved, and youjust can't give an objective view, you know?
I: When you're writing for the Cross, do you write while you're jamming, ordoes everybody -?
Roger Taylor: No. I write by myself. I can't write with the others. Sometimes if Iwrite with the guys, it's usually the lyrics, or to change what they alreadyhave, or to write a lyric from the beginning. Um... like with 'Bad Attitude',that's one, but the songs I write myself I write completely by myself, and thenwe bring them in and work it out.
I: Did you have a lot of songs to choose from when you did this album?
Roger Taylor: Yes, we had about 25, and we sat down with the producer one day, and wesaid "Which ones do you like?" and he said "I like this one... I like thisone..." And we let him choose.
I: So, you are going on tour now? Is it very difficult for you to play insmaller venues than you usually do?
Roger Taylor: Well the Cross - we've been on tour several times before, so you know, sono I'm used to it now, and I remember it from years ago, anyway, from my verybeginnings, when I was a teenager, I used to play in very small places and alsothe beginning of Queen was in very small places, you know - so no. Although Ihaven't played in small places for many years. Actually even Queen went back atone time to very small clubs, just to remind us, you know, to remind us to makeit interesting. I like playing in small places. It's good, and we're going toplay with a band called Magnum, who I know very well - do you know that band? Ithink they write very good songs, they have a strange image - like us it'sdifficult to define. but - they write very... in a genre... that style. Theywrite very good songs. I produced an album for them, six years ago, called'Vigilante'. I thought they were very good. they have a great song writer,Terry, and I think that ther'll be a very good mixture, you know. A good showaltogether.
I: Do you think that the Cross and Magnum have a similar audience?
R: Yes I do. I think it's the same audience, yeah. They're the people wholike hard rock, but not stupid hard rock, you know. They like people to havegood musicians, and also to have intelligent songs. Sung intelligently. They'rereal. They don't dress completely - like - hair to the waist. Go to America,folks - it's strange - looks like 1973 there. I grew up in that with Queen, andwe like to wear all this...
I: Long hair.
Roger Taylor: Yeah, and so it's very strange to see all that happening again, you know.
I: With the heavy metal.
Roger Taylor: Yeah. We were the staRoger Taylor of heavy metal, and Led Zeppelin, and everybodywas like glam heavy metal, you know, whatever. And it's all coming back roundagain.
I: How do you like the rest of the music scene?
Roger Taylor:Not good at the moment. There's not enough good stuff. I think in Americayou can hear more quality music then in Europe at the moment, because it's toodance orietated for my tastes - everything is dance, dance, dance, and the musicis - there are no new ideas, they're ripping off all the oldideas - they'rerecycling all the old good songs, and you hear very little good music. I likeEMF. I like that song...
Roger Taylor: yeah. that had a great riff, you can hear that they might be able towrite really good songs, more good songs, but a lot of it is just electroniccrap. It's gone one week. Shelf life one week, you know?
I: So you're an original rock 'n' roller?
Roger Taylor: yeah, absolutely. The thing is, you see, it lasts - it's timeless. Itlasts - there are hits from the sixties now - some of the best soul too.