Interview by Wesley Strick
Back in the old days, we were often compared to Led Zeppelin.
If we did something with harmony, it was the Beach Boys. Something
heavy was Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant was always my favorite
singer--and he's said nice things about me, you know. He actually
said he liked "Killer Queen."
We were always a sitting target in the press because we became
popular so quickly. But, you know, we spent two years putting our
act together. It destroys the soul to hear that you're all hype,
that you have no talent, and that your whole career has been
contrived. I was never too keen on the British music press.
They've called us a supermarket hype, and they used to suggest that
we didn't write our own songs. When the _whole point_ of Queen was
to _be original_.
I'm the first to accept fair criticism. But the dishonest
reviews--where people haven't done their homework--I just tear them
up. I do get annoyed when up-and-coming journalists put themselves
above the artist. I don't care what the journalists say, we achieved our own
identity after Queen II. As for the Beach Boys or Led Zeppelin
comparisons: it's the combination of all those influences which
means Queen. We were disliked by the press in the early days
because they couldn't put their finger on us, and that was the case
with Zeppelin as well.
A lot of people slammed "Bohemian Rhapsody," but who can you
compare _that_ to? Name one group that's done an operatic single.
You know, were adamant that "Bohemian Rhapsody" would be a hit in
its entirety. We_have_ been forced to make compromises, but
cutting up a song will never be one of of them.
We've always put our necks on the line. We're fussy and
finicky and have very high standards. If a song can't be done
properly, we'd rather it isn't done at all. We're the fussiest
band in the world, and we put so much loving into every album.
We're a very expensive group; we break a lot of rules. It's
_unheard of_ to combine opera with a rock theme, my dear.
And, we have no such thing as a budget anymore. Our manager
freaks when we show him the bill. We're lavish to the bone, but
all our money goes back into the product. We've gone overboard on
every Queen album. But that's Queen. If people said, "The new
album sounds just like _Night At The Opera_," I'd give up. Wouldn't you?
After _Sheer Heart Attack_, we realized we'd established
ourselves. We felt that there were no barriers, no restrictions.
_A Night At The Opera_ featured every sound from a tuba to a comb.
Nothing is out of bounds. Every molecule of _Day At The Races_--
every iota-- is us. No session men. We don't try to reproduce
that onstage. We've been slagged in the press for our flamboyant
stage show. We think a show should be a spectacle. A concert is
not a live rendition of our album. Its a _theatrical event_.
In the very early days, we just wore black onstage. Very
bold, my dear. Then we introduced white, for variety, and it
simply grew and grew. "Stone Cold Crazy" was the first song Queen
ever performed onstage.
I have fun with my clothes onstage; it's not just a concert
you're seeing, it's a fashion show. I dress to kill, but
_tastefully_. My nail polish? I used to use Biba, now I use
Miners. One coat goes on really smooth.
If we're weird onstage, I don't know what you'd call the
Tubes. We're a bit flashy, but the music's not one big noise. I
think we're sophisticated. I like the cabaret-ish from _Cabaret_.
I absolutely adore Liza Minelli, she's a total wow. The way she
delivers her songs--the sheer energy. the way the lights enhance
every movement of the show I think you can see similarities in the
excitement and energy of a Queen show. It's not glamrock, you see;
we're in the showbusiness tradition.
The lavish presen