Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Queen WAS Freddie, Freddie WAS Queen.

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Boy Thomas Raker user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 03 Aug 07, 21:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Queen, the band, was an amazing band of four individuals who made the whole greater than any of the parts. However, given the countless errors, lack of quality control and half assed efforts that have been made since his death, I firmly believe that it was pretty much Freddie Mercury who embodied what Queen as a band was. In addition to the bands de facto creative/art director, Freddie named the band, created the logo, and had the greatest input into the bands visual style, which was iconic (II, ANATO and ADATR) and visually arresting (SHA.) When Freddie died, one of the British mags that hated him quoted him as saying, "we just want to be a regal British band, dear." They grudingly said that he accomplished that in spades.

Now post-Freddie, we see the Hollywood releases which featured technical; glitches galore and embarassing remixes. The catalogue is a shambles, with GH compilations that are nothing but cash grabs and songs licenced out to everyone with a chequebook. Roger said the cover of Queen Rocks looked lie someone threw up on it. Then, for the definitive collection of their crowning moment, we get archival footage of men on the moon, people walking on the seaside, and Brian's ukelele playing hands. Throw in the ads with Britney, Pink and Beyonce, the endless WWRY remixes/remakes, the staggeringly bad decision to promote WWRY with the Sun, which hounded Freddie during his final months, the Wal Mart album, which stood against everything Freddie stood for as a person, and now the horrid Queen Rocks Montreal collection, and I'm left to believe that Freddie was everything to Queen outside of the music. If it weren't for Freddie's style, vision and taste, Queen would have been Slade or Nazareth, decent bands with no image. Brian and Roger have lost the plot.


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Posted: 03 Aug 07, 22:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Boy Thomas Raker wrote:

the Wal Mart album, which stood against everything Freddie stood for as a person


Huh?
The Wal-Mart album is quite good, I think. I'm with you on most of what you are saying about the lastest releases, though.

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Posted: 03 Aug 07, 22:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think the blame should be shifted toward QPL and their advisers. According to comments I've read over on QOL, Jim Beach and his staff are so steadfast in their beliefs that whatever they do and whatever they release is right, and any dissenting criticisms are wrong. I'm sure that Brian has some hand in what is done, and I'm positive that Roger doesn't care anymore -- he's made his millions, and as long as Brian wants to play music, he's happy. As far as I can tell, Brian is told what QPL thinks is right, and he pretty much just okays it.

(I might be wrong on this point. It's just what I've interpreted.)

As far as Freddie being Queen... mm, I disagree. Remember, Freddie was in a handful of bands before he joined up with Roger and Brian, and none of them were successful. Smile achieved far more success (comparatively, mind) than any of Freddie's bands. Without Freddie, yes, Brian and Roger might have been Slade or Nazareth; without Brian and Roger, Freddie wouldn't have been anywhere. They needed each other to succeed, and boy did they ever. (For example, listen to "Mr. Bad Guy" and tell me that album compares to anything done by Queen in their hey day. It doesn't.)

As far as recent releases go, I believe that Hollywood Records is a major part of the problem. Queen SHOULD NOT be with them. They are the completely wrong record company for Queen, and I've always believed this. Why QPL doesn't renegotiate Queen's back catalog with someone like Rykodisc or Rhino is beyond me. The back catalog is a shambles, I agree, but I don't believe that Roger and Brian are to blame completely. Remember that the likes of DoRo, Live Magic, Rare Live, and the 1988 CD singles (which were hit or miss, at best) were all done when Freddie was still around. Apparently, he also okayed the 1991 Hollywood remixes (which were released between March and June 1991), and loved the dance remix of 'Seven Seas Of Rhye'.

I'm certain that Roger and Brian are keeping their eyes on the future with Paul Rodgers (which is a completely different story, and one that I don't want to get into now!) and letting people they trust and believe are leading them in the right direction handle their history. The only problem is, they are going about it all wrong, and I'm disappointed that it's only now that fans are realizing this.

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Posted: 03 Aug 07, 22:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Lester Burnham wrote:

As far as Freddie being Queen... mm, I disagree. Remember, Freddie was in a handful of bands before he joined up with Roger and Brian, and none of them were successful. Smile achieved far more success (comparatively, mind) than any of Freddie's bands. Without Freddie, yes, Brian and Roger might have been Slade or Nazareth; without Brian and Roger, Freddie wouldn't have been anywhere. They needed each other to succeed, and boy did they ever. (For example, listen to "Mr. Bad Guy" and tell me that album compares to anything done by Queen in their hey day. It doesn't.)


Totally agree.

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Posted: 03 Aug 07, 23:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The Wal Mart album may be a great album, Erin, however, Wal Mart is a low end, price sensitive, cheap retailer. Philosophically, Freddie wasn't a cheap person. The stories of him keeping high end stores in Japan open after to shop there are legendary. I couldn't ever see him setting foot in a Wal Mart, and I'm sure that he'd see this as a step away from a crppy infomercial. Nothing regal about this release, but I see your point.

And Lester, with all due respect as you're one of the great, knowledgeable people on this board, no one at QPL would have a job without Brian and Roger. Brian said he passed on the "Queen of Clubs" dance album after the death of Freddie to "protect the catalogue." I agree Roger doesn't care anymore , but I'm surprised Brian is so weak as a director of QPL.

Again, musically, Freddie needed Brian, Roger and John. AWAY from the musical side, though, I believe he was the vision and spark behind what Queen was, and again, who decide to sign with
Hollywood Records? Queen! I'm not a Freddie stepford, as I believe Mr. Bad Guy and his solo stuff was passable, and although he was a once in a lifetime talent, he needed the other 3 to bring that to fruition. His DoRo allegiance was mystifying, but IMHO, there have been far more misteps post-Freddie than before his passing. As Kenny8 said in another thread tonight "More proof, as if any was needed that they're a different beast without Fred. Musically as well as visually. I can't imagine Fred signing off on that", (the new cover artwork.)





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Posted: 03 Aug 07, 23:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Erin wrote:

Lester Burnham wrote:

As far as Freddie being Queen... mm, I disagree. Remember, Freddie was in a handful of bands before he joined up with Roger and Brian, and none of them were successful. Smile achieved far more success (comparatively, mind) than any of Freddie's bands. Without Freddie, yes, Brian and Roger might have been Slade or Nazareth; without Brian and Roger, Freddie wouldn't have been anywhere. They needed each other to succeed, and boy did they ever. (For example, listen to "Mr. Bad Guy" and tell me that album compares to anything done by Queen in their hey day. It doesn't.)


Totally agree.


And I totally agree with your total agreement.

It was a magical mix, friends and neighbors. We all have our favorite member who we all like to think was the architect of the band's success - and the Freddie fans are the most cultish about it - but the truth is, each member was critical to the overall success. Maybe not all at the same time, but over the course of the band's career, each one of them did his share of the heavy lifting. And we all know that. Its just more fun sometimes to put down the guy(s) you don't like as much. My favorite member can beat up your favorite member. Or in the context of the online world, my favorite member was more important and talented than your favorite member, therefore I am better and have better taste than you do.

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Posted: 03 Aug 07, 23:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Boy Thomas Raker wrote:

The Wal Mart album may be a great album, Erin, however, Wal Mart is a low end, price sensitive, cheap retailer. Philosophically, Freddie wasn't a cheap person. The stories of him keeping high end stores in Japan open after to shop there are legendary. I couldn't ever see him setting foot in a Wal Mart, and I'm sure that he'd see this as a step away from a crppy infomercial.


Wow, what a remarkable snob.

No, I don't see Freddie ever shopping in a Wal-Mart. I also don't ever see him shopping in a K-Mart, Target, Meijers, or Costco, where thousands of Queen albums are also sold. Freddie did, however, like the money he made, and I sincerely doubt he would have given a shit which interchangable corporate retailer sold his music - as long as he got the royalty.

No, the person who seems to feel he's above the low end, price sensitive, cheap retailer is you.

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Posted: 03 Aug 07, 23:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Boy Thomas Raker wrote:

And Lester, with all due respect as you're one of the great, knowledgeable people on this board, no one at QPL would have a job without Brian and Roger. Brian said he passed on the "Queen of Clubs" dance album after the death of Freddie to "protect the catalogue." I agree Roger doesn't care anymore , but I'm surprised Brian is so weak as a director of QPL.


So am I. I honestly don't know what Brian is thinking, and no matter how much I try to reason it in my head, I can't imagine what extras he was talking about (regarding Queen Rocks Montreal) that he considered so exciting. I think he finds himself in the awkward position of being the sole flag-waver of Queen: trying to retain the glory of the past while moving the band in a new direction. It's an unfortunate predicament, but he's also the most high-profile: Roger has stopped caring, and refuses to accept the Internet for being a viable means of keeping in touch with fans; John retired and has shown no signs of life in the past decade. So it's down to Brian, whereas before all four of them had taken (mostly) equal responsibilities. I honestly don't know what Brian thinks, but I do know that the past few years have been pretty detrimental to Queen's history. Recording with Five and Robbie Williams? That Pepsi ad? Hmm... Brian has expressed his approval of these collaborations with almost childish glee, yet pouts and wonders why a mean old critic DARE say anything against him.

(As far as Q+PR goes, I think it's great they're being creative again, though the distinction between Queen and the new band should have been drawn a long time ago. As I said before, that's not the point of this discussion, though.)

Boy Thomas Raker wrote:

Again, musically, Freddie needed Brian, Roger and John. AWAY from the musical side, though, I believe he was the vision and spark behind what Queen was, and again, who decide to sign with Hollywood Records? Queen! I'm not a Freddie stepford, as I believe Mr. Bad Guy and his solo stuff was passable, and although he was a once in a lifetime talent, he needed the other 3 to bring that to fruition. His DoRo allegiance was mystifying, but IMHO, there have been far more misteps post-Freddie than before his passing. As Kenny8 said in another thread tonight "More proof, as if any was needed that they're a different beast without Fred. Musically as well as visually. I can't imagine Fred signing off on that", (the new cover artwork.)


The mis-steps comment, sadly, is true. I agree with that and kind of shake my head when I think back on the mistakes they made, starting with Queen Rocks in '97, continuing with GHIII in '99, and so forth. They need a better team, but as long as the albums keep selling, they won't get a better team. I believe that if a Queen compilation is a hit and shifts a million units, then QPL is willing to sacrifice that little shred of artistic integrity, as opposed to releasing a box of rarities or a previously unreleased concert that may only sell 100,000 copies. QPL is a business, and Queen is a brand; they're in it to make money. That may partly be Brian and Roger's faults, but I think the real blame lies with Jim Beach, for believing in this horrendous strategy to begin with. He's a very shrewd businessman, but when Brian and Roger have already made their millions, what more is there to give? There's only so many times that you can package the hits and make it seem new, and they did in in 1981. Every time since then has been a horrible rehash. Even Stone Cold Classics, which many fans abhor, sold respectably and charted well. Yet something exciting like a singles box set is delayed inexplicably.

I read on QOL that QPL was informed 18 months ago that Queen Rocks Montreal would undoubtedly fail. Yet it was still decided to go ahead with the release. I just don't understand that one bit.

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Posted: 04 Aug 07, 00:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Boy Thomas Raker wrote:

The Wal Mart album may be a great album, Erin, however, Wal Mart is a low end, price sensitive, cheap retailer. Philosophically, Freddie wasn't a cheap person. The stories of him keeping high end stores in Japan open after to shop there are legendary. I couldn't ever see him setting foot in a Wal Mart, and I'm sure that he'd see this as a step away from a crppy infomercial. Nothing regal about this release, but I see your point.


You know, you've spoken out against Wal-Mart before, and I get the feeling that your anger is more in line with what Wal-Mart represents than with Queen supposedly selling themselves out.

Yes, stories exist of Freddie's expensive habits, but that has squat to do with what Queen released in the past. What you are suggesting is that while Freddie was around, he would have insisted that Queen product was only available in high-quality retailers. Somehow, that seems the opposite of the "Bigger the Better in Everthing" Freddie we all know.

Now, your Wal-Mart elitism aside, it remains one of, if not the, biggest CD retailer in the United States. Having a series of exclusive releases in the biggest retailer in the country is not a dumb decision.

(Personal opinion here, but I've thought that QP has tried to appeal to the youth market too much since the mid-1990s. If they went the Borders/Barnes and Noble route and appealed to middle- or upper-class adults with spending cash, we might get better products)


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Posted: 04 Aug 07, 01:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Totally agree with Boy Thomas Raker.

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Posted: 04 Aug 07, 04:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think that Queen Rocks and GH3 were released because Queen owed Hollywood Records 6 albums from their 1990 contract. However, all releases after that were okayed by the remaining Queen members and they are to blame.

Personally, I believe that in particular Brian May is much behind everything as long as there is publicity and sales involved. He was very outspoken about the alleged low quality release of "We Will Rock You" DVD at a time when QP had not yet released a single DVD with a DTS track themselves. I am stunned about the incredible double standard he has displayed over again. See American Idol, see Rupert Murdoch, see the recent comments about finding cast members through TV casting shows and appearing on Canadian Idol at the same time.

Brian himself raised the expectations by promising "exciting extras" on the upcoming DVD and now we find it's 5 minutes of an old second rate TV show! It was not an underpaid employeee, it was Brian May himself who told us that 5 minutes of a second rate TV show should be considered "exciting material" I wonder what Saul Swimmer would think about that.

We should not forget that there were excellent releases: The Freddie Mercury Box, Wembley 86 DVD and Milton Keynes DVD.

Since we already own Montreal and Live Aid we can pass this release and see if something better comes in the future.


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Posted: 04 Aug 07, 04:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

YourValentine wrote:

Since we already own Montreal and Live Aid we can pass this release and see if something better comes in the future.


Eh...I agree with Brian in redoing something like this simply to get the audio correct...that is VERY much in the spirit of Queen.

But if that DVD COVER is used, then I agree that Freddie was the brains of knowing how to market a sophisticated image to people via visual mediums (other than just the music)...which that DVD cover (and being seen on American Idol) TOTALLY RUINS. (Though we don't know if that's really the cover.)

I'm not quite sure about the budget Wal-Mart release though... Queen DID have the similar budget "Queen Collection" released here in the US on the cheap-image K-Tel records label in the early '80s, which Freddie may have approved of, though that surprised me even then...


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Posted: 04 Aug 07, 07:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

> However, given the countless errors, lack of quality control and half assed efforts that have been made since his death

What about before his death? Live Magic is sub-par IMO, and Rare Live is total pants.

> I firmly believe that it was pretty much Freddie Mercury who embodied what Queen as a band was.

I disagree.

> Remember, Freddie was in a handful of bands before he joined up with Roger and Brian, and none of them were successful.

Yes but we've got to see that in context. Wreckage and the other bands lasted months ... when Queen had been together for months, they weren't successful either. Would Sour Milk Sea become successful, had they stayed together for longer (for instance, until Fred wrote songs like 'Killer Queen')? Could have Smile be a bigger act if they had stayed together, or if they had a different singer (neither Tim nor Freddie)? Maybe, maybe not, we'll never know.

> Smile achieved far more success (comparatively, mind) than any of Freddie's bands.

Indeed, but then again, it doesn't guarantee anything.

> Without Freddie, yes, Brian and Roger might have been Slade or Nazareth; without Brian and Roger, Freddie wouldn't have been anywhere.

That's, again, mere speculation. Maybe, maybe not. And btw what about John Deacon? He existed too, you know...

> For example, listen to "Mr. Bad Guy"

Same old story...

> each member was critical to the overall success.

Yes but it can't be denied that some were more critical than others. Who wrote the band's first top 10? the first top 3? The first British #1? The first American #1? Who arranged Roger's first #1? Who dominated the vocal side? Who wrote their sports anthem?

> each one of them did his share of the heavy lifting.

Of course, and that's why IMO Rog+John wouldn't be Queen, Rog+Freddie wouldn't be Queen, John+Fred wouldn't be Queen, John+Brian wouldn't be Queen, Fred+Brian wouldn't be Queen and of course, Brian+Roger aren't Queen.

> Recording with Five and Robbie Williams? That Pepsi ad? Hmm... Brian has expressed his approval of these collaborations with almost childish glee, yet pouts and wonders why a mean old critic DARE say anything against him.

I actually like Robbie's version. I don't agree with the "Queen+" label there, but musically I think it's wonderful. Same for Brian + Roger + Paul: musically they're astonishing, and by far one of the best acts of the current scene.

> though the distinction between Queen and the new band should have been drawn a long time ago.

Standing ovation!


John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 04 Aug 07, 07:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Oh my god, again ????
Freddie was the singer of Queen. Nothing less, nothing more.
BTW what is this doing in Serious discussion ?

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Posted: 04 Aug 07, 08:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Nothing more?

What about his role as songwriter, arranger, producer, pianist?

Neither Fred was "just" a singer, nor Brian was "just" a guitarist, nor Rog "just" a drummer, nor John "just" a bass player.


John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 04 Aug 07, 08:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

OK, you're right, but you know what I was trying to say. That they are or were a BAND, therefore everybody was important.

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Posted: 04 Aug 07, 09:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Boy Thomas Raker wrote:

Queen, the band, was an amazing band of four individuals who made the whole greater than any of the parts. However, given the countless errors, lack of quality control and half assed efforts that have been made since his death, I firmly believe that it was pretty much Freddie Mercury who embodied what Queen as a band was. In addition to the bands de facto creative/art director, Freddie named the band, created the logo, and had the greatest input into the bands visual style, which was iconic (II, ANATO and ADATR) and visually arresting (SHA.) When Freddie died, one of the British mags that hated him quoted him as saying, "we just want to be a regal British band, dear." They grudingly said that he accomplished that in spades.

Now post-Freddie, we see the Hollywood releases which featured technical; glitches galore and embarassing remixes. The catalogue is a shambles, with GH compilations that are nothing but cash grabs and songs licenced out to everyone with a chequebook. Roger said the cover of Queen Rocks looked lie someone threw up on it. Then, for the definitive collection of their crowning moment, we get archival footage of men on the moon, people walking on the seaside, and Brian's ukelele playing hands. Throw in the ads with Britney, Pink and Beyonce, the endless WWRY remixes/remakes, the staggeringly bad decision to promote WWRY with the Sun, which hounded Freddie during his final months, the Wal Mart album, which stood against everything Freddie stood for as a person, and now the horrid Queen Rocks Montreal collection, and I'm left to believe that Freddie was everything to Queen outside of the music. If it weren't for Freddie's style, vision and taste, Queen would have been Slade or Nazareth, decent bands with no image. Brian and Roger have lost the plot.



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Posted: 04 Aug 07, 09:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Boy Thomas Raker wrote:

Queen, the band, was an amazing band of four individuals who made the whole greater than any of the parts. However, given the countless errors, lack of quality control and half assed efforts that have been made since his death, I firmly believe that it was pretty much Freddie Mercury who embodied what Queen as a band was. In addition to the bands de facto creative/art director, Freddie named the band, created the logo, and had the greatest input into the bands visual style, which was iconic (II, ANATO and ADATR) and visually arresting (SHA.) When Freddie died, one of the British mags that hated him quoted him as saying, "we just want to be a regal British band, dear." They grudingly said that he accomplished that in spades.

Now post-Freddie, we see the Hollywood releases which featured technical; glitches galore and embarassing remixes. The catalogue is a shambles, with GH compilations that are nothing but cash grabs and songs licenced out to everyone with a chequebook. Roger said the cover of Queen Rocks looked lie someone threw up on it. Then, for the definitive collection of their crowning moment, we get archival footage of men on the moon, people walking on the seaside, and Brian's ukelele playing hands. Throw in the ads with Britney, Pink and Beyonce, the endless WWRY remixes/remakes, the staggeringly bad decision to promote WWRY with the Sun, which hounded Freddie during his final months, the Wal Mart album, which stood against everything Freddie stood for as a person, and now the horrid Queen Rocks Montreal collection, and I'm left to believe that Freddie was everything to Queen outside of the music. If it weren't for Freddie's style, vision and taste, Queen would have been Slade or Nazareth, decent bands with no image. Brian and Roger have lost the plot.



yup.
and there you have it.



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Posted: 04 Aug 07, 09:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Fair comment, Maz, and that's what I mean about Wal Mart versus Barnes & Noble. Excluding people like Pittrek who can't decipher a statement that says I wasn't talking musically, I think that Freddie embodied the regal side of Queen. The overdramtic flourishes, the costume changes, the flowers with the thorns picked out, those are Freddie things. I don't see him being party to running promos and contests for WWRY in a rag like the Sun, or creating an exclusive album in one of music's great catalogues for a price conscious retailer.

And to digress, I think that Wal Mart is a tremendous problem for Americans and the American economy with their pricing policies. As I stated in another thread, many Americans are as anti-Wal Mart and their policies as Brian is anti-hedgehog killing. I can guarantee that if a fan sent Brian an e-amil on how poor a decision it is to do exclusive business with Wal Mart due to their cost to the health care system by paying low wages or the fact that many Americans are losing jobs as Wal Mart farms out to producers in China to keep their low price poicy in place, Brian would drum up some excuse justifying it and removing himself from the process. He plays both sides of the fence as a businessman (witness his embarrassing back and forth on reality shows, always coinciding with his appearance on one), and I think that QP are more profit oriented, which is fine, but less customer and quality friendly than they've evr been. Who knows, I may be wrong and if Freddie were here it could be worse.

And you're right about John Deacon, Seb, I've excluded him in a business sense because nobobdy knows how involved he is in decisions like this. According to Roger and Brian, he sits at home and collects royalty cheques, so in my mind he's not involved in the QP other than giving blessings for everything.


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Posted: 04 Aug 07, 09:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Can't argue with the poster, I remember Brian May actually saying a few weeks maybe months after Freddie's death "we'll never cash in" - bollocks, the last Queen CD I bought was Queen Rocks because of the single that went with it. Queen Hits III is pile of shite to include solo tracks is the biggest example of cashing in.

Some faith has been restored with the DVD releases & the paul rogers link up, but it is a shambles