Ex-UK Subs drummer Stevie Ze Suicide is now forging a career as a
sleaze/glam frontman. Here’s the second in an irregular series of Ze
Ze Suicide Diaries Part 2:
Stevie meets Queen!
Now what have James Bond and Carry On Camping got in common? Great
films? Well, Bond’s got chicks everywhere, fast cars and a license to
kill, and Carry On Camping reminds me of some of the tours I’ve had to
do, but they were also both filmed in the same place- Pinewood Studios.
Writing lyrics for Sex Drugs and Death, a new song that I’m recording
on Monday for a single, I think back…. I remember I was once in EMI and
an A&R man said “If only I could find a rock act out there with the
image” and I said “I’m here, why don’t you sign me?” He said “Cos
you’re crap.” Now I took that as a huge compliment, cos I know that if
he’d liked me, I’d have been doing it all wrong! Always keep one foot
in the gutter, thats what I say. What I mean by that is no matter how
sucessful you become, or how lavish a production budget you may have,
keep the music hungry and it will never die
Anyway, let’s go back to Pinewood Studios. It’s the late eighties
and I’m continuing my experiences at MGMM, and today is Queen day! I am
to work on a track Freddie Mercury is doing with a big fat opera singer
from Spain called Madam Monserrat. The track is called Barcelona, and
we are to be at Pinewood film studios by 6am prompt. I always thought
opera was a bit posh, so this was going to be interesting….. anyway I
arrive at Pinewood and meet a nice bloke from Leeds called Mike Moran
who did Sarah Brightman and all that stuff,
“We’re in Roger Moore’s dressing room,” he said “The cleaners love him, so watch where you sit!”
I walk in to Rogies room, where the cleaners tell me to be very careful
with his things, because he’s a very lovely gentleman and they think
the world of him.
“He always gives us flowers and we keep the place spotless” they said.
And now stupid old Pinewood is letting a bloody rock band in. “Who is
it anyway?” they concerningly spit. “Queen.” I said
“Well just tell them to behave themselves. This is Roger’s room.”
“Well he is James Bond” I replied, trying hard to be on their side.
“Yes he is!” They shout proudly “And he’s a very nice man, a very very nice man, and you’re in his room!” and off they go.
At this point my mind is pre-occupied with thoughts of Aston Martins
and I think I must get a Rolls Royce before we run out of oil.
Freddie arrives. I’ve met him before and he recognises me. “Guess
what? You’re in Roger Moores dressing room!” I said trying hard to
“Let’s hope he’s hoovered up then!” replies Freddie with his usual wit,
and everybody laughs. The ice is broken. At this point I knew I was in
the company of a driving force, and he was. Freddie Mercury’s energy
and professionalism were second to none. This guy was just stunning,
utterly charming and very funny. A total rock star. Even Freddie’s
immaculate Louis Vuitton make-up case was an inspiration. (Now all
these years later I have a make-up case of my own, but mine came from
B&Q.) I poured his drink as ordered- Don Perignon Champagne and
Vladivar vodka… mixed. “Shaken, not stirred” I quipped as I handed it
to him. “Oh, don’t be bloody silly” he said, “Where’s Monserrat? Has
she arrived yet? No? Well let me know when she does please, dear.”
I grab a crafty Don Perignon and vod for myself and hide outside to await her arrival.
Monserrat arrives, and her assistant, or bodyguard or whatever he is,
lays down the law with gusto. “No hairspray! No alcohol! ABSOLUTELY no
ciggies , perfume, or any food may enter Madam’s room!” A voice bellows
to me. He’s a real busy-body bully-beef this bloke. However she turns
out to be a really nice friendly lady, like a best friend’s mum or
something. She smiles and laughs and everything!. She eats fruit and
drinks fruit juice, not the expected sausage, egg, and bacon fry-up as
I thought. I’d bought all this food we won’t need.
By this time Freddie is ready to meet Mrs Monserrat. He picks up his
drink and cigarettes, and walks casually across. I’m thinking “Oh NO!”
as he gets to Madame Monserrat’s door and the bodyguard stands in his
way and attempts to tell him not to come in with his selection of
banned items “Oh get out of the way. Move, move, man! Freddie wafted
him to one side like a fly, a brilliant moment, and he walked in with
cigarettes, alcohol and enough hairspray to melt the ozone. Later that
day I sat back and watched in amazement at Freddie and Madame
Monserrat’s performance on Barcelona, conducted of course by the great
Mike Moran. What an experience. I hope that the next time you see the
video you’ll think of this story and the fun we had backstage
So back to today, writing down lyrics for the single I am recording
on Monday reflects just how times have changed since those more
“The dead sink their claws in me, the living steal
the air I breathe, and lepers pick their days in careful pain. The
smell of death around a suicide, do pretty flowers make you want to
cry? now Satan spreads his wings and calls your name…”
The lyrics sound pretty dark, but as I’m writing them, at the back of
my mind I’m thinking how you can’t get hold of silver lipstick for love
nor money, a subconcious reminder to myself that however hard hitting a
message is, it should still be delivered with entertainment in mind.
That is the fabulous legacy left to us by all the great performers,
artists and musicians, such as Freddie Mercury, Jimmy Hendrix, Bob
Dylan, Iggy Pop etc. If we ignore these lessons in art and theatre the
world, and rock music, would be a much duller place.
And speaking of great artists, Ive just interviewed my heroes Dave and
Don from Slade, a little extra item for the first Ze Suicide DVD we are
Finally, let’s return again to Pinewood. In the early hours, on the
way home, we cross Baker Street, and Freddie’s car stops next to ours
at the lights. I looked over and put my thumb up to say “See ya,
matey”. He smiled and raised his hand to say goodbye. That was the last
time I was ever to see the great man. Yes James Bond is cool, but
Freddie was a real gentleman who showed us all just how it should be
done. Bond is the ultimate icon and a hero to his cleaning ladies, but
Freddie Mercury was in a class of his own, elegant and inspiring,
always with one foot in the gutter just in case he needed to “Let them
eat cake, she says, just like Marie Antoinette”
We all miss Freddie Mercury so much. x.
Copied from : www.classicrockmagazine.com