Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Why didn't Queen ever use a Mellotron?

forum rss feed
Author

goinback user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 997 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 05:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I asked Brian but he never answers me...I thought this was a pretty good question if I do say so :)

Mellotrons were keyboard "samplers" in the '70s, except they weren't digital ;) Every key on the keyboard had a tape mechanism and an 8-inch strip of recorded magnetic tape. The tape played with a key stroke, then sprung back to the beginning when the key was lifted and could be played again immediately. It seems like something Queen would have been into using, and it may have even made the opera section in Bo Rhap easier to record (they maybe could have even played it live on stage this way, and varied it and made the opera section more weird). Yes and David Bowie used mellotrons to make what sounded like a choir with a lot of voices, though what I've heard was buried in the mix so it's hard to tell the quality. (David used it on the song "Big Brother" from 1974, and Yes used it at the end of "Starship Trooper" on the live 1973 album YesSongs...so Queen obviously could have used one by 1975.)

This was *not* a synthesizer, so the "no synths" rule wouldn't have applied. The only thing I can think of is maybe they were worried people would *think* it was a synth if seen onstage....


"I have no time for Time magazine. Or Rolling Stone." Jethro Tull
Jjeroen user not visiting Queenzone.com

Deity: 4781 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 05:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Errr... they had Brian's guitar...?!

Lol - Very obvious Brian did not answer your question. You insulted him! ;-))) You're missing one of the essenses of Queen's being.

If Queen used a mellotron instead of Brian's guitar, only half of us in here -probably even less- would have been Queen-fans.

bobo the chimp user not visiting Queenzone.com
bobo the chimp
Deity: 12703 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 06:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Well it's funny that - even before Freddie came along, they were doing big sounding orchestrations in songs like April Lady.

But I don't see how a mellotron would have excluded this at all, it just would've made things quicker. True, it sounds better the way Queen did it, but I would personally love to have a mellotron with Freddie's voice "sampled" on each key. What a hoot!


"Your not funny, your not a good musician, theres a difference between being funny and being an idiot, you obviously being the latter" - Dave R Fuller
Togg user not visiting Queenzone.com
Togg
Deity: 2393 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 06:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

No Synths...

I think at the time Queen were making very much guitar orientated music and Brian has always said that you couldn't get the emotion with a synth keyboard that you could with a guitar partly due to the bending of the strings.

Not until much later when the technology had caught up did they feel there was something there for them to use.

Mellotrons were all the rage in the 70's much like hammond organs were in the 60's and I think Queen wanted to stand out and sound different.


"It is better to sit in silence and have people think you're a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt"
Benn user not visiting Queenzone.com

Royalty: 1332 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 07:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The problem with much of Zeppelin's music was that it became drenched in Mellotron. Listen to much of their live material post '1971 and all you can hear is bass notes played on the Mellotron. Frankly, it sounds shitty - boring passages of instrumentals warbling and wobbling under electronic nothingness.

Queen were, essentially, groundbreaking in their EXCLUSIVE claim "And No Synthesisers" up until 1979 and is one of the reasons I had such great admiration for them.


Benn
Jazz 78 user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 502 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 08:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The Beatles also used the mellotron during sessions for Strawberry Fields starting in November of '66. But I agree with Jeroen... Brian had his guitar though they did use a harpsicord on Queen II.

August R. user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 561 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 08:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I just LOVE those eerie/psychedelic sounds of a Mellotron. Of course Queen had Brian's Red Special, but I think the two would have complimented each other. Just listen to albums like 'On The Threshold of a Dream' or 'Every Good Boy Deserves Favour' by the Moody Blues or 'In The Court of The Crimson King' by King Crimson, and try to imagine Brian playing his guitar harmonies and licks on those albums. It would have been heavenly.

One more reason not to use a mellotron is that it's quite tricky instrument to play properly (or so I've been told). More difficult than piano/modern synths, anyway, if you want the sound to be perfect (like the perfectionist Queen definately would have wanted). Anyway, they could make those big orcherstrations with Brian's guitar, and I too, think they wanted to show the music world what they could do without any syths. "No syhts" was their trademark, and they were proud of it.

Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
Sebastian
Deity: 6328 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 09:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Doesn't April Lady have mellotron?

About Queen, I guess they wanted to be different from Led Zeppelin, so they preferred using piano, guitars, drums, bass and vocals for almost everything (besides the harpsichord, organ, e-piano, harp and toy instruments found here and there).


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.
Asterik user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 649 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 15:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sebastian, am I right in saying ther eis an organ on Now I'm here?


hj
kohuept user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 552 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 17:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I may be missing the point, but how would it have made a difference in the studio? They would still have had to record each part, right?


You just can't beat the reasonably priced mosquito repellant OFF.
[StArMaN] user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 512 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 19:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

There is an hammond on liar, just before Freddie starts singing.

luthorn user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 609 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 20:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

They should have used Orgazmotron instead. Better results.

teleman user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 740 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 20:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Why didn't Queen ever use a Mellotron?
Personal preference might have played into the decision not to use one.

goinback user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 997 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 18 May 06, 20:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

kohuept wrote:

I may be missing the point, but how would it have made a difference in the studio? They would still have had to record each part, right?


Well it seems like they could have experimented with Bo Rhap a little more...tried different voices for the choir on the fly, etc.

I was just thinking of the Mellotron as a way to sample human voices and everyday sound effects, and maybe as an aid when building everyone's voices into a choir. I know Queen would never want it as a replacement for real instruments...I'd never even thought of Brian using it for his guitar at all, I hope that's not what he thought I meant! ;)

(I think someone mistakenly thought I was talking about a Moog...again it wasn't anything like a synth, organ, etc. All the keys played strips of analog magnetic tape, and since Queen liked fooling around with magnetic tape anyway I thought that's why they'd like it.)


"I have no time for Time magazine. Or Rolling Stone." Jethro Tull
Donna13 user not visiting Queenzone.com

Royalty: 1683 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 20 May 06, 18:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



HDvorak user not visiting Queenzone.com

Champion: 51 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 20 May 06, 18:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Benn wrote:

The problem with much of Zeppelin's music was that it became drenched in Mellotron. Listen to much of their live material post '1971 and all you can hear is bass notes played on the Mellotron. Frankly, it sounds shitty - boring passages of instrumentals warbling and wobbling under electronic nothingness.

Queen were, essentially, groundbreaking in their EXCLUSIVE claim "And No Synthesisers" up until 1979 and is one of the reasons I had such great admiration for them.


Huh?!

I'm a huge Zep fan with somewhere near 100 boots, and the mellotron was pretty much only used on The Rain Song, Kashmir & Stairway to Heaven. There are some versions of Thank You from Japan 72 that have the mellotron. There are no bass notes played on the mellotron!

King Crimson, circa 69-72, incorporated some tasty mellotron via Bob Fripp.

kohuept user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 552 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 22 May 06, 14:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

goinback wrote:

kohuept wrote:

I may be missing the point, but how would it have made a difference in the studio? They would still have had to record each part, right?


Well it seems like they could have experimented with Bo Rhap a little more...tried different voices for the choir on the fly, etc.

I was just thinking of the Mellotron as a way to sample human voices and everyday sound effects, and maybe as an aid when building everyone's voices into a choir. I know Queen would never want it as a replacement for real instruments...I'd never even thought of Brian using it for his guitar at all, I hope that's not what he thought I meant! ;)

(I think someone mistakenly thought I was talking about a Moog...again it wasn't anything like a synth, organ, etc. All the keys played strips of analog magnetic tape, and since Queen liked fooling around with magnetic tape anyway I thought that's why they'd like it.)


No, that's not what I thought
In order to use a Mellotron, though, don't you have to record each note/key/tape separately?
I don't think the technology was there for it to do it itself. That would mean they would have to sing each part anyway and recording it on a Mellotron would anly decrease the quality. They were still able to experiment with different parts of a harmony before they were bounced.

As someone else wrote, I'm sure it was purely personal preference.


You just can't beat the reasonably priced mosquito repellant OFF.
Joeker user not visiting Queenzone.com
Joeker
Bohemian: 753 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 22 May 06, 22:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Like I had said about the Bag pipes, Roger and Freddie were experimenting with them in other ways than music....thats why they never used one!


Roger: Can I go To Lunch Now?

Brian: No, You Can't...

---------------------------------------

Freddie: Oh Shit, All this crap again?!



"If I had to do it all over again, yes why not? why not
Lisser user not visiting Queenzone.com
Lisser
Deity: 4794 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 24 May 06, 11:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

kingarthur wrote:

Like I had said about the Bag pipes, Roger and Freddie were experimenting with them in other ways than music....thats why they never used one!


I was thinking the same thing!

http://www.queenzone.com/queenzone/forumnew/forum_topic_view.aspx?Q=787496

;)


Wo ist das kamerahhhhhhhhhhh!!!



NJ!!!