News > Ben Elton: It's okay, he's with the band

Added on 25-May-2007

Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor have made Ben Elton part of the band.That's something the British comedian-writer is pretty chuffed about. "The fact Brian and Roger see me as a member of Queen is a big thrill," he says.

Elton, the writer and director of, We Will Rock You, says he was never a member of the Queen fanclub but he it was a formative time for him when they exploded onto the music scene in the 70s.

"I left home at 16 to go away to study and Bohemian Rhapsody was No. 1 for the first nine weeks I was away from home. So that was the soundtrack to me becoming an adult."

It's no wonder then that Elton was on the same page as May, Taylor, and Queen bass player John Deacon when it came time to come up with a story and script for a Queen musical.

For Elton the words epic, legendary, and comic, sprang to mind. "Because Queen never really took themselves too seriously, Freddie's costumes were always a little silly and he always had a smile on his face.

"Immediately King Arthur sprang to mind and The Matrix had just been a huge hit with the vision of the world controlled by computers."

With the image of a guitar buried in stone in his head, and the idea of a futuristic world where live music was banned but the time was ripe for revolution, We Will Rock You was born.

"Queen's music is uniquely theatrical, so it's perfect for live theatre and to produce it live on stage is much more special than say, you know, I love the Clash, but that's just four blokes and their instruments, whereas Queen are vast.

So to be able to reproduce it on stage with 30 or 40 voices is an incredible challenge but very fulfilling. So theatrically, it was right."

Elton says he didn't feel any extra pressure from the legacy left by Mercury because the other members of the band agreed with his approach to the musical.

"The fact the three surviving members of Queen loved what we were doing made me understand that the dead member of Queen would love it too ... and they would never sell Freddie out in a million years.

"And just because Freddie is dead doesn't mean the rest of Queen can't celebrate Queen and go on with it, as Freddie would have wanted them to."

Submitted by: mickyparise

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