Added on 06-May-2012
Montrealer Marc Martel, 35, will be playing the late, great Freddie Mercury in a musical travelling performance of the rock band Queen's musical legacy.
The Queen Extravaganza, under the control of Queen drummer Roger Taylor, one of the group's original members, will soon be taking the stage at major centres across North America. It starts in Quebec City on May 26 and hits Toronto's Queen Elizabeth Theatre on May 29.
We caught up with Martel recently when he was in town rehearsing.
Q:OK. There's a bit of a resemblance to Freddie, but listening to you sing his songs I'm sure there's people that can't tell the difference. I know that both Brian May and Roger Taylor were mesmerized and said you sounded exactly like their late friend.
A: To tell you the truth, if I hear a quick clip of music there are times I can't even tell the difference. The band has some great material and it's an honour and a pleasure to be singing it. He was a great performer, he loved his fans and I hope I do him justice.
Q:It's obvious you must have been following the band's work for a long time, you can hit every note and your delivery is spot on.
A: Well, I have always been involved in music and I'm currently a singer in a Christian rock band called Downhere, but the first time I can really remember hearing any of the bands work is when I heard Bohemian Rhapsody in Mike Myers' Wayne's World movie. A friend knew I have kind of a gift for picking up on other singers' voices and he encouraged me to pick up on Freddie.
Q: What should the audience expect? Is it an authentic tribute right down to the shag haircuts, bared chests and Freddie's black leotards?
A: Not even close. Roger is overseeing the whole thing and it's a celebration of the music. The material is so powerful, so varied that's all you need to carry the band's legacy. I'm not even expected to move around like Freddie — there are a few fashion nods to the era — but nothing crazy.
Q:As you say, it's all about the music. The band had such a distinct sound. It was so layered and, at times, very lush. There was always a lot going on but it was always delivered with a bow.
A: Agreed. The sound was very distinct and that's why there's nine people in the band. That's how many it takes to get us where we want to go. There's three other singers and two guitarists. As I said, this isn't a tribute band with each of us playing one of they guys, this is all about getting the music exactly where it should be. The band had a huge, huge following and sold millions of records. Queen still has a huge following and Roger doesn't want anyone disappointed.
Q:You've obviously performed before, but you've never been on an extended road show like this. Are you prepared?
A: That's why we have four singers. I won't be singing lead all the time, it would just be too hard on your voice. The act has some incredible vocalists and we all get along. And working with someone like Roger is just beyond belief. I just didn't know what to expect but everyone has just been great. The best part of all this is that I know it's going to be fun.