Added on 24-Jul-2009
Peter Freestone Talks About Queen A Kinda Magic
by Paul Cashmere - July 23 2009
Craig Pesco has been performing as Freddie Mercury in the show `Queen – It`s A Kinda Magic` for most of the 21st century now.
Queen’s Brian May says the show is as close to the real thing as you can get. The show comes to Melbourne this weekend
The show comes with the approval of Peter Freestone, Freddie Mercury’s best friend.
Undercover caught up with Peter who explained how he first got involved with Craig Pesco. “I got an email from him in 2004 asking me to go and see the show and give them some insight,” Peter tells Undercover. “Meeting up then I got such a good feeling and since then we still keep in touch. We are both on Skype, both on Facebook. We talk more when we are not on tour”.
Yes, that’s right, Peter has become a slave to new technology. He loves Facebook. “Not so long ago I uploaded an old Queen video, ‘My Melancholy Blues”, and in the space of 24 hours there were 94 “likes this”. This was on a track that wasn’t hugely popular,” he proudly states of his newfound geekdom.
He also uses the computer to keep in contact with the guys from Queen. “Brian (May) and I exchange emails now and then,” he says. “When we are in the same country we meet up. I meant an hour and a half in the dressing room after their show in Prague”.
Peter was happy for Brian and Roger Taylor when they got back on stage with Fee/Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers. “For me it was wonderful to see Roger and Brian back on stage where they belong,” he says. “Queen was always an amazing live band. To watch Brian and Roger on the stage making it their own again was wonderful. They needed a singer like Paul Rodgers because to take someone from a younger generation would just make them look old. They are not young people. They are almost pensioners. A young person would make them a band of two parts”.
Peter and Freddie’s friendship started in 1979. “I first met him in October 1979. I was working for the Royal Ballet and Freddie was a special guest star,” he says. “He did the first live vocal performance of ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’. He was wearing leather cap, leather jacket and jeans and sang live to a backing tape. I met him at the party afterwards and told him it was an amazing mix with the Royal Ballet and his vocals. Three weeks later my boss got a phone call from the personal manager of Queen asking if I would be interested in a 6 week contract looking after the costumes and it lasted 12 years”.
He says Freddie never saw himself as the greatest star in the world. “He had two people he put on pedestals. One was Elvis Presley and the other was John Lennon,” Peter says. “I don’t think he ever dreamt of putting himself on the same pedestal. He knew he wrote good music, with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘We Are the Champions’, he knew he had written lasting music but he never thought of himself on the same level of those two”.
He also saw himself as a member of a band, not the star of the show. “Freddie Mercury was 25% of Queen and that's all he ever considered himself,” Peter said.
He also never discussed his sexuality. “The thing is as far as his homosexuality is concerned for him it was his life. It wasn't for public consumption,” he said. “He also respected the other three. He was part of Queen and whatever he said and whatever happened around him would affect the others. If he went around and said he was gay and drawing attention to that it would automatically be assumed that the rest of the band were. There were two interviews where the subject was raised. One interviewer asked if he slept with men and he said, “I sleep with men, women and my cats”.
Freddie also never talked publically about having AIDS. “As far as the AIDS thing goes, he never wanted sympathy, he never wanted anyone to make allowances because he was sick. He also wanted to protect his family. If he announced it and then went away for a few weeks, he did not want anyone ringing his mother to says, “we haven’t seen Freddie, has he died”, you know it would happen. He also felt it was his disease not anyone else’s”.
Queen – It’s A Kinda Magic starring Craig Pesco as Freddie is on Friday and Saturday 24 and 25 July at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne.