Added on 10-Jan-2006
This interview originally ran in 1998, around the time hirsute Queen guitarist Brian May released the solo album "Another World." The fact that none of you bought it most likely brought about this year's quasi-Queen reunion tour (which arrives at the HP Pavilion in San Jose in April), with the crotchety Paul Rodgers filling in for the classic British rock group's late singer Freddie Mercury. Go ahead and kick yourself.
Q: What's the best Queen party story you can relate without getting banned from America?
A: A lot of it you really can't print. I don't know, the party in New Orleans for the launch of one of our albums was pretty memorable. There was every kind of human excess there. People come up to me everywhere I go in the world and say, "I was there that night." Just about the whole city was there, plus the whole rest of the world who has anything to do with the record business. A lot of strange things happened there.
Q: How many women were you with that night?
A: I was an incurable romantic then, same as I am now. I was always pining away after somebody, so I missed a lot of the fun. Not all of it, though.
Q: Did you ever pass out after a party and wake up the next day and find anything good stuck in your hair, like money?
A: Or a nest of birds? No.
Q: Have you ever pulled a basketball out of your hair?
A: Is this a serious question? I think the unusual thing would be to wake up and find it wasn't there anymore.
Q: You know, it's pretty trendy to be bald right now. Look at Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins.
A: Sometimes I think that would be a relief. I think that would be one way of doing it. But it would be running away, that's the problem. That wouldn't be a good thing.
Q: What have you got to run away from -- the usual nuisances like money, success and fame?
A: It doesn't always mean life is the way you want it, though. It doesn't mean that at all. Just because you did good stuff in the past doesn't mean you wake up every morning and go, "Whoopee!" I don't. I have today's problems to deal with.
Q: Like what?
A: Queen, through my own efforts and everybody else's, became something worldwide. It was a ticket to adventure in any part of the world at any time and on a grand scale. I spent 20 years of my life building that up, and now I'm spending years of my life trying to get away from it. It's ironic, but that's the nature of things. I have to build my own boat this time. It's a big sea out there, and I have a pretty small boat. I actually have a lot of belief in it. I put my confidence in it. I put myself on the line with this album. It's all me. It's all my fault. Every single nuance of every note on there is there because I wanted it to be.
Q: What is your one lasting memory of Freddie?
A: His wicked sense of humor sticks in my mind. He'd always give this little smile and he'd have something incredibly destructive to say about someone. He wasn't a vindictive type, he was just funny. Strangely enough, that didn't come across to the outside world. A lot of them thought he was deadly serious. I just remember him winking and smiling. He also had a habit of pulling his lip over his teeth. He was always conscious that his teeth were bigger than his mouth.
E-mail Aidin Vaziri at email@example.com.