Added on 13-Mar-2006
Nice Q&A at the end of the article, esp about a album???? THEY WERE ONE of the most popular bands with one of the biggest sounds of the classic-album rock era.
We're talking 'bout the grand and glorious Queen, shaking the stadium rafters with anthems like "We Are the Champions," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Another One Bites the Dust," "We Will Rock You" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love."
Sadly, the 1991 death of flamboyant front-man Freddie Mercury from AIDS put the kibosh on their rule over the charts. No one could imagine Queen carrying on without Freddie, captain of the high C's, who lorded over the stage and their recordings like he really was royalty.
Yet now the band has been reborn. This time the billing reads Queen + Paul Rodgers.
Q: So give us the back story. How did this collaboration come to pass?
A: It started off when we played in England together, at the UK Rock Hall of Fame, a telecast show. Prior to that, I'd worked with Brian May at Wembley, at a concert event for Fender Guitars. We have kind of a history of that.
So then for the TV show, I asked if he'd like to play with me. He said, "I'd love to do that, but Queen would really like to play live. Any chance we could get you to join us on 'We Are the Champions' and 'We Will Rock You'?"
This one-off [performance] went over so well on a musical level that when we came offstage, we all immediately said, "Let's do more."
Originally, we thought about going out as May, Taylor and Rodgers, kind of like Crosby, Stills & Nash. Then they came back with, "How about touring as Queen with Paul Rodgers?" That floored me. But it didn't take too long to think it through. Originally, they wanted us to do 50 percent my songs. I said, "I'm really flattered, but you guys haven't toured in 25 years, so it should be your moment."
But when we do a few of my songs, they really put themselves into it. On "Feel Like Making Love," we go to a place I never thought possible. It's that intense.
Q: How much performing have you guys done together? And have you given thought to writing and recording new material?
A: We toured through Europe last spring from March to May. We actually kicked off the tour in South Africa, playing for Nelson Mandela, who's such a beautiful guy. We also did Sweden, the Czech Republic, Japan and most places in between. Now we're doing 24 dates in the U.S.
The subject of recording a new album has come up. It's a question of time and opportunity. There isn't a pressing financial need to do it. They're well-fixed, what with the royalties from the albums and the Queen stage musical ["We Will Rock You"] and the laser shows.
I'm not in the same place, but I live frugally and have more than enough to cover the rest of my life. So we'll see.
Q: There are a few notable Queen classics, like "You're My Best Friend," that you guys left off the European tour [and live CD/DVD, "Return of the Champions"]. And when you all do "Bohemian Rhapsody," you put up a video of Freddie singing. Is this to skirt around limitations in your voice?
A: Not really. Some of those keys are deadly, but I can go there. I'm still keeping myself in good shape with exercise and meditation. And in a way, I'm still taking vocal lessons, listening to Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett and Sam & Dave, singing along with my heroes. In fact, I recently sang live with Sam Moore, too, for a TV show called "From the Heart." It's a tribute to the Four Tops, which will be out on DVD and on PBS [this month].
The main reason we've skipped some Queen songs is because there just wasn't space for them. The sets are long and getting longer, so you have to become very critical about what's in and out. One reason we do "Bohemian Rhapsody" with the video is that the original production was such a multilayered studio affair. They can't recreate it onstage and do it justice.
Truth is, the original Queen didn't fully play it live onstage, either. They always used a tape. Also, using the video footage of Freddie, it becomes a very poignant moment, a tribute to him