Added on 26-Oct-2007
THE lead guitarist of iconic British rock group Queen has struck a chord with celebrity biographer Laura Jackson – so much so that she has put him under the microscope for a second time.THE lead guitarist of iconic British rock group Queen has struck a chord with celebrity biographer Laura Jackson – so much so that she has put him under the microscope for a second time.
Laura has revisited rocker Brian May – a musician she first wrote about in the beginning of her career – to launch a completely new and updated book chronicling his life on and off the stage.
The Elgin-based writer is the only author ever to have produced a book about May and, even after her first offering, she was still able to discover a mass of previously undisclosed information.
"It's been 14 years since the last biography, and this time I was able to carry out more interviews and gather more material, and I am so much more experienced since I wrote the first one.
"It was not just a case of me going back to the first book and updating it: this book has been completely rewritten from scratch for a new publisher.
"This was very interesting for me because Freddie Mercury had just died in 1991, and my first Brian May Book, 'Queen and I', came out in 1992.
"Things were still very raw back then, and there is a whole chunk of Brian's life which has changed since then. I've also grown, I'm more experienced, and I have more contacts.
"It's not that I want to downgrade the original – I did the my best with that one at the time – but to me this is the most packed and most definitive version," said Laura.
She admitted she was a bit sceptical about revisiting someone she had already written about, especially because the drive to discover someone new keeps her excited about her work.
But when she realised that so much had changed in his life in the past decade, she floated the idea with her publisher. Within days, they had given her the all-clear.
'Brian May – The Definitive Biography' contains almost 70 first-hand interviews with childhood friends, original Queen members and his associates in the entertainment industry.
A large section of the book concentrates on his abilities as a scientist and astronomer, as well as his time teaching maths and science in a London school before Queen hit the big time.
But it is Mercury's death from AIDS and how it affected May and the other members of Queen that many fans will be desperate to know more about.
Although there had been much speculation in the media and within the music industry about what had caused Mercury's drastic weight loss and change in appearance, it was only a few months before his death that Mercury confessed to his fellow bandmates that he had contracted the virus.
They were all sworn to secrecy and, despite his health rapidly deteriorating, the Queen members were forced to insist to the world outside that Mercury was fine.
Laura said: "Brian was so cut up when Freddie died. He felt that it was all such a waste and he was also angry because of the way that Freddie had lived his life. He had very mixed emotions because of that.
"I spoke to key people who were around Freddie when he was dying and they describe the troubled emotions Brian felt and still feels at having to hide it from people.
"All at the same time, his marriage broke up and he became close to the actress Anita Dobson, Freddie died and his father died. He briefly went into therapy, but they treated him with prescribed drugs which made him ill so he had to draw on his own strengths.
"Brian is a very vulnerable man in the sense that he tends to show his feelings a lot, yet he is also very strong and stubborn. He's not normally viewed as being the founder member of Queen because they have always been seen as a collective four, but it was actually his band and Freddie badgered him to be part of it."
Laura's book on Holywood actor Keifer Sutherland is also still the only biography on him, and has been used as the basis for a show which will be screened on The Biography Channel in early November. The production company interviewed Laura for several hours for the show, acknowledging