Added on 20-Jul-2007
Here's part two of our conversation with Craig Pesco, who assumes the role of Freddie Mercury in 'Queen: It's A Kinda Magic'.Tell us about the other three, were they big Queen fans as well, or did they slip into the roles through necessity?
All of the guys were Queen fans, but probably not to the extent that I was. The initial hazing when you join the group is a week or two of full-on Queen DVDs. It's good for me as well, because even after countless viewings, I can still see something hilarious that Freddie did that we don't do. I mean, I think he's the funniest frontman in the world, and once you show that to the guy who's playing John Deacon, then he gets a better understanding of the big picture. But I don't want to make it sound too choreographed because it's not, and there's still room for a lot of spontaneity up there – but if you've got an arsenal of every funny thing that Freddie did, and all the quirky moves, you can pull them out at any time and it remains fresh. That's the way we do it.
So you're even replicating the banter between songs?
Oh definitely. In Paris last year, I did it exactly as Freddie did on the video I had of him from 1978. I thought, why not? Why not just go out there and do the whole show as spot-on as he did it. The crowd remembered that, they appreciate that.
So if you played in Hungary, you'd do 'Tavaszi Szél', for instance?
Exactly, that's exactly the way we like to do it. We had a problem last year though, when we did Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Istanbul, where we couldn't do 'Fat Bottomed Girls', or 'I Want To Break Free', we had to censor aspects of the show. It's something I hated to do, because you're missing out on a lot of the sense of humour and sexiness. If we're going somewhere where there's a memorable Queen moment we like to relive the whole thing.
You obviously get right into character – for how long before and after the actual performance are you Freddie Mercury?
The transformation comes when you're putting on the outfits, putting on the makeup. As soon as we finish the show, we're met by people who've seen the show, and that's where you can find out other people's perspectives on Queen. All that sort of stuff you take in, and these people become almost the producers of the show. But we've been doing this for long enough now to know the difference between getting caught up in your after-show parties thinking you're Freddie Mercury and having to get on the next plane out of there to do the next show.
A lot is spoken about yourself, and what you have to do to capture the nuances of the performance, but I imagine your guitarist would have had to have done something quite similar to capture the essence of Brian May's unique style?
Yeah, it's an incredible task, first just to get the sounds, before you're even thinking about solos. When we first started, we did eighteen months of sitting around with studio effects, and guitar effects, developing the sound, before we'd even played a song together. That Queen sound that comes off the CD is what people want to hear. Also, Roger Taylor's falsetto is, for me, as integral to Queen as Brian May's guitar sound. We had to have a drummer who could do that, who had that sort of raspy Rod Stewart thing, but also with a clean top end. It took us a long time to get that, but they have to be passionate about it to stick with it.
And then there's John Deacon, the endearingly quiet guy who still wrote some killer songs…
Indeed, he had to be that role. I mean, who could compete with the other three up there? But the guy was a rock, they all deserve as much credit as they can get. They were a unique bunch of guys with a unique sound that's still as fresh today as when it came out.