QUEEN Guitarist BRIAN MAY On FREDDIE MERCURY - "He Was Very Good On The Guitar, Very Unorthodox; He Had A Frenetic Energy"
June 11, 2019, 3 months ago
Queen guitarist Brian May is featured in a career-spanning interview conducted by Guitar World. An excerpt is available below.
Guitar World: Your style of playing is almost impossible to dissect. It’s hard to detect your influences. Who did you listen to as a kid?
May: "There wasn’t much to listen to at that time, so kids like me would listen to everything they could lay their hands on. You wouldn’t call Django Reinhardt, Charlie Byrd or Chet Atkins rock guitar players, but they were all big influences on me. We were all Shadows fans, so Hank Marvin was a massive influence. I just seized upon anything I could find. I didn’t know who James Burton was in those days, but he was a big influence. The way he bent strings, it sounded like a vocal. That’s what fired me up. And there was Buddy Holly, not so much for string bending, but his incisive rhythm playing was a big influence on me. And those harmonies! I started to appreciate what could be done with the vocal harmonies. Those things chill me to the bone still — 'Oh, Boy!' and 'Maybe Baby'. I still put them on and marvel at where they came from."
Guitar World: People often think of Freddie Mercury as a pianist, but he occasionally played guitar, and he would write with one, too. What kind of guitarist was he?
May: "He was very good on the guitar, very unorthodox — all downstrokes. He wrote the riff for 'Ogre Battle' (from 1974’s Queen II). I used to play it with up and downstrokes, but he was all downstrokes. Imagine how fast his right hand was moving! He had a frenetic energy on the guitar, which came across very well in that song. He played the rhythm on 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love'. I wanted to sound as good as Freddie did on that record, which was damn good. He kind of left the guitar after a while and concentrated more on the piano. In the latter days, he even left the piano behind. He just wanted to be a performer who ran around and had the freedom to be a frontman."
Check out the complete interview here.
Even though singer Adam Lambert has been performing with Queen over the recent years, fans shouldn't expect Brian May and Roger Taylor to record new music with the former American Idol contestant.
In a new interview with Hunger, Lambert discusses his time with Queen. An excerpt follows.
Q: How has your experience with Queen changed you as a musician?
Adam Lambert: "I think the power of the songs is that their timelines - they didn’t really follow any trends, they experimented with different sounds and musical styles - they were fearless. I’ve always enjoyed that side of things - they are proof it works. Playing to huge audiences all around the world and seeing them sing along and understanding the power of music is transformative to a person. It’s uniting, everyone sings along - it’s bringing an entire arena together which in today’s world is pure magic."
Q: Growing up was Freddie Mercury a huge icon?
Adam Lambert: "I didn’t quite wrap my head around to who he was until I was a teenager. Once you figure out who is Queen - you realize they’ve been in your pop culture subconscious the whole time. They're one of those bands that their songs are so iconic that you might not know anything about them but you know the damn song!"
Q: What should people expect from your tour with Queen?
Adam Lambert: "We’re trying new visual component and trying to re-contextualise these songs, with new lights and scenery. We had a great time creating it together. People always ask if we want to record together and I’m not sure it makes total sense because it wouldn’t really be Queen because to me Queen is Freddie. My favourite thing is collaborating and putting these concerts together and creating on stage - it’s super fulfilling and exiting. To present these ideas to these two gentlemen - especially when they like the idea!"
Read more at Hunger.
Queen + Adam Lambert's epic 23-date arena and stadium Rhapsody tour is set to run from mid-July through late August with an all new concert experience. The six-week tour will debut a brand new larger-than-life production.
10 Vancouver, BC - Rogers Arena
12 - Tacoma, WA - Tacoma Dome
14 - San Jose, CA - SAP Center
16 - Phoenix, AZ - Talking Stick Resort Arena
19 - Los Angeles, CA - The Forum
23 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center
24 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center
27 - Detroit, MI - Little Caesars Arena
28 - Toronto, ON - Scotiabank Arena
30 - Washington, DC - Capital One Arena
31 - Pittsburgh, PA - PPG Paints Arena
3 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center
4 - Boston, MA - Xfinity Center
6 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
9 - Chicago, IL - United Center
10 - St. Paul, MN - Xcel Energy Center
13 - Columbus, OH - Nationwide Arena
15 - Nashville, TN - Bridgestone Arena
17 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - BB&T Center
18 - Tampa, FL - Amalie Arena
20 - New Orleans, LA - Smoothie King Center
22 - Atlanta, GA - State Farm Arena
23 - Charlotte, NC - Spectrum Center