Queen Extravaganza: Marc, Brandon and Francois Interview


What have you been up to during the QUEX down time?

Marc:  I've been busy being the most rock 'n' rollest husband I can be, and making some improvements on our house -- some great, domestic, non-road life type stuff. On the music side of things, I've been putting the finishing touches on my solo album, which will be released sometime this Summer. I'm so proud of it, and I cannot wait to get it out there for the folks to enjoy. 

Brandon:  I’ve been touring, non-stop. I’m currently playing keyboards for the North American tour of the Queen musical, We Will Rock You. So right now it’s all Queen, all the time!

François-Olivier:  Played a bunch of corporate and bar gigs back at home in Quebec.

What was your first thought when you got the QUEX call for the European tour?

Marc:  "Yay! Work!" (A working musician is a happy musician.) 

Brandon:  I used to live in Germany and Austria, so my first thought was of all my dear friends who live there and how excited I am to be seeing them again!

François-Olivier:  Europe seems to me like it’s one of the best markets out there, especially when it comes to Queen’s music.

What do you think will be the highlight of the European tour?

Marc:  As a French-Canadian, seeing France has always been on my bucket list. This will be my first time. And it is so cool to be playing at l'Olympia, where some of my biggest influences have performed in the past. But I know that one of the biggest highlights will be the energy that Europeans bring to a concert. They absolutely live for live music, and are not afraid to show it. A lead singer's dream. Can't wait to hear them singing along with us and chanting at us. 

Brandon:  For me, the highlights will be Hamburg, Cologne and Vienna, because those are three former homes of mine!

François-Olivier:  I'm surely looking forward to playing the Olympia in Paris!! It’s a legendary venue that a lot of bands I admire played before. I'm gonna get to perform in front of a mostly French-speaking audience which I like and dig very much because it’s keeping me close to my roots!

How was Hong Kong? How was it playing in a big stadium?

Marc:  Hong Kong was a blast. The most surprising thing for me was how at home I felt there. The city is remarkably familiar -- very much like London or San Francisco... except with more Asians walking about. A few of us tried to do a day-trip to mainland China, but were thwarted at the border due to travel visa complications. Next time we will beat the system!... or, rather, play along with it better.

Our show at the Rugby Sevens tournament was phenomenal. "Sevens" has a super fun, light-hearted tradition of sportsmanship and camaraderie, which is even more amazing when you consider there are nearly 30 countries represented. Fans come dressed up like it's Halloween. It's crazy, minus the danger. Unfortunately, the constant rain prevented us from being center-field, because the pitch was too muddy. We had to improvise and perform from one of the end-zones (can't remember the proper name for it), which I didn't mind at all because it meant we got to be up close and personal with a section of the crowd. Amazingly, it did stop pouring for the entirety of our half-hour performance. I had so much fun with the audience, and they were LOUD. It was obvious the vast majority are Queen fans. Half way through the show I pulled out one of my in-ear monitors because I didn't want to miss the opportunity to hear 40,000 voices singing along with me. Let me tell you it is something I will never forget. 

Brandon:  Hong Kong was a pleasant surprise. I’ve never eaten so well in my life. What great cuisine they have! Hong Kong, just as I had heard, is like NYC on speed. It’s true. This was our first stadium gig. You would think that I’d feel nervous about it, but it was like any gig: the music is everything and that is where my mind was.

François-Olivier:  Hong Kong was amazing: beautiful and very impressive architecture, lots of people, lots of great food. There's a special vibe to that awesome and very unique city! And being asked to play in front of 40,000 people was nerve wrecking, of course, but it brought such an amazing feeling to the whole performance that I just can't wait to play the next set in front of another crowd as big if not bigger than that one.

The Queen Extravaganza are currently touring Europe and play the UK in September. For tour dates and to buy tickets go to www.queenextravaganza.com

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