Bored? Depressed? Lonely? (1982 Interview)Bored
Bored and depressed" by Queen's recent inactivity, John Deacon faces flak from the HiT over Live Aid ad South Africa and talks about the brand new Queen single "One Vision". Well you know us anything to cheer him up!!.
The HiT has it on best authority that Stevie Wonder actually knows most of the Stevie Wonder jokes. Even laughs at some of them.
Likewise John Deacon, bass player with Queen. He's heard most of the Queen rumours - including the latest, and scuzziest, from Fleet Street! that Freddie Mercury has AIDS.
"Well I heard someone asked - I think it was The Sun or something - because AIDS so much in the press at the moment." John explains. " So they ring up and want to know is it true? And if you say no, then it becomes 'So and So denies etc, etc' - I mean they can twist it anyway they want!."
The AIDS rumour is the latest in a long line of scandals and stories that have dogged Queen - and particularly the controversial Freddie - since the band's formation in 1973. In the last three years the gossip has become steadily more frequent, increasingly more vicious coinciding with Fleet Street's pop-gossip circulation war and Queen's rise from pomp-rock stars who have hits to a state of near pop perfection!
It's ironic then with Queen riding on the crest of a triumphant Live Aid appearance - and gossip plumbing new depths - that John Deacon, the quietest and most anonymous member of the group has pushed himself forward to speak!
"I mainly did it because Pete Brown (a PR currently working for Deacon) asked me to do it. I mean we've ended up with a lot of time on our hands now 'cos we don't work as hard as we used to so now I need something to fill up my time"
The phrase has a hollow ring coming from a member of one of the world's richest (the richest?) rock groups.
He's here ostensibly to talk about a new studio that he's opened in London with partner Henry Crallen - formally a member of Queen's road crew. And about a new single he's working on with Hot Chocolate singer Errol Brown called 'This is your time' but he has little to say about either.
He seems crushed down by the inactivity during Freddie's album, then Roger's - "I can't make a solo album because I can't sing"
"We're not so much a group anymore," he explains. "We're four individuals that work together as Queen but our working together as Queen is now actually taking up less and less of our time. I mean I basically went spare, really, because we were doing so little. I got really bored and I actually got quite depressed because we had so much time on our hands."
That slow drag for Deacon started around three years ago after the groups disappointing 'Hot Space' album.
"We were disappointed with it too I think, so we really did talk about how we were going to attack the
next album. With 'The Works' we decide to go more towards the things people associate with Queen."
The result was an album so successful that it raised Queen into a yet higher bracket of superstardom. A glorious run of hit singles - Radio Ga Ga, I Want To Break Free, Hammer To Fall, It's A Hard Life - accompanied by deliciously camp videos, left Queen with more time than ever to slow up and bask in the glory.
The brilliantly theatrical and exuberant appearance at Live Aid raised their status higher but it also gave them the impetus to record a brand new single 'One Vision'. Since 'Queen Greatest Hits' climbed back up the charts as a result of Live Aid, will royalties from the new single to into the fund?
"At the moment, no, " says Deacon. So have Queen donated money to Live Aid behind the scenes?
"Yes, Someone in the group has donated royalties from something, I'm not saying anymore. It wasn't an album, it was the publishing - what you earn form writing the song."
Rows And Scandal
As with every decision made within Queen, the discussions over Live Aid provoked a row. Deacon is casual about it "we've been rowing since the year dot."
"We were doing some filming for the new video, right and after that there was this enormous row going on between Freddie and Roger. We're doing a box set this Christmas of all the albums, right? And they were arguing about whether the new single should be on it. Someone was saying that it won't be the complete works if it's not."
He shakes his head, with a smile. " I couldn't really get involved in that because I though, well, who's going to but that? Obviously they'll sell a few to collectors but it's going to be an expensive item. Forty or Fifty quid or something."
He's adamant that press criticism - particularly in the mid-70's when Freddie Mercury broke off relations with the music press - stings very hard.
John Deacon lost his father when he was eleven, a shattering blow that he can still barely talk about. "It was rough, yeah," He says "It's not easy growing up without a dad."
Perhaps it's that pain which can make harsh rumour and scandal so cruel.
"I remember there was a time when one of the guys who worked for Freddie sold his story to The Sun or something. That was hurtful. You're not embarrassed for yourself but because you've got friends, you've got relatives, you've got parents that are going to read it."
Queen are set to work shortly on a score for a film entitled Highlander which stars Sean Connery and Christopher 'Subway' Lambert. It's the second feature by noted video director Russell Mulcahey and will preclude Queen from starting work on their new album.
In the meantime they've to dodge the inevitable and deserved flak surrounding their visit to South Africa's Sun City gambling complex.
Deacon States first that the complex has no apartheid - "only rich and poor" - and that the Musician's Union were against their visit, "lots of other people have been there."
So what ultimately convinced them to play at a centre part-financed by the South African government in which there is no apartheid but which no African could afford to visit?
"I dunno I enjoy travelling."
The answer hangs absurdly lame between us.
"I'd like to learn first-than rather than necessarily what you read in the press. I mean everybody know Apartheid is wrong"
So how do you justify your visit?
"We're a non-political band. We try really to keep out of politics. We'll go anywhere if people want to come and see us"
He smiles. In Queen he's the normal one!!.