Interviews - Queen

Ministry Of Works (Record Mirror 25/8/1984)

The Works

Mayhem in Munich! Freddie Mercury is cavorting with a scantily dressed transvestite and it's only three in the afternoon. Are you man or woman enough to read on? Then swallow your vitamin pills and follow me.

Queen are limbering up for their forthcoming tour in Germany and to celebrate another single rising majestically up the charts, they're holding a little press bash in Munich's P1 club. A place even more decadent than the South Finchley Whiskey A Go Go.

The ghost of Adolf Hitler probably wanders around here on dark nights, as The Fuhrer used to store his paintings and other plunder in the club and the building next door. Unfortunately there's nothing left around today.

Instead the club has the gems of another kind. A selection of Queen's videos including the notorious 'Body Language' - and champagne and wine flowing like the Niagara Falls.

The cabaret is Freddie's own idea: a group of well passed it drag artists, so outrageous in G-strings and lingerie that they would make Divine seem as tame as Majorie Proops. Freddie's more than willing to join in when one of them does a rendition of 'I Want To Break Free', but the rest of Queen look on shyly from the comforts of the bar. Everybody, but everybody is here to witness the event, including a film crew form the U.S. Air force, tramping around in combat gear making a nuisance of themselves.

Freddie's doing well considering he's in quite a lot of pain. He remains tight lipped about the full details bet he injured his leg after an incident in a club. A physiotherapist has been pummelling at it nearly everyday.

"This c+++ kicked me." Says Fred "I'm hoping my knee will be ready in time for the tour, but it's still giving me a lot of trouble. It might mean I will have to cut down on some of my more elaborate gorgeous stage moves."

Fred's also been hobbling around a Munich recording studio putting finishing touches to his first ever solo album which should be out in January. Gadzooks, could this the start of a split with Queen? Is it true Limahl's going to take over?

"Not at all, I've wanted to do a solo album for a long time and the rest of the band have encouraged me to do it. Some of them are even featured doing bits and pieces to help me out.

There are a lot of musical territories I wanted to explore, which I really couldn't do with Queen. I wanted to cover such things as reggae rhythms and I've done a couple of tracks with an orchestra. It will have a very rich sound."

Fred's also done some work with Michael Jackson, but he still doesn't know when this is going to see the light of day. They've done a selection of tracks together in Michael's home studio. For a while Fred was even in line to do 'State of Shock'.

"I was out of town at the time so Mick did it instead," he says "I don't mind at all. I'd like to release something with Michael because he is a really marvellous person to work with. It's a question of time because we never seem to be together at the right time, Just think I could have been on 'Thriller'. Think of the royalties I've missed out on.

Michael has been a friend of ours for a long time. He's been to our shows and enjoyed them. We make a great team."

One of Fred's songs 'Love Kills' is being used on the soundtrack of the reactivated 'Metropolis' film and he hopes to make a 20-minute video using four or five of his own songs.

Freddie and all the members of Queen have a long standing appreciation of 'Metropolis' which originally came out in 1927. Their stage set, in the shape of a futuristic city, has been inspired by it.

The lighting rig , measures 74ft by 50ft and the original design was so heavy they had to change it because it was in danger of bringing theatre roofs down. What a way to go, crushed by your own equipment.

After the European tour, Queen will be taking the whole shebang down to South America, headlining a 10 day festival in Rio. The place they will be playing is an amphitheatre down by the sea that can seat 300,000 people a night. It all makes Castle Donington seem like just another night at the Marquee. A local radio station in Rio held a survey to see who the most popular bands were and them some local promoters went out and booked them for the extravaganza. Naturally Queen came out on top.

Queen will also be doing some shows in South Africa. This is more than a little controversial. Especially with the memory of Nelson Mandella still very warm.

"We've thought about the morals of it a lot and it's something we've decided to do," says Brian May "This band is not political, we are not out to make statements, we play to anybody who comes to listen. The show will be in Botswana in front of a mixed audience."

The band wanted to play Russia but the authorities objected. This situation may change though, considering that Iron Maiden have been let into Poland to wreak havoc.

"The Russians still think we're very decadent," confides Roger Taylor "We want to play China as well, and Korea and it's a fascinating place. They're finishing work on the Olympic Stadium for the next games!"

Perhaps the Ruskies heard about Roger's high living on Ibiza. He's bough a house there and enjoys powerboat racing. Play time is over for the time being, though. After their two year break Queen have been working more than 12 hours a day rehearsing.

"It's strange how rusty we are, and so we're trying to blow the cobwebs away," continues Roger "It's taking a lot of work. Usually we rehearse until about nine and then we eat together and decide what we're going to do in the evenings. The clubs here are really fun. Something to cater for every taste or perversion.

"On the tour we'll be playing a lot of the old material and we'll be giving the audience what they want. A lot of music I hear in the charts doesn't interest me. I just can't see how anyone can get excited over Spandau Ballet. It doesn't send shivers up my spine. I like listening to Bruce Springsteen."

They might be old stagers, but Roger claims that tickets for Queen's British shows sold out in three hours flat and they could easily have played another 12 shows here.

"We still have the rock and roll gypsy mentality," he says "Even after 12 years without a line-up change we still enjoy the buzz from playing live and the fact we have hit singles. Some bands in our position may take it all in their stride but we're still like kids, we get very excited.

You have got to have a laugh haven't you? If Queen wasn't any fun than I'd jack it all in and go and sell flowers."


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