This file records a short interview was done with Freddie Mercury where he talks about touring, fashion, music collaborations and the personality of the group members.
Freddie Mercury Interview Transcription:
Interviewer: How does it feel, it’s the end of a day like that to make your job and evening?
Freddie: I love my job but I hate talking to people like you. I love it right now because as I said earlier on your the last person I’m talking to so you probably get the best interview darling, don’t worry.
Interviewer: I mean the whole thing like this afternoon when you have to talk to so many journalists.
Freddie: Well, it’s part of my job so I have to do it and we don’t do that often, So I mean it’s like first kind of press conference we’ve had for a long while, you know, 3, 4, 5 years maybe. So I don’t mind it. If I do this every day forget it.
Interviewer: Do you sometimes have the feeling that, I mean, obviously, people are asking the same questions all the time that?
Freddie: They always do.
Interviewer: Music is your state and that’s a topic.
Freddie: It’s more than music, you know we’re a personality so you talk about more than music. I mean, if all you talk about was music depending on if you were a music paper then you talk about music. But there is more to us than just writing songs, I mean we do other things and we have characters on it depends what you talk about. So I don’t mind it and of course, people asked the same questions because some of the questions are current and they want to know about the same things. So, asked me about my solo album then, huh.
Interviewer: Yeah, what about your solo album?
Freddie: Oh, it’s great.
Interviewer: of course it is. Does it sound any different?
Interviewer: Have you been working on it?
Freddie: Roughly, it’s not finished yet, see, so I don’t know how it’s going to come out. But at the moment I’ve worked on it for about 2 months, 2 or 3 months and I was supposed to finish it before the Queen tour but I need a bit more time and it’s sounding good. It’s nice to say I actually play with different people because I’ve always played with Queen all the time. So I had a session drummer from Munich and guitarist from Munich, so basically all German players and it’s made my songs sound different you know.
Interviewer: Do people outside it sometimes feels funny that or special that there are so many solo projects whereas the band is still going as well on the side? How would you analyze the influence of the solo stuff for the band when you come back together again? Is that an advantage that your force from writers who also do stuff on your own or?
Freddie: Yes. In a funny way I thought because I think this is one of the few groups that all 4 members write and I thought that we’d be doing solo albums much before this. But I think in a funny way when we do a queen album they are alike for solo projects within themselves anyway because I have my bunch of songs, Bryan has his and Roger and John. So it’s like 4 little solo projects working side-by-side and then we put them all together.
So I think that is the reason that we didn’t actually go and do solo projects earlier on. I mean if we were writing all the same kind of songs then you would have gotten fed up and said “Oh, I want to do my solo album first”. But we’re all writing different songs so it keeps us interested. So for about 13 years or was ever, that was interesting enough for us to carry on. As far as I was concerned all Queen albums were the little, solo projects anyway. I was writing my kind of songs that I wanted. But now I think the time has come where I want a whole album of my own and Roger has done 2 already. So I think most people thought that I would be the first one to solo album and in the band, queen would break up and all that but here you are after 13 years, 4 old ladies are still rocking away.
Interviewer: What about the actual work in the studio when you 4 come together and everybody wants to bring his side of songs?
Freddie: It happens all the time, yeah.
Interviewer: It sounds like having also
Freddie: It’s like a cockfight isn’t it?
Freddie: 4 cocks fighting, oh it’s getting nice this. You know the funny thing is the sort of happened almost when we met, the 4 of us and it’s just you believe it. I mean people think that okay now they’re fighting. We fought virtually the first day because we used to know each other from University and all that and be used to fight about musical ideas and this and that because we’re all very strong characters you know. We all have egos and all that. So we always kept fighting but I think the fighting seems to keep us together because I think sometimes bands break up when there is one very strong person and the others get left out and the think ‘Oh God, this asshole is just too strong and we want to join another band.’ The 4 of us are real, actually, I can’t say these 4 letter words. We’re very strong individually so we keep going at each other. And I think the reason we’ve stayed together for so long is that none of us want to leave because I mean if you leave is like being a coward and going out. So we still keep going and as long as the music is still there, as long as the people still buying the music then it’s okay. When they stop buying our records then I’ll say goodbye to something else, become a strip artist or something.
Interviewer: Yeah? To what music would you strip? What music would you use?
Freddie: All the songs I’ve written, I’m like come on.
Interviewer: Announcing a tour like that, if you think of the tour life is ahead of you, is that the pleasant imagination or does it through life basically?
Freddie: What, the touring?
Interviewer: Touring and all this.
Freddie: It depends; I mean this tour I’m looking forward to because we haven’t done it for 2 years. There was a time where we were doing tours so extensively because I mean we would go into a studio, make an album and then tour the world and then we’d go back and that was the routine. I mean I didn’t have any time to actually break away and we virtually did that for 8 or 9 years. And that’s why the last couple of years we wanted to break away from that format because I was getting very bored and so were the others and just to get away and do different things and think about certain things. So this tour and looking forward to it because we haven’t toured and we can do different things. It’s going to be fresh, yeah. Otherwise the other tours I hated because we used to do American tours that lasted for 3 or 4 months and towards the end it was just terrible. I just never wanted to go on a stage again because after all the songs sounded very, you know if you’re doing it for 3 months you have to do the same routine and you need time away so you can get freshness into it and I think that probably happens to everybody.
Interviewer: What’s the fresh element now in the new tour that you’re doing?
Freddie: Me, my costume. No, it’s just the one thing, elements that I like on this tour is that we are going to go all the way back into songs from all the old albums as well so that anybody coming to see Queen this time is going to get a piece of all the albums. So I mean there are times where somebody comes to a show and say “Oh they didn’t do anything from this album or whatever.” Of course, we can’t do all the songs from 13 albums, we’ll be there for 2 days. But I think what we’re doing is going to take… even if it’s one song from one album or 2 from each, we’re not going to leave any album out so I think that to me is fun because we’ve been practicing some of the early stuff. We were practicing “Keep Yourself Alive” and “Liars” from the first albums and it made me think that’s about 13 years ago we were doing this and that time I had long hair and black fingernails and makeup and everything. The kind of thing that Boy George is doing right now and to think that I’ll still be singing those songs it sort of makes me sound old doesn’t it? I don’t look too bad for 37, I’ll tell you.
Interviewer: Do you have the feeling that a lot people are imitating? Because you mentioned Boy George, do you have the feeling that you see them come and go while your career is going on, you know so many new bands?
Freddie: I don’t think Boy George is going to come and go. I think boy George is going to be here for a long while. There’s always people that come up like that. For me, you can always tell somebody who’s going to stay in Boy George is going to stay. I don’t know, what do you think?
Interviewer: Yes I think so too. The question is what we wear in 10 years?
Freddie: It doesn’t matter I mean, you know? That’s the least of his problems as you think you know.
Interviewer: What does it mean to you I mean I talked to Keith Richards recently and he said the most important thing in his career was when he realized that being on stage and being admired by young kids is not the answer to life? Did you have a similar experience once you, first of all, thought that’s it and then from a certain stage you were thinking of something else?
Freddie: No, the most important thing to me is to be happy, to be honest, and have fun and depending on whatever I do. I mean, of course, music is important to me because that’s my life and I’ll carry on as long as I write music and people want to buy it. That’s important to me. But I mean that’s not the ‘be all and the end all.’ I mean happiness is the most important thing and if I’m happy then it shows in my work and so basically I just want to happy and make a lot of money and buy a lot of things, especially in Vienna.
Interviewer: Antique, just a moment. You’re also recording something with Michael Jackson that was not released yet. I think the song is even called ‘Victory’ is that true?
Freddie: That’s right yeah, I’ve done like 3 tracks with him and that’s about a year ago and even longer than that and yes, ‘Victory’ was one of the songs but he wanted to use the title for the Jackson thing but the song is still there and it’s probably just waiting until the two of us get together and finish it.
Interviewer: You haven’t finished it yet?
Freddie: No and I mean it’s just because he has commitments, I have commitments and it’s very difficult. I mean he’s on tour, I’m going on tour and you got this sort of… It’s very difficult when two different musicians are trying to get together. I mean he has to do his stuff and it’s just that way when I was spending some time in LA and you know we’re friends he said, “Oh, why don’t we try something?” So I mean one day it will probably be finished and well the other song is called ‘State of Shock’ which I did and Mick Jagger is on it. But it’s all okay because Michael called me up and said, “Look I want to finish the song. I want it on Jackson’s album.” and I said, “I can’t come over because I’m in Munich” And he said. “Is it okay if Mick does it?” So I said, “Fine, you know, a song is a song. I mean as long as our friendship carries on we can write all kinds of songs after that.”
Interviewer: With what other people could you think of co-operating like you do with Bowie and Jackson on this unreleased stuff; other people who are interested?
Freddie: It depends, I mean I don’t think of those things. I mean sometimes you just meet friends and if you think about doing a song together you talk about that. Otherwise that’s not what I think about all the time. I mean Elton and I have been friends for a long time but we’ve actually sort of said to each other “One day we probably go in there together and write a song”. But it’s better-being friends you know what I mean? And the thing about it is spontaneity. So I mean if it happens we’re talking and we say ‘Oh let’s go in the studio and do it” if that’s the best thing and that’s what happened with David Bowie. He was just around, we were having dinner for a couple of days and we were recording in the studio and he said, “Oh, maybe I’ll come in and just see what happens”. So it wasn’t planned. If it’s planned, then it’s boring and we were just going in there and fooling around to see what happens and suddenly this song started taking shape and we said, “Oh that’s quite nice, let’s work on it a bit” and the result of that was ‘Under Pressure’. So I don’t get up every morning and say, ‘Okay which who am I going to work with today?’ Those kinds of things don’t work.
Interviewer: How would you describe yourself as an artist? Would you say that you’re a very organized person, very spontaneous person or who would you say?
Freddie: No, myself as an artist, I’m just a musical prostitute, my dear. It’s basically that.
Interviewer: Organized or not?
Freddie: Oh who cares? Disorganized and organized. That’s an asshole question to ask anybody. I don’t know I’m just me, you know I’m just me. I’m very disorganized at times, I’m organized at times and I’m just me.
Interviewer: What emotions you have when you see old stuff? For example like you mentioned before with long hair and black fingernails.
Freddie: Oh when I see myself?
Interviewer: Yes, when you see yourself.
Freddie: Oh dear I want to tear them all up. I actually laugh at myself but I know that is was something that you had to do. I think someone like Boy George in about 5 or 10 years’ time it’s going to look and say, Oh my God did I really look like that?” But he knows that it was relevant at the time and it was right and I think I don’t regret any of the things I did. Its just that laugh. I mean, what did you look like 10 years ago?
Interviewer: Horrible there.
Freddie: Do you look at your pictures? Well, there you are then. So I just think… It’s a process of growing up to experience and I just think, at this point in time, I think if I had long hair and fingernails and wearing the things I would look ridiculous. I mean I looked ridiculous then but it worked. But it was alright then so it’s just growing up and getting experience.
Interviewer: If you look at all the members of the band, I know it’s a difficult question but what do you think every single member does contribute to the special chemistry that Queen in the end?
Freddie: What do I think what they give? It’s hard to sort of pinpoint those things because I mean we certainly have as an ingredient between the 4 of us otherwise it wouldn’t have worked, especially for this long and we all have a role to play but I couldn’t tell you what it was. The only thing I could tell you is that the reason is because we are diverse. We’re 4 different characters coming from, that’s why I think it’s worked. Not two of us are the same, we all like totally different things but we come together and say it’s a chemistry that works and I couldn’t tell you what it was because I mean who can? It’s just something that seems to fit and that’s what good bands are made of you know and we’re good.
Interviewer: Okay, thank you very much.