Interview? .........Oh don't be ridiculous.

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Postby DELETED » Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:43 pm


Hall of Fame 2001
Queen, who will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday, haven't commanded many headlines since the death of singer Freddie Mercury.
But the prospect of the surviving members — guitarist Brian May, bassist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor — reuniting has landed them in gossip columns recently. For a while, a tour this year has been rumoured, with British pop singer Robbie Williams taking over Mercury's role on vocals. It seems to make a weird sort of sense: Williams landed a British hit with "Let Me Entertain You," a sentiment the flamboyant Mercury certainly lived by.

"The absolute truth of the matter is, we talk about this kind of stuff all the time," May said about the Williams rumours, as well as speculation about landing George Michael or Elton John as an ad hoc singer.

"We've had a couple of talks with Robbie, and we know him really well, and we like him. But it hasn't gone any further than that at the moment. We all need to do a bit of thinking before a decision like that would be made." While May clearly is itching to play Queen songs again, he's loath to tour with Deacon and Taylor sans Mercury.

"I always thought that I don't want to replace Freddie," he said. "That's out of the question. But if ... we could make good music, and some of those Queen songs could be aired in a situation where you're still growing, then I would welcome that. It would be nice to be out there and play to people again. I miss that ... a lot." It's been a few years since May's most recent solo album, 1998's Another World, but last year he popped up on other people's records twice. He played on Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi's star-studded solo debut, Iommi. Queen fans will remember that May and Iommi have worked together before; the Sabbath riff-lord was in the backing band at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert in 1992, and they both played on a cover of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" in 1989.

"You meet a lot of acquaintances in the music industry, but very few true friends," May said. "Tony is a true friend, a great guy." May also played on another, slightly more bizarre, track in 2000: the Foo Fighters' cover of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar." Foo front man Dave Grohl played drums on the track, and drummer Taylor Hawkins, a friend of May for years, took the mic. (It's available on the MI:2 soundtrack). "I think you naturally gravitate to people who you respect and like," May said of the Foos. "I admire their stuff very much." We may hear more May this year; he spent some time in the studio with Axl Rose, laying down solos for the long-awaited Guns 'N Roses album.

"It sounds great, and Axl sounds wonderful," May said, noting that his contributions are not guaranteed to make that album, to be titled Chinese Democracy. Also last year, May marked two milestones: He got married, and soon after, he received word that Queen — a band that was on the receiving end of several critical slams in its day — would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The ceremony takes place Monday.

"It feels excellent, everyone's been congratulating me," May said. "[But between the marriage and the Hall of Fame], I've been confused as to what people are congratulating me for!" Some rock and roll legends have been less than enthusiastic about the Hall of Fame. Black Sabbath leader Ozzy Osbourne has been downright disdainful, and Queen's "Under Pressure" duet partner, David Bowie, didn't even bother to attend his induction. But May — who will attend the March 19 induction ceremony with the rest of the surviving members of his band — couldn't be happier.

"I know I'm gonna be happy to get this award," May said, adding, "I'm gonna be happy to perform at the ceremony." That is sure to excite Queen fans, who will have the opportunity to watch an edited version of the induction ceremony on VH1 at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

While May lamented that his friend Iommi won't be getting in the Hall — "I would think that because of [Sabbath's] huge influence, they would have to be inducted!" — he looks forward to seeing his old pals in Aerosmith, who will be getting in that night, and he's hoping for a jam session: "I think we should get together with Aerosmith." Still, he said he feels a tinge of jealousy that, while Aerosmith will be celebrating their induction at the same time they're plugging a brand-new album, Queen's recording days are over. But with the surviving Queen members mulling some sort of semi-reunion, May hopes to add an epilogue to the grand story that was Queen.

"For a while I used to say, 'OK, I don't want to be a part of Queen anymore, I want to be myself.' I was a bit vociferous about it for a while. And I think that I had to do that as part of my growth. And as part of my grieving about Freddie.

"Now, I think we've all grown up," he continued, "and we realize, 'OK, Queen is with us forever.' And it's fitting that it should be, because we worked a large percentage of our lives to make that thing. So I feel comfortable with looking at Queen things, and being part of what we made all those years."
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Postby DELETED » Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:44 pm


Queen Rocks Press Conference
The new album features mainly songs written by the both of you. There's only one song by Freddie. Is there a special reason behind this choice of songs?
Brian: The songs were just chosen because they were rock-songs really, like the hard rock end of what we do. It's just that Freddie mainly was writing different stuff, I suppose.

Roger: There are some collaborations on there. This is meant to be a hard-rock album, with the exception of this new song. And that's really the way it turned out. I mean we sort of split everything equally anyway, you know. in the band. So it was just. we tended to write that. especially Brian tended to write the harder rock songs. So it turned out.

Brian: See, when it comes to "Queen -The Epics" it'll be different....

The songs you've chosen exist in different versions around the world. On American records or even on bootlegs. But you've chosen the regular ones, the ones we all know. Are you saving the rare ones up for a kind of Queen anthology maybe?
Brian: Well, you mean the remixes and stuff.. I think.. we honestly think that the Originals are better. I think that's what it comes down to. Yeah, they were meant to be all the original recordings. Cause I think if I buy a compilation album of one of my favourite artists and then you get some kind of a different remix, I feel cheated. I would rather give people what they know that the songs sounded like.

Roger: We feel that the original versions, which have been re-mastered so that they work well together as a sound on the album...we feel they are the definitive versions. And the way the songs were conceived in the first place. So I think if you chose one they're the best versions to have.

Being back in the studio without Freddie. How was it, recording a Queen-song?
Brian: Quite strange. We're without Freddie the whole time and it's taking a lot of time getting used to it. This was originally intended not to happen. The song was just there. It is only because Roger and John reacted to the song and said they wanna do it. I have to say it was very good. It was very magical really. I think we felt like Freddie was there in spirit, because the song is about him anyway. And there are lots of little trademarks in there. There are lots of little quotes, which are very Queen-like, very Freddie like.

Roger: It was good fun actually. It was much easier than we expected it to be.

Are there more songs to come as Queen?
Brian: I would say not at the moment.

Roger: But I don't see why not. It's quite possible, it's just that we don't actually have any at the moment.

Brian: I think a lot depends how this gets perceived. On that we'll depend how we feel long term, I guess. I don't think we intended this to happen really. People may decide we can't sing. They probably already did. (laughter)

Did you ever think about working with another singer now that you've got another song?
Roger: We actually have worked with quite a few other singers. But the idea of working with one permanently is very difficult, ´cause Freddie is a very hard act to follow and it would seem very strange then with somebody else on any kind of permanent basis.

Brian: It would be very hard for someone coming in. It's like some fabulous sports car with three mad fucking drivers in it already, and if somebody comes in they're gonna find it very hard. (laughter) No plans at the moment, although George is great. We admired George as a performer, but his direction is very different. But we are us, and that's different.

Will there be another Queen-tour with just you two as singers?
Brian: I don't think we know. We don't have any plans at the moment.

Roger: No plans, so we can't answer in either way. Sorry, sorry about that

What about the Princess? How did you feel?
Brian: Very, very sad. We both went to the funeral. We were involved in a lot of the same things that Princess Diana was involved in. The charity work and stuff, so we bumped into her quite a lot. And she was something very wonderful and very special and we felt terribly sad that she'd be taken away so soon. Strangely enough the last conversation I had with the Princess she just said it must be pretty hard for you still doing without Freddie, and I said yes, sometimes it's hard and she said how tragic that he'd been taken away so soon- what a waste. So I guess everybody feels that about her. But strangely enough, in the way she died, she gave the world something as well. I don't think that there's ever been that kind of feeling in Britain.

Roger: It was a very strange time in the UK.

Do you think it's good to glorify people like that?
Roger: In some ways no, I don't think it is. But if they made people happy, I don't see why they shouldn't be remembered.

Brian: I think there is some similarity between Freddie and the Princess, because they both had the ability to make the ordinary person to feel like they had some kind of chance. That's a precious gift.

Roger: And they had the same dress. (laughter)

Whom is the single dedicated to?
Brian: It's written about Freddie, really, but I guess, if you write a song, songs have always more meanings than the first one you come across. The song in my mind started about 2 years ago. I just couldn't find all the words.

Would you be part of this tribute concert for Diana, in spring time in London?
Roger: That's tough to answer, because that's the first we've heard of it.

Brian: We're actually not a functional unit as a live-act either at the moment.

Roger: I don't know. I think maybe we've done our tributes.

'No one but you' is the only new song on the record. Is it something like a new start for Queen?
Brian: Well, you mustn't read too much in there. At the moment it's just a song, and that's all that's happened. It's not part of a grand master plan yet. The song is on there because we thought it was nice to have a bonus-track on there, because all the tracks of course have been released before.

Roger: It is the first new thing we've done together, without Freddie.

Why did you choose that cover?
Brian: Why do you ask this question? ´Cause you hate it. Tell me, really? You like it or not?

Interviewer: I'm not really sure.

Brian: Shall we be honest? It was done in pretty much of a hurry and the concept behind it is the crest, which we lived with for years and it's kind of exploding. I think we all felt that perhaps it wasn't quite how we imagined it would be, but time was very short, but ..we think it's fabulous yes (laughter)

Roger: On t-shirts it looks like somebody has been sick over it...(laughter)

Do you think that this is your best cover?
Roger: No! (laughter)

Brian : the music's damn good...

Are you very into video-games?
Roger: I'm not, I think Brian is

Brian: Certain ones, I am. I'm not very into "Beat 'em up". I find it too boring and I'm not skilful enough to get in. I like Doom, I think it's a fantastic game, because you feel like you're really there. And for the kids, they get really scared. You know Doom? Ah, Doom is fantastic. There's lots of blood, but you really feel you're there, and you go around those dark corridors and your actually in the point of view, graphics, and if something happens to you, really, you really get scared. I think this game I'm sure will be brilliant, but it's not something which we've directly worked on the development of. It's called "The Eye".

Are there any solo-projects you're working on, the two of you together, or as single artists?
Brian: We're both separately working on solo-albums. Right, Roger?

Roger: Yeah, I think we're both about 80% through!

As there was a lot focused on Freddie, do you think that your individual talents are overlooked because of that?
Roger: Personally no. Part of being in a band is really accepting the fact that, if you have a singer, especially as one as flamboyant and outstanding as Freddie was, he's the natural visual focus and I think if you don't understand that everybody in the band has a different role, and if it worries you, that he gets the most attention, then I think you should leave the band. We would never have lasted if that was the case.

Brian: And we're very proud of him. I guess we did use him as the focus point.

What about John Deacon? Was he involved in the compilation of the album? Where is he today?
Roger: Great question! (laughter)

Brian: These are very difficult questions.

Roger: He's a complete mystery to us, I mean.

Brian: He's generally involved at a distance. He's very much involved, but he doesn't get involved in the "day-to-day" bits of pieces, I guess Roger and I do that really. Where is he today? He's at home, I think. But he does secret things, secret "Deaky things". Base players do that. (laughter)

Roger: But he's never been seen spending money though.

One question to Roger first: Will you go on tour next year?
Roger: I doubt it, I would like to see how my album is received, so it's unlikely

interviewer: Why? Many fans would come and see you live.

Roger: Oh, you're very kind. Thanks! If I felt that there was a demand there maybe, but it's a lot of work involved. I have to finish my record first and see what happens.

Brian, will you go on tour next year?
Brian: I hope to, yes! If I ever finish the album.
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Postby DELETED » Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:46 pm


Roger Taylor from 1991



Roger Meddows Taylor: I think it's a very important thing that any group has to be good in live performance, so we attach a lot of importance to that.

Interviewer: I remember when your first album came out, and it was all like a Roger Taylor solo project. Did you ever intend or it to last that long?

Roger Meddows Taylor: It was never meant to be a solo project, you see. It was always meant to be a group, and this has been a big problem - I've never been able to convince people that it's a group - everybody writes, everybody shares the money equally, really it's not the Roger Taylor solo experience, and I'm just the singer.

Interviewer: When did you want to be a singer?

Roger Meddows Taylor: I've always been a singer. With Queen I've sung all of the harmonies, for many years, before that I was a singer anyway, and a drummer. Live, I would sing in every song, harmonies at least, and in some songs, like I'm In Love With My Car, I would sing the lead anyway, so I'm use to singing, so that wasn't new. The thing that was new was to be at the front, not playing an instrument too much.

Interviewer: Why do you never play drums?

Roger Meddows Taylor: Because we have a drummer! And I'm not the drummer. This is what I can't get people to understand - I'm *not* the drummer!

Interviewer: And how did you find the other members of the band?

Roger Meddows Taylor: Er... Spike was a friend, who had played the keyboards with Queen on their tours, 'cause when Freddie has to sing, you know, and get up and move and thing, somebody else has to play the keyboards, so I knew him for about three years. And, er - we decided to start this thing up, you know, so we wanted to find three younger people just so it wasn't all older people who weren't influenced by what was happening, or anything. Then we found the guys, we made the band, and we started it - you know. It's been very hard, very tough.

Interviewer: Is that because many people still think it's Roger Taylor?

Roger Meddows Taylor: Yeah. You just can't get away from it. Um - It's frustrating really. People like to put you in a drawer - you know - in a box. This is a different thing - completely separate.

Interviewer: This album was recorded at Real World Studios. A studio where there's a lot of world music being done. Did that have any influence on you, or did you just pick it?

Roger Meddows Taylor: Er... when you say world music, you mean music from other countries?

Interviewer: African music and things.

Roger Meddows Taylor: Yeah, well Womad is based there, yeah - No, we picked it because we liked the look of it. Our music is like classic hard rock, and I like the idea of the world music thing [laughs] but no, that had nothing to do with it. It was a good studio, a good location, and a nice place and we liked it very much indeed. I've known Peter for many years. Very many years.

Interviewer: How pleased are you with the new album?

Roger Meddows Taylor: I don't know. If you want me to be honest - I think it's quite good. We have a producer this time. I think the album is good - have you heard it? Do you like it?

Interviewer: I like it.

Roger Meddows Taylor: Good.

Interviewer: The second song is the single, isn't it.

Roger Meddows Taylor: I think it's the second one, yeah.

Interviewer: It's the second one yeah. It's my favourite anyway.

Roger Meddows Taylor: Really? Oh good, well good. Um - yes it's difficult. I usually have to wait six months before I know, you know, how much I like something, but we've worked hard, and I hope people like it. I can't say a lot more than that really. I hope that the music is real. It's not pretending to be anything. It's sort of, quite grown up rock music.

Interviewer: Was it difficult to work with a producer who's ever so young?

Roger Meddows Taylor: No. Ever so young? He's not that young!

Interviewer: He's only 31.

Roger Meddows Taylor: Oh - 31 is not that young. He's very experienced, he's worked on The Joshua Tree, U2, and assignments... Jeff Beck, this is all the stuff we like, and so he's great. He's older than three members of the band you know, so - not older than me, but he's older than the others. But he was very good, it's fantastic. I really enjoyed him telling me what to do. I enjoyed that for a change.

Interviewer: Really?

Roger Meddows Taylor: Yeah. Nice to receive direction, than give it.

Interviewer: But you produced the others yourself?

Roger Meddows Taylor: Really, yes, and the rest of the band also, so you need someone from the outside to give you that outside direction, I think.

Interviewer: To tell you?

Roger Meddows Taylor: Yeah, 'cause you're too involve, you're too closely involved, and you just can't give an objective view, you know?

Interviewer: When you're writing for the Cross, do you write while you're jamming, or does everybody -?

Roger Meddows Taylor: No. I write by myself. I can't write with the others. Sometimes if I write with the guys, it's usually the lyrics, or to change what they already have, or to write a lyric from the beginning. Um... like with 'Bad Attitude', that's one, but the songs I write myself I write completely by myself, and then we bring them in and work it out.

Interviewer: Did you have a lot of songs to choose from when you did this album?

Roger Meddows Taylor: Yes, we had about 25, and we sat down with the producer one day, and we said "Which ones do you like?" and he said "I like this one... I like this one..." And we let him choose.

Interviewer: So, you are going on tour now? Is it very difficult for you to play in smaller venues than you usually do?

Roger Meddows Taylor: Well the Cross - we've been on tour several times before, so you know, so no I'm used to it now, and I remember it from years ago, anyway, from my very beginnings, when I was a teenager, I used to play in very small places and also the beginning of Queen was in very small places, you know - so no. Although I haven't played in small places for many years. Actually even Queen went back at one time to very small clubs, just to remind us, you know, to remind us to make it interesting. I like playing in small places. It's good, and we're going to play with a band called Magnum, who I know very well - do you know that band? I think they write very good songs, they have a strange image - like us it's difficult to define. but - they write very... in a genre... that style. They write very good songs. I produced an album for them, six years ago, called 'Vigilante'. I thought they were very good. they have a great song writer, Terry, and I think that there'll be a very good mixture, you know. A good show altogether.

Interviewer: Do you think that the Cross and Magnum have a similar audience?

Roger Meddows Taylor: Yes I do. I think it's the same audience, yeah. They're the people who like hard rock, but not stupid hard rock, you know. They like people to have good musicians, and also to have intelligent songs. Sung intelligently. They're real. They don't dress completely - like - hair to the waist. Go to America, folks - it's strange - looks like 1973 there. I grew up in that with Queen, and we like to wear all this...

Interviewer: Long hair.

Roger Meddows Taylor: Yeah, and so it's very strange to see all that happening again, you know.

Interviewer: With the heavy metal.

Roger Meddows Taylor: Yeah. We were the start of heavy metal, and Led Zeppelin, and everybody was like glam heavy metal, you know, whatever. And it's all coming back round again.

Interviewer: How do you like the rest of the music scene?

Roger Meddows Taylor: Not good at the moment. There's not enough good stuff. I think in America you can hear more quality music then in Europe at the moment, because it's too dance orietated for my tastes - everything is dance, dance, dance, and the music is - there are no new ideas, they're ripping off all the old ideas - they're recycling all the old good songs, and you hear very little good music. I like EMF. I like that song...

Interviewer: Unbelievable.

Roger Meddows Taylor: yeah. that had a great riff, you can hear that they might be able to write really good songs, more good songs, but a lot of it is just electronic crap. It's gone one week. Shelf life one week, you know?

Interviewer: So you're an original rock 'n' roller?

Roger Meddows Taylor: yeah, absolutely. The thing is, you see, it lasts - it's timeless. It lasts - there are hits from the sixties now - some of the best soul too.
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Postby DELETED » Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:47 pm

The last one... :)


The Power And The Glory
Roger Taylor – Rhythm Interview September 2002


Occupant of the drum throne with the grandest band in rock, Roger Taylor powered Queen throughout their illustrious career, in the process contributing to some of the most outstanding recordings of the last 30 years. A decade after the band’s untimely demise, their popularity shows no sign of waning. Rhythm salutes a true monster of Rock.

Queen were and remain a phenomenon like no other, Possibly the greatest rock group ever, they created their own sound – a mock operatic fusion of macho rock and vaudevillian fey delivered with outrageous theatricality. Standing head and shoulders above their peers, Queen were always bigger and better than anyone else. Fronted by the impossibly charismatic Freddie Mercury, they were driven by Brian May’s distinctive multi-layered guitar and steered by the intelligent and musical rhythm section of Roger Taylor and John Deacon.

A string of classic ‘70’s albums – Sheer Heart Attack, A Night At The Opera, A Day At The Races, News Of The World and Jazz among them – underlined their accomplished musicianship and original songwriting skills, while their muscular and ever more flamboyant live shows put beyond all doubt their ability to excite and entertain, And they moved with the times: they ushered in the ‘80’s by releasing ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, a slice of funk genius that became the biggest selling single of the year in America.

In the mid-‘80’s the band began touring further afield from the UK and America and in the process broke into massive new markets. They were particularly popular in South America, playing to over a quarter of a million people at the Rock in Rio festival. The experience proved fruitful. After returning to England, they appeared at Live Aid in the summer of 1985, and showed the world how to whip a stadium full of people into a frenzy in the space of 20 minutes.

The years that followed this show-stopping performance were some of the band’s most successful. With all four of its members writing the songs equally, another batch of hit-packed albums littered the charts and sell-out tours of the grandest scale soon ensued.

And then, in 1991, it ended abruptly with Freddie Mercury’s untimely death. The shattered remaining trio vowed to celebrate Freddie’s life in the style to which he was accustomed, and in the spring of 1992 staged the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. Once again a sold-out Wembley Stadium reverberated to the sound of Queen’s anthems, while an international audience of one billion watched around the world. Simultaneously ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ topped the charts again in the wake of it’s starring role on the soundtrack to the smash-hit Wayne’s World movie.

In 1994, the three surviving members reunited to add music to vocal tracks that Mercury had recorded on his death-bed culminating in 1995’s Made in Heaven album. Since then things have been understandably quiet on the Queen front. John Deacon has retired altogether from the public gaze, leaving Roger and Brian May the sold representatives of Her Majesties Purveyors of Rock.

It is fitting, therefore, that the eponymous sovereign herself enlisted the skills of the duo to help celebrate her Golden Jubilee in June of this year. Indeed, their sparkling performance at Party At The Palace showed that the band have lost none of their popularity. If Anything, there is a massive Queen revival under way: the West End musical We Will Rock You has weathered savage reviews to become a huge box office hit, while the Greatest Hits I, II & III collection has raced into the top ten.

Throughout the years, Roger Taylor has added his individual touch to some of the finest moments in popular music. His performances are always perfectly weighed – restrained and full of subtle flourishes in the right places, yet delivering full-on power when required. His trademark meaty fills – that instigate involuntary bouts of air-drumming in listeners – demonstrate his musicality, while his more demented kit flurries, unleashed when suitable opportunities are presented, are evidence of his great showmanship. Still passionate about drumming and music, Roger met Rhythm at his house in Surrey.

The phrase 'enduring popularity' could have been invented for Queen...
Roger Taylor: It never ceases to amaze me. We try to stay a bit visible occasionally, but we seem to have had a run of high exposure just lately.

Does the loyalty of the fans surprise you?
Roger Taylor: I think of it on a two-tiered basis: There are the hardcore fans that have been amazingly loyal for many years. Some of them used to follow us all over the world - I used to think they were bonkers, but they were very nice and very loyal. And then there's the mainstream audience who see us playing a big event on television and say, 'Oh, they were good.'

Speaking of which, how was the Party At The Palace? You looked as though you were enjoying yourself...
Roger Taylor: Yeah, it was good Brian and I take things a bit more in our stride now. It was quite a lot of work, though because we were both playing on quite a few different things, so we had to keep focused. We had to do the intro, then I had to go on very quickly with Phil Collins for 'You Can't Hurry Love' and then we did our own set. And then McCartney asked us to play with him, which was nice, but it was right at the end, so I had to keep sober all the way through it! Playing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was interesting because I hadn't played the middle section since we'd recorded it. We never used to play that part live, because there were only three of us singing and you need 30 singers to do it. I had to study the parts - I actually asked Tony Bourke, who plays it in the show (We Will Rock You) ' What Happens Here?' and then it all came back.

Apart from sharing the same moniker as our monarch, your regal connections go back another 25 years don't they?
Roger Taylor: We played at Earl's Court as part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977. Earl's Court is the worst place to play that I can remember - I would never ever play there again, It's just a great monstrous echoing barn, with absolutely no soul whatsoever. The only thing I saw that worked there was 'The Wall' - of course, that's a monstrosity in itself, so that's why. I can't believe that was 25 years ago. I remember hating it - It's such an unwieldy place to play.

I trust that the Party at the Palace was a happier event for you?
Roger Taylor: Definitely!

Take me back to the young pre-Queen Roger Taylor.....
Roger Taylor: I grew up in Norfolk in King's Lynn, until I was seven. Then my father got a job in Cornwall, so we moved down to Truro. My father's family were from Cornwall, so it was sort of a return home for him. By then I was banging on saucepans - small, medium and large - and a pair of wooden knitting needles. That was my first attempt at drumming. There was a moment, when I was about eight, when I began playing the ukulele with no chords, but drums were my first instrument because that's what I was good at.

I did try the guitar but it was so difficult. Drumming came naturally to me - I always found it sublimely easy, and to play guitar properly was anything but.

And did you begin playing in local bands?
Roger Taylor: Yeah, I started getting really interested when I was 12 or 13 years old. I played throughout my schooldays and made a bit of good pocket money out of it. We'd do all the local villages and towns, in town halls. And I loved it, I absolutely loved it.

What prompted your move to London in the late 60's?
Roger Taylor: I moved up to study at college, but I really wasn't interested in an academic career - I wanted to be a musician in a band.

What was it like playing around London in those years?
Roger Taylor: It was very student-orientated. I met Brian after only a couple of weeks in London. We met in the Student's Union Bar, Imperial College, and immediately clicked.

So you decide that Brian was a man that you could o business with?
Roger Taylor: I just thought, 'This bloke ha got a special touch which I've never heard,' and you can only describe his playing as beautiful: a real feather-light touch and vibrato - he really made his instrument sing. And we liked all the same people, with a few exceptions.

He'd never met anyone before who could actually tune drums - he wasn't even aware that drums were tuneable. he just thought they were things you hit - typical guitarist. Guitarists only think about guitars, that's all they hear when they listen to a record. Anyway we started our band in the jazz room at Imperial College, and it all just grew out of that really. We were doing all sorts of student gigs at universities - we even ended up at the Albert Hall with a very strange line-up: The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Joe Cocker, Spooky Tooth and Free.

What was the name of your band?
Roger Taylor: Smile - it was just Brian and I with another guy called Tim.

Cue your meeting with the young Freddie Mercury...
Roger Taylor: Freddie came over with our singer one day; they were both at Ealing College of Art, and he became one of the circle. He was full of enthusiasm - he had long black flowing hair and this great dandy image, and was great fun to have around. He got himself into a couple of bands, and our band broke up and then his did, and the natural thing was to come together, so we did. We had difficulty finding any bass players who would fit - until we found John.

Did it start to really feel right then?
Roger Taylor: It felt like a unit - maybe because we' all been students, I don't know. It was very democratic - Freddie had good leadership qualities, but he always insisted that everybody had a vote. There was lots of arguing, but it was mainly friendly. back then Freddie was the real driving force because he was the most prolific writer.

Did his vision ever surprise you?
Roger Taylor: Many times. His understanding of harmonic structure was phenomenal. He was a brilliant musician, which most people forget among all the dressing up and ridiculous costumes and his outrageousness. Quite a visionary really.

The general consensus is that you were the best-looking member of the band by some degree....
Roger Taylor: (laughs) Well I definitely disagree with that!

.....So to be stuck at the back.
Roger Taylor: That never bothered me - we always thought 'You have a job to do'. Freddie's job was to be the front-man, the visual focus for the audience and he was brilliant at it. And then we all had our own functions and I think we were quite happy. I never wanted to be at the front.

What was the high point of Queen for you?
Roger Taylor: Well there are a lot of high points, really. We always thought of ourselves first and foremost as a live band. Although we sold a lot of records we enjoyed playing live. Live Aid was a high point - for everybody it really was a great day - but we had particular shows which were good. I think when we we were touring Argentina we were absolutely at our peak and pretty unbelievable.

So what exactly is it like to play to a quarter of a million people?
Roger Taylor: It's impressive. Basically you're just so focused that you want to do it right and make sure that things don't go wrong, so most of the mental energy goes into that. There are so many people that it's just a mass, so you really have to make sure that you get it right, that it comes over and it works.

But how do you mentally prepare for that sort of scale? is it a lot of rehearsal?
Roger Taylor: No there's no extra rehearsal - it's just getting used to playing that kind of big audience. It's a different sort of art, I think that we were good at it, particularly because Freddie was so good with the grande gesture - he knew how to work the audience, how to communicate and make everybody feel like it was one big party. To an extent U2 have that, they're very good. Pink Floyd are also good at big shows, they have such monstrously huge productions - very impressive lights that go wonderfully with the music.

Did you sense that you would get so big?
Roger Taylor: We always liked the idea of doing big stuff, and the bigger the better. Maybe we were ambitious, maybe we needed to gratify our egos. I don't know, but the idea of communicating with that number of people was exciting.

Apart from the obvious one, were there any low points for you in Queen?
Roger Taylor: There was a point where we'd got to incredible popularity in America, around the time of 'The Game' but then we really dipped. We made a couple of strange choices for albums - we went down a sort of funk avenue with the slight dance angle, and that was everything our US followers hated. I felt at the time that we were going too far down that road, but because we'd had a huge hit with 'Another One Bites The Dust', we thought 'Oh this is our new direction' ; but it wasn't really us. The lowest point of all was when we found out about Freddie's condition.

Was it difficult to separate the personal and he professional sides of your relationship with Freddie when it became obvious he wasn't going to get better?
Roger Taylor: We became closer. He wanted to work - he wanted to occupy his mind and his days. So we spent long cloistered periods abroad, just backing him up an forming a protective wall. It was actually a good time in a way, because we felt very close - the closest we've ever been. In the end Freddie was doing all the singing in the control room because he couldn't walk into the studio. The last album, Made in Heaven, was very hard work, because Freddie had died and we had to fill in the holes. I think it's a very strong album - certainly the most emotional album.

It must have been a tough time for you.
Roger Taylor: It was a very difficult period. When you look back, it's actually much worse - you go around pretending that it's not that bad, but it was five years before any of us realised the tremendous effect it had.

Did the reaction to his tribute concert surpass your expectations?
Roger Taylor: I thought that it was great, the audience was wonderful and I think that we put together a hell of a show in about two months. It actually helped me at the time because I threw my whole being into it and it took away a bit of the pain.

As an all-round musician, did you ever feel restricted by the drums?
Roger Taylor: We were very much a team, Brian would play piano here and there and I played rhythm guitar on some things. John played keyboards and acoustic guitar on 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' for instance, so we weren't that restricted. Also, as time went on we all became writers. At first, Freddie and then Brian were the dominant writers, but then John and myself came up, so all four of us were contributing. By the end things were very equal. I was one of three singers as well, so there was an awful lot to do. I did some solo work too, because there wasn't enough space on the Queen albums for all my ideas I just thought 'Well I could do a bit more, do it solo'.

You've always had a good idea of what a set of drums can bring to a song.
Roger Taylor: That's something that we learnt very quickly in the studio. the tendency in those days was for everybody to be virtuoso - to show off on your instrument. But to me you were playing a song, and so the instrument should compliment the song in every possible way. Obtrusively or unobtrusively, you should play the song and not think about dots or bars. That's what I tried to do. The more you just let yourself flow with the song and understand it - how the tempo should be, if it should push here - the more you play with it. I gave a desperate mistrust of dots - you can never put in the dots what is needed. the language simply isn't good enough.

You play from the heart?
Roger Taylor: Absolutely, and I think that you should just watch the song and learn the song.

And use your ears?
Roger Taylor: Yeah, maybe the beat should be a little bit behind, maybe you should push, whatever. It's all about feel really.

Your trademark 'big sound' dates back to early Queen. How did it come about?
Roger Taylor: I've always like to use big drums. I've got nothing against the Stuart Copeland kind of thing, which is very good in it's own way, but I was always into the ambient sound of a drum kit. I like big, tuneful drums with a natural room sound, so the whole kit sounds balanced. I wanted it to sound as though it were in a room and you were hearing the reverberation from the walls. Sometimes you would achieve that with machines and sometimes you'd get the right room and it sounded great - 'Bites the Dust' was as dry as you can get, but typically I would have a big, fat, ambient monster drum sound.

As a self-taught musician were you inspired by any particular drummers?
Roger Taylor: I used to like the jazz drummers because of their beautiful fluidity. I love Mitch Mitchell - I think that some of his stuff on the first Hendrix album 'Are You Experienced?' is just sublime, absolutely floating over it all. Of course I love Keith Moon, but probably above all, I love John Bonham. It's a pretty predictable pantheon, but let's face it they don't make them like that any more. Although there are some great guys around......

Is there anyone from nowadays that you think stands out in a similar way?
Roger Taylor: I think that McCartney guy - Abe Laboriel Jnr - is really good, but my own personal favourites would be Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl. To have them both in the same band is incredible - when they play together it's like dynamite. Dave is brilliant and Taylor, he's just like a firestorm. Those two play phenomenally.

Over to the musical We Will Rock You. Do you see it as a fitting tribute to the band?
Roger Taylor: It's a mainstream piece of entertainment. It's not meant to be biographical at all. It's a lightweight story that has a few salient points and the music comes over very well. I think it's a great night out - It's like a sort of adult panto with great music. Every night there's a fantastic ovation at the end and people come out buzzing. It got the worst reviews I've ever seen, but they're basically missing the point; it's a light hearted piece - it's not something to get worked up about.

Queen's single-mindedness was as big a factor in their success as their musical talent. Do you think that a band like Queen could prosper in today's music business?
Roger Taylor: I think the answer is 'Yes' but they would have to get around having somebody like Simon Cowell or a record company of that ilk controlling then and marketing them into talcum powder. The very idea of them thinking that they know more about music because of their market research and demographic is nonsense - 'They've got a hot band, let's get one like that!' - is rubbish. But there are labels that do respect the artists creativity, so proper bands that actually excite and break the rules instead of just following like homogenised sheep could succeed with the right company behind them. Bands like Radiohead have complete creative control, and they are totally uncompromising with it.

I don't personally like their latest stuff very much: I thought the best record they did was 'The Bends' - what a fantastic record. But they're treading their own path; that's the main thing. At least they'll be interesting, even if they're uninterestingly interesting!

What's on the horizon for Roger Taylor?
Roger Taylor: At the moment I really need a holiday, but there might be something new in the pipeline. I'm enjoying doing the odd thing like Parkinson, which was seat-of-the-pants live stuff with the show's cast, and the Party at the Palace, and Brian and I did a show in Amsterdam - 150,000 people turned up and we thought 'Wow!' We've been working very well together, so we might think of doing something - the dinosaurs might creep out of their cage.

Five Facts
1.) Roger is not just a pretty face and a world-class drummer - in the midst of his formative years he passed his Biology degree. 'I managed to finish it while we were making our first album, though I wasn't a serious student and it wasn't exactly a first'

2.) On one wall of Roger's rehearsal studio hangs an amazing display of front bass drum heads from each of Queen's tours.

3.) Roger loves sailing and owns a fabulous yacht. 'Boats are a great passion for me, things are so different out in the ocean, but I prefer to be somewhere warm, not down by the Isle of Wight'.

4.) All this messing about in boats hasn't dimmed Roger's appetite for white-knuckle thrills - in early 2000 he braved the bobsleigh run at St Moritz. 'It's so quick that you don't have time to be terrified. When you flip into a corner it's like having a rhinoceros sit on your chest - the G-forces are absolutely unbelievable.

5.) Roger's parts to the amazing operatic middle section of Bohemian Rhapsody were played with Roger having no idea what they would eventually accompany. 'You couldn't really picture it with that in it at all, All the punctuating was co-ordinated by Freddie - he was sat at the piano conducting us with his own little language.

Taylor on Taylor
Foo Fighters firestorm Taylor Hawkins selects his favourite Roger Taylor tracks.
Roger Taylor playing 'We Are The Champions' with Queen - I will never forget watching that, I remember all this sweat flying off his hair - he was so visual, the ultimate in cool, calm and collected, he was rock 'n' roll.

Roger has been a huge influence on lots of drummers and for many guys in America - including Stephen Perkins, Matt Cameron and myself - Queen was our first ever concert The band were big in America in the 70's and early 80's and if you ask drummers what it is about Roger that impressed they, they will say it was his feel and the way he played. He swings like no-one else, and that's impossible to emulate. You know it's him when you hear the hi-hat open up every time he hits the snare. I can play every fill he's ever done, but I could never get his feel. I've tried and it's impossible!

Roger gave Queen their heavy feel and big sound. His playing was laid back, loose and - I use this term loosely - punk rock, because he did have that sort of rough edge to his drumming too. And he always put on a real show - he was a very theatrical drummer.

He is also a songwriter, which I think plays a part in his fills - they are always musical, almost orchestral, but he can also rock out - just check out Live Killers, some of my favourite drumming from him. People forget that he also has an amazing rock 'n' roll voice. His songs were always eccentric - not in Freddie's way, or Brian's - but darker and his voice was raw and raspy.

Roger and I hang out and we're friends, but he is also this mythical superhero rock star to me. We played double drums at Shepherd's Bush a few years ago, and more recently in 2001 when Queen were inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, which was amazing, I'm just smiling the entire time.

In the tracks I've chosen, I have tried to cover all Roger's different feels, He's so versatile - he can sound like a heavy metal, dixieland or orchestral drummer, but filtered through who he is. Hope you enjoy them.

Smile, Earth - this was the first band that Roger was in with Brian May. This is really cool because he's developing and you can hear the Keith Moon an little Ginger Baker-style influences. It's kind of 60's drumming - still loose - but this is his first recording and it's fun for that reason.

Queen, Great King Rat - There is some very cool - and very quick - drumming on this track, and some really interesting beats.

Queen, Ogre Battle - This is heavy in that early Deep Purple kind of way - which has a lot to do with Brian's guitars as well. And the drums are actually quite Metallica-esque without the double-kick, but with the same kinds of patterns.

Queen, In The Lap of the Gods....Revisited -Revisited has a great 6/8 swing and a cool kick patern that feels really good. It's hard to pull off - even though it sounds simple - and Roger does it very well.

Queen, Prophet's Song and Good Company - Prophet's Song is a long prog-rock type 70's song with a march like feel to it, while Good Company has a ragtime/dixieland vibe. Roger is able to emulate all these different styles, but still be himself.

Queen, Millionaire Waltz - A very orchestral track. There aren't a lot of drums, but when they do come in they are colossal, have a huge sound and sound like timpani.

Queen, We Are The Champions - This is one of my favourite drum tracks of Roger's - the fill that he does before the chorus is so interesting. Never in a million years would I have thought of doing some of the stuff he did! It's his feel in this too - he is so good at that 6/8 swing and making things feel good.

Queen, More of That Jazz - This is a Roger Taylor song. It has a really cook beat and a stiff, almost mathematical-type drum feel to it - very creative.

Queen, Keep Yourself Alive & Brighton Rock - Though Roger completely dismissed Live Killers when it came out, I love the drum sound on it - it's amazing! It's live and has that natural ambience. Roger's drumming throughout Live Killers is great - he plays everything a little faster, more extended and has that real live edge. Keep Yourself Alive, with it's drum solo, rototoms and cowbell just sings. It's not the most difficult, but Roger makes even simple things sound very creative, it's awesome.

This version of Brighton Rock is amazing too. Just the groove itself and the fills he does - it's so high powered and it's Roger at his craziest.

Queen, Dragon Attack -The drum solo in the middle, and the pounding Bonham-esque beat, gives this a dancey groove. As a band Queen were always creating and going deeper.

Roger Taylor, Let's Go Crazy - His first solo album Fun in Space is a must-buy for any fan. This track has a real rockabilly feel that shows off Roger's diversity once again.

Queen, Under Pressure - The drumming is not the main part of the show here, but this is my favourite Queen track ever. It's such a cool, deep song, and it's one of Roger's favourites too. It's got a great dancey, pulsey groove and it's a very simple drum track with some great fills.

As a drummer I tend to be self-gratifying sometimes, but Roger is all about the music in almost every song he finds a little space, though and throws his things in.
DELETED
 

Postby DELETED » Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:50 pm

Many thanks to Ogre for sending me those files. Of course he has since re-opened his excellent interviews website, and it's here:

http://www.geocities.com/ogre_t_raylot/index.html

:D
DELETED
 

Postby JLP » Mon Nov 28, 2005 8:17 pm

bumped to prevent pruning
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Postby go go go little Queeny! » Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:14 am

None of the pages will work for me...it just says that the page i requested cannot be found...WHY?? :-(
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go go go little Queeny!
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Postby fairydandy » Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:44 am

go go go little Queeny! wrote:None of the pages will work for me...it just says that the page i requested cannot be found...WHY?? :-(


They have been removed at source. The interviews are all in this thread though. :)
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Re: Interview? .........Oh don't be ridiculous.

Postby JLP » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:38 pm

Wonderful stuff. I was looking for something and came across this thread. Well worth the effort of reading it all.

Thanks to Deleted ;) and Ogre T Raylot. Wonder where they are now.
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