Hi all! I hope you have had a good week. I managed a night at the opera, strange production, but the music was wonderful, so now I must start the write-up for OPERA magazine.
Ok, now for this weeks questions:
Andreas asked about Freddie’s relationship with Italy.
Queen didn’t tour Italy because they didn’t like the country or didn’t want to go, basically there were two reasons that a tour never happened. Firstly, in the 70s-80s there were a lot of gun attacks happening on the streets and at homes in the big cities. Secondly, even to this day, time doesn’t seem very important. When Queen were touring in those days before mobile phones and emails, timing was very important. If the tour book said the sound check was at 16.00, it was at 16.00. There was no guarantee that anything would happen at the time it was supposed to. Even now, from my experience, 10.00 means anything between 10.00-11.00.
Reza asked about Freddie and modern day Iran (Persia).
The simple answer is that Freddie very rarely spoke about his childhood. As you said he stated he was of Persian descent, which is true, although his ancestors left there nearly 1000 years ago when the Zoroastrians were forced to leave. Freddie took any news about Iran an he took in news about anywhere else in the world, and put it in it’s place in his encyclopedic mind.
Stefan asked about the real Freddie.
You are right, I never saw Freddie drive, do washing up, clean up and definitely NEVER cook. He never went food shopping, but loved spending time in antique shops, auction houses and spent a lot of time at an art restorer and framer where most of his artwork was looked after whenever it needed it. Music took up much of his time. When not recording or performing he would listen and watch videos of performers that he liked. He went to the ballet and theatre to see friends performing and loved going out with friends to eat or have friends round to his home for meals. Basically things we would
all do, except Freddie did things on a grander scale.
Mike asked about an article in the USA press after Freddie died.
In the article it states that Freddie left 33% of his wealth to AIDS research and that he had filmed HIV/AIDS awareness videos to be released after his death. I can say that no such videos were made. Freddie was in the studio recording during those last months and that took all the energy he had. To my knowledge he filmed nothing after These Are The Days Of Our Lives. He didn’t leave anything in his will to HIV/AIDS Research, but during the last 4 years of his life he gave a large amount to various HIV/AIDS charities through 3rd parties.
Adam wanted to know about the gorilla in the Slightly Mad video.
NO, it was not Elton John! It was actually one of the guys from the film crew! Last time I will answer this!
Will wanted to know what Freddie thought of his own talent.
You mention the two people Freddie put on a pedestal, Elvis and John Lennon. Freddie knew he had written some good songs, some he placed higher in his own opinion than the public did, but he never thought of himself in the same company as those two.
Chris asked about Freddie eating at home.
Beer didn’t figure highly at home. We would always have some in the fridge in case a guest might want some, but Freddie generally had other liquid refreshment. You could split it into 3 parts of the day; firstly Earl Grey tea, milk, two sugars, secondly would come the Champagne followed by the Vodka and tonic. At home he liked ‘home’ food; we would make cottage pie, a chicken pie following his mother’s recipe with chipolatas and baked beans, soups, chili con carne, fish cakes. He loved traditional roast lunches and we made those every Sunday we were at home. Freddie always said that if he wanted gourmet fare, there were plenty of restaurants around where he could go for that.
Peter wanted to know what other names went with the ones Freddie gave the band.
They generally went with the surname of the person. Roger had Liz after the actress Elizabeth Taylor, Brian got his from the Rod Stewart song Maggie May. John got Belicia because Freddie couldn’t think of an actress with the name Deacon. The nearest was beacon, and belicia beacons were the original flashing lights by zebra crossings on the roads. I live in Zapadny Czech.
Heidi asked a question about Munich and Crazy Little Thing Called Love.
To be 100% honest I’m not sure which hotel Freddie was staying at when he came up with the idea for the song. In my time with him, which started just after this recording we spent much time at the Munich Hilton am Park. This was the base for much of his early time in Munich and for touring. We did on occasion stay at the Bayerische Hof, which was more his style of hotel, the grand 5* type. If you stay in one, you can always visit the other. If you find a very helpful receptionist maybe they could check their record and you could find out if the band was staying there in summer/autumn ’79.
Once again, I hope I have answered a few questions for you although your name doesn’t appear by it. You are coming up with some questions that are stirring some great memories for me. Keep them coming!!!