Sun for Christmas and so far we have had sun, snow and winds here in CZ this Easter. The weather patterns are definitely changing. It has been a quiet week for me which is just as well as there are a couple of things this week that won’t exactly be fun, but hey, that’s life. I’m really digging into the past with these questions, it should be interesting.
Chuck wanted to know how Freddie appeared when he went outside Garden Lodge.
Freddie was never one to wear any sort of disguise when he left Garden Lodge. He might go as far as wearing dark glasses, but that was about it. He would never go out alone, there was always the chance he would be approached by someone and not be able to deal with the situation on his own. There would always be Terry, Jim, Joe or myself, or any combination of us. There would also be an assortment of his regular friends who would accompany us either for a meal or shopping or a night at the theatre or bars.
Debbie wondered if I ever had a big argument with Freddie.
I’ve been trying to think of one but it is a hard task, and I can’t think of anything big at the moment. Of course we had disagreements, but that is part and parcel of living in the same building for so many years. Freddie often needed to get rid of frustration and did this by arguing with people, but we knew the anger wasn’t necessarily directed at us.
Michael asked what Freddie thought of Frank Sinatra.
As a performer Freddie thought Frank Sinatra had something special about him which kept his audiences totally enthralled. Because it was a totally different style, Frank never had a direct effect on Freddie’s stage persona.
Luis wanted to know which year Freddie lived in Holland Road.
As this is well before my time and I am certainly no Queen historian I would take a guess at late 1960s early 70s. Working backwards from Stafford Terrace where he moved to in 1975/6, he lived with Mary in Victoria Road after his stay on Holland Road.
Neil asked what Freddie liked most about America.
I think there were two things that stood out about Freddie’s love of America. Firstly, there was the nightlife where he felt a lot more freedom than in the UK. The sound and lights in the big clubs were much more advanced and also the people were much friendlier especially when compared with the traditional English ‘reserve’. The second of the things was the showers. Wherever he went, whether in a hotel or rented house, he marvelled at the showers. He had two installed in Garden Lodge and had problems with both of them, to the extent they fell into disuse. He never failed to compare the wonderful working American showers to his ‘miserable failures’ in Garden Lodge.
David wondered why Queen don’t want to release unheard material with Freddie on it.
I don’t think it is really a case of not wanting to release material; it is more the state of the vocals that remain in the vaults. I know Queen worked on many more tracks than have been released, but in most cases, if they felt the song was not going anywhere they would put it to one side thinking they would have something to work on if there weren’t enough good tracks for an album. If you went into the archive you would find a lot of guide tracks and phrases dotted around a song which just could not be reworked into something that could be heard. Even for the most sentimental of fans, I think the fans deserve something a bit more complete.
Radek asked where Freddie lived while he was in Munich.
Freddie’s initial address when we moved to Munich for the recording of Mister Bad Guy was the Arabella Haus. He lasted there 1 night before he moved into an apartment near Sebastians Platz. He did spend some nights at Barbara’s apartment on Stollberg Strasse above the Oyster Cellar. After a short visit to England Freddie, Jim and Joe returned to the Stollberg Plaza while the apartment Freddie bought with Barbara on Hans Sachs Strasse was being built. Freddie returned to England for good before Barbara actually moved in so never actually spent a night there.
Coen asked if Freddie suffered from tinnitus.
To my knowledge that was not something that ever caused a problem for Freddie. I know he was always surrounded by very loud speakers whether on the stage or listening to the fine details in the recording studio, but tinnitus was something for which he was never treated.
Alison wanted to know how I met Freddie.
In October 1979 I was working at the Royal Opera House for the running ballet wardrobe, basically taking care of the costumes during the current season, and Freddie was a special guest star at a big Charity Evening given by the Royal Ballet. Freddie sang live to backing tracks, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Bohemian Rhapsody, while performing with the dancers. I met Freddie after the show and said I thought the combination of the music, his voice and the Royal Ballet worked well. He said thank you and asked what work I did as he had seen me when he arrived for rehearsals. I explained my job of taking care of the costumes and that was the end of the conversation. Two weeks later a member of Queen management rang my boss and asked If I would be available for a 6 week tour with Queen looking after their stage costumes.
Jorge asked if Freddie was an early riser.
I don’t think I would describe Freddie as an early riser, but he was consistent. It wouldn’t matter what time Freddie went to bed, he always expected a cup of tea on the bedside table at 09.00 every day, whether we were on tour or he was at home. Freddie would normally have his breakfast by 09.30. He never really needed a lot of sleep and hated the idea of wasting a day in bed.
I hope you all have a great week and I look forward to answering more of your question very soon. Take care.