Freddie Mercury Curated
Member of rock band Queen.
CURATED BY :
You love affluence, you said. You're on the way to becoming a very rich man, what are you going to do with your money?
Spend it, my dear. I'm the one member of the band for whom money isn't very endearing. I'm the one who spends it straight off. It just goes. On clothes, and I like nice things around me.
How do you feel about the superstar label?
Honestly, labels like that are touch and go with us. We've been labelled so many different things and labels are as bad as they are good. If you took labels seriously, you'd be very silly. We were labelled 'hype' in the early days. We took offence, but we didn't take it seriously because we knew what we were about.
Do you think you're in control of the success trip?
We're going to try to control it as much as we can. You've got to make sure that you don't ever admit to yourself that this is your peak. If you admit to yourself that this is your peak, then you're on the way down. I really feel that we have so much more to offer. There's masses waiting in store that we can give.
What kind of person are you?
How do you expect me to answer a question like that, dear! There are various aspects of me. The thing I treasure most, above music, is meeting people. I like being sociable, going out to functions and things and, generally, I'm likeable, I think. But I can change and be very moody and obnoxious. I'm a sort of chameleon. Success is teaching me a lot of things and I'm adapting. You've got to learn to come up with decisions very quickly. There's no beating about the bush in this business.
How is your process of writing songs?
Well, Killer Queen I wrote in one night. I'm not being conceited or anything, but it just fell into place. Certain songs do. Now, March Of The Black Queen, that took ages. I had to give it everything, to be self-indulgent or whatever. But with Killer Queen, I scribbled down the words in the dark one Saturday night and the next morning I got them all together and I worked all day Sunday and that was it. I'd got it. It gelled. It was great. Certain things just come together, but other things you have to work for. The whole band is very particular. We don't go in for half measures and I'm very hard with myself. There're no compromises. If I thought a song wasn't quite right, I'd discard it. I'm very intricate and delicate. You can see that in my paintings. I love painters like Richard Dadd, Mucha and Dali, and I love Arthur Rackham.
With all the energy you're putting into touring, are you finding the time to write?
Well, I don't ever really sit down at the piano and say, 'Right, I've got to write a song now.' I feel a few things and I have ideas. It's very hard to explain but there are always various ideas going through my head. Killer Queen was one song which was really out of the format that I usually write in. Usually the music comes first, but the words came to me, and the sophisticated style that I wanted to put across in the song, came first. No, I'd never really met a woman like that. A lot of my songs are fantasy. I can dream up all kinds of things. That's the kind of world I live in. It's very sort of flamboyant, and that's the kind of way I write. I love it.
Does the spectre of your success loom before you and keep you awake at night?
Quite often I have quite vicious nightmares – like the other night just before the Rainbow concert. We were sleeping in the Holiday Inn and I dreamed I went out on to the hotel balcony and the whole thing fell and I was a heap on the pavement. Really I was petrified when I woke up in the morning. And Roger has this nightmare where he's drinking a bottle of Coke and the bottle smashes and he has broken glass all the way down his system. Ridiculous sort of things like that are caused by the tension which builds up.
Were you always a bit of a performer?
Well, on stage I just click. To be honest, performing comes quite easily really. It doesn't take me that much. I mean, I know it sounds conceited and there are a lot of setbacks and a lot of strains and nerves, but not nearly as much as there used to be. Now we are a headline band we know people have come to see us. Being support is one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. I tell you, I feel the after-effects of touring. We finished the British tour last night and I feel as if I've done a marathon every night. I've got bruises everywhere. Because it's the music that matters, you've got to make sure there are key people around you, taking care of you.
Did you always want to go into music?
I went to Ealing Art School a year after Pete Townshend left. Music was a sideline to everything we did. The school was a breeding ground for musicians. I listened to Hendrix, really. I got my diploma and then I thought I'd chance it as a freelance artist. I tried. I did it for a couple of months, but I'd done it for so long I thought, 'My God, I've done enough.' The interest wasn't there. And the music thing just grew and grew. Finally I said, 'Right, I'm taking the plunge, it's music.' I'm one of those people believes in doing those things which interest you. Music is so interesting.
Did you have a lot of confidence when you formed Queen?
You have to have confidence in this business. It's USELESS saying you don't need it. If you start saying to yourself, 'Maybe I'm not good enough, maybe I'd better settle for second place,' it's no good. If you like the icing on the top, you've got to have confidence. I was a precocious child. My parents thought boarding school would do me good so they sent me to one when I was seven, dear. I look back on it and I think it was marvellous. You learn to look after yourself and it taught me to have responsibility.
When you first formed Queen, did you aim pretty high?
That's it. The whole group aimed for the top slot. We're not going to be content with anything less. That's what we're striving for. It's got to be there. I definitely know we've got it in the music, we're original enough ... and, now we're proving it.
What was your main goal while writing songs?
I like to write songs and reach as many people as I can. I’m not an elitist. I’d like the whole world to listen to my music. I want everyone to hear it, because it is for everyone. It’s an international language. Music is limitless.
Do you consider yourself the leader of Queen?
I’m not the leader of the band by the way everybody calls me the leader of the band. I’m just the lead singer and… no no no there’s no such thing I’m not the general or anything. We’re all four equal people, four members and… they seem to call me the leader of the band but I’m just the lead vocalist.