Roger In LA
RT - Roger Taylor
KJ - Ken Johnson
JT - Jim Tofte
DM - Dennis Mitchell
JT: Roger Taylor from Queen, why the new song, "No-One But You"?
RT: Um, Brian wrote the song, sent it to me, ahh, a few months ago. I lost it, found it again, and I played it, and just thought, 'it sounds like a Queen song', and I know Brian wanted me to play on it, I think for his solo album, and I thought, boy, did we need John here. And so we eventually got together, and it was like the old chemistry just came back, and it just felt great to be playing together again. It just clicked in, just like a, just like a... click.
KJ: It is very much a Queen song - who is it singing?
RT: Well, Brian sings the first verse, and the first chorus, I sing the second verse, and then after that it's all a mixture.
DM: That's a very nice touch.
KJ: A lot of people forget, you know, how good all of you guys sing. Freddie was so dominant in that area, but your harmonies were impeccable.
RT: Well, thanks a lot, you're very kind. Yeah, Freddie was such an amazing front man, and we were always so proud of him. Um, but in fact it was true that we, that there was a lot of vocalizing from, mainly the three of us. John was very much in the background with that, but, um, yeah, we were always quite proud of our vocalizing. But obviously, when you've got a guy like Freddie, you let him take most of the, um, most of the front stuff.
DM: Did you guys go your separate ways after we lost Freddie, and then have no intention of getting back together again? What was the situation?
RT: Well, no, that's not really true. We had such a thing; it was like a, it's grew up into quite a monumental, I would say, organization, in a way. And I suppose it's a kind of business as well. It becomes your life - like a four-way marriage, and we thought, 'ok, it'll just die away' when Freddie died, and that would be the end of it, but it didn't. And the interest continued. So then we found ourselves obligated to sort of keep running the whole thing, even on a business level, which sounds boring, but I mean it just needs to be done, you know. And of course we've always remained friends - you can't be friends for that long, and then just split up.
DM: I don't know, ask the Eagles.
RT: Obviously, we're in touch on a regular basis, and that was why it was easy to get together again like that.
DM: There was never any desire to establish some non-Queen kind of identity in, you know, some sort of new band with a new sound? You're comfortable with the Queen identity?
RT: Yeah, I mean I think we're always very, we were very proud of what we did, whatever. You know we had a lot of critics - we had a lot of praises and a lot of critics. And Brian and I did our own solo stuff, and so did Freddie, and we were all very happy to do that, and express ourselves separately. But always we would come back to the, we call it 'The Mother Ship'. And it was good, you know, it was this wonderful feeling of security, at the center of all things. And in a very odd and strange way which we would never have guessed it to do, it remained.
KJ: Now, you have done a bunch of things with other vocalists guesting, and you have done things now, this song, No-One But You, with you guys singing. So are you guys gonna stay together and start rockin' again, or what?
RT: Well, I don't know. Wouldn't that be, in some ways that would sound so great. Um, I don't know. I mean, you see, we always did, Brian and I usually sang at least a song each on every album we made, I think, almost. Maybe not the last couple and so, to us it's not so unusual that we should take a lead vocal, or share a lead vocal. But to the sort of 'public at large', it probably does seem a little unusual. I don't know, it's just a difficult question.
JT: Start with the soundtrack thing, slide into it easy, you know, do a real kick-ass soundtrack for some kids action flick and then get into it!
DM: It's a thought!
RT: Hey, I tell you what, you need a job as our manager. The ticket's on the way OK?
DM: Any thought whatsoever though, to maybe another vocalist, and trying to take it on the road? And Freddie's shoes are huge to fill.
KJ:Lee Ann Rimes comes to mind.
JT: Lee Ann Rimes, what about it huh?
JT: My ticket's going back across the ocean!
RT: No comment there! Um, Freddie's shoes are definitely enormous to fill, they're impossible to fill, I think. Um, but at the same time I think we can do things together, because we proved it by this. The chemistry's there, It was great fun. Um, you know, I really don't know. The answer is so difficult, we don't have it but I feel sort of, vaguely optimistic.
JT: Well, we wanna rock with you guys, You gotta get over the emotional thing and start rockin' again cause there's a lot of people that wanna pay for it.
RT: Well, hey, I mean, that is such a pragmatic view, I can relate to that.
DM: It seems like you'd be perfect for the smaller...
RT: I love you Americans, so-[?]
DM: It seems like you be perfect for the smaller venues, right now at least, like The Joint here in Las Vegas.
RT: Well, true, but Freddie had a thing - he didn't have the word 'small' in his vocabulary.
JT: Thats true. But you gotta rebuild, so you start small, you go to The Joint here - small but prestigous - and then hype the CD, the brand new CD on QVC! [much laughter] This is the way to go...
RT: This is like a lesson in how to rebuild a career.
KJ: And then you get into a fist fight with one of the fans, and that'll get you some press. Yeah! sure!
RT: That suits me, that suits me.
KJ: Now speaking of the movies, what did you guys think of how Mike Myers treated the whole Queen thing in Wayne's World?
RT: Oh, well in one, in three words or whatever, we loved it. I thought Wayne's World was funny, I thought it was brilliant. Now I've given up with David Gilmour, who didn't like it...
all: Oh, really?
RT: That just proves that they're too old!
KJ: Very true, very true.
RT: We thought it was a very funny film, we loved it, we were flattered. Maybe we shouldn't have been!
JT: Oh, no, that's immortilization!
DM: Which one of us didn't, did not do that, the rockin' out listening to it in the car like those guys did. It was a ritual.
RT: It summed up that period in the mid-seventies.
KJ: Exactly. That summmer the movie came out my son and I did that in the car anywhere we would go.
RT: We used to do it in the station wagon. I think that was how it was written.
KJ: Speaking of Mike Myers, just as long as we're on this side topic, did you see Austin Powers and what did you think of that?
RT: I loved it, I though Liz Hurley looked...
JT: Oh, yes, no argument here!
JT: [Austin Powers accent] "Oh, behave!" "Does it make you horny?"
RT: You know, you do that better than we do! I loved that movie.
DM: You know, seriously, the soundtrack business is something that I know that Brian has been involved in, and it'd be great to see you guys more involved in that.
RT: Yeah, I think that Brian would probably point out, I know he's in the next room, and he would actually point out that there is a guy, there was an Australian guy I think, who's name is Brian May, who also did a lot of soundtracks, and there's been a lot of confusion there.
DM: I see. Is that right?
JT: Alright then we'll call him Brian Wilson or something, but get back into it, you guys!
RT: Oh, that won't be confusing at all!
JT: Yeah, we miss you guys!
KJ: Thanks a lot, Roger Taylor, for joining us, we sure do appreciate that.
RT: Thank you, cheers, you're wonderful.
JT: Best of luck with the new record.
RT: Alright, thank you.
JT: Alright, take care.
Interview with Roger Taylor on SGR Colchester 21/3/99 9 PM on the RETRO COUNTDOWN
M: Good evening squire
RT: Good evening Mark
M: How are you? Good to see you after all this time. We thought you had disappeared
RT: Oh? I had disappeared really.
M: But you have come back
RT: Yes and here I am again.
M: Nice of you to do so.
M: I want to go back, like right back if that is alright with you.
RT: Sure. Well you know me memory is getting a bit dicky but er
M: Yeah I can understand that. We are not going to go too far back. (Roger laughs) um. Queen of course we know the amazing success that Queen had world-wide. How did all the members of Queen get together. By accident or..
RT: well I suppose it was a series of accidents but um we were all basically all at London university at different colleges, and I just sort of came up to London and a friend of mine, flatmate, saw er …something on the notice board in Imperial college which Brian had put up. And er Brian May and um we sort of got together in the students union bar, found we liked the same things then we sort of .. it's a long story but er we we formed a band with another guy from art college and um that didn't really work out. But in the mean time we made great friends with Freddie, Mercury, well he was Freddie somebody else then.
RT: And er so the three of us then formed the sort of core and went through about six bass players before we found John Deacon who was at Chelsea college.
RT: Er doing another kind of degree. And er then that was it, and we never changed since.
M: What was your degree in by the way?
RT: Mine well I (chuckling) started off in Dentistry and changed to Biology.
M: As you do (laughing ) and you are now a Rock star?
RT: Well. Whatever you want to call it.
M: How useful is your Biology degree these days then Roger?
RT: Well surprisingly enough it is actually quite useful.
M: I bet (laughing)
RT: Yeah I just… you know, you just tend to understand a little bit about um if you are not too well or if your friends aren't feeling well you might …. Know a little bit more.
M: Sure. The pratical side of it I suppose is quite handy as well
M: All those experiments in classrooms
RT: No comment!!
M: No ok fair enough!! just provide diagrams later. Er so I mean. ok you got together at college and university. How did the big success come about then? Was it was it a real… the usual hard slog of making demos, sending them off see what happens then eventually Bang!
RT: Well essentially yes. I mean we made the demos etc and then sort of Fred and I slogged round every record company in… that we could find. Um. We had a few offers, were turned down by few, and it was really about three years of hard slog before we actually had a record out. And er even then it didn't do that great. But it sort of… just got the toe in the door, and then our second album was a lot more successful and we had a hit single etc. etc. etc. and its.. its… its.. a sort of classical rise.
(Song Killer Queen)
M: We were just talking about the Queen Early days there. I mean early early early days. We were talking like 70's really with that then aren't we?
RT: Oh Yeah oh yeah. I mean the first half of the 70's really.
M: Bohemian rhapsody is one of those songs whenever you do a listener chart or anything like that , it always comes out as number one. Or at least in the top five. I mean for a song that was first out in like 1975, that is amazing isn't it?
RT: Yeah I mean …..I still you know I am very proud of being involved with it. But it never ceases to amaze me that the sort of legs of the song. People still really hold it with a great deal of affection.
M: And because it is so darn long as well that is the thing.
RT: Yeah (laughs)
M: It is memorable for that. The video the video was …at the time I mean immensely innovative.
RT: Yeah er.. Well it was.. Videos were weren't really around, we just happened to be managed by a company that had an outside broadcast facility, which was mainly sort of leased to ITV for sports coverage.
RT: And er.. we sort of had the bright idea of using it to film or video, tape our.. the end of our rehearsal for the Night at the Opera tour. And I suppose that really became apparent after it was on Top of the Pops etc when we were on tour, that it was a really incredible marketing tool a way of getting to people.
(Song Bohemian Rhapsody)
M: This is the Retro countdown, Sunday night, talking to Roger Taylor about Queen. We are going to move on to the new stuff …. You are ok for refreshments there I see.
RT: Well I might just top up my wine glass.
M: yeah why not (Laughs)it should be an interesting interview as the night goes on. How did.. how did.. all of you feel as a band about that with the video? Cause you hear some some pop and rock stars for want of a better word saying "Ohhh videos, they take quite a bit away from the music." But other people say "Well it is an art form in itself and the two complement each other". Where do you sit on this particular issue Mr Taylor?
RT: Ha Ha!! Well I think I have changed over the years. I mean er.. at first it just seemed ……… it did add, it added another dimension but then as as the video industry itself blossomed, the budgets, for the videos became ten times those for the actual r making the record. Now they seem very, very much er secondary. Er where as say in the early 80's I would say there "well have you seen the Video?" You know. It was a very important part of the the whole thing then. I think it is much less so now.
M: Your song writing career was I mean I knew you had written a few songs. I didn't know you were behind like Radio Ga Ga!!
RT: Yeah no I wrote a few for the band! In fact we were quite unusual cause all four members of the band wrote um quite big hits you know. So at the end we had the last ten years really we, we just split everything equally because that that way at a stroke you get rid of any arguments and you just judge things on merit or perceived merit and er it just made life a lot easier. Um all round and er.. Yeah! We were lucky there as because we could all contribute um at the end certainly in the last half of our career fairly equally in the writing department.
M: Radio Ga Ga. Lets just go back to that. (Radio Ga Ga starts playing in Background). Was What 84??
RT: Er.. 84 yeah.
M: What made you want to write a song about Radio Ga Ga.(Roger laughs) Now be careful there because you are on the Wireless!!
RT: (laughs) well maybe I shouldn't answer!! Er no I er (laughs) I wrote it in America actually in Los Angeles and I think.. and I had a young son and er er he just turned around one day and said "Radio Ca Ca (sounds like Car Car!!) cause he ha is actually half French and er
RT: And I think I
know what that means!! And er (Mark laughs) and I think that was his early comment on the Los Angeles radio. And um I just thought that was a nice line. So we just sort of changed it a little into…
M: Ga Ga.
RT: Yeah. I tell you what to be honest, we never did really change it we just changed the written title. If you actually listen to it we actually singing Ca Ca
M: (laughing) "All we hear is Radio Ca Ca"
RT: Ah if you listen that is the truth!!
RT: Its been very good with me.
(Song Radio Ca Ca!!!!)
M: We are talking toooo Roger Taylor Tonight. On the Retro Countdown playing some of Queens er Classic songs as well. We are gonna be talking about and playing some of the new material as well. That was something I was gonna ask about actually because when you've got a band that is fronted by someone as flamboyant and as immensely famous as Freddie Mercury
M: How how did the rest of you feel about that? Was there any jealousy at all?
RT: N ah I can honestly say there was absolutely none, certainly form my point of view and I don't think form the others um I mean that was his job. His job was to be famous, his job was to be the visual er focus and and the ….. main talking point of the band. Tha That is the singers job really and is very hard for anybody else to do that job, and er he did it so well. And of course in the first formative years of the band he was an incredibly strong writer as well
RT: I I mean the strongest. And um it was only later that I think we everybody developed um er later especially John and myself, we sort of developed our songwriting a lot later. I think Brian and Freddie were more to the fore at the beginning and especially Freddie.
M: I mean Freddie Mercury, such a sad loss, and a great loss to the music industry, the whole entertainment business as well. That must have been a devastating blow when when Freddie died.
RT: Yeah it was. It was .. we were devastated and and we were amazed at how devastated we were cause we had been expecting it for a while. Er and it was this awful thing that we knew was gonna happen. So er.. iii but it was still you know, even if you know something coming you still get quite er.. quite knocked down when it actually happens. Yeah.
M: Absolutely. Um.. Who else did you really admire musically through the 80's then as a decade.
RT: The 80's as a decade…I would say more than anybody David Bowie I would say. I think that was his very strong decade. Um he was really er artistically at the height of his powers then I think. And he was quite formidable um..person…um Yeah, yeah.
M: He was another what I mean he IS another one very flamboyant on stage, I mean he is pretty much , I know he has got various er backing bands that he has used, but he he's Mr Mr Flamboyant isn't he on stage?
RT: Yeah he tremendous charisma, tremendous er drama um (Laughs) he goes a bit over the top sometimes!!! Er but er no great er David is such a clever guy I I I I like him immensely!
M: Talking tooo Roger Taylor Formally of Queen of course on tonight's show well have more in just a moment.
Keep listening cause because before 10:00 your correct answer to a dead easy question could get you off to see Roger Taylor play Live!
M: We are talking to Roger Taylor. We have been talking about er Queen's er earlier material, through the 70's and 80's as well. Er what happened then? I mean obviously we we know um what happened with with with the sad news about Freddie Mercury and whatever. Then we had the Queen Tribute Concert. What was decided as a band then? Did you just decide between the remaining members that you couldn't or shouldn't go on? I mean what how was that decision made?
RT: Well it was sort of a mutual understanding I think. We just thought, especially at the time, at er not a lot of point in continuing without Freddie. I think people, there would have been such a glaring um sort of Black hole at the you know at the front. But we do still play very well together, you know on the few occasions we have actually got together and played since then and you know it just clicks in like a well oiled machine but I you know whether we will do anything in the future (The Show Must go on starts playing) I I really don't know. um I I really don't know itssss it's difficult.
M: You know it would have to be the right occasion the right song and everything.
RT: Yeah! And I thing we felt that that at the time was a sort of a literally a natural end to a sort of era and er you know we have all got on with our lives ever since.
(Song The Show must go on)
M: Talking to Roger Taylor tonight. Before we go on the the newer material talk about Live Aid!
RT: Oh Yeah!
M: Cause Queen was very very very much a part of that day. How did that come about? Cause we talked to er Nick Kershaw a couple of weeks ago. He said that he was asked by er Bob Geldof at Heathrow Airport at the check-in desk or something. I thought yeah that is showbis! How were you asked to be a part of this Massive event?
RT: Well same again. Bob it was actually he actually became a great friend of mine in the last couple of years, but er he as I remember he asked um a couple of us, I think it was Brian and myself, at some awards thing in the grovena house (not too sure of name. Something house!) I think it was, er and he said "Oh persuade that that old Queen to do " (laughing ) "you know you guys should do it". So we had a word with Freddie who wasn't that keen on on touring at the time, I think we had just finished a big tour.
RT: And er we we sort of talked him round, and cause it did seem like a good idea and er all I remember now is that is was just a Fantastic day all round. The atmosphere, London was quite a magical place to be I remember going back to my house after the opening of the day, um and just the streets were empty and windows were open, it was a beautiful day, and er the sound of the concert was coming out from every window and um and then we went back and and you know (We Will Rock You starts playing) and we were received very well and it was just a good day I just had nothing but good memories about it all. I just remember Live Aid as being the probably the defining moment really.
(Song We will rock you)
M: Sunday night, our guest is Roger Taylor. We are going to move onto the newer stuff now fairly soon. You mentioned that er the the remaining members of Queen you do still keep in touch? RT: Absolutely yeah!
M: I mean you must be pretty good mates after all that time?
RT: Yeah I mean and lets face it that Queen as a sort of, there is the catalogue and all this stuff, to be, it just keeps going and er so there is a certain amount of sort of business to be to be run, which we we do, we meet, and we're still er good friends so er you know…um
M: I mean so many people through the er the 70's and 80's musicians I mean, if you ask them who their influences would be they would say "oh yeah, Queen "Who who were your influences at the time?
RT: Oh I would definitely say and I could… the band felt pretty much the same on on this I would definitely say Hendrix, Lennon, and for me, probably more than the others Dillon as well,cause I I just love Bob Dillon's er mid period and er early period.
M: We talked about er Freddie Mercury and his er immense showmanship, he was obviously, he had a lot of influence form the shows didn't he. I mean he had his classical influences and all sorts. Did that spread through the rest of the band or was that mainly Freddie?
RT: No ..it it.. did, only, it spread through to a certain extent. He took it too far once, he dragged me along to the ballet. (laughs) In fact he even appeared in it once!! Um (laughs) er and er yes he was he had a very infectious with him you know and but we all sort of got in, we all went along for the ride, on certain occasions, um I am not a particular ballet fan myself but I certainly wouldn't be as as sort of cynical about it now having sort of seen that and as I as I would have been probably otherwise had I not seen that kind of thing.
RT: You know, I mean that (laughs) Sid vicious coming in from "BRINGING BALLET TO THE MASSES ARE YOU FRED!"
M: (laughing )
RT: And Fred just turned around and said "Well we're trying Dear!". (Laughing)
(Song A Kind Of Magic)
M: Talking to Roger Taylor tonight. The 90's e has brought about er quite a few changes with regard to British Music in particular. What what do you make about er the sort of contemporary songwriters.
RT: I think you have to think about I mean if you take somebody like Oasis, I think their writing er Noel er Gallager is writing in a very um established way really. There is , I mean I think he does write some good songs er but they are written in quite an old fashioned way in a way.
RT: Um… but then if you take somebody like Underworld, or something, that is a new way or Massive attack or something, that is a new way of writing, and I I find it very interesting some of the stuff they do. I think there is that…but it is a different way of writing and a lot of it is based on repetition etc, and but a lot of light and shade dynamics, and I thing it is very interesting with all the new technology, some great actual sounds. Some of the Fatboy Slim stuff you know the the those machine sample drums they sound fantastic.
M: You must have seen some er quite remarkable changes over over the years. I I am not sort of being personal about your age or anything (Roger Laughs) Obviously you must have seen some technological changes and also the way that bands and artists are marketed as well.
RT: Well I used to use Saucepans!! (laughs!) Saucepans and Knitting needles! Er no no but true I mean but basically it is all the same old hype, you know to er, you know I think er for bands to make it and you know we are still a little too fashion obsessed in in the UK. I think it is too I don't know there is a sort of vain of silliness which I suppose might be good in some ways but it is also a little superficial in others. And it had become so fleeting, I mean people are in and out of the chart you know before you can blink an eye and er its just too fleeting and superficial in some ways I think. But the great records still come through.
M: You've got some new stuff out. Tell me about it.
RT: Yes Mark.
M: The new Album. Electric Fire.
RT: Yes, its er, I spend quite a long time really er just coming up with the odd song here and there and then all of a sudden there it was. Er an album. An album full. And it is very diverse I think. And er of my solo work I think it is the best I have done so far so er you know see if … I hope people like it!
M: I was gonna say you cause I think you I would be right in saying that you you kind of use your music sometime to channel um er….messages to kind of too…er you know is that the right way of putting it??? but you.. there is certainly a message a lot of the songs you write.
RT: Well I like to think there is some meaning in some of them yeah! And I think if you do have an opinion you know why not um state it as long as you are not preaching at people or boring them I think um I think.. you are not a full, a whole person unless you have some um points of view… on life and what's around you yeah. M: I mean looking through er some of the kind of stories behind the the songs on the the album, there are quite a few things there that I am sure people can identify with. er "Space wasting journalists, bosses and lawyers ".
M: Don't like lawyers!
RT: Lawyers with fees I think.
M: Yeah that's right. Lawyers with fees
RT: More the fees than the Lawyers. Some of the lawyers are charming!
RT: Um yeah. No I don't know they are just just stuff. That that's the sort of um….. oh which one is that? Oh yeah that's er
M: "Believe in Yourself"
RT: Yeah Believe in Yourself, yeah yeah. Oh that is just sort of saying Believe in Yourself really. It is a very simple message on that one.
M: Er, tell me about the new single. Because er that is out pretty soon, its its called Surrender.
M: Ah…its also like I say from the the ah album Electric Fire. what is surrender all about then?
RT: Surrender is all about domestic Violence. And its er its really sung from the the woman's point of view, the sort of point of view of the sort of er I suppose the er battered wife or girlfriend you know really. Which is quite a sort of poinient point of view. And I suppose its quite depressing really!! But um its just… I think it's a subject which is hardly touched um and it is a subject which does affect a lot of people er in in the country and well all over the world. And its is a subject which is rrrarely talked about and is very hard to deal with.
M: Listen Roger Taylor, its been an absolute pleasure talking to you.
M: And I wish you the BEST of success with the album and also the tour as well. I know you are getting really… er er prepared for that cause its going to be a very very busy few weeks I wish you luck with it. Thanks for talking to us tonight.
RT: Thank you Mark been a pleasure!
(Song Roger Taylor -Surrender)
Radio 5 Live
SYBIL ROSCOE: Good afternoon to you. You're tuned into 5 Live, the programme's Roscoe & Co.
Now, he's the drummer from one of the most popular rock groups of all time, and he's given £10,000 to help fight BSkyB's bid for Manchester United. He's made a brand new album, and tonight he's gonna play his first British concert for about 5 years. He is, of course, Roger Taylor, and let's hear some of the music which has made him famous.
We Will Rock You
A Kind of Magic
We Are The Champions
Roger Taylor, welcome to 5 Live. I suppose with that song you sort of - football chant world-wide now, isn't it, that song?
ROGER TAYLOR: Yes um, I think, yes, it's quite amazing. I heard it at the end of World Cup, the final as well, which was great actually. (laughs)
SR: What's it like for you when you hear the music, because to me I sometimes think "God, I can't believe its that long ago that you........"
RT: It's scary how how quickly the years go when I think that-er Freddie Mercury died 7 years ago now, over 7 years ago - and it seems like, you know, 18 months or something - its very odd. It's just the time's flown by.
SR: I know for Queen fans you know, when you hear his voice and you, you just can't help but feel so sad that he's not around any more - for you as members of the band, what does it feel like when you hear his voice?
RT: Um - I think the same - in in some ways, and and and, you know, because I mean the records just sort of take me back to when we made them and then again, - but they've sort of become a part of, they've become a part of your-er make-up, somehow. (laughs) They are sort of part of my history and and-er, and I have great affection for for most them.
SR: I suppose, as a band, you had longer to get used to the idea of him not being around than the fans did, in a way, did you?
RT: Well, that, that's true - um - we knew for a while that, you know, the writing was on the wall and er - so yes, we were sort of ready, although when it actually did happen we weren't, you know, you weren't as ready as you thought you were. But- um - it did take you by surprise. Took us all by surprise, terribly really. Um - but yeah, we we did know what was going to happen so we'd all, you know, so did Freddie and so it made the last 2 or 3 years quite sort of poignant.
SR: Yeah, because I suppose you always knew that the time together was limited now. That was one .......
RT: Yeah, yeah - well he used to talk about it very matter-of-factly, you know - he'd say something like "I could pop off any time" you know and um he was very brave, you know, and and so that that, we all sort of ganged up together (laughs) and er made the best of it really.
SR: What was it like um for you, you know, as the drummer, being on stage with a performer like that, because I mean, he's the ultimate front man of a band, you know, wasn't he - along with Mick Jagger and people like that.
RT: Yes, he's certainly - I think he's one of the greats. Yeah um. The the band was very much a team, so we had a lot of eye contact on stage and you know, ah and so really it was a, really like a machine at times, er and its sort of interlocking parts, and he was the visual focus and the one who delivered it, you know, at the front. Um - and it was a joy, you know.
SR: What is it like - um -to be in a band - I've always thought this about somebody like yourself? When you're in a band as big as Queen, and a globally big band, what's it actually like to be just one of four on a stage at a, you know, big gig where you've got thousands - what does it actually feel like?
RT: (laughs) It feels great.
SR: But how does it, why does it feel great?
RT: Er - Well, I don't know - I think you're either a sort of, you're either a natural BAND person, or you're a sort of solo person, and for me being in a band was what it was all about and, er, and the actual being in the bend was, it lent one corporate strength, if you know what I mean?
RT: Er and you sort of gained strength through being in this OTHER THING which you had come together to make and er so it was great. But you could also put yourself outside it and you could talk about "the Band", you know, as it were another entity. And that, you could, it gave you a lot of strength and, and power.
SR: I suppose in a sense it was almost like a factory or a company, being in a band that big?
RT: Sort of, I think, it's an old saying but I think that was it: "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts" and it and that when the band works, when the chemistry's right that's absolutely true.
SR: Just tell people how you all came together, 'cos you, you were doing a Biology Degree weren't you. You wanted to be a Dentist, rather than a drummer.
RT: Yeah well - that's going back a long time. I did, I did eighteen months of Dentistry (laughs) definitely wasn't for me and I think they decided I wasn't for them and then I ended up doing um - I then actually started this, the-er thing in Kensington Market with Freddie selling old clothes and artwork and (intake of breath) stuff like that. And then I went back to College and managed to scrape a Degree in Biology. (Laughs)
SR: And then when did you all sort of get together as the band? Can you remember the first time you played something together and you all looked at each other and thought - "Yeah - we've got something here"? Or didn't it happen like that?
RT: Well, I think, cos I, I knew Brain before I knew Freddie and, and had worked with Brian, so we thought we were a pretty good team and then Freddie made, and so it was sort of on paper it was - we thought it was gonna be good. It took us ages to find the right bass player - and to honest we probably weren't that good at first - but we thought we were. (laughs)
SR: Is that half the battle when you're a band, that you have to BELIEVE in yourselves or else you'd never get on stage again, or never dare ...
RT: You have to have unending faith - there's no, there's no doubt about that - and a certain ... which goes along with a certain amount of arrogance, I suppose, and if you don't, without that I think you'd probably fail.
SR: When you look back at some of the tracks, what do you think made the music so successful? Was it the right time, the combination of the people? What has made it such enduring music, do you think?
RT: Er - I don't know - I think there was a lot of, what people usually overlook was that there was actually I think a lot of sort of, quite a lot of musical talent - I mean real musical talent - technically and in the writing and we've took an awful lot of care over the records and, er making sure everything was right, you know, the versions of everything - that the harmonies were right. And I suppose we were of our time as well, at, you know, at that time, which is a long time ago. (laughs)
SR: You know I always think, you know, when you look back to um, Bohemian Rhapsody, it was the first ever, wasn't it, pop video, proper pop.
RT: Yeah, yes I think it was the first sort of ...
SR: I mean you had David Cassidy sort of walking through woods singing, but it was the first time you - like a film that went with ...
RT: Shot for Top Of The Pops.
SR: You can't believe that that was the first pop video. (both laugh)
RT: Yeah, it was yeah, the first sort of bespoke video.
RT: Yeah, yeah. Which, well we sort of realised that it was a way of going to Australia - getting to Australia - without actually having to go there. Um - not that there's anything wrong with Australia - but uh - it was - you could get to the whole world and you could be on TV in every country just by sending them a video, which was a sort of new concept at the time.
SR: When you saw the finished product, how, what did you think of it, because you know, to you, although you'd made it, this was a new concept to you too, wasn't it?
RT: Well we didn't actually see it until it was actually on Top Of The Pops, cos we were just doing it at the beginning of a tour. We were finishing rehearsals and we shot it on the last day in Elstree - and we just sort of got on a bus at the end at about 2 o'clock in the morning and drove to Liverpool, cos we had a show there the next night - so we, we'd never seen the video until it was on Top Of The Pops the next week.
SR: And what did you think when you saw it?
RT: We thought "Ah - not bad." (both laugh)
SR: Stay with us Roger. We're gonna talk some more about your new music and Manchester United as well in a moment. We're gonna get some travel news from Lynn now here on 5 Live.
SR: You're with Roscoe and Co here on 5 Live now. Our guest this afternoon is Roger Taylor - who used to be the drummer with Queen - who's now a sort of getting out on his own with his band and a new CD. We'll talk about that in a moment. But Roger, you gave this ten grand to the Independent Supporters Association at Manchester United. Why? What was your thinking?
RT: (laughs) Yep - God I'm never gonna hear the end of this am I?
RT: My thinking was really, I was driving in the car er and I heard the guy from the Unofficial Supporters' Club talking, saying that all we need is £10,000 to get organised, cos, you know, we don't have it - and I just thought well that's, you know, I thought I was quite shocked and surprised and fairly outraged when I heard about the bid - you know - I don't personally think it's the right thing. Um and I thought, well I can sort of help you.
SR: Why are you anti the take-over?
RT: Um - well without being personal, I I I ..believed that there's a conflict of interest in the owners of the er main er access to football, premier league football, um owning the most famous and possibly the successful club, um, and I'm not a great fan of Rupert Murdoch and what he's done to the quality of life in this country and across a lot of the world.
SR: What in particular don't you like, cos I know you wrote um "Dear Mr Murdoch" back in - four years ago didn't you..
SR: Which is on the new single?
RT: Yes - very nasty piece of work too.
SR: What is it that you so object to what he's done?
RT: Its this all-pervadingness that's sort of come in and it's sort of almost of it being beyond the law you know - um - not having, changing nationality at whim and in order to do do things I mean the, and this the satellite virtual monopoly and these things and I, I don't really like his newspapers or what he does to them and the, the sort of order of the lowest common denominator that pervades everything. Um - I find it pretty offensive, some of it.
SR: Some people would say though, you know, people who like watching football on Sky and ...
SR: like reading the Sun newspaper - well might say "What are you on about, you know?"
RT: Yeah - but they didn't used to have to pay to watch the football. I mean I I I couldn't see England play Sweden the other night, because it was on SkySports2 and er you had to have that and you had to pay - and er I think that's wrong.
SR: Are you a Manchester United supporter?
RT: No I'm not personally. No, my my son, my son is a fanatical supporter. Um - no, no I'm not, no.
SR: And was it him?
RT: But I think they're a great club and I love watching them play. Yeah.
SR: Who do you support?
RT: Um - I'm not really even mad football supporter - I'd say if anybody West Ham if anybody probably.
SR: But you don't support Murdoch I suppose.
RT: No, no and I don't think one organisation should er have SO much say and power over not just football, but sport in general in this country, and you know making it very expensive for everybody.
SR: Let's talk about um - your music now.
RT: Go on - please. (both laugh)
SR: What does a drummer, what does your music and music mean to you. I mean a lot of fans are phoning in and we'll get to some of the fans' questions in a moment, but what does music give to your life and what's it mean to you?
RT: No - I think it's a good question - um - and often people say: "Look, you know, you had a great career, you know, why are you still making records?" Because the media in this country is not very accessible to sort of older music, musical artists. And really the only answer is "It's what I do" - and it's sort of in my blood and it's in my experience and er it's what I do. You know - and I can't really answer it any better than that.
SR: And how does it make you feel, cos I know you, you started out at Truro Cathedral School, didn't you?
RT: Yeah - I was only there for a year -
SR: But that was music, wasn't it?
RT: As Choir boy. Uh - yea that was music, that was a Choral I suppose it was a Scholarship, um - but it was only a year then I changed to a school called Truro School at the same time.
SR: But, you know, say you started out with music that young, what is it you get from it NOW - you know, because like you explained?
RT: Yeah - I think you either love music or you don't and if you do love music you then tend to feel quite strongly about music that you don't like and music that you do like. Um - so it, it's in you and, and it doesn't go away, although I don't listen to as much music as I used to.
SR: Do you think um - is it difficult for somebody like you, having been in a big band like Queen, and being the drummer, cos people don't usually associated drummers (both laugh) I'm not, I'm not being rude, but they don't usually associate drummers with 'making the music'
RT: More 'writing music'. Yeah.
RT: I mean drummers are are people that hang around with musicians.
SR: Yes. (laughs) And do you find that some people are a bit negative.
RT: Oh yeah. Yeah - inevitably - um - but my life's been very good and and it still is and so really I can't, I'm not in a position to moan about anything. Um - yeah I mean you know - one ploughs one's furrow - and yeah you just keep going.
SR: But secretly would you like to be as recognised as a solo artist as you are obviously as the drummer of Queen?
RT: Well, I suppose it would, I'd be a liar if I said I wouldn't like to be more recognised but you realistically, you'd never be as as recognised - pretty unlikely - and I'm not sure I'd want it to take up that you know, the space it would take up in my life I'm not sure I'd really want all that. But having said that of course, yes - lots of recognition is always nice, isn't it.
SR: Can I ask some of these questions from from ...
SR: Lots of people are phoning in this afternoon wanting to ask you questions. MARK ...
RT: There's somebody out there then. (laughs)
SR: Yeah, yeah - thankfully. MARK in BRADFORD and PHIL RICHARDS in TAUNTON ask a similar question. Who for you is um the best rock drummer. Who do you admire?
RT: Oh - rock drummer. Very easy. Er - John Bonham, used ... who sadly died...
RT: '78. Er - he used to be with Led Zeppelin, yeah. He's beyond - he's way, way my favourite rock drummer.
SR: And why? What was it about his drumming?
RT: He - he was the best. He was better than anybody else. It's quite simple.
SR: But what did he do that other drummers don't?
RT: He could do a lot of things that that nobody can do now, you know. He had a lot of power and he had a tremendous style and I suppose even above that, he had a unique er HUGE sound, which is being sampled now, today.
SR: You hear it ever so often, don't you.
RT: You're hearing it on hits now, yeah - it usually comes from a track called "When the Levy Breaks".
RT: You obviously know it.
SR: You're making me feel old - that's taken me back to my Sixth Form days.
FRANK in UTKINTON IN CHESHIRE says he's on the way to the gig tonight, you're playing tonight, aren't you?
RT: Oh great, great.
SR: First time in 5 years?
RT: Yeah. Think so. Yes.
SR: You nervous?
RT: Well I did actually, I did a charity thing er about a month ago with, with Bob Geldof, who's a, who's a great friend of mine, um and then I did this Cyberbarn sort of um Internet gig about 2 week's ago..
SR: Made the Guinness Book of Records, didn't it? It was the biggest ever Internet gig or something like that.
RT: Yes - so we're told - virtually - yes - very pleasing. You know, and that was fun, so we've got a great band rehearsed up so that's why we thought we'd just put this show on.
SR: AND FRANK ALSO ADDS THE CHEEKY QUESTION: What about a concert in the North to help the Manchester United Independent Supporters' Association?
SR: Hasn't he given you enough, FRANK? I think that's the best answer to that one.
IAN IN SOLIHULL says, "Do you have any plans to write your story?" - of your time in Queen, your autobiography.
RT: Oh yeah - yup - been asked that a few times - um - I think you know, if I ever did anything like that I suppose I'd want to be older. I suppose could write "My time..." No I don't know - not really. Nor really, no. I'd just sort of there it was. It was great and I think I'd rather let it, let it lie.
SR: TONY in PICKERING wants to know, did you really sing THAT NOTE in Bohemian Rhapsody.
RT: Someone asked me that the other day. Yes.
SR: Which note are they talking about?
RT: It's the very high one at the end of operatic section (laughs), mock operatic section.
SR: Can you demonstrate it now?
RT: No, no I can't get there now - I'd need a pair of pliers.
SR: But did you really sing it or was it a synthesiser?
RT: No no no no - we didn't have synthesisers. Er - no it was, it was genuinely sung - yeah, yeah. Yeah - we used to be able to get higher, but I think as a natural - your voice does get lower as you get older.
SR: All that sort of rock and roll life style makes the voice go deeper, doesn't it?
RT: (Laughs) Yeah, yeah.
SR: Um - now "What's John Dinker (corrects) Deakin doing these days?", says PAUL IN WATFORD. What's he up to?
RT: Well, he's very quiet -
SR: Taking it easy.
RT: Um - haven't spoken to him for about 3 - 4 months probably - um but when I do see John, we we get on very well. So I, I hope to be seeing him very soon, actually.
SR: ANDREW in WARMINSTER along with thousands of other people want to know are you going to record with Brian and John again and is there any more of Freddie's music on tape that you would be able to record with?
RT: Well, the last part first - no, there isn't. There's, there's not, there might be a couple of scraps, but there's really nothing that we, that we feel - we sort of tidied everything up really with the Made In Heaven Album, I think. And yes - I think John and Brian and myself would like to do SOMETHING - maybe next year, but, and maybe using different guys, you know, um - singing - er or girls, whatever. We haven't, we, you know it's a, it's a bit of a vague idea at the moment.
SR: It's difficult, though, isn't it, when you've been so successful, cos it could all go wrong and people...
RT: Exactly. I mean, what we, we didn't wanna - you know we'd only do something if we felt it was, if it felt right, you know, felt absolutely right.
SR: Quite a few people in the building want to know about the track on the album called "No More Fun"?
RT: Uh - "No More Fun".
SR: It seems, somebody was saying this morning, it seems like you miss that touring, hell-raising lifestyle - is it true?
RT: Well I suppose it's, there's a little bit of truth in it, but it was written from that perspective of you know what happened to the wild, wild days of rock and roll? Um - bit of a cliché really, but um, yeah I mean that's just the perspective of the song.
SR: Yeah. Do you...?
RT: No - I don't really wake up in the morning wishing I was throwing televisions out of windows or something in you know Delaware or somewhere, no. (laughs)
SR: Did you do that?
RT: Er - oh a bit - only a little bit. Yes - probably an ashtray or something. No, no no.
SR: Just a cigarette packet - that's all you did. You weren't really that bad were you.
Lots of people what to know as well...
SR: ... why you call so many of your children Tiger, because er you've got Rufus Tiger, haven't you, and Tiger Lilly?
RT: Well. Yes, that's right. Yup. Um - I don't know, I just like like the name really, um - Tiger Lilly is from Peter Pan and the Rupert Tales.
SR: Same as Bob Geldof's er,
RT: Well, that's that's well...
SR: Paula Yates.
RT: Paul..., Paula's and Michael's - yeah - um, but our's was first. (laughs)
SR: We'll accept that.
PHIL in BRISTOL "What's YOUR favourite Queen album?"
RT: MY favourite? Ah - that's a difficult one. I liked the last one, I like "Made in Heaven", I like "Sheer Heart Attack" is always a favourite of mine. Uh, yeah I'd probably say some, something like that. There are a few which I really like and there are a few which I'm not so keen on, you know.
SR: (Whispers) Which don't you like?
RT: I'm not mad about "Jazz", "Hot Space" and ... another. (laughs)
SR: It's funny to hear you say all those, cos you just see your record collection ...
RT: Yeah yeah- it's scary, isn't it.
SR: Now look, we're gonna play something from the new album: "Pressure On". What's the story behind "Pressure On" then?
RT: Er - well nothing really - er it's just sort of the typical day to day pressures which everybody sort of has.
SR: Yes - particularly poor old Gazza at the moment.
RT: Yes, so I gather.
SR: Yes, I suppose, do you have any sympathy with that, cos you've lived your life in the public eye?
RT: Yeah I do, but these days footballers have to be such incredible athletes, don't they? I mean just seeing how fast they run and how long they run, watching the World Cup, I just can't believe that somebody can...
SR: Or how much football they PLAY.
RT: Yeah, yeah.
SR: It's a lot isn't it.
RT: Yeah - they do play a lot.
SR: Tell you what then, let's hear this new single: <"PRESSURE ON" PLAYS> SR: It's good, isn't it? You sound a bit like David Bowie on this. Is it intentional?
RT: "Under Pressure Mark 2... SR: Electric Fire is the new CD from Roger Taylor and you're playing tonight at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, aren't you?
RT: Yes that's right
SR: Are you looking forward to it?
RT: Yeah I am actually.
SR: Are you looking forward to GETTING ON STAGE...
RT: Looking forward to um - I'm just feeling a bit rough now, you know, which usually happens just before you...
SR: This is the low before the adrenaline kicks in, isn't it?
RT: Yes - I think it's the body's way of saving itself. (laughs)
SR: Thank you for being here Roger. Nice to meet you.
RT: Thanks. It's been a pleasure. Thanks for having me.
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