Interviewer: Ray Fox-Cumming
Queen of the Orient
A few months ago Queen were the band everyone
was talking about and the only reason why their name hasn't been on everyone's lips just recently is that they've been away
on a world tour and thus let the Rollers take over as most talked about group. In Japan, however at this very minute, Queen
are THE biggest. Big deal, you may say, what's with Japan? But don't forget Japan is the second largest record market in the
world. Furthermore, a concert ticket in Japan costs around £4.50 to £5 and Queen were selling out 11,000 seater halls all
over [the country where] there was the fan mania.
Queen's drummer Roger Meddows Taylor, "there were thousands of fans
to greet us *literally* thousands And at one gig we had between four and five hundred security men"
Were they all
"Yes, I'm afraid they were. As it was a number of fans had to be carried out unconscious and many more
were nearly crushed."
Were you frightened?
"No, not frightened, but we were a little alarmed. We hadn't expected
anything like it. Nevertheless, Japan was definitely the highlight of the whole tour. The Japanese are so good at organising
How about the earlier American leg of the tour?
"That was great, too. We were fairly confident from
what we'd heard that we would go down alright in the east and mid-west, but we were warned not to expect too much in the south
and far west, but the show in San Francisco, for instance, was fantastic."
The American part of the tour was interrupted
by illness, which has also halted things in the more distant past.
"Ah yes," says Roger, "I think people were saying
to themselves 'there go those weeds dropping out again', but I don't think they realise just how gruelling touring can be.
Actually we're all pretty tough and everyone's all right now.
"Apart from Brian's illness, Freddie was having terrible
trouble in the States with his throat. He had nodes and the doctors wanted him to stop work for a month and get them operated
on. He ignored them though and managed to get through it without resorting to surgery."
Having been away so long Queen
should now be coming up with a new single and album, but, explains Roger, that can't happen for a while. We shall be starting
to record the next album around mid-June, but we won't be able to finish it all in one go, because we have got to go back
Why, surely the album's more important?
"Well, the trouble is that we spent an awful lot of money
on the last
American tour and now we've been offered a good deal to go back and tour for about a month in August.
We really must do it to replenish our funds. We simply can't afford not to, so the album won't be completed until after we
So that means it won't be out until about November.
"Well, if we're lucky it might be October."
How about a single. Is there any chance of one before the album?
"No, I don't think so, because we don't write
singles as such. In America they're going to put Keep Yourself Alive out again, because we weren't well-known when it first
came out there."
Do you think it's a good idea?
"Hmmm, I have my doubts about it."
As yet the group
have next to no material ready for the next album, but there are already ideas floating around for a title and for the sleeve
design, though Roger is keeping quiet about them. Sheer Heart Attack's title was chosen by Roger and he's anxious
to come up with something just as striking for the next album. "I hated the title of the second album, Queen 2, it was so
unimaginative." One of the peculiarities of Queen is that they do not appeal to one specific sector of buyers. Their fans
range from early teenagers to older fans of basically 'heavy' music. So, whereas most bands with a clearly defined market
know pretty well before they release a single whether it's likely to be a hit or not, Queen haven't a clue.
from Killer Queen," admits Roger, "which was obviously catchy, I don't think of our singles as being immediately commercial.
For instance, when Seven Seas of Rhye was a hit, I was very surprised. It was only intended really to draw attention to the
album I thought that Keep Yourself Alive was a much more commercial song. "I think it is probably an advantage not to know
exactly what will sell,
because then you are not inhibited in your choice of a single.
"Quite honestly," says
Roger, "I've no idea whether the next single will be a melodic thing like Killer Queen or an out-and-out rocker, although
I've got a feeling there will be plenty of rockers on the next album."
The new album will definitely be recorded in
Britain, although they don't know yet which studio they will use. But after all that globetrotting and time spent in America
in particular, do Queen still think of Britain as their base?
"Yes," says Roger lugubriously, "unfortunately."
"Because it's so depressing to come back. I'd like to have stayed in Japan. You come back here and
find everything's going wrong and in the shops, people are so rude."
Are you contemplating joining the flood of tax
"No, at least not in the foreseeable future."
If Queen fans are getting alarmed about how long
or short that "foreseeable future" might be, rest assured that it will last out at least to the end of the year because once
the next album is out, the group will be touring here November/December--out to prove that, come The Rollers or whatever else
may--Queen still rule ... OK?