Interviews – Freddie Mercury 11-XX-1976 – Capitol Radio



Kenny Everett: God you’re noisy, Fred!

Freddie Mercury: That’s one of the softer tracks. [Laughs]

Kenny Everett: That track’s called “Tie Your Mother Down” from the new LP called “A Day At The Races”, which is actually ‘teffifico’ and it’s just out in time for Christmas.

Freddie Mercury: Yes, that’s right.

Kenny Everett: Why tie your mother down?

Freddie Mercury: Well this one in fact is a track written by Brian actually, I dunno why. Maybe he was in one of his vicious moods. I think he’s trying to out do me after “Death On Two Legs” actually.

Kenny Everett: I see.

Freddie Mercury: So if he’s listening, folks…

Kenny Everett: Let’s try a nice gentle lilting one now.

Freddie Mercury: Oh this is the ‘real heavy’ one, yes.

Kenny Everett: That’s right. This is one where you sing by yourself, times 35 or something, isn’t it?

Freddie Mercury: Yes, I’ve multi tracked myself on this one.

Kenny Everett: How many of you are there on this one?

Freddie Mercury: Well… what the next one? “You Take My Breath Away”. This one I did myself, I multi tracked myself. So the others weren’t used on this for the voices. I played piano and basically, I don’t know how we managed to stay this simple you know, with all our over dubs and things. People seem to think that we’re over complexed, and it’s not true. It depends on the individual track really, if it needs it – we do it. So this is pretty sparse actually by Queen and our standards.

Kenny Everett: It still sounds like the choirs of Heaven. So here comes Freddie…plus Freddie, plus Freddie…


Kenny Everett: Hmmm, another classic there that’ll live forever from the lips of Freddie, “You Take My Breath Away” off the new LP. Which there’s space for in you’re Christmas stocking. Freddie.

Freddie Mercury: Yes dear.

Kenny Everett: We’re going to take a break now. We’re going to play a few of our bits ok, is that alright?

Freddie Mercury: Yes.

Kenny Everett: Smashing, back with another track in a sec.


Kenny Everett: [Laughter] Hey guys, the mikes on! That’s “Long Away” by Brian May. He does four tracks on your new LP doesn’t he?

Freddie Mercury: Yes he does…

Kenny Everett: I see, can you proliferate?

Freddie Mercury: Which tracks you mean? That’s one of his and “Tie Your Mother Down” was Brian’s. He’s written a lovely Japanese song, which is at the end of the second side. It’s got Japanese verses…

Kenny Everett: What, actual?

Freddie Mercury: Actual Japanese verses which we had to do, we did a lot of research actually and we had our Japanese interpreter. We flew her over from Japan.

Kenny Everett: Actually you should know Japanese off by heart by now, because you’re always there, aren’t you?

Freddie Mercury: Do you want me to say some of them then? [Recites a verse from “Teo Torriatte”].

Kenny Everett: Oh flan flastic! [Applauds] Flerry good, and now we will split for a commercial break. [Laughs]

Kenny Everett: Right, back to the spiffingest LP ever released. Oh what do you think of the new E.L.O.?

Freddie Mercury: Oh it’s great, I’ve got a copy of that. And I know you keep, I keep hearing more of those tracks on your show than anything else.

Kenny Everett: Well…

Freddie Mercury: So I don’t need to play my album, really [Laughs]

Kenny Everett: And also The Eagles, they’re the three for your Christmas stocking, folks. This is me talking to Freddie Mercury of Queen, who must be a millionaire by now, what Freddie?

Freddie Mercury: Oh…in what way?

Kenny Everett: Financially and commercially, I mean you keep buying these paintings and things.

Freddie Mercury: Yes because I like them. Actually it’s what I’ve been interested in a long while, and now that I’ve got a little bit of money to throw around I thought I might as well go and buy it. So I went to Sotheby’s the other day, and got a few paintings. The dealer’s weren’t pleased at all! [Laughs].

Kenny Everett: Actually, you’ve brought champagne with you, which is very good of you.

Freddie Mercury: But of course dear, it travels with me everywhere.

Kenny Everett: You make Gerald Harper look quite cheap. Thank you for that [Laughs]. Usually when I come in here, the place is full of old dead bottles, you know. And green fly…but we’ve made him look peculiar today. Right, “The Millionaire Waltz” which is the next track on the LP, what’s this?

Freddie Mercury: Well it’s all about John Reid actually.

Kenny Everett: You’re manager, well he’ll love all that.

Freddie Mercury: I might as well…

Kenny Everett: It’s a bit gay and weird and strange, but it grows on you.

Freddie Mercury: It’s very out of the Queen format, really and we thought we’d like to do that on every album. I think I went a bid mad on this one. But it’s turned out alright I think, it makes people laugh sometimes.

Kenny Everett: It’s very jolly, let’s have a listen to it.


Freddie Mercury: Ooh, lovely! Actually I’d like to say that Brian did do a very good job on the actual guitars. He’s really taken his guitar orchestration to its limits, I don’t know how he’s ever going to out do that one actually. And John played very good bass on that. I think it’s good and we’re patting ourselves on the back again. I really think it’s worked out well especially from the orchestration point of view. Because he’s really used his guitar in a different sort of way, I know he’s done lots of orchestrations before.

Kenny Everett: He’s probably the world’s greatest guitar technician really, isn’t he?

Freddie Mercury: Oh I’d say that dear, absolutely…[mock aristocratic accent]

Kenny Everett: Yes, pass more champagne…[same accent] [Laughs]

Freddie Mercury: Champagne everybody!


Freddie Mercury: That’s the end of side one of “A Day At The Races”. That was a track by John Deacon, he’s contribution to this album. His songs are good and are getting better every time actually. I’m getting a bit worried actually.

Kenny Everett: He’s the quiet one.

Freddie Mercury: He’s sort of quiet, lots of people think that. Don’t underestimate him, he’s got a fiery streak underneath all that. I talk so much anyway, he like to let me do all the talking. But once people crack that thin ice, then he’s alright. (You can never stop him talking then).

Kenny Everett: You’re all a very shy bunch really, aren’t you?

Freddie Mercury: We are really, actually. I am actually, people don’t seem to realize that. Just because I go around tearing on stage, they think I should go tearing around life, but I’m not really.

Kenny Everett: Good, well done. I’ve said to you once, you must have had a classical up bringing, and you went ‘Ha’! So I dropped that one. [Laughs] But I think you really must have.

Freddie Mercury: I did have in my youth… that’s a couple of years ago. No, when I was about seven years old, I did piano lessons and I did up to grade 4 classical, practical and theory. Then I gave it up, as I basically play by ear really and I can’t sight read at all. So I gave that up and all my playing is done by ear. I can’t read music that well, it takes me a long time.

Kenny Everett: Well how do you work out these amazing harmonies you do?

Freddie Mercury: Well that’s quite easy, yeah. [Laughs] The same as you do! [More laughs] I don’t know, I just have to work at it and after a while you fall into a pattern through experience. I think I’m getting better every year, don’t you?

Kenny Everett: Oh yes.

Freddie Mercury: I learnt a lot from our past albums and things. Seeing how they’re constructed and things, then you use things what you’ve done in the past and work out different things.

Kenny Everett: Oh you’re polishing beautifully, it’s a polished product now. That “You Take My Breath Away”, the harmonies on that are supreme.

Freddie Mercury: They’re nice, I’m very pleased with them.

Kenny Everett: You see – modest. Right, from the polished to…side two. A bit hairy this number, so if you’re a little old lady then please stand back!


Kenny Everett: Cor! How did you manage to get such a loud noise on one record?

Freddie Mercury: I don’t know, it’s down to Mike Stone our engineer. We’re very bad in the studio for that actually, the poor engineer has to really suffer because we really want as much level as possible. We keep pushing the phasers up and he keeps looking at the meters and going ‘Oh it’ll never cut’. Then we give him the added task of going over to New York or wherever and saying ‘Make sure that cuts as loud as possible’.

Kenny Everett: Yeah, I should explain for the folks, that if a noise is too loud on a record – the little wobbly groove grundges into the groove next door.

Freddie Mercury: That’s right.

Kenny Everett: Then the record skips…

Freddie Mercury: Yes, it can skip and do all kind of things.

Kenny Everett: So the more noise you put on, the less likelihood you have of…

Freddie Mercury: So if Mary Potts has got a little dance set, then it’ll just go flying off! [Laughs]

Kenny Everett: I must admit, you do get a lot of sound on one little LP.

Freddie Mercury: Yes it’s very difficult to… it’s a very fine dividing line really, because if you want to put in more music – but at the same time you’ve got to make sure you don’t put too much in otherwise it suffers.

Kenny Everett: And you’ve got a genius technician that looks after all of that.

Freddie Mercury: Well Mike Stone is pretty good, yes. That little bugger…

Kenny Everett: Yes… right. [gives out weather report with Freddie laughing and teasing throughout]

Freddie Mercury: What a nice little chap he is. [Laughs]

Kenny Everett: Right here we are in Capitol tower with cuddly Ken and Freddie Mercury, nattering about the new LP. Which also has this track on it.


Kenny Everett: So, if you’re planning to but this LP – you get that thrown in as an added goodie. The new number one single in Britain today “Somebody To Love”. Well-done Freddie.

Freddie Mercury: They’ve probably all got their copies by now anyway, so we might as well play something else.

Kenny Everett: Yeah, but the thing is we all had “Sailing” by Rod Stewart and everyone bought it. Then they re-released it and everyone bought it again. Very strange.

Freddie Mercury: Yes, go out and but it again, I’m not complaining. [Laughs]

Kenny Everett: Let’s play a little track off “Sheer Heart Attack” now, because I thought this was one of your tunes, because it’s so wilting.

Freddie Mercury: I thought you’d made a slight mistake earlier on, but this is a track called “Dear Friends”. Taken from our “Sheer Heart Attack” album, it’s written by Brian. I’ve done the vocals on it, but Brian wrote this lovely tune.

Kenny Everett: Well let’s hear this one.


Kenny Everett: Very pretty. I didn’t know Brian May wrote that, I thought he was the hairy department.

Freddie Mercury: Yes he does those, he’s very versatile.

Kenny Everett: Ok, this next one is one of yours isn’t it?

Freddie Mercury: Yes, it’s called “Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy”, and it’s in my ‘ragtime’mood that I get a chance to, [Laughs] to do on every album and this time, this is something I’ve come up with this time around.

Kenny Everett: Right, a little frilly number from the pen of Fred.


Kenny Everett: Right, that was one of Freddie’s tunes. I hear you’re not too pleased with the musical press, Freddie [Laughs] Let’s be outrageous!

Freddie Mercury: It depends, I don’t take much notice to be honest. They can say what they like.

Kenny Everett: I find that they slag everything available, they just don’t say anything nice about anybody.

Freddie Mercury: Not constructive at all. The American press do their homework and the kind of questions they ask you makes much better copy anyway.

Kenny Everett: They pick the good points, and then blazon them all over the place.

Freddie Mercury: It’s more sort of things that are more relevant, I feel anyway. You can tell that they’ve done their homework because they ask you very penetrating questions – which I don’t mind. Because then you know they have some substance because when they write about it, it has much more bearing. But over here, it’s all ‘Why have you stopped wearing black finger nails or whatever…

Kenny Everett: Have you stopped? [Laughs]

Freddie Mercury: Then that’s the review of the album, they haven’t a clue anyway – so [blows a raspberry] to them.

Kenny Everett: Yes [blows a louder raspberry] to them!

Kenny Everett: You keep writing things that are things of beauty that will last forever.

Freddie Mercury: Well I hope so.

Kenny Everett: One day you’re going to come up with an LP that’s going to kill everybody.

Freddie Mercury: I thought we had – this is it!

Kenny Everett: Oh, what have I said! What have I said? [Laughs] I mean just you, I think you’ll come out with the Mercury symphony in E flat or something.

Freddie Mercury: E flat minor actually… well I hope so. There’s time for that I think, I have a lot of ideas bursting to get out.

Kenny Everett: And you’ve got a film…a film?

Freddie Mercury: Yes, we’ve erm [Laughs] He’s no fool this one. He’s a tart, but he’s no fool!

Kenny Everett: I tell you what, let’s go to this one… I’m not a tart – I’m a DJ! [More laughs and teasing from Freddie] Let’s discuss the film after the news and this little track off the new LP “A Day At The Races”, which is dying to dive into you’re Christmas stocking!!


Kenny Everett: That’s a Roger Taylor track, and Roger’s just had a requiem set for his hair – so we’re all in mourning. We’ll be back with some more really great stuff, including their climactic climax to this LP right after the news. So I’ll see you then, right Fred?

Freddie Mercury: Yes dear, see you then.

Kenny Everett: Ok, bye bye ladies and gentlemen.

Kenny Everett: And now here’s Freddie with the weather!

Freddie Mercury: Oh God! He’s just put it in my lap, I can’t believe it! Weather for the Capitol area; It’s dry with long sunny periods, clean spells this evening, cold…

Kenny Everett: CLEAR spells.

Freddie Mercury: Oh, [Laughs] It’s you’re writing! Clear spells – yes that’s right. Clear spells this evening, cold high feel four centigrade…

Kenny Everett: Oh forget it!

Freddie Mercury: Winds light, force two or three… well this is the way you’ve written it. It’s in code, my god! [Laughs] Two or three mostly west to northwest, becoming south to south west later. [More laughs in studio].

Kenny Everett: Are you done?

Freddie Mercury: I’m sure everybody got that.

Kenny Everett: Yeah, I’m sure…

Freddie Mercury: That does it, you wait ‘till you come to the studio next time!

Kenny Everett: Get your calculators out and work out the weather. Right, here it is folks – the climax of this LP “A Day At The Races”, waiting for a place in your Christmas stocking.


Kenny Everett: That’s the last track off “A Day At The Races”, the new LP by Queen, and if you had your Grundig out, then you should be ashamed of yourself – you’ve just robbed this millionaire of another 18 & 6. [Laughs].


Kenny Everett: Well what was a civilized little gathering, is now turned into chaos with bubbling heaps all over the studio. It’s 3:30 now on the Freddie and Ken show. Any comments on that, because your manager is the same as his isn’t it?

Freddie Mercury: Yes that’s right. In fact I’d like to dedicate that one to a few friends I know; Sharon, Beryl, Phyllis, Serita, Deirdre all the lovely people who’ve all been nice to us this year.

Kenny Everett: All lady friends then?

Freddie Mercury: Yes, they’re all going into my white book. My black books quite full up actually. [Laughs]

Kenny Everett: He says with champagne bubbles coming out of both ears.


Kenny Everett: Well I suppose you could call that a golden oldie, as it was written in 1961. Lovely, I like classical stuff don’t you?

Freddie Mercury: I like a bit of Chopin.

Kenny Everett: I’m a Mozart man.

Freddie Mercury: Well there you are then, we differ.


Freddie Mercury: ‘It’s Over’! [Freddie & co sing the last line].

Kenny Everett: The masked mouths of the Mercury entourage, and “It’s Over”. Which was written in 1964 and is one of my faves Roy Orbison, who always did a good tune when called upon.

Freddie Mercury: Yes, very good actually. “Pretty Woman” was very good as well.

Kenny Everett: He did a lot of good stuff, I think he’s fab. I tell you what, Roy was good – but you can’t beat ‘old Dusty.


Kenny Everett: Round of applause for Dusty Springfield. She’s great, the only thing that’s wrong with Dusty is that she’s not in Britain today. She’s gone off to California the rotter.

Freddie Mercury: I wish she’d come back actually. She’s very good, a very good singer.

Kenny Everett: I think she’s a ‘nana really, as she’s sat over there and not producing some fab stuff.

Freddie Mercury: I don’t know her, but I think she’s a bit scared to go on. She’s scared of what people might think, especially in this country. I think if she did come back, she’d be liked.

Kenny Everett: She’s be adored, there’s millions of people here waiting for her to come back. I’m not sure what’s wrong with her.

Freddie Mercury: I think she’s got stage fright, she needs a bit more encouragement and a bit more confidence.

Kenny Everett: Now we have another one of your oldies.

Freddie Mercury: Oh? Which one is this?

Kenny Everett: “Love Of My Life”, coming up in just a sec.

Freddie Mercury: This tracks called “Love Of My Life” which…

Kenny Everett: Pull yourself together dear! [Laughs]

Freddie Mercury: I’m perfectly in control, and is dedicated to you dear for being so nice to us today and letting us infiltrating your ‘Be Bop Bonanza’ programme.

Kenny Everett: Shucks, ok.

Freddie Mercury: It’s from our “Sheer Heart Attack” Album – oh no, it’s “A Night At The Opera”. God, we’ve made so many I keep forgetting.

Kenny Everett: It’s the previous and it’s a lovely tune, have a listen to this.


Kenny Everett: [Lot’s of background laughing] ‘Love of my life’…

Freddie Mercury: I can’t hear the damn thing.

Kenny Everett: It’s over now. You should wear headphones.

Freddie Mercury: Oh I hate those things!

Kenny Everett: I know it kinks your hairdo, but they’re handy and you can hear what you’re saying through them. I feel naked without headphones…[More laughing] Right, it’s thirteen minutes to four and we’re going to sing along at the end of this show ladies & gentlemen, we’ve decided to join Bill Grundy in his cell, for doing naughty things on the wireless. We’re going to sing live, the end of “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Freddie Mercury: So get your vocal chords ready.

Kenny Everett: Yes, because we want you to all join in with us, because it’s nearly Christmas and you can let yourself go. The end of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, if you forget how it goes, it goes like this…

Freddie Mercury: Oh God, you’ve put me in it!

Kenny Everett: I don’t remember that bit. [Laughter]

Freddie Mercury: ‘Nothing really matters to me’ [Sings the line].


Kenny Everett: Great, an old number by Freddie called “Flick Of The Do Dar” or something…

Freddie Mercury: “Brighton Rock” by Brian May.

Kenny Everett: Really? I thought that was one of yours. Right, here we go then “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Never been done before in it’s life – live in a studio. So we hope you’re going to join in. It’s easy, it’s like Vera Lynn isn’t it. All you’ve got to do is catch onto Freddie, because he’s going to sing the first few lines…

Freddie Mercury: I thought we were all…

Kenny Everett: No, no it’s all yours. Ready? [Laughter] Oh dear, he’s just fainted. You’ve got one minute to lead us into “Bohemian Rhapsody” Go!

Freddie Mercury: I don’t know it… ‘Nothing really matters to me’ [Sings]. I thought you were going to play the track.

Kenny Everett: No, I haven’t got it, I was thinking you being a pro…

Freddie Mercury: I can’t do it live, I mean I need the guitar and multi track, with Brian…

Kenny Everett: Now we know the truth folks, Freddie is a lemon. [Laughter] ‘I see a little silhouetteo of a do dar , scaramouche, scaramouche will you do the fandango’ [Sung in a high pitched voice]

Freddie Mercury: Are you expecting me to sing the full track?

Kenny Everett: Oh I can’t be bothered with these live stars…

Freddie Mercury: I don’t think Capitol have the resources of multi tracking anyway.

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