Tuesday, March 30th, 1976: The band heads to Tokyo by plane from Itami Airport. They land past 3 pm and head to Hotel Pacific Tokyo. Several dozen fans are waiting in the hotel, so the band takes a private elevator that Frank Sinatra used to take, and go to the press conference scheduled for 5 pm. The band attends the reception party at 6 pm. During the kagamibiraki ceremony (busting open a large barrel of sake with a mallet), Roger, being the drummer that he is, takes aim and brings down the mallet onto the barrel, showering Brian with sake in the process.
Lots of other traditional Japanese things were featured at this reception party:
Brian May’s chapter in Queen: An Illustrated Biography by Judith Davis (1981). At one point they discuss Brian’s illness during their early American tour. Hard to imagine now he was worried he’d never be able to write again. I’ve had those dark moments too, I get that. Thankfully the universe had other plans! “Brian is frank in discussing the psychological toll of that bout of ill health. ‘It was very depressing being that ill. It takes away all of your drive and creativity. I felt I could never write anything again. And that feeling persisted for awhile, even after all the physical effects had gone. You know, the second time I was ill, I felt I was going back to some other world–and that I would never return to this one.’ The other members of the group were determined there-after to make sure that Brian took care of himself. Freddie said at the time with some concern, ‘Brian has got to look after himself in the future. We all want to make sure something like that never happens again. So he’ll have to eat the right things and steer clear of hamburgers.’ Now the band travels with a huge quantity of vitamin pills; Brian takes about ten of them each day. And one of the road crew always carries a big carton of Carnation Instant Breakfast as a snack for Brian saying, ‘I tend to worry about him a lot, because he’ll never ask for anything if he’s not feeling well’.”
Since I have no idea who knows what or has seen what, I’m going to pretend that this is brand! new! information! – and of course it is for someone; it was for me when I first stumbled across it. Something’s always new for someone, and isn’t that the beauty of sharing information? :-)
There’s a Queen in Cornwall book, but! There’s also a “Queen in Cornwall” blog by the authors, with lots of entries they apparently posted online while they prepared the book.
QUEEN ARE THE 5TH HIGHEST SELLING RECORDING ARTISTS OF ALL TIME. THEY PLAYED THEIR FIRST CONCERT IN TRURO, CORNWALL, AND MADE MANY VISITS IN THE LATE SIXTIES (AS ‘SMILE’) AND EARLY 70’S (AS ‘QUEEN’). PRIOR TO JOINING ‘SMILE’ AND FORMING 'QUEEN’ ROGER TAYLOR GIGGED ALL OVER CORNWALL WITH HIS BAND 'THE REACTION’. THIS BLOG IS AN ATTEMPT TO DOCUMENT THESE MUSICIANS AND CONCERTS IN PREPARATION FOR A BOOK AND FAN CLUB EVENT.
I don’t have the book so I have no idea how much information from the blog posts is included in the book, or in what format.
There are about 123 blog posts, so tons of info to comb through. The first post is dated May 24, 2010, the last post is dated October 25, 2011 and announced the book to the general public.
It’s entirely likely, of course, that someone on tumblr has already posted about this blog but if they did, I didn’t see anything. Also, tumblr’s search/tag system is…interesting, at best.
And! There’s a Queen in Cornwall Facebook group which I believe takes up where the blog left off and is current. Sadly, I hate Facebook and I forgot my password and I refuse to jump through their hoops, and they kept nagging me to log in while I was trying poke around. Not bloody likely, Zuckerberg. ;-p I don’t have the patience to poke around and dodge login requests every 10 seconds. Anyway.
Go forth, Queenies, and attain knowledge!
I love that book. It’s really detailed and if you’re curious about Roger it’s a must read imo.
Brian May later recalled that at this show their dressing room door was broken and wouldn’t close. The freezing outdoor weather filled the room and the band were shivering before they went on stage. Brian’s vocal harmonies sound a bit nasal tonight, and this could be a fair explanation for it.
Freddie’s weakening voice first reveals itself when he has a tough time in his solo spot at the end of Somebody To Love.
After the song, the band leave the stage for a few minutes due to some technical problems. After they return, Freddie says, “We’re sorry about this delay, but it couldn’t be helped. It’s a slight electric fault, but I’m not going to bore you with that. We’re gonna play some music right now!” Clearly Freddie has learned from his mistake in Uniondale a couple weeks back, as he kept his explanation brief. Brian’s guitar tech from 1977-86, Brian Zellis (aka Jobby), recalls:
“It could have been a huge radio station transmitting tower on the roof of the Chicago gig. Bri’s guitar is a super radio antenna. It will pick up any RF [radio frequency] with 3 bar mag pickups and huge gain. Not fun if there is any power issue like poor ground in the lighting system, causing it to transmit. I’d like a few bucks for every time I heard "But lights don’t buzz” while standing next to dimmers that are buzzing so hard you can feel the stage vibrate.“
Freddie plays the intro of Don’t Stop Me Now (the only known US live version) before Spread Your Wings. May’s solo in the latter is possibly the closest he’d ever get to the studio version on stage.
There are a few great moments during the acoustic set. After Dreamers Ball, Brian says, "We appreciate you listening to these silly things as well as the normal things. The rest of the group have actually left in disgust now, so we’re gonna have to go on as a two-some.” Freddie adds, “Yeah, I think those two have gone backstage to get some blowjobs or something like that. They have all the luck, and we do all the work!”
Two audience members converse during the guitar break in Love Of My Life. “Who’s playing guitar?” “Brian May.” “Ah, that’s great.” “Right on.” After a few bars, one of them adds, “Yeah, pretty licks.”
After the song, Freddie asks Roger and John, “Nice blowjobs?” The ever-modest Brian even adds, “They’ve all come back again with smiles on their faces.”
Freddie’s range isn’t his greatest on this night, cracking and breaking much more than he was in Montreal. Still, this is a great show overall, with one of the best versions of Brighton Rock. The jam has three unique sections, all of which are seamlessly bound into one another.
Here is a review from the December 9 Chicago Tribune.
He May Have Given Disease to Hundreds Says Top Doc
By Mike KNAPP
Tragic rock star Freddie Mercury’s “Russian roulette” sex life is likely to kill scores of his lovers, a top doctor claimed yesterday.
Bisexual Freddie admitted sleeping with at least 100 people — and close friends believe there were many more.
The singer could have been HIV positive for 10 years or more. His many lovers — both male and female — could have gone on to infect other unwitting victims.
The worst fear is that Freddie was tangled in a lethal web of disease involving 500 people or more. AIDS expert Dr. Richard Keenlyside said last night: “Anyone who had full, unprotected sex with Freddie over the years will be in that boat.”
A number of Freddie’s old flames are understood to have been contacted by doctors since he was diagnosed HIV positive five years ago.
But many more cannot be traced because the star could not remember their names — or where they came from.
At least three of Freddie’s former lovers are already known to have died of AIDS.
Brian Bastin from Brighton, Sussex, who had a two-year fling with the star, died in 1986 aged 35.
Airline steward John Murphy, 37, who had a one-night fling with Freddie in 1980, also fell victim to the disease. And the singer’s personal assistant, Dubliner Paul Prenter, died as recently as last August.
Dr. Keenlyside, of London’s Middlesex Hospital, said: “We find, after the death of a celebrity like Freddie, that clinics and AIDS hotlines get flooded with calls from anxious people.
“It’s tragic that Freddie has died, but his death has raised again the point that AIDS isn’t going away,
“It’s being transmitted silently by people who don’t have any illness for a very long time.”
“If you’re engaged in high risk behaviour — and homosexuals are high risk — then you have a good chance of catching it.”
Lynn Walsh, of the Health Education Council’s AIDS programme, said: “People who sleep with both men and women have even more to think about.”
Fear Over Star’s Legacy of AIDS
• Yesterday, grieving fans were laying flowers at the door of the rock star’s London home, where he died of AIDS. And there were fears that many of his lovers could also be doomed.
Freddie was the ultimate showman right to the very end - now world of rock mourns Queen’s flamboyant front-man
Brian’s father, above, from Queen, by George Tremlett:
“…when he felt they needed a harp-effect on A Night At the Opera, he went out and bought himself a harp and taught himself to play.”
Until I read the above, I’d never thought about Brian buying a harp, I just assumed they’d rented one for however long they’d needed it. It makes perfect sense though, in hindsight. Of course a virtuoso of stringed instruments would buy his own harp. :-)
Brian talking about Freddie appearing in his dreams:
This is when Brian was in a very bad place and struggling with depression.
“From time to time, and for some reason he’s always talking to me. I had one dream not long after he died where he kept saying, You’ve got to be there Brian, you’ve got to be there… And I woke up in a daze thinking, Where have I got to be? I was quite keen to get back to the dream and find out what it was I was supposed to be doing.” - Q Magazine, July 98
The four of them playing together again.
“I have this recurring nightmare where I go on stage and it’s a big, packed place. It’s like Wembley Stadium or something, you know. And I start playing with the guys, and I think Fred’s there. Everyone’s there. Most of my dreams Freddie’s still alive – it’s very odd - it doesn’t seem odd to me. So I have this dream when we are out there and we start playing and gradually people go [tilts his head one side, then the other] like that and then they kinda drift out [laughing] and in the end there’s no one left. [More laughing] There’s just us on stage and we go ‘Ah well. Whatever.’ And we just play. It’s very strange feeling.” - House Of Guitars opening, January 2004
I compiled this interview following a long email exchange with J, a very sweet lady who went to Ealing Art School between 1972 and 1974. She knew all four members of Queen personally and was part of their larger circle of friends.
First off, you may find this hard to believe. I don’t blame you. But I assure you I’m not pulling your leg. As well as the pictures I share in this post, I have seen current pictures of J (which I will not share to protect her privacy). There is no indication as far as I am aware that she isn’t who she says she is.
Nastally, hold up. How exactly did you find this lady? She found me. It turns out that she has been following my story Dawn of Aquarius for quite some time. The story is set in 1969. A lot of research about the era went into it, because I wanted to portray that time period - and Freddie’s and Roger’s surroundings - as accurately and realistically as I possibly could. That was what drew J in. She tells me it brought back a lot of memories for her. One of the reasons I love DoA so much is the nostalgia, she says, which genuinely means the world to me. Eventually, she talked to me in the comment section. Of course, I freaked out!
And then, I asked her for an interview, to which she replied: I will give it a go, but you must remember that I am 65 and there were great drugs in the 70s, and at 16, away from home, I had a lot!
Here’s what is IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND when you read this interview. These are one woman’s 50-year-old memories and subjective impressions. J has been incredibly kind to let me pick her brain, trying to recall everything as best as she can. In her own words: Just remember that when I answer the questions, it is from a 16-year-old who is 9 years younger than Freddie and a little girl with no family and friends in a strange country trying to fit in. The only reason I was there, was because some hippie thought I had a unique art style.
J as a teenager.
[I have edited the interview together from our long, and somewhat messy at times, email exchange. Typos have been fixed and some punctuation added for clarity, but I have not changed anything J has written to me. Again, bear in mind these are personal opinions and impressions.]
Wow, what a great read! May i ask you and J to tell more about John Deacon, please? How often did he hang out with everybody? Did he have a gf? What’s J’s impression about him and his relationship with guys? Was he really shy or just quiet?
We have so little about him of this time, so, please, bring some light on John 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏
“We [pop stars] are people not androids. We’ve got views. I’m 44, I’ve got opinions and I don’t see why I shouldn’t use a bit of my art to put them over. I think music is one of the most powerful media forces in the world today.”