Wednesday, December 28, 2011

INTERVIEW: BRIAN MAY





Credit for this postMaxTV

Brian May, 64, made his name as the lead guitarist with rock band Queen. He continues to be involved with We Will Rock You, the musical inspired by and containing the band's songs.

The show can currently be seen at the Dominion Theatre in London's West End, while a touring version will be at the Edinburgh Playhouse until January 7.

May is set to appear in a gala performance on December 1 to raise money for The Mercury Phoenix Trust.

He is married to actress Anita Dobson, is a campaigner for animal rights, a professor of astrophysics, and owns the London Stereoscopic Company, which is bringing 3D images from the Victorian age back to life.


Q: ARE YOU SURPRISED BY THE AMOUNT OF SUCCESS WE WILL ROCK YOU HAS HAD?


A: Absolutely gobsmacked, every time I think about it. I remember we just about managed to get the thing on stage in time. It got the worst reviews in the world, and it looked as if it was all going to be over by the end of the week. But 10 years later, and millions and millions of satisfied, smiling customers later, we're still there, and we have a touring production as well, as well as a couple of productions going elsewhere in the world, so it's a phenomenon. I know the show inside out - I could probably perform it myself - but it'll still be a surprise to me because of all the things other people have brought to it.


Q: SO IF PEOPLE WHO SAW THE ORIGINAL PRODUCTION WATCHED IT NOW, WOULD THEY NOTICE THE CHANGES?


A: Yes, we've changed it quite a lot. We've tried lots of different things, we've experimented quite a lot. Every time somebody comes in and we slot them into a role, we look at them and see what their special talents are and how we can best use them, maybe even alter a role.


Q: WHERE DID THE ORIGINAL IDEA COME FROM?


A: It came from a number of places. It was in our minds from about 1986, but we were a bit reluctant because we didn't want to put on something that was going to be untrue to the principles we've had all the way through. I feel in a sense as if we are breaking away from musical theatre, but then in another sense, are rooted firmly in it. I'm quite proud of that. We ended up on stage with something that was sort of finished and birthed within its first year.


Q: AND NOW IT'S ALL GROWN UP...


A: It is pretty grown up in some ways, in others it's still pretty childlike, which I think is its charm. People come away from it feeling as if they've had an escape from reality, and they've had a good laugh, and maybe a little cry. There's never been audience that hasn't got on its feet and started doing things and enjoying itself, so that's a colossal big smile from me.


Q: I GET THE IMPRESSION THAT HAD FREDDIE MERCURY BEEN AROUND, HE'D HAVE LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF BEING INVOLVED IN IT


A: Yes, he'd have been like me, been in and out of it the whole time, and enjoying the whole process.


Q: IS IT TRUE THERE MAY BE A SEQUEL?


A: Ben (Elton) has written a sequel, which I think is magnificent. I guess what we don't have is the time and the right moment to put it on yet, because We Will Rock You takes up a lot of our time, we're a victim of our own success.


Q: AND IT'S QUEEN'S 40TH ANNIVERSARY THIS YEAR


A: It certainly is, it's been a very busy year already.


Q: DOES IT FEEL AS IF THOSE 40 YEARS HAVE GONE BY QUICKLY?


A: It's amazing, I don't know where it goes, all sorts of scrapes have happened. But what's amazing is that for a band that's been without its singer for 20 years, we've been more active than ever.


Q: WILL YOU BE TOURING WITH DRUMMER ROGER TAYLOR AGAIN IN THE FUTURE?


A: Well, strangely enough, and I hesitate to say this, but it may happen. As soon as we appeared with Adam Lambert at the VMAs (Video Music Awards), the phone started ringing and it hasn't stopped since. There are an awful lot of people out there who would like to see that package, so we may do something. But I'm not going to say what it might be!


Q: YOU'VE BEEN IN THE NEWS LATELY THANKS TO YOUR ANIMAL WELFARE WORK


A: Yes. I spend a huge proportion of my time now on animal welfare, it's something I always promised myself I'd do. In fact, I'm doing some filming on hedgehogs, although most of our work is to do with foxes and badgers, trying to change the way people perceive and treat animals. It's a major, major job.


Q: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE IN THE PIPELINE?


A: Many things! I've rebirthed the London Stereoscopic Company, which was very active in the 1860s. We published a book called A Village Lost And Found, which is full of stereoscopic pictures, and I designed a viewer to go with it so you could see the images in stereoscope. It's called an Owl. We'll be publishing cards to go with that at londonstereo.com, where you'll see a whole panorama of stuff we're doing in stereoscopy.


There will be a Queen series of cards soon, which I've been working on this past few weeks, and I'm working on a book called Diablo Ribbons, which is a book about French devil tissues from the 1860s, which is going to shock some people. The inventiveness of it is incredible. It's funny, it's satirical, but it has a little bit of darkness with it. Speaking of which, I might be getting up and playing with The Darkness shortly! I'm not sure when that would be, but we've been talking and it might happen. So I've got a lot going on, I don't stop.