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2000.05.10 - BBC Radio One Rock Show - Interview with Brian May

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2000.05.10 - BBC Radio One Rock Show - Interview with Brian May Empty 2000.05.10 - BBC Radio One Rock Show - Interview with Brian May

Post by Blackstar on Mon 16 Mar 2020 - 21:13


MAH: Anyway, speaking of good singers, we've heard a lot of rumblings, a lot of rumours about the fact that you've been doing some recording with Axl Rose, and in fact, many of the listeners, people including Louise in Inverness, Charlie Dixon, Ravi and Seth Lubin have sent emails in saying: "You must ask Brian, what's he been doing with Axl?" What's the story?

Brian: Okay - well I have a lot of history with those guys as you know, because, well, I was on tour with them for a while - you know, my own band supported them - which was great fun. They also did the Freddie Tribute with us, and I think I regard them as great friends, Axl in particular. And they just said, "Come over and do some stuff." It's a long story to be honest and I won't bore you with all the details, but Axl was feeling that he was in a difficult place because the guitarist that he'd been working with on this new album had sort of replaced Slash, because they fell out, sadly. I think that is sad actually, 'cos they're both, well you know, brilliant talents and great with each other, but the guitarist that had done most of the tracks had departed and Axl had a real emotional attachment to what he'd done, and yet he didn't want him on the album - and I hope I'm not saying too much here - he didn't really want him to stay on the album because he'd disappeared, you know - so he's feeling a kind of divided loyalty and he said: "Brian, can you come and do stuff which I WILL LIKE, (laughing) and I won't feel too bad about ditching this other stuff?" So I did, I went over there, and I think I played on three tracks, and messed around on various other things, but it worked out pretty well as far as I can tell. And its very strange cos most of the Guns'n'Roses people are not there cos Axl sacked 'em all, you know, so you're talking about Axl and the new Guns'n'Roses, but BOY is there a lot of energy there, you know, and his singing is outrageous. There's some great tracks on it.

MAH: Now this is really interesting, because there has been so much speculation about this new album, "Chinese Democracy" potentially called....

Brian: Mmm, yeah.

MAH:There are many, many people, who've spoken to journalists, who've have played with Axl over a number of years now, who have laid claims recently that the only one track that Axl has ever laid down a vocal part for is "Oh My God", which is obviously featured on the Schwartzenager film, "End Of Days", but you're saying there are more vocal parts then?

Brian: Oh yeah, there's a whole album of vocal parts - in fact there's two albums' worth that they've got there, at least. They played me EVERYTHING. Axl actually sat down and MADE ME listen to everything (laughing) and there's some wonderful stuff there. Yeah.

MAH: How do you deal with somebody like Axl though, when he sits you down and says: "Listen to all of this." I mean, can you really critique him and sit there and say: "Do you know what, Axl, that's rubbish, mate. You wanna bin that one!"?

Brian: Well (sigh), Axl sort of holds Queen and, and our whole thing in a great deal of respect so I always figure as long as I tell my truth, he's fine - and its always held out so far. He's always been very good, you know, to me. He will tell you if he doesn't agree with what you say. I mean, I went in and immediately, you know, Brian May opens his mouth and "Blab, blab, blab" - and I told exactly what I thought of the stuff as it was and some of it he went "Yeah", and some of it he went "I couldn't do that" - you know, like some of the suggestions, and that's it. And Axl's a very emotionally kind of 'connected' person, I mean, to the point where he's so intense about EVERY single note that's on there, and the solos that I played, he was totally into it VERY much in the way that Freddie used to be. You know, Freddie used to go through my solos and, and say "You know there's this particular note here and I think if you did this and this and this". You know, and I thought I would just go in there... I'd forgotten what Axl was like, and I thought I would just go in there and he'd like it. He did like it, but he wanted to get into EVERY single take of every single note, and sort of string, you know ... I would go in there and he - from one day to another Axl would have been in there like from 5 o'clock in the morning to 7 o'clock in the morning, comping little bits of my solos and saying, "Can you get Brian to try this?" You know, he's UTTERLY meticulous.

MAH: That's amazing. So what's your position? You've just played this amazing solo as far as you're concerned and Axl comes along and says: "Do you know what, I really don't like that B flat or whatever it is. Can you just change that?" Do you say...

Brian: Oh, I'm fine. I don't care, because I'm there to to deliver, you know. And in in this context, I'm a session player, and people can take what they want, it doesn't bother me. I'll give my best and if someone will make a comment, generally it will be - you know if someone makes a comment to you about your playing, and it's someone who cares, and then its probably gonna do you some good whether you like it or not. So I'm always open to that stuff - always.

MAH: Mmm, very interesting.

Brian: There's always room for improvements.

MAH: The other big question on the lips of our listeners this evening: "Would you ever consider touring with Axl if he asks you to join the band?"

Brian: I don't know if I would be up for those long tours anymore. I did that for twenty years of my life, nine months a year and I'm not in that position anymore in my life, you know. I don't feel like I wanna have that kind of chaotic lack of balance in my life any more. I dealt with it, and I loved it, but I'm just not in that place anymore. I don't think I could do that. If it was a short tour, its possible, but....

MAH: Even if he promised never to ruin one of your solos again.

Brian: (laughs) I tell ya, Axl is a very persuasive guy. He's magic. Really he is, and I think he's not always easy, as, you know, genius very often isn't. You know, Fred was not the easiest person in the world to get on with, but someone who has that amount of passion and gives a million percent of themselves, you'll take any amount of stuff from, and I would from Axl. I think he's that good, you know.

MAH: Mm. Shall we play one of his records?

Brian: Mm-mmm.

MAH: What have you chosen?

Brian: It's "Welcome The Jungle," isn't it? I heard this many many a night because we toured with him all round the States and had a great time, and everyone goes, [whispery gruff voice] "Oh, was it really terrible? Are they complete bastards?" And I go: "No," because they treated us with the utmost respect and consideration and had some very good times.

MAH: Great stuff. Let's hear the track.

Plays: GUNS'N'ROSES - Welcome To The Jungle

MAH: Brian May smiling...

Brian: (laughs) Familiar sounds.

MAH: (laughing) Ah... that was Guns'N'Roses of course with Welcome To The Jungle.

Brian: Yeah. They were such a great live band, you know. Its one of those moments in time when everything happened in the right way. I think really the last kind of dangerous, magnificent rock and roll band really, so far.

MAH: D'you know what I think about you? You've just told us about collaborating with Axl and the way you speak about, you know, your passion for music in general, you seem to be a very willing collaborator and yet I wonder if you really do yearn to be right at the epicentre of another band that you could call your own.

Brian: (sharp intake of breath) It's a very interesting question. There are times when I miss that feeling of contact with the pulse, I suppose, and I love what I do. I'm a very lucky man - I can do what the hell I want really, you know. I make music when I feel like it, and I'm so lucky that I know lots of great people that I can play with, but yes, there were moments in Queen's history where we were at that epicentre, as you call it, you know, which is exactly, its a good description and you just know that if you kind of make any kind of noise it will just ripple out to the edges of the universe and um those moments don't come every day you know. I don't know that we necessarily, necessarily deserve another one, you know, we had one and that's enough and I'm very thankful for that. (laughs)


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