Brian May Defends Dramatic Licenses In 'Bohemian Rhapsody'
Although by no means as historically incorrect as the Elton John biopic Rocketman, Brian May is defending Queen's blockbuster Bohemian Rhapsody movie. During a chat with Guitar World, May reminded fans that dramatic licenses are allowed in films, explaining, "We weren’t making a documentary. It wasn’t supposed to be 'This happened, and then this happened.' This was an attempt to get inside Freddie Mercury and portray his inner-life -- his drive, his passion, his fears, and weaknesses. Also, we wanted to portray his relationship with us as a family, which was pretty much a part of what made him tick. . . And I think Freddie would love it, because it’s a good, honest representation of him as a person."
May went on to admit that the global success of Bohemian Rhapsody took everyone by surprise: "I mean, who could have predicted it? We thought it would do well with the fans, but we didn’t imagine how fully it’s been embraced. People are going to see it five, six times. They’re singing along and crying. I met people in Asia who saw it 30 times. It’s extraordinary. We couldn’t be happier."
May was asked about Queen's second frontman, Bad Company's Paul Rodgers, who served as the band's lead singer between 2004 and 2009. He talked about the problems they had with Rodgers having such a long history and body of work on his own: "It became difficult as time went on, though. We would play South America, where people didn’t know that music, so we played more Queen songs. Paul dealt with it well, but I think it was hard for him to abandon a lot of his material. We really enjoyed it as an experiment, but as an experiment it had . . . limits. Eventually, we thought, 'It’s probably gone as far as it can. Paul needs to get back to his own career.' Because he couldn’t just go on being the frontman of Queen. By mutual agreement, we thought, 'That’s it.'"
May touched upon the band these days with Adam Lambert leading the charge: "Now, with Adam, it’s a different story, because Adam can do all the stuff that Freddie did and more. It doesn’t matter what you throw at Adam -- he can do it. He can do 'Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy' (from 1976’s A Day At The Races), which we wouldn’t dream of throwing at Paul Rodgers, because it just wouldn’t work. . . Adam doesn’t feel like a replacement at all; in his own way, he’s an innovator on stage. He’s part of our new balance."
He added: "With Adam, it’s a different kettle of fish. He’s a born exhibitionist. He’s not Freddie, and he’s not pretending to be him, but he has a parallel set of equipment. He knows how to deal with an audience. He teases and taunts an audience quite naturally, without thinking about it. He loves to dress up. Although Paul did dress up a bit for us. We got a lot of sequins on him (laughs)."
Despite hitting the Top Five in the UK, Queen's sole album with Paul Rodgers -- 2008's The Cosmos Rocks -- topped out at a disappointing Number 47 on the Billboard 200 album list. We asked Roger Taylor if he thinks that had The Cosmos Rocks been a worldwide hit, Paul Rodgers would’ve extended his tenure with Queen: "I’m not sure. I think it -- I mean, I would’ve been happy — definitely, a lot happier if it had. I don’t know. I think there was some in-built resistance to that record, which I thing has some very good points to it. But, what would’ve happened, I haven’t got a clue. But, I really don’t think it would’ve, um. . . I don’t think it would’ve continued."