So have you any responsibility to an audience once they’ve bought the album or left the theatre?
In what way? My responsibility to the audience is to put on a good show. They make sure they get good, strong entertainment from Queen in whatever form, whether on record or in concert or on television, and that’s that.
Do you believe musicians play better when they’re hungry? Or now, because you are financially rich, is there a relaxation because you have no money worries? What are the difficulties?
You can play good when you’re struggling and I think you can play good when you’ve made it, as well. It’s a different kind of thing. I mean, when I go on stage, whether I’m rich or starving, I want to give my all. I want to go on there and die for the show! If I have a broken leg or a million pounds or am up to my eyes in debt, I just want to perform. Even having a cold has nothing to do with it – get out there and prove, from what’s inside you, that the act and the audience is the thing.
You’ve appointed yourselves your own managers and totally control your destiny, as a kind of Queen corporation – do you enjoy this aspect as much as getting the music together?
Should and could most other bands do the same? Should all bands bent on making a big impact work from the start towards managing themselves?
Yes, I think it’s in the interests of most musicians to get a grip of their own business affairs. I’m not saying it should be right from the start, necessarily – it might be best to have a manager to begin with and then learn from his mistakes, for example. But the process is right.
Do you ever leave a stage feeling you’ve done a really bad gig?
Yes, sometimes. We all scream and shout at each other and destroy the dressing room and release our energy. We set ourselves a very high standard and 99 per cent of the audience wouldn’t agree with our assessment of a bad gig. In San Francisco I lost my voice and it was awful, my register was limited to virtually a monotone. I still gave it my all but I knew it was a bad performance. They had to reschedule the tour and take three or four shows off the tour. I have nodules on my vocal chords and most tours are now scheduled around my voice.
But your voice sounds very powerful….
I’m losing the range, believe it or not. I’ve lost the power I began with. But I’ve become a stronger singer so maybe my framework is diminishing but within that I can sing better than ever. My voice can do amazing things now.
Interview with Freddie Mercury 1981