Queen was always a very time - consuming thing - it took up all of our lives for 20 years. So if ever I had an idea that didn't fit the group format, it would always get put away someplace on a piece of paper or a piece of tape. But it wasn't until about five years ago that I decided it would be a good thing to use some of these ideas in a solo album. I really started it as a form of therapy. I was very depressed at the time; at one point, I was really very suicidal. At such moments, it's only the fact that I've got kids that stops me from driving off bridges. During this time. Queen was doing the Miracle. There were only a few days during that time when I managed to play guitar solas. It's really a miracle that I did anything on that album at all.
On vocals sounding very much like Freddie: That's interesting. Of course, we sat doing vocals together for 20 years. And I did a lot of writing for Freddie to sing, in common with all of us. So I guess there are things we evolved together that I can't escape from. Sometimes I feel good: I feel like Freddie is still around. Very often, if I'm at a sticky point, I can hear what Fred would say. [small laugh] And I can also see him psyching himself up and gathering the strength and determination to reach certain notes, which I apply to myself.
First, there's total blackness, and then there's light at the end of the tunnel, and points where you see inspiration in someone else's life. If the album is appreciated by people who are into what I'm into, then that will be enough. Everything else will be a bonus.
For me, this album was a sort of divide, a crossroads. In the beginning, I wanted to get back to basics and make an album on my own just to see what would happen. Now in the end, I've put out something because I actually do have something to say, and that it's worth saying. Over these five years, my life and feelings underwent a catastrophic change, and the music throughout this record reflects the entire process.
On the Digitech Vocalist: Oh yeah, I've used one. The beginning of 'Driven By You' is just one voice, put through the Vocalist. I did it live, but it's only one take - great machines!
I had some time off while I was working in Los Angeles and I was down by the hotel pool. There were these two outrageous guys, splashing about, and they just came up and asked if I'd ever considered doing anything in the advertising world and I said, 'No.' They said, 'Do you want to?' and I said. 'Not particularly,' but they suggested running a few things by me to see if I was interested. Anyway, they came up with this slogan, which originally was 'Everything We Do, We Do For You' which was uncannily similar to the Bryan Adams song, which came out a little while afterwards. I thought it sounded a bit slushy and didn't really relate to it. But then they came back and said it was changed to 'Everything We Do Is Driven By You' and my initial thought was 'Yuk, I don't think I can do anything with that either,' because it just sounded like motor cars and I'm not interested in singing songs about motor cars. But then I thought 'Driven By You...' and ping! the lights went on; I thought of it as the power struggle that goes on in relationships. So this song sort of sprang to mind and I could hear it as I wanted it to be and I could also hear a few modifications that would suit their purposes, too. It's funny, I've spent most of my life thinking of advertising as a sort of dirty business, but in fact the same mechanisms work: you get input from someone, you get inspired and you give back. So I enjoyed it and they were great to work with. Very quick, very efficient. I produced a first version of that track in a week and they had it on the TV the next night! They really don't mess about and it also gave me a lot of momentum for the album. And it also gave me a hit, which I never expected.
I kept doing different versions of that, as I kept finding out that I was scared of more and more things. And I figured that most of us are. We just keep it inside. I think it's good to let all that stuff out sometimes. Do a bit of screaming.
I wrote that after going to see a memorial concert for an actor, a friend of my lady friend whom I'd never met. I'd never even seen his work, though he was pretty well-known in England. But by the end of the evening, I felt that I knew the guy. I wrote the song around that and realized that it related very closely to the stuff I was searching for in my solo work. So it became another germ which grew into a piece of the album.
Freddie is in quite a lot of things really. In different ways. (Uhm) I don't like to talk ... Sometimes it's hard to talk about because it gets too specific, you know. So if I say this, remember the songs are all meant to be in one theme, but they come from different places. That's how life is, you know. So, for instance ... well, the most direct would be ... The most direct connection is "Nothing But Blue", and I wrote "Nothing But Blue" to a backing track which Cozy had, as a matter of fact, but I wrote it the night before Freddie died, and I had this strong feeling that it was just about to happen. So I wrote the song about what I felt about that.
I was doing "Resurrection" all through that last period when Freddie was going down hill, fairly rapidly. And I thought, well, his body is going down hill, but his spirit is getting stronger and stronger. And, ehm, so I really enjoyed "Resurrection", and it tought me such a lot, you know, it brought me up. And I think that's the high point of the album, really. "Too Much Love Will Kill You" is perhaps the blackest, you know, there's very little hope in that song. But in "Resurrection" is all like: OK, this crap here, every- thing is terrible, this wreckage, but I'm up, I'm off, I'm off on my way, you know. That's the feeling!
On how many tracks is used for one of the multi-track guitar lines: It varies. On this album I think the maximum was about thirty. On 'The Dark', I wanted this frightening wall of sound coming out to contrast this very small voice - the kid in the cot. You can get a long way with three parts and with four you can conquer the world!
"Too Much Love Will Kill You" is perhaps the blackest, you know, there's very little hope in that song.
We worked on that song for a couple of days and I never went near an instrument. I never touched a piano to the point where we were going to put down a demo. By that time the song was totally finished. It was obvious in my mind how it should go. The piano was immaterial really; the only thing that mattered was getting the feeling across. I wasn't concerned about anything else.
So some of these songs - like "Too Much Love Will Kill You" - are about a man who feels very sorry for himself. It's not so much the problems he has, as the fact that he can't deal with the problems, because he hasn't grown up, you know. In retrospect, that's the way I see it. In fact, my darling therapist tells me that the song should be called "Too Much Unhealthy Dependence May Lead To Psychiatric Symptoms." I'm rewriting it, but I'm having a problem with the meter. [laughs] The rhyme scheme just won't fall into place.