I have a debt there, and you know to whom - Jeff Beck.
I'm pretty basic as far as technique is concerned. I don't use many gadgets, and I like the sound my guitar makes, anyway. But I'm very aware of a lot of new input into guitar playing - there are a lot of great people out there, like Steve Vai, Satriani, Edward Van Halen and Jeff Beck. Every time I listen to Jeff Beck my whole view of guitar changes radically. He's way, way out, doing things which you never expect. That's my kind of model in a way; I would like people to listen to what I do and say: “Ah, he took a chance there: this is something different.” I'd like people to think it's melodic and not just “wheely, wheely, wheely” for being flashy's sake.
The title came from Freddie and it's a collaboration between Freddie and Brian. Freddie played the strings part and then Brian played the guitar. It was finished very quickly, in about an hour.
Freddie really loved the Innuendo album. Listening to it, you hear some of the more flamboyant aspects coming back into the arrangements. Whereas The Miracle had been a bit straight and basic, Innuendo had all the flair and magic of Freddie's fingerprint. It was like he was putting his stamp on what would be his swansong because I obviously cannot count Made in Heaven as his, although I am sure he would be very happy with the results of John, Brian and Roger's very hard work. Each time, he brought a cassette of the day's work home, he was incredibly excited. Even if some of us might have been asleep, he would wake everyone up and make us listen. He was giving it his all. He didn't care that he would fall into bed totally exhausted. If we were still worried that all this hard work was shortening his life, he made it very clear that he didn't care. Once he had started working on this album, there was nothing, absolutely nothing, going to stop him from completing what I believe he considered some of his best work. He always considered his best work as that which he did with Queen. The four tracks whose words and music outline were Freddie's are obviously All God's People and Slightly Mad as well as Delilah. And then, of course, there was Bijou, the fourth. For those of you who remember BBC Radio's Round the Horne, the title perfectly describes Freddie's “little trifle” that he insisted on going on the album and which of course afforded such a wonderful showcase for Brian May. Who else but Freddie could come up with a title like Bijou?
Written by Freddie and I together - it was really inspired (in us both!) by Jeff Beck .... I don't know if you realize already, but the song has an unusual format - we wanted to make it a song “inside out” (with its heart on its sleeve). The main parts of the song are played on guitar instead of being sung, and in the middle, where the guitar solo would normally be, appears the short vocal section. The vocal is a succinct and very precise little verse, a little gem, a “Bijou” - a jewel buried at the heart of the piece: hence the name of the song. Each bit of the melody was alive in our heads and “hummed” before it was played - Freddie coming up with the beginning line which started us off on the trail. Those days were very creative - good times.... Postscript - my Mum was given a budgie by a friend. She felt uncomfortable about birds being in cages (she was a real bird lover, and spent much time watching birds in the wild), but, finding herself charged with looking after the budgerigar, she gradually began to love it - it became a great companion for her after she lost my Dad. She called it “Bijou” and she would spend hours talking to it! It never responded very rewardingly vocally, but it didn't seem to matter - the bird seemed to understand her perfectly! It was her little Bijou. It was a sad day for her when the little thing came to the end of its life. She never got another.
I also like Bijou off Innuendo. I worked very closely with Freddie on that. He had a lot to do with the guitar line and I had a lot to do with the vocal lines. It's sort of a song turned inside out. Usually the song has a solo in the middle but, in this case, it's an instrumental guitar song and the voice takes a solo in the middle.