Freddie Mercury’s Queen early days ‘People didn’t know what to make of him’ – Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor discusses chemistry with Queen bandmates in 2016

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It was over 50 years ago that Freddie Mercury, then still going by Freddie Bulsara, joined Brian May and Roger Taylor’s proto-Queen band Smile. The first time they played with him as singer was at Truro City Hall in Cornwall for a Red Cross event organised by Roger’s mother Winifred. Now in a new interview, the drummer has shared some fond memories of Freddie in Queen’s early days.

Speaking on Spotify podcast Rock This with Allison Hagendorf, Roger admitted: “People did not know what to make of Freddie Mercury.

“He wasn’t completely and utterly fully formed. But y’know we were in our infancy.”

Queen guitarist Brian, who was also on the podcast, remembered Roger’s mother being irritated her son had such long rock star locks saying, “What are you doing and why haven’t you cut your hair?”

Despite her reservations, Roger’s mother put up the band at the Taylor family home.

Roger remembered: “We used to stay in my house and she could never work out why Freddie had perfectly creased trousers.

“They were immaculate every morning and he was just sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

“And it turned out he used to put them under the mattress and sleep on the mattress. Basically, press them while he was asleep.”

The Queen drummer said Freddie would often say: “One has to suffer for fashion!”

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Speaking with last year, Roger described Freddie’s first performance with Queen as “pure shock”.

The 71-year-old said: “It’s an awful long time ago. He wasn’t as good then as he became, he became an awful lot better.

“He had quite an extraordinary voice and he just got better and better and better.”

The show took place on June 27, 1970 and saw Mike Grose on the bass, before John Deacon joined Queen in early 1971.

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The band would go on to play their first gig known as Queen on July 18, 1970 at Prince Consort Road in London.

On their 50th anniversary this year marking when Deacon joined, Roger said: “I can’t believe…50 years since we started the band, yeah just incredible.

“You think, ‘oh maybe we’ll be going in 18 months’ when you start, but you don’t think 50 years ahead, it’s just extraordinary.”

Sadly Queen and Adam Lambert’s summer tour of the UK and Europe has been postponed to 2022, but there have been a few surprises to mark the band’s milestone.

Queen The Greatest, a mini-documentary series about the band’s half-century, sees weekly episodes premiere on their official YouTube channel at midday on Fridays.

There will be 50 in total to celebrate Queen’s milestone, while last year the band released a live album featuring highlights with Adam Lambert.

Aside from touring, next year marks Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee and we asked Brian May if Queen and Adam Lambert would be up for performing at the concert.

The 73-year-old, who famously played the national anthem on the roof of Buckingham Palace for the monarch’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, replied: “Oh yeah, well that’s a thought. If they invite us, yeah, I don’t see why not!”

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