Hi folks. This is the second part of my post about my years as a Queen fan. This time I will talk about the years from 1994 to present day and this will explain why I have always been honest about being a Queen head, but also enjoying other bands. So, here we go.
Remember, back in 1994 I had finally got my hands on the elusive Live Magic album on CD and 1994 was also the year I had graduated from school, age 21. From then on, Queen would always be top priority, but other bands weren’t out of the question. Case in point, during the last couple of weeks of the school year, I had picked up Superunknown by Soundgarden and on the surface, this would be an odd choice. Except, Brian played on a rerecording of a previous song from the album Badmotorfinger and the final track New Damage. I liked what I had heard and after my first purchase, I later bought BMF in the fall of 1994.
I would also begin to collect CDs by Nine Inch Nails, long before I knew that they had covered a Queen song, or that Trent Reznor is a Queen fan. Further to that, I would also purchase a number of albums by Ministry over the next 38 years, either on CD or digitally. Queen fans who only listen to Queen may gasp in shock and horror at the sound of songs like: N.W.O., Jesus Built My Hotrod, or Thieves, but I don’t mind. As I had said in the last post on being a Queen fan, like Queen have never stayed in one genre, I have always liked all kinds of music (whether I wanted to admit it or not) and industrial metal and any form of extreme metal are among the genres Queen haven’t touched.
If you have read the post on the Made In Heaven album, I had mentioned all of the big alt rock bands which had been either rising, or going strong in various parts of the world and I had grown to like them, along with the usual classic rock I had always loved. I had mentioned the connection to Queen and grunge through members of Soundgarden and Andrew Wood being a fan of Freddie. Don’t forget that members of the band he was in would go on to form Pearl Jam, with a California surfer dude (who could sing) named Eddie Vedder. Even Stone Temple Pilots may have been influenced by Queen, with how singer Scott Weiland would add flamboyancy to his stage presence as they became bigger. Doesn’t that remind you of someone we love? There were also roomers that STP had covered Sheer Heart Attack as a potential B-side around 2001 or so, but I’m not sure.
Apparently, even Kurt Cobain of Nirvana loved Queen. Probably, but you wouldn’t know it by his music and the general sound. Even later learning that John Leiden a.k.a. Johnny Rotten had respect for Freddie and the other 3, when he would meet up with Brian and Roger, while both Queen and Sex Pistols were recording in the same studio in 1977. So, I learned that there are Queen fans from all sorts of genres and sub-genres of rock.
One more name for now is Gary Newman who had a big hit with Cars, covered by metal band Fear Factory on their 1998 album Obsolete as a bonus track. They had Gary singing with them and in the video too. Gary is also a Queen fan and here is a link to a story, about Freddie going the extra mile for him in the early 80s. https://www.smoothradio.com/artists/freddie-mercury/gary-numan-tokyo-mcdonalds-queen/
I will have one more connection to Queen through comedy later on, when talking about the 2010s. In 1995, Made In Heaven came out and just before I had got it in my hand, I was listening to a Nine Inch Nails Italian bootleg CD from the Woodstock 94 concert. For the record, the song I had on at the time was Something I Can Never Have, which goes against what had happened when I got the knock on the door from my friend, who went out and got Made In Heaven for me at the time. I had been waiting all of 1995 for this album to come out and while it was being put together, Queen at the BBC (Live) had come out and I was disappointed, as I found the import of the same album with a similar title, just after Christmas 1991, the same day I had purchased Flash Gordon and Live Killers and found the 1981 Greatest Hits on CD, but wouldn’t purchase it until April 1992.
Around Christmas 1995, I would purchase the boxed set with the first 2 Greatest Hits albums and I was happy, that finally we in North America would have the second Hits package proper and not a rushed slap-dash compilation like Classic Queen and the 1992 Greatest Hits. Can’t you tell that I don’t like those albums?
Anyway, in late summer 1996, I find out that Live Magic would finally get released on Hollywood Records in North America and if I had known that, I probably would have waited. I couldn’t find the Capital Records version, despite a school mate having it on tape. No, not Bob and it was one of the slower kids who when you asked what tape he had, would say “it’s a red one.” Yes, I went to school with all kinds of people and I was in the middle, between the jocks and smarty-pantses, with the slow and dimwitted kids on the other end. I sometimes got lumped in with the dim, but mostly with the smarter kids whom I could have an intelligent conversation, without them getting off track.
From 1997 to 1999, Queen Rocks was my only album I had managed to find and the rest of my time, was taken up with metal and mostly, Metallica. I had actually got all their albums in 1996, just before the Load album came out and I have no problem with them switching gears from thrash to radio rock and back again. There was also the Alice in Chains influence and again, that didn’t bother me because I like AIC too. Just listen to a song like Where The Wild Things Are from Reload and you can certainly hear it.
In 1998, it was all about nu metal, with Korn becoming something of a favourite band. I was also waiting for the next Nine Inch Nails album to come out and in 1996, I had finally heard their cover of Get Down Make Love and I never had a problem with it. When 2wo with Rob Halford came out I was surprised at how much I like it, but not shocked that it didn’t do as well as it could have done. I mean, David Bowie had gone in a similar direction on his last two album so, why couldn’t Rob Halford try it and succeed? At least, he never abandon metal and was well aware of bands like Korn and limp Bizkit, as well as Pantera. There’s another band I had become a fan of at that time and I had picked up some of their CDs at a used record store, called Dr. Disk in Hamilton Ontario, where I had lived at the time. My favourite album is Far Beyond Driven, as it is heavy from beginning to end, except for that Black Sabbath cover right at the end.
Korn had released their third album Follow The Leader in August of 1998 and that was interesting to hear it and compare it to Queen. For some reason, the end of the song Cameltosis reminds me of how that untitled track from Made In Heaven ends, with the ascending rocket type affect, but this time it just goes up and into the next song, which starts off with bagpipes.
The year 1999 was a crazy year for me and my musical tastes, as I would learn about and collect albumms by Fear Factory, who had started out as a death metal band, including melodic vocals and samples, similar to industrial music acts like Ministry and Skinny Puppy. Then, they changed their sound and vocals to have a sound of their own and have put out a number of albums. My favourite album will always be Demanufacture, as every song is memorable and like Queen albums, it takes you on a trip.
The other band I became obsessed with that year was Slipknot, who had released their debut album in June 1999. This album is probably my second favourite of their discography, behind their 2001 album Iowa, but it does have my favourite Slipknot song on it, namely Eyeless. Again, if you are only into Queen, this will be a shock to the system and if you are also a fan of Slipknot, you know why I say this. I would get to meet the entire band in 2000 and singer Corey Taylor again, when touring with his other band Stone Sour on their debut album and we had coffee, with me having a double double and his coffee being black. I wish I had known about him being a Queen fan as I would have liked to have spoken with him about our favourite songs. I could go on about other bands I had grown to love from that time, but that would make the post longer than I would like it to be. However, I will give you an list of bands which have held me to Queen, throughout those years and the names may not all be obvious, but something in them kept me holding on.
In the fall of 1999, Greatest Hits III had come out and I had no idea that there would be another one, given that there was only 1 album released between GH II and 1999. However, it happened and considering what was going on with Queen, I give it a pass, as it did include some solo work on it and the track No One But You (Only the Good Die Young) and Thank God It’s Christmas at the end.
From 2000 to 2014, I wouldn’t purchase any Queen albums, simply because I had run out of room in my CD box I had made in shop class, especially for my CDs. I would put all of what I had collected in my box and eventually, I just ran out of space so, I had just stopped. Meanwhile, I would continue to try and join bands, as well as move into my own place and buy albums by newer rock and metal bands. In 2001, I had become a Tool fan and I had always thought they were cool, but I didn’t really get it, until I would get all 4 CDs that were available. My favourite of all of their albums has to be the 1996 masterpiece Ænima, which had been a calming influence around the September 11th attacks and the 2003 North American black out.
In 2004, I had heard about the 1981 Greatest Hits being reissued under the title Greatest Hits (We Will Rock You Edition) and I wasn’t interested at that time. No, I hadn’t stopped being a fan, it was because I didn’t have any room anymore and it was a compilation I had in the past. Sure, there were bonus tracks, but I just wasn’t interested. Even when Queen teamed up with Paul Rodgers I payed attention, but I didn’t exactly jump for joy, because it was different. I’ll talk about Adam Lambert later on.
When Queen Rock Montreal came out, I was happy, but I knew I couldn’t just run out and get it because I had nowhere to put it, because of no room. It wasn’t until 2014, I had finally decided to catch myself up with everything Queen and it would all be on my iPhone. Unfortunately, the sound quality was not exactly up to snuff, with drum hits which stood alone sounding washy. I would hide those purchases and buy all the albums again in 2022, with the exception of the 2004 Greatest Hits album and any album which has CD sound quality. Yes, I am fussy about what I hear and at first, I let it go. However, that has changed and now I am trying to fix that, even if I have to buy the same albums again.
Changing the subject for a moment, I had told you that I also like comedy as well as music and if you like Monty Python, there is that Queen connection, with Jim Beach as a friend of Eric Idle and from what he says, Jim also manages Python as well as Queen. I hope so! I had become a fan of Python in 1998 and before that, I had always liked them, but didn’t know who was who. Even when I had heard John Cleese reading Great Expectations by Charles dickens on tape and I didn’t connect the dots bak then. I was 10 and had no idea that comedians would read audiobooks and obviously, now I know that some do and not just their own autobiographies either. Besides: John Cleese, Eric idle, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam are all great in their own rights and I’m glad that I know the names and who is who and who does what.
I will give you a list of my favourite comedians and those I have in my iTunes library. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Lewis black, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Bob Newhart, Cheech & Chong, Dan Castellaneta, Harry Shearer Dennis Miller, Dr. Demento, Eddie Murphy, The Firesign Theatre, Henry Rollins, Jeff Wayne (American comedian), Jonathan Winters, MacLean & MacLean, National Lampoon, Rowan Atkinson, Sean Morey, Steven Wright, The Three Stooges and Bob & Doug McKenzie. I couldn’t exclude a couple of hosers, portrayed by Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis. Right? There are more comedians which I like, but I don’t have them in my iTunes library as yet.
In 2011, I finally had access to internet through an older cell phone, with buttons as opposed to a touchscreen and I had begun to explore Wikipedia, a couple years earlier. I should explain, that I had gone to the CNIB (Canadian National Institute For The Blind) in Toronto, to learn about and maybe obtain my ham radio license in 2008. I had discovered how websites work and eventually, I would come across Wikipedia in 2009. That is how I began to catch up with Queen and had learned about the Queen On Fire live album from 2004, along with how far back they had to go, in order to make Made In Heaven a full album.
In 2011, I had access, because of a data plan I had with my cell phone company and it wasn’t very much. However, it was just enough for me to do what I have to do and that didn’t involve social media yet. That would come when I got the iPhone and a year after that. Anyway, I got myself caught up on any and all albums Queen had released since 1999, as far as knowledge about them. I would also learn about all of what had come out in 2011, with the entire catalogue being released and with the Luxe versions to. I would finally purchase them in September 2014 and unfortunately, I didn’t listen to the sound quality before I had bought each album on iTunes. However, that would be remedied last year in July, when I bought both the Standard and deluxe version of each album. Oh yes, I can’t forget about Queen Forever and this album being one of my first preorders on iTunes. Actually, this was my second, as the first was .5: The Gray Chapter (Special Edition) about Slipknot. Before Christmas, I would purchase Queen On Fire, Queen Rock Montreal, along with everything else including Live at the Rainbow ‘74, Live Killers and Live Magic. In 2015, it would be the Deep Cuts compilations, Hungarian Rhapsody (Live In Budapest 1986) and A Night at the Odeon (Live), with Queen On Air in 2016, Bohemian Rhapsody (The Original Soundtrack) in 2018 and Greatest Hits In Japan in 2020. In 2014 and 2019 I would purchase Live At Wembley Stadium, with the version with extra tracks: A Kind of Magic (Live at Wembley ’86 (July 11)), Another One Bites the Dust (Live at Wembley ’86 (July 11)), Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Live at Wembley ’86 (July 11)) and Tavaski Szel Vizet Araszt (Live), which was an odd choice to put on this album, but okay. I would also purchase both Mr. Bad Guy (Special Edition) and Barcelona in 2019, after purchasing Messenger of the Gods: The Singles Collection in 2016 and Lover of Life, Singer of Songs: The Very Best of Freddie Mercury Solo in 2014. I even managed to purchse Golden Days from Brian & Kerry Ellis in the summer of 2017, among other things before the summer of 2022.
In 2014, Queen and Adam Lambert went on tour together as Queen & Adam Lambert and has been together to this day. The only song I know from Adam is What Do You Want From Me? And I do have a track he did on Avicii’s True album in 2013. That’s the one with Wake Me Up and Hey Brother on it and no, I don’t normally listen to that kind of music, but Wake Me Up has a cool vibe. I had learned about Adam’s contributions later on before purchasing the album on iTunes in 2017.
In 2020, I was surprised when Queen and Adam put out You Are The Champions as a single, but I shouldn’t have been, as it was for the nurses who were dealing with COVID-19 patients, during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, on October 2nd, two albums came out that I was waiting for: CMFT by Corey Tsylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour, as well as Live Around the World from Queen and Adam. I bought the deluxe version as it would have more music on it. Then, that same day, Donald Trump got Covid and put all the spotlight on him, while I had gone to the bank to do a transaction. So far, Queen and Adam had done a tour in 2022 and maybe one more in 2023. I prefer Freddie, but Adam isn’t all that bad.
Now it’s 2023 and my Queen fandom has been further locked in when I had discovered a podcast (which was approved by Queen in 2020. The Queen Podcast has been going since the fall of 2020 and yes, I know that some who are reading this know about the podcast and it’s FFacebook group, but I’m promoting it here too. I also had put a link to it in the first post in this blog and I quite enjoy it, even it is quite long at times. They are going through every queen album in order of the track listings and I’m looking forward to them covering more solo stuff. They did Back To The Light from Brian and Roger’s first solo outing Fun In Space. By the way, this was one of the late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins’s favourite album as he had a poster on the wall of 606, the Foos recording studio in California. I wonder if it is still there, even after Taylor passed.
Anyway, this podcast and its FB group got me in touch with fellow Queen heads, with whom I could talk about the band without having to explain all that much. I’m happy to know that we all like not just Queen, but other bands too and of course, some of us are more obsessed than others, but that’s all right. It’s all a part of being a Queen fan and as a fan, I am happy to have found the podcast and its FB group. I had fired off an email early on and here is what it said.
Subject: Hello from Canada
Hello from Canada. My name is Gordie and I live in Toronto Ontario Canada. I am in my late 40s and I have been a Queen fan, since I was about 4, when I had discovered News Of The World and had heard the first 4 or 5 tracks. However, I didn’t buy all of the albums until 1991, as they had come out on CD and yes, the remixes were either tolerable, or just plain atrocious. Queen got me through my hi school years and back then, it wasn’t cool to be a fan in my early 20s either. I became the fan I am today, in 1991 and just after Freddie had died, I had all of the albums on CD, except for: Queen II, The Works, Live Killers and Flash Gordon, along with Live Magic and any solo material from Freddie, Brian or Roger.
I discovered the cast a couple of days ago, while checking Twitter and immediately subscribed to it. I am in the process of catching up to the latest episode and right now, I just finished listening to Queen II, The Black Side. I’m looking forward to what you are going to do, after going through all of the albums and, whether you will be going through the solo albums and maybe, appearances on other bands songs. For example: Brian playing with Soundgarden. Maybe even talking about bands they have influenced or, who have influenced them.
About my last idea, I can think of a lot of bands that have Queen all over their music and maybe more, than what Wikipedia has listed. For example: the band Korn has even admitted that singer Jonathan Davis loves Freddie and Robert Plant, as much as other 80s new wave and alternative bands. I bet you that even Depeche Mode have been influenced by Queen in someway and the same with Queen being influenced by them, on a song like Radio GaGa. Even extreme metal bands owe something to Queen and obviously, Stone Cold Crazy is a perfect example of this. If you listen to what Roger is doing during the verces, he is essentially playing blast beats. Except, he’s using rimshots as opposed to snare on the second beat and it’s not quite so fast, as you would hear in bands like Suffocation, or any extreme metal bands you can name from any related sub genres.
By the way, take another listen to Friends Will Be Friends and you will hear some Hendrix-like Wawa from Brian, during the fade out. That jumped out at me, after thinking about it and I thought I would mention it here. Also, A Kind Of Magic and The Works were recorded using Rockman amplifiers, along with the usual amps for the heavy sound. Nobody has said this but, when I listen to both albums I immediately recognized the sound, as I would hear it on more recent albums by Boston. A lot of bands had used them, without mentioning it, other than Def Leppard and even Wikipedia fails to point out this fact, about those two albums.
One thing you should know about me is that I have been blind since birth and I am also a musician. I can’t play guitar as well as Brian or sing like Freddie, but I try. I also have perfect pitch and have a trained ear, to hear music and any sounds, like guitar sounds and even how Freddie’s voice sounds on certain tracks from Made In Heaven. When it had come out, most people didn’t Clue in that the vocals have been recorded over a number of years and after listening to each track, I figured it out right away. although, I did need a little help in figuring out when tracks like Let Me Live and It’s A Beautiful Day were recorded. Obviously, I know now from Wikipedia and the 2011 deluxe version of The Game.
My question is, (in your opinions)what Queen cover version is the best out of all of the ones whih have been released? I like the original and the Metallica version of Stone Cold Crazy in their own rights! I was surprised to hear the faithful rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody by Puscifer, as I had no idea that Maynard James Keenan was a fan. I love Tool and Queen but it was certainly odd, to hear him singing Freddie’s words.
Anyway, keep up the great work and hopefully the cast can go on for a long time, even after the pandemic is over.
Sent from my iPhone SE
That was back in 2020 and they did read out my email and I was wrong about one or two things, namely that the Rockman amplifiers weren’t used on A Kind Of Magic, according to Wikipedia. However, it certainly sounds like it and I would like to think that I am right on this, because of the guitar sound alone.
Anyway, I did get a reply and most of the email was read out on Episode 11, about 28 minutes into it. I may decide to do a voice message for the podcast some day, when I am free of any obligations, whether they be blogs, emails or YouTube channels I watch regularly. I also have to figure out a good question for the panel to answer.
Ever since the podcast, I’ve been buying whatever Queen music I could find on iTunes, which isn’t a movie and eventually, I will purchase the Rock In rio movie, of Queen live in 1985. I have also continued with my solo collection, with purchasing both versions Back To The Light and Another World in 2021 and 2022. In the past week or so, I now have all of Roger’s solo work and with The Cross, thanks to Christmas money and in case you are wondering, I bought the individual albums instead of The Lot as I wanted each album separately.
Will I continue to snap up Queen and solo work? Of course and even take what ever I can from Youtube and convert the audio to MP3, which isn’t available on iTunes anymore, or as yet. I am looking forward to any new reissues and what ever we will get in the coming years, as I turn 50 in June. Maybe we will get the debut album’s 50th anniversary this year? I guess we will see and hopefully, more boxed sets like what we saw in November with The Miracle will be coming down the pike, as there are B-sides and rare tracks which need to be heard and you never know, if there may be something that only the hard-core know about and the rest of us do not, which could come out weeks before the release. Case in point, Face It Alone. Need I say more?
Anyway, as I had promised, here is a list of bands who have helped me hold on to Queen and some of the bands willl surprise some, dew to their sound and some will not. The commonality is that I like them along with Queen and they are all in my iTunes library and like the list of comedians I like, there are other bands who have held me to Queen, but are not on my phone at this time. So, here is the list of bands who have kept me hanging on, to a band who haven’t recorded any new music as a unit except for The Cosmos Rocks in 2008 with Paul Rodgers and yes, 2 of his bands will appear on the list. Ready?
AFI, The Age of Electric, Alexisonfire, All That Remains, Amen, Amorphis, Apocalyptica, Arcade Fire, As I Lay Dying, Ascot Royals, Audioslave, Avenged Sevenfold, Avicii, Bad Company, The Firm and any other band Paul Rodgers has been in, including Queen, Bad News, Beastie Boys, The Beatles, Billie Eilish, Billy Squire, Breaking Benjamin, Boston, Brian Eno, Cannibal Corpse, The Cars, Cavalera Conspiracy, Soulfly, Sepultura, Chimaira, Soundgarden and Chris Cornell, Coal Chamber and DevilDriver, The Crystal Method, The Cure, Pantera, Hellyeah and Damageplan, David Bowie, Def Leppard, Deftones, Depeche Mode, Disturbed and Device, Devin Townsend and Strapping Young Lad, Dream Theater, Econoline Crush, Extreme, Faith No More and any other bands which involve singer Mike Patton, Fear Factory, Five Finger Death Punch, Foo Fighters, Genesis, Godhead, Godsmack, Green Day, Henry Rollins (as a musician), Greta Van Fleet, Guns N’ Roses, Imagine Dragons, Jane’s Addiction, Joe Satriani, Rob Halford and Judas Priest, Kiss, Slayer, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, KMFDM, Kraftwerk, Korn, Life of Agony, LINKIN PARK, Slipknot and anything else Corey Taylor is involved with, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Motörhead, Muse, Nailbomb, New Order, Opeth, Orgy, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, Pink Floyd, The Prodigy, Radiohead, Rage Against The Machine, Rush, Saga, Sevendust, Sex Pistols, Skid Row (the classic era), The Smashing Pumpkins, Spinal Tap, Spineshank, Stabbing Westward, Static-X, Sweet, Them Crooked Vultures, Type O Negative and U2, are all in my iTunes library and have kept me listening to Queen. I like all of these bands for many reasons and they all have something to do, with why I have Queen as one of my 5 favourite bands. I encourage anyone reading this to check out all of these artists and this will go to show that Queen fans also have interesting taste, much like how the band’s music goes many places throughout an album.
I know I may have forgotten some things and I will pick that up in a future post on my years as a Queen fan.