You might struggle to show your talents when you’re up on stage with the best of the best, such as a musician like Freddie Mercury. Thus, it’s no wonder why Brian May took the necessary steps to push himself to reach his level. The Queen guitarist shared with BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris what he had to do to play on the same wavelength as Mercury, and let’s just say it was no small feat.
It’s no question in anyone’s mind that Freddie Mercury was an extraordinary musician with a ball of talent wrapped up into one performer. The late star was capable of so much, whether it be playing the piano, the guitar, or the different things he could do with his voice.
Don’t get me wrong, Freddie was indeed a hard frontman to share the stage with, considering his impressive performances, which mesmerized the audience. It gave him the push he needed to better himself and not doubt his playing skills. So that’s why Brian May took it upon himself to get to a place with his playing by trying all sorts of things that were good enough to compliment Mercury’s playing and singing. By the end, the combination of the two musicians was unstoppable.
May’s words about Freddie Mercury are as follows:
“[Freddie Mercury] had a very individual style, and he had certain keys that he loved to play, which were not the keys that are easy for guitar players, so that was a big influence on me, so I learned to play an E flat and A flat and F and whatever you know which most guitarists hate doing, but because that happened, it made me find different ways of doing things. So the way the piano and my guitar blended together was an amazingly… How am I going to put this? It was an amazingly recognizable ingredient at the center of a lot of the work we did.”
“Freddie was a great piano player; I would say that without hesitation. He didn’t think he was when and as time went on, he played piano less and less, as you probably saw, and he would get other people in to play for him, but we loved the way he played piano. If you listen to those old backing tracks, stripped away to things like ‘Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy,’ ‘Killer Queen,’ whatever ‘Play the Game,’ the way he played with Roger and John on those backing tracks is monumental. He’s so percussive and rhythmic as a piano player, and he’s very exceptional in that department.”
While May was perfecting his craft, Mercury had his insecurities. The main one being his piano skill. Although he had so much to offer in the eyes of his fans and bandmates, the vocalist doubted himself, so he sourced piano players to play on stage and would focus on his singing. But for what it’s worth, May always praised the frontman for his exceptional talent.
If you ever want to take a trip down memory lane and watch the duo’s performances, you can see the progress May made with his playing and the tricks he learned to take center stage with Freddie Mercury without questioning his playing. The pressure May felt to improve his playing paid off as the band, and the duo became the talk of the town that trickled down to today, where we still reminisce about their presence in the industry.
- Brian May Reveals Freddie Mercury’s Growing Insecurity
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