Queen seems to be everywhere today. Thanks to the success of the Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen music is currently featured in TV commercials and movie trailers. There’s even a new Freddie Mercury music video that got unearthed last week. However, unless you were one lucky ones to see Queen in 1982 at the Richfield Coliseum or perhaps caught them in another city, you never got the chance to see Freddie Mercury in person.
On July 6th, you can catch the next best thing when the premier Queen tribute band, Killer Queen will be playing MGM’s Center Stage. They appeared last year and put on a very impressive show.
We had the opportunity to chat with Patrick Myers, the man who performs as Freddie Mercury in Killer Queen, to discuss his upcoming appearance at MGM’s Center Stage.
Greg Drugan: Hello Patrick, where are you calling me from today?
Patrick Myers: I am back in England at the moment. We’ve got some UK and European dates before we come back to America. We’ll be there at the end of June.
GD: You’ve been in Killer Queen for twenty-six years, what inspired you to take on the role of Freddie Mercury?
PM: Wow, it was 26 years ago. When we first started, the tribute band/cover band thing hadn’t really started. I had gone to university and I met up with my college friends and we got the news that Queen was no more because Freddie had past. We just started singing Queen songs because we were just destroyed. It dawned on us that we were the first bunch of kids that hadn’t seen a Queen concert. With Live Aid, Queen was the biggest act, and going to see that show would be the ultimate live experience. But that wasn’t going to happen. So we thought we would do a show for everyone our age. That was back in ‘93. We put on a show at London University which ironically is where Queen did their first show. We thought that was it, we did the one show and we put everything we had into the costumes and we did as good of a job as we could.
There was a guy in the audience who said, "I want to book you on a whole college tour." I took a year off and we toured the whole country. That kinda led into the West End, and we were the first ever tribute show that they ever had there. Fast forward a few years and we carried on doing it. One tiny door opened where we put a homemade show on, then each show that led from that got bigger and wider and then we were stepping on some of the same stages as Queen. It feels a bit like a dream.
GD: So this isn’t something you set out to do. It kept growing and growing and ran with it, right?
PM: When I left the university, Freddie was alive and tribute bands didn’t really exist. T wasn’t something I could have predicted. I had a rock and roll background, singing and writing songs and having a lot of fun. I had some stage experience but I also had a lot of stage experience in acting. I’ve been trained in acting. I acquired the things that I would need to do this, without knowing that I would be doing this! (laughs)
GD: You’ve got all the mannerisms and moves of Freddie down pat. How many hours of video and different performances did you watch to perfect this?
PM: I wouldn’t know. When I started doing this, it was from the heart. We would get on the underground and visit friends of friends of friends. We would ring on the doorbell, of complete strangers, and ask if they had this video and if we could borrow it. They would hand over this box set of Queen: The Magic Years or whatever it was, because we knew it had a bit of Live Aid on it. You couldn’t get it, you couldn’t Youtube it! You could see what a craftsman he was, both on stage and off. The movement and the voice and everything is a part of the whole for me. It’s just fascinating. He was the best and he knew what in the hell he was doing!
GD: You also play the guitar and piano, were you a musician growing up and do you play other instruments?
PM: Yeah, I was in bands. I essentially taught myself piano. I learned the theory of music and really cut my teeth on classical guitar. The piano is a great instrument to write songs but it’s not great for harmonies like the guitar. I loved to explore harmonies as a kid. When you’re a kid, it’s hard enough to get yourself to sing, let alone to persuade your mates to sing with you in four-part harmony. I’m not going to do that! (laughs) I want to play drums, or bass. I’m not going to step up to the microphone and sing!
GD: Besides Queen, who were some of your other influences?
PM: Growing up, I discovered music really, really late. There was just a limited amount of records and our record player only had one speaker that worked. We had Don McLean and all The Beatles records, that was it! Those were my musical influences until the age of twelve when I got a tape player. I loved The Beatles, because they were the best. But I loved songs. I loved a lot of David Bowie, Adam and the Ants, Godley and Creme. A lot of the new wave stuff. Anyone that had a good song.
GD: Have you seen Queen and Adam Lambert in concert?
PM: It’s phenomenal! It’s truly a groundbreaking show. He’s got a voice from the heavens. It’s not the same as Freddie’s voice but that’s what makes them not being a tribute to themselves. They are creating something, which is crucially important. People ask me if I would like to sing with Queen? As much as that would seem like a nice idea, and would be deeply flattering, that would be the worst thing I could do. It’s very smart of them to go with a different voice and Adam is fantastic.
GD: Has the lineup of the band been the same since you formed it?
PM: No, I would love to be very romantic and sweet and say that it has, but it hasn’t. We have shuffled the deck chairs here and there. But this lineup has been fairly consistent for quite a while.
GD: With the success of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, have you seen more ticket sales for your shows?
PM: I’ve not seen more but I have seen quicker. Luckily, we have always sold well. But now the demand has accelerated, rather than increased. The promoters are more confident putting us in the bigger venues in town. I think the film reassures promoters that yes, Queen is still popular. We’re just a reflection of how goddamn popular Queen are.
GD: What is your favorite Queen song to perform live?
PM: It varies really. Each night is different. There are some songs that I just adore as songs and are lovely to sing. Like “Bohemian Rhapsody” is just a great song. That song has got so much drama and so much happening, I just love to sing that song. But I couldn’t pinpoint a favorite song to sing each night.
GD: What can fans expect from your show when you come to town?
PM: We want to do is to give people the feeling that they got into the gates for a concert that they couldn’t get into. We want to get as much right, with as much detail as we can. The sound, the look, the feel and the atmosphere that you had at a Queen concert. We are aware that Queen are irreplaceable. We try to bring as much of classic Queen as we can.
GD: Patrick, thank you so much for your time and I’m looking forward to seeing you soon. Safe travels and enjoy your time in the States!
PM: Nice talking to you! Cheers, mate.
Be sure to catch the best Queen tribute band, Killer Queen at the MGM Center Stage on July 6th. Tickets start at $20 and are selling fast! You can purchase them here.