Interviews: Brian May: GM TV '98
Transcript by the Tunneys
Now he's come a long way since he got his first guitar at the age of 7. Brian May has gone on to become one of the most successful song writers of his generation and as part of rock group, Queen, has had more hits than you can shake a stick at. He has a new solo album out on Monday and our own show business queen, Helen Morton, popped round to his home:
Cuts to film.. Birds singing. Helen gets out of a car on the driveway. Car door slams.
Helen: (walking up path towards front door) Well I'm just a few miles away from London but it feels like I'm in the middle of the countryside. This is home to Brian May, the Queen guitarist, and Anita Dobson, and Brian's invited us here today to take a look at where he's based - to look at his home - and also to chat about his new, third solo album. S'go inside. (Pushes front door)
Cuts back to the garden (birdsong) - Helen and Brian are out on a lawn. Brian wears a short black leather jacket, over a black vest.
Helen: Well here we are in your garden
Helen: It's beautiful out here isn't it.
Brian: Yeah, this is my escape from the world.
Helen: When you're not working on the album, what do you do to switch off? Or do you switch off?
Helen: Do you switch off, that's the question, isn't it?
Brian: I find it - to be truthful - I find it very hard to switch off. I'm the kind of person who has things going round here (points to head) the whole day and the whole night, you know. So I'll go to bed with a tune in the head and it'll still be there in the morning - and sometimes it's, its a kind of, um, its almost like a kind of illness, you know. It becomes so intense that its very uncomfortable, you know, it might be just a couple of bars that are going round in your head and it drives you nuts.
Switches to living room. Brian seated playing a few bars of a tune on a 'brown' guitar (not Special or copy).
Switches to Hallway, Brian seated at grand piano. Helen seated opposite (as she is dressed in a black leather coat and black leather trousers you hear this creaking when she moves.
Helen: Now we've just had a wander round your garden and, where are we now - what's this little . . .house?
Brian: This is kind of the middle, this is the hallway, yeah, its very, um, very romantic. (laughs).
Helen: Hmm. Do you spend a lot of time here? Do you play the piano a lot here?
Brian: Err, yes. This is our touring piano, actually, this is Freddie's piano. Err . .
Helen: Is it really?
Brian: Which is a goodun'.
Helen: It's beautiful, isn't it?
Brian: And its been all round the world a few times.
Helen: What sort of influence has, sort of, Freddie left now had on you?.
Brian: Um - Freddie's very much in mind the whole time. Um - I don't know how to put it into words - he's just kind of there. Um, big part of our lives for such a long time and I think that there are always points when I kind of want to show it to Fred like, you know, you know like you do to your parents or something, you know like say "Look, look what I done, you know and . . "
Cuts to Show Must Go On Video
Helen: Now you've just got your third solo album coming out. Tell us a bit about it and the inspiration behind this one. (Leathers creak)
Brian: What was the question? (Both laugh)
Helen: The inspiration behind it?
Brian: The inspiration is, I suppose, life really, um - I'm always struggling to sort of make sense of life, I mean my life and people around me, and the way I see it, and that's basically what I write about.
Helen: Well I think what we'll do is, we'll move up to your studio and have
Helen: A peek at where, where all this album happened
Brian: Yeah, okay.
Helen: Which is just upstairs, isn't it?
Brian: It's up there.
Helen: Okay, (Brian laughs) lets uh, lets head off there.
Both set off up beautiful staircase. Audio plays:
In another world
Under another sky
Helen: This is your studio? Ah, so show us what you do then? This is amazing.
Brian: Well, (pointing to a STUDIO 900 keyboard) this is a great writing tool, which a lot of people use these days. You can use this to do piano if I want, you know, you can make a piano sound or strings or something, but it can also do like the drum track if you want it to. (Hits keys and makes drum noises) - all this stuff in here. And you can programme it on here. (Points to laptop computer) I can, um, (starts loud click noise going) this is a click I can work to.
Helen: Oh wow.
Brian: So if there's just an idea you can just go (Hits Studio 900 keys to make drum noises in time with click) and then this thing (pointing to very large mixing desk - possibly two have been joined together) is all about bringing it back up and mixing it together (music of Another World starts) this is the final mixing.
Film switches to Brian walking up garden path towards camera (says something but not on audio)
You can believe I'll meet you here
In Another World.
Penny : Wonder if he wants to flog that house?
John Stapleton: Nice garden, lovely garden, if that was his.
Penny: It'd have to go cheap, though. (Both laugh)
John: Yes, absolutely. Right