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Tue 10 July
As we prepare for the Don't Stop Queen Now gig later this month the band took some time out of their rehearsal schedule to answer a few questions for us and give us a behind the scenes glimpse into Don't Stop Queen Now.
Why did you form/join Don’t Stop Queen Now?
I’ve always been a big Queen fan and have collected their old records/memorabilia for years. After seeing them live and seeing how they still dazzle audiences even today without Freddie (sadly), I wanted to recreate that and help share their music. There are so many great Queen songs and they’re so much fun to play, so I put the band together along with other fellow fanatics and have never looked back!
What made you choose the instrument you play?
When I was young, around seven or eight, my parents moved into a house where the previous owners had left a drum kit behind in the basement. I fell in love with it straight away (much to my parents’ dismay!) and have been playing ever since, so it was very much a lucky coincidence. Since then I’ve adapted by my style and modelled my kit around Roger Taylor himself, just to add to the authenticity!
What are you most looking forward to from playing the Castleford Phoenix Theatre for the first time?
The whole band’s looking forward to seeing what the people of West Yorkshire have to offer, and we’re very much looking forward to playing Queen’s music in such a great venue. One of our guitarists (James) is a local lad so this is very much a ‘home game’ for him which he’s excited about. But the facilities are excellent so we’re going to use them to the best of our ability to put on a great show!
What is your favourite Queen song and why?
Liam (Drums): I was always a fan of their earlier material when they had a rocky-edge, so my favourite song is ‘Flick of the Wrist’ from the Sheer Heart Attack album, but I also love their powerful anthemic vocal songs like ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’.
Mike (Lead Vocals): My favourite songs are ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ and ‘Somebody To Love’, just because they’re my favourite songs to perform!
James (Guitar): It’s hard to choose just one, but as a guitarist the opening riff of ‘One Vision’ is hard to beat. It’s a song that’s such fun and we love opening our shows with it, a great way to kick off!
Luke (Guitar): I love the ‘Flash’ album, takes me back to my childhood!
Jon (Bass): Maybe cliché, but it has to be ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, there’s just nothing else like it, a true masterpiece!
Jake (Keys): ‘Bicycle Race’ for me, from the timings to the tune, so catchy!
What’s the best moment you have had so far with the band?
For me it was our first ever show, the start of our journey as a band. We’d spent around six months putting a set together and then agreed to do a private event as our first show. To see everyone’s work in rehearsals pay off and the crowd’s awesome reaction was something I won’t easily forget. Over the course of the set, people were coming in off the street asking to come in and get involved, and even the private party upstairs were hanging over the balcony to sing along to the hits! But with every show we do we seem to find a new special moment, we’re sure Castleford won’t disappoint with that!
What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened?
We’ve been lucky that nothing too embarrassing has happened so far (touch wood), I think between us we’re pretty good at rolling with the punches. That said, our first gig was at newly reopened bar for a private event; so newly reopened in fact that the new floor was being laid while we were setting up! Having to step around floor-tilers certainly made it interesting, but hey, the show must go on! – Shocking pun, I know!
What song would you have loved to hear the Original Queen line up cover/record?
There’s such fun and humour in everything Queen did so it would have been fun to see them cover ‘God Save the Queen’ by the Sex Pistols, or maybe something like ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ by Guns and Roses: between Brian’s guitar work and Freddie’s incredible vocals; I think they could’ve really nailed that!
With so many hit Queen songs how do you select your set list?
We’re so lucky to have so many great songs to choose from that it’s hard to plan a bad set! - Famous last words eh?
You sometimes see artists perform shows where a lot of the audience are just waiting for a particular couple of songs that you know have been tactically placed at the end of the set, but the beauty of Queen is that the show is packed with big hits from to start to finish. When we plan ours, we like to combine all those hits with a couple of gems for the more ‘hardcore’ fans so that we can get a little bit of Queen from throughout their entire career into the show. We like to take inspiration from the original band’s previous shows too, but ultimately we always go back to ‘what will the audience want to hear?’ – that’s always the key to putting on a great show.
Is there anything you would like to say to Queen fans before you come to the Phoenix?
We’ve been working to hard to give the people of Castleford (and surrounding areas!) the best show we can, and we’re confident that you’re going to love this show. There’s a bit of something in there for every type of Queen fan, and we give our all to create the same levels of fun on stage that the original band did, so we hope everyone is ready to come and have a fun-filled Saturday night, singing the night away! We guarantee you’ll still be singing the songs on the way home!
Thank you to the band for this. You can catch Don't Stop Queen Now playing all the hits of Queen and more on the 28th of July. Tickets are available now and cost £16 each.