Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

12. QueenQueen II

When I think about why I love Queen my head just fills with every single Queen song that I know by heart. It’s just like a box of Quality Street. Everything is amazing. The reason that I’ve chosen the second album is because the song ‘Ogre Battle’ is on there, which is one of my favourite tracks. It’s rare that you struggle to label a band. If you’re a heavy metal band you’re meant to look and sound like a heavy metal band but you can’t really call Queen anything. They could be a pop band one day or the band that wrote ‘Bicycle Race’ the next and a full-blown metal band the next.

In terms of the depth of the musical landscape that they covered, it was very similar to some extent to the Beatles. I mean ‘Helter Skelter’ was a pretty heavy track, and ‘Yellow Submarine’ really wasn’t. I think Queen have a lot of similar ingredients. Everybody was writing the songs as well, so Freddie was writing differently to John Deacon, and then John was writing differently to Roger [Taylor, drummer]. They were all accepting each other though, and nobody was sat there saying that they couldn’t do something because it didn’t sound like Queen. If it was a good song they’d record it, and this album is nothing but good songs. It’s a style that we’ve tried to adopt into Judas Priest. A good song is a good song at the end of the day, and there’s no point in wasting time arguing about whether Priest are supposed to sound like the British Steel record or the Painkiller record or whatever.

I felt such a sense of loss when Freddie died, but he fucking loved his life. He partied like a maniac. I’ve lost a lot of friends to AIDS and it’s such a terrible thing to have to suffer through. Such a cruel condition to be taken by. From what I’ve seen and heard there’s a horrible sense of loss in those early days. There was a lot of rejection and almost pariah-like status heaped upon you by people. And it’s still around today, which is so sad and unfair. It’s interesting though, because I don’t know if Freddie would still have been doing what he did now. Would he still be going out on the road with Brian and Roger, who, by the way, I love? Especially Adam [Lambert]. But Freddie would have been 70-something I think, and I get a feeling that at some point, he would have just said, "I’ve had enough now darling." We lost him, but he left behind such an incredible legacy and canon of work. I listen to Queen almost every day still.

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