Interview about The Great Pretender
David Wigg. Ibiza, 1987
FM: Initially when we started, I mean you know we had our own thing to do and we were sort of…er… apart from being... I mean, we were so stubborn, to be honest, that we just wanted… mmm… to do just our own thing to do. I mean we were so… mmm… which is a good thing to do, because…er… it was like we were letting people know that…you know we were… I think to be wrecked with and all that sort of... We had…and also we had all these ideas, it’s you know… I don’t think people could, to be honest, can make it by doing sort of cover version all the time, I think it’s wrong to show originality and things like that. And I just thought that the time came when I wasn’t scared to sort of…mmm… break out that mode. I mean a lot of people have done cover versions before, but Queen - it’s always been a sort of…er… I think the factor is that we are so prolific within us, I said… I mean I’d feel that if I ventured into the studio with Queen and said “look, I’d like to do a remake of a certain song”, they would say: “Oh, he’s drying up!”, you know.
FM: Yeah and because they’ve got you know tons of songs… so I mean I think that kept us going so we all had to come up with really original material…
DW: (simultaneously) Stuff…
FM: Yeah, material. But now that’s sort of things to my own, and we sort of, you know, made a pact that we can go and do our own things. So that is me - and Queen about you know…
DW: Drive them out
FM: Mmm…and this, I just have this song in my head and I just thought it would be lovely, you see, cause it’s like you sing a song and it’s wonderful to sing. And because it’s somebody else’s - it doesn’t matter. And I thought why not, have a go basically. And you know cause we all… you know, having a shy and thing and all that. You sing other people’s songs but I just thought – “no, put it a tape and see, what happens. So, it was a very sort of impromptus sort of start, and I just come to this, and I just thought: no, I’ll take it a bit further and make it as you know, bring it out as A-product of my own.
DW: Do you feeling that you have been […] do you feel being a big pretender?
FM: Basically it’s… what the song really says is a very sort of one-to-one base of the ballad, that he’s pretending because she’s gone, but he’s still pretending that she’s still around basically – that’s it…
FM: But I thought that you could sort of take it a lot further - just in the word pretender.
FM: So, that pretends. And for me… the way I’m doing it is that, you know, it’s time not to take everything too seriously, that all these sort of visuals and these sort of… these images that I portrayed over the years – this is how one pretends. Because I mean there’s in no way that I was real on stage. I wore costumes and I sort of put myself into different atmospheres, different characters, but underneath all that there is a real me, which, you know… so I just thought - why not now, I’ve been pretending all this time, you know, doing all this stuff - you know, wearing bananas on my head…
FM: …coming on the people’s shoulders, wearing glitter, doing glitz, doing glam, wearing…you know wearing that - it was all a kind of thing… it’s a kind of pretence, yes, where is, I mean you know underneath that I’m still a musician.
FM: And so I thought I’d bring it up to sort of and now that there were all these sort of costumes were a lot of people taking so seriously I didn’t give it a damn I just thought: “My God!” you know and they read far too much into it. I just thought that this is a nice way of sort of covering this whole sort of era of mine as you called it and said: “Look it’s just been a bit of fun!” Actors deal with that kind of thing - portray somebody, they do become those, then go back and do something else.
DW: So if you looked in the mirror and reflected on the true Freddie Mercury - who is he? What is he?
FM: I though about all these things before. I just think… Well I think quite a sort of… I’m quite a chameleon, you know. I may change, I have moods, and I think it’s a combination of a lot of sort of you know characters that make up a person anyway, yeah, I go into my moods… […] I’m probably trying to sort of… I’m a sort of person of extremes because I can be very soft and […] that makes me that much more tenacious it’s like something trying to get out of me so that I can actually… but when I’m off stage I calm down, I become a very different person - I research, gather lots of energy, gather lots of information and then I just use it to… so that’s… in a way there’s no so half measures I… I’m hot and cold.
FM: And I think I’d like to be that way so that what I’m gathering you know I gain […] and I do it. And when I should know when I want to release it it comes across like a tidal wave and then there’s a […]
DW: Yeah, yes
FM: But I hate to take that back home with me.
DW: Hm. Very good. Freddie do you feel you’re… would you say you are a difficult person to live with or not?
FM: Oh yes, I think I do all that, to be honest. I’m…
DW: Do you?
FM: Well I think I am
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FM: You may be surprised cause I mean it’s not for you to say, it’s…
FM: The only way you can find out whether you… because I… it’s the other person, or other personas
FM: So I mean I think that kinda thing… I mean, it’s not up to you I mean I… I think I… I live within… in a fair way but that is me anyway cause I mean there are lots of different…er… up-looks on how people behave and everything but I mean I think I give whoever I’m living with I give people a fair chance and sometimes too limit - maybe that’s my fault…
DW: Do you think so?
FM: I think so, yeah
DW: Somebody wants …
FM: I’m a very… I’m a very…mmm… possessive person
DW: (murmurs simultaneously) That’s what I wanted to know…
FM: Which I am
FM: I am.
FM: But you see I want to have my cake and eat it too…
FM: …which is what everybody wants
FM: But I am, yes… I think in terms of back of anything I can, yes, I can be… I can go to great lengths trying to be…be…mmm….
FM: Loyal, yeah, just to prove point and… but then once if I… but […] betrayed me I got the other way, they’ll find that I’m very hard to live with because when one time betrayed I’m a new chap
DW: You never seem vulnerable. Have you ever cried, Freddie?
FM: Absolutely. Of course, I have! Yes, I cried rivers, dear!!!
DW: And so what would… what… what makes you cry?
FM: You know, lots of things. Lots of things. You know lots of things. I seem a sort of… I think everybody cries. And I’m very hard on the exterior, I’m very sort of you know…
DW: Self-centered (laughs)
FM: Absolutely, yeah… With a chocolate
FM: […]black magic
DW: What kind of things would make you cry, Freddie? Relationships?
FM: Sometimes it’s a… No, sometimes I think it’s a kind of stress factor overall from lots of different areas and I seem to sort of build them up and build them up and then it’s like welling or swelling a lot […] and I build them up and build them up and then I just…so…so I burst into tears I do this I go to a complete - what’s it, and then I’m sot of… you know it has to come out so it’s like a balloon that bursts so I mean I feel that I seem to sort of take everything and then I sort of build it up, build it up, and then […] it’s like…and when I’ve got it too like fever pitch somebody just has to prick the balloon and that is all - pfff! That’s what I am and I…
DW: And you explode
FM: And I cry and I…
DW: And you explode… Do you feel fulfilled, totally fulfilled in you life now? You’ve reached 40, you’ve had incredible success…
FM: Good question, I was thinking that […] I’m very happy with what I’ve achieved it’s like I know that a lot of people who think: “OK, now I’ve done, I’ve got what I wanted to, cause I have enough money and success and relation you know - what would you want?
FM: Yeah. Exactly. So I have all that and I think... and I look back and say: “Well done my dear”, I say you know: “Good luck to you that you did it yourself”’ and now I think I’ve come to sort of like… like another sort of phase of my life where I think: “Look I .. I still want to keep achieving the kinda success that I have in this […] But I think - look…. I think now I have the time and the capacity to try to venture into areas which I would NEVER DARE because it … would be harmful to my career whatever. Things that I mean, so now I’m doing those kind of things and I think I don’t really want to do that as a benefit… Am I making sense?
FM: I don’t want it to be a game in my… but it’s for somebody… I want sort of trying doing things, walk on tie trope, living […] and do things when I can fall completely flat on my face but I neither... I don’t… to me if it’s harmful to my career - so what? I wanna do it, no one will take away whatever I’ve achieved. They can only say: “OK, look it’s fall flat”. Do you know what I mean?
FM: Whereas before there were things where I still wanted… there was this growth-process of my career or my bliss when I didn’t want anything to hamper it while doing it I wanted it to… there was a kind of… but now I feel that there is acceptance which I like. It is I mean when I a sort of forget that idiom to do certain things where…
DW: For the sake of risk?
FM: Yes… Not for the sake of taking risk. It’s something that I want to do things, I don’t want to sort end my life just being a Rock’n’Roll star.