QUEEN: Brian May is 70 and still rocking
Brian May is a guitarist, singer, songwriter, inventor, astrophysicist, co-founder of Queen, author, humanitarian, activist, animal lover, husband, father, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, all-around good guy. Today (Wednesday) he turns 70.
Born in London in 1947, he is the only child of the late Harold and Ruth May. He studied Mathematics and Physics at Imperial College London, graduating with a degree in physics in 1974. In 2007, he was awarded a PhD in astrophysics for academic work he began in 1971 but set aside to become a rock star.
His first band was named 1984 after the George Orwell novel. This was followed by Smile and then Queen, which continues to this day, with May, drummer Roger Taylor and Adam Lambert handling vocals in place of the late Freddie Mercury.
May is taking his birthday off. Queen performed in Toronto last night and has Detroit set for Thursday.
Brian May talks about composing a good guitar riff:
"It’s an interesting discussion between a simple riff and a complex riff, you know. Most of us think that simple is great but there are definite exceptions like 'Message in a Bottle' is the most incredibly complex thing, but it sticks in the mind. But, you know, a riff is a riff is riff and it’s a mystical thing. Either it grabs you or it doesn’t and some things can be quite involved or some things can be incredibly simple like The Kinks ’Da Dah-da da DAH’, you know, they don’t come simpler than that, but my God, that's one of the great classics of all time."
Brian May recently talked about what Queen related to their audience:
"I think the whole anthemic thing, which was a word that was not coined until later. I think we're probably responsible for more than anything. And it came out of a desire from us to make the audience more important in a sense. And when they started singing all the songs and singing along with us -- in the beginning we were resistant to the idea and thought people should just listen to us. But once we let that idea in, it became a very crucial part of what we were about from then on."
Brian says money has nothing to do with the decision to tour again as Queen:
"We don't need the money, we don't need the fame, so why would we do it? If the Queen legacy is going on and on and on, it's not because of us, it's because people want it. And just now and again it's nice to give people what they want. I think that's all you can say. I like it. I don't have to do it and I certainly don't want to do it all the time anymore. We did it for 20 years."