The ‘Grown-Up’ Queen Decision That Surprised Brian May
The band dynamic was in disarray leading up to their 13th LP, with May recovering from a divorce and Freddie Mercury learning to live with HIV. But they’d more recently overcome differences of opinions between the members, leading to an optimistic new mindset as they started work.
“I think we felt like we’d found a new way of reading one another,” May tells Guitar World, “because we had been through a little bit of an extreme estrangement there, with people going off and doing their own thing. We came back, and we decided to share the publishing of all the songs.
“So, that meant we'd share authorship, credit, and monies, which was a very grown-up thing to do,” he added, “and on the one hand, I'm surprised it hadn’t happened earlier. But on the other hand, I’m quite surprised it happened at all because you have to give up quite a lot to make that decision.”
When deciding to approach work this way, “you have to give up your baby and share it with your partners, but it was a wonderful decision because it freed us up and inspired us to work much more openly with each other,” May said. “It allowed us to be more dispassionate about choosing what's going to be done, what’s going to be used as singles, running orders. … All those decisions became much more pleasant when we decided to share ownership of everything.”
Queen also started working together in the same studio at the same time again. “We’d gotten into a habit of working in different studios at different times and then pulling stuff together,” May explained, “but in this case, we all got back together in there and had fun. You can hear it on things like ‘Was It All Worth It’ and ‘Khashoggi’s Ship.’ These are all things that we kicked around from an initial idea and were bouncing ideas off each other in the same room – ‘Okay, you do this and I’ll try this. Can you do that? I'll do this.’
“It was a lot like the old days, the same way that we made those early Queen albums,” May concluded. “It really was a rebirth of interactive playing for us.”
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