Brian and Me
by, 05-10-2010 at 09:56 AM (2141 Views)
Over thirty years ago, on Top of the Pops, I first heard the pop group Queen. What first struck me was not the spangley over the top outfits, (believe me they were tame for the day.) No, it was the fact that they were using grown up words and references- they were assuming that we teenagers knew stuff.
She keeps her Moet et Chandon in a pretty cabinet
Let them eat cake, she said, just like Marie Antoinette.
Ok, so they were wrong- we hadn't a clue, but still eh.
Then came a guitar solo, a simple thing played by a big-haired bloke in a white suit. He was actually treating his guitar as a musical instrument, rather than a stage prop penis. At the end of the solo, the notes both swelled and decended into a strange crecendo. Wanna try? Sang Freddie. Interesting.
I wasn't hooked, but I was interested. Eventually I bought Sheer Heart Attack, it was good, in fact it was very good. I began to follow them.
The guitarist was Brian May.
He could've been an Astro-Physicsist, but decided to be a rock guitarist instead. (How cool is that!)
He made his own guitar out of his dad's coffee table. (Pretty cool!)
He wears clogs! (Ok not so cool but you can't have everything.)
He married Angie Watts off East Enders! (As above)
I became a fan when I saw him playing a solo in the middle of “Now I'm Here” at Wembley- Its on Utube I think- I had assumed it was done in the studio, there are melodies running side by side ,counter points and descants all going on at the same time, and, as revealed at Wembley, all played by one man, on one home made guitar. Amazing,
Bringing discernable, palpable intellegence and musicality to the lead guitar of a rock band is like bringing Michael Angelo to paint the ceiling of a portacabin. A waste perhaps, but if you do ,you will experience a few sublime moments that lift an ordinary life.
One odd thing. Even today there is nothing better in my music collection than Sheer Heart Attack, I include Beethoven, Abba and Holst in that. My favorite track is Brighton Rock, where Brian rejects all his erudition and learning and simply thumps the strings like a rhythmic Neanderthal. Now that is Rock and Roll.