Freddie Mercury Wanted to Play Guitar Like Jimi Hendrix, Biographer Claims
Could you picture Freddie Mercury tearing through a blistering instrumental version of the British national anthem 'God Save the Queen' (not the Sex Pistols song)? It may have happened -- if the late Queen frontman fulfilled his early musical dreams of being a "guitarist like his hero, Jimi Hendrix,'' as Lesley-Ann Jones, author of 'Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography,' tells The Sydney Morning Herald. "But he realized he'd never have the same natural ability as Hendrix. Freddie was a piano player. That was the instrument he composed on.''
A new edition of Jones' Mercury biography, which was first published in 1997, recently hit bookstore shelves again in completely revamped form. The author conducted a hundred new interviews for the updated version, which not only delves into the nearly 15 years of Queen since it first came out, but also provides new insight into material covered the first time around. ''I rewrote the whole book,'' says. ''I was told that practically never happens in publishing."
Because so much time had passed, she was able to secure interviews not previously available to her. ''There was a lot of grief around [after Mercury's death]," she explains. "A lot of people in the music industry didn't want to speak to me [for the first edition]. This time I did a hundred new interviews, of which I have used 25 comprehensively. The other interviews inform the text.''
Three continued holdouts this time around were the surviving members of the band, including bassist John Deacon, who "suffered very badly when Freddie died" and still wasn't up for talking, Jones explains. As for guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, ''they were helpful from a distance. They didn't give me full-blown interviews but they were not unfriendly or obstructive," she says.
As for his tragic and untimely passing, Jones almost hints that Mercury is happier in death than he would be if still alive. "He didn't want to be a fat, bloated old queen. He died at 45 and he became immortal," she says. ''I don't think he would have made a good old man ... But I think he would have enjoyed the Freddie he has become since his death. He's the Judy Garland of rock.''