What It Was Like Being a Roadie for Queen

When Queen was at its peak–and I’m speaking of the Freddie Mercury era, of course–they were one of the biggest bands in the world. What was it like to work as one of their roadies? Medium has this first-person account.

I can’t do it! I simply can’t go on! It’s no good — the show will just have to be cancelled!’

Freddie Mercury, the singer with rock band Queen, often expressed to his beloved live audiences that he’d like to have sexual relations with… all of them. Well, looking at him right now, it appears that last night he did, plus a few of their friends. And shared drinks with them all too.

Queen are at the peak of their successes — and excesses. A pale and fragile-looking Fred is sheltering backstage in the comfort of the dressing room. Outside there is a packed arena containing nigh on 20,000 baying rock fans and it’s less than an hour until show time. Mr Mercury is in one of his moods and nobody present dares to say anything in response. They just ignore him and hope it will go away. It doesn’t.

Fred stands, waves his arms theatrically and loudly states his feelings again: ‘I’m telling you — I can’t do this show — my voice is fucked. I’m fucked!’

Well, what do you expect — screaming and ranting like that?

Brian May and Roger Taylor start to mutter support and try to win him round, while bassist John Deacon stretches out on a couch, a Walkman plugged into his ears — nodding and smiling. Grinning actually. Meanwhile, ‘management’ stop picking at the copious plates of food laid out like a banquet, and begin to get twitchy as they search their address books for lawyers’ and insurance companies’ telephone numbers. The promoter’s face has turned white.

You’ll want to keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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