Since he first broke onto the scene, Queen guitarist Brian May has been revered as one of the nicest men in rock music. He is the archnemesis of the badger baiters, the enemy of the anti-vaxxers and to top it all off, he’s one of the greatest guitarists to have ever lived, with a style that is unmistakable.
May is the archetypal humble rockstar and, invariably, has a lot to say about the world. This is why we love him. He’s not simply an egotist that is chained to the mirror, but he’s a worldly man that possesses a sharp intellect and a large degree of self-awareness.
Take his first reaction upon hearing that the late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins was a huge fan of Queen, for example. It says it all about May that the humble man who helped to write classics such as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Killer Queen’ could not believe that someone such as Hawkins would be a fan of the band, let alone to the great extent that he was.
In a recent interview with My Planet Rocks, May revealed that he was shocked to hear that Hawkins was such a lifelong fan of Queen because he felt that the late drummer was much cooler than Queen. “The funny thing was, he turned out to be the greatest Queen fan in the world,” May said. “That was always a shock to me because he seemed to be a lot cooler than we were.”
May did hold back in declaring that he felt that Hawkins was one of the key reasons why Queen’s music has lived on in the hearts of younger generations. He opined: “I think Taylor Hawkins single-handedly made Queen cool to a new generation. He knew everything about us… everything!”
Do not be fooled into thinking that Brian May is just some overly optimistic idealist, though. He has a formidable streak that he’s been forced to turn to at points over the years. This should not be a surprise. First and foremost, he’s a rockstar and it comes as a prerequisite that they have a bit between their teeth. In addition to this, he’s the man who is single-handedly going to save badger kind from total annihilation, another feat that requires grit.
We all remember the 2020 video of May labelling an Australian journalist a “parasite” at Brisbane airport before smacking the phone out of his hand after he’d pleaded with him not to film him. As Brian May explained in his Instagram post after the altercation, this was not the first time he’d had to deal with rude parts of the media: “Now, obviously, I’m not a novice at this,” he said. “I’ve interacted with literally thousands of news reporters, photographers and cameramen over the last 50 years. I’m not exactly known for being aggressive, even in the face of provocation, but this guy caught me unawares – one of the rudest and most disrespectful video cameramen I’ve ever encountered.”
May is clearly adept at dealing with annoying parts of the media, as once he shut down a journalist who was wasting his time in the most sartorial fashion. May said: “Listen. Do you want to do an interview about the show or what we’re doing? ‘Coz this is really wasting time. I’m sorry to be difficult, but, you know, we’re all trying to do as much as we can here, are you sure you want to do this?”
The interviewer then explains that he had already spoken to May‘s manager and that he is “very much upfront” about the direction of the interview, to which the grimacing guitarist responds: “Listen, we have like three minutes left. If you want to do an interview, do an interview, but I don’t want to be watching bits of tape, it’s ridiculous. Look, I’m sorry. It doesn’t work. I’m sorry guys. What matters to me tonight is the show.”
With that, he got up, shook the interviewer’s hand and left. After all, this is Brian May, you do not waste his time. As the old adage goes, he’s got bigger fish to fry. Watch Brian May walk out the interview below.