Roger Taylor ["Queen"]
Robert: You're not just drummer, but you also sing and write songs, and generally play a prominent role in queen. For many drummers, this may seem like a lot. responsibility. This is true?
Roger: No, I don't think so. It seems to me that drummers are too often suffer from the fact that their image is presented in a distorted light. Foolishly, but however, according to the established tradition, drummers in rock bands are usually held for fools. Sometimes this, by the way, is not far from the truth, and the reason is that drummers often play mindlessly. Of course, everything I do improves my burden and responsibility, but it's so cool to expand your own horizons! I'm high because I see myself as more of a musician than drummer.
Robert: Why you suddenly decided to sing and compose?
Roger: Well, I guess it's because I've been hanging around for too long control room during recordings. Today drumming is only half of my work at Queen; the other half is occupied by singing. I started just like drummer, - began to compose and sing later.
R: How do you manage combine singing and composing with drumming?
R: Oddly enough, drumming and singing at the same time has never been me a problem, although for some it is difficult. The talent of the singer woke up in me, when I was still at school - once our school group was set up by our vocalist, who screwed us right before the concert. And we couldn't speak, and then I sang. That's how I became a vocalist.
R: Sounds like it all happened quite spontaneously.
R: By the way, yes. But, of course, before that moment I was often on singing. I realized that drumming and singing is much easier than I thought. Keep in mind - all this was a very long time ago. I never had problems with time, which was a big plus. However, from a physical point of view, this is very exhausting. What I mean to say is that even just playing the drums is very hard work.
R: Are you something do you do to stay in shape?
R: I would like to. I'm already thinking about buying a set of sports home exercise equipment because I'm getting older. Looks like it's time to start study.
R: How come that did you start writing songs? Have you always written them?
R: No, not always. When Queen and I were just starting and I first met Brian [Brian May - Queen guitarist], I'm not good enough played the guitar in order to compose. 'Cause you can't write songs if you can only play the drums; you need something else to compose, - guitar, for example. And then I decided to learn how to play the guitar and at the same time prepared to write by watching and listening to how others do it. At first it was not easy, and my first songs were very far from perfect.
R: How skilled you are at guitar player?
R: Well, I honestly don't know that myself. I only know that I have a good sense of rhythm. I wouldn't say I'm good at it instrument, but I don't play sourly.
R: How do you write songs? Do you use any individual technique?
R: Now I understand that it's easier to compose melodies on the phono, because phono, in my opinion, is more suitable for composing songs than any other was another tool. The guitar is a rather difficult instrument, especially for composing melodies. Say, when you play harmony on the guitar, how do you play a melody on top to hear how it will sound as a whole? On the the keys, on the other hand, can compose and perform the whole piece. That's why I use when writing material, keyboards, as well as a sequencer or something like that.
R: How many do you play musical instruments?
R: On guitar, keyboards and drums. In addition, I am constantly I mess around with all kinds of electronics. I recently bought a Simmons sequencer. Useful thing. I often mix it into my drum tracks. The problem is only that you need to be able to work with a sequencer; to get good sound drums on the record, you sometimes have to turn over several dozen drum machines.
R: For the last album Queen - "The Works" - you wrote the song "Radio Ga Ga." Enough interesting thing. How did you come up with the idea to write it?
R: First I came up with the title and then I wrote the lyrics. In such, in a rather strange order, everything happened. It talks about the importance radio for humanity - because it appeared before television - and also about how important it was to me when I was a child. On the radio for the first time heard rock and roll. Dorris Day was mostly played there, but several times a day Bill Haley or Elvis Presley things also slipped through. Today, it seems video, the visual side of rock 'n' roll, is becoming far more important than the music itself. I want to say that in general, music was originally conceived as a delight for the ears, not for the eyes.
R: It's no secret that often today's composers and bands write songs more based on subsequent video clip than for the actual music.
R: That's right. But this approach is wrong. Back to the cave, right? it not only a joke, this is a really big problem, because now those times when you can’t even promote your own without filming a cool expensive video first single.
R: Back in a minute back to the album. Besides "Radio Ga Ga," did you play a leading role in creating any other things?
R: Well, all members of Queen contribute to the arrangement in one way or another all songs.
R: In 1981 you released solo album, - "Fun In Space". From the point of view of the drummer that gave you experience solo record?
R: That album was recorded in a hurry, to be honest. I thought that if If I don't finish it as soon as possible, I'll go crazy. And I did it too fast. For most of the last year, when I wasn't working on The Works, I wrote his next solo album. He will be very different from my firstborn. This the record is much, much better than my previous solo album.
R: Which is better? Can more specifically?
R: Well, on the one hand, it took me a whole year. I must be I am sure that every thing I recorded is done soundly. Therefore, in the process work, I shoveled a lot of material. Also did cover versions of other people's things, which I like. I made a version of "Racing In The Street" by Bruce Springsteen. I've always liked this thing. I did it at an average pace, I hope the author I would have done it the same way if I had decided to do it at that pace. Original version, of course, done at a very slow pace. Another rehash, very old Dilan's protest song, which I stuffed with electronics. "Masters Of War" called. Oddly enough, its text has not lost its relevance to this day. day. I have it slower than "Racing In The Street," which is also heavily loaded with electronics. I used Linn in it. He works like crazy.
R: What, first turn, pushed you to a solo project?
R: Well, I felt like I had grown creatively and wanted more expression than Queen could give me. I wanted, I hoped, to be something more than just a member of the group.
R: Here you wrote song. What determines whether it will be performed by Queen or whether it will enter your solo album?
R: It all depends on what we're working on at the moment. If I I bring a song written on a piece of paper and the rest of the members like it group, then this song will be performed by "Queen".
R: Have you ever ever tantrums because, say, Queen "took" songs from you, which would you like to include in your solo album?
R: This has never really happened to me because I I only have two solo albums so far. My "exhaust" does not go to any comparison with the "exhaust" Queen. I've never had anything but a couple songs on each album. I try to save up more songs, so say for yourself. "Radio Ga Ga" would definitely be on my solo album if I Then he recorded a solo album.
R: You said you I like to press all sorts of buttons and turn all sorts of knobs. This is for you in novelty?
R: We have our own studio in Switzerland and I love it play with all these new toys that are constantly supplied there. I am now much more zealously peering into the hardware market than ever before before. And I got better at it. For example, when there were first electronic drums, I didn't like them because I never I liked the sound of the drum. However, I soon discovered that LinnDrum was far superior everything else in this area, and began to use them. Most of me jokes when they tell me that, they say, they will never squeeze "live" out of Lynn sound, they just don't get it. Of course, they are partly right, but in fact most drummers swear by electronic drums simply because they afraid to forget how to play live drums. This is nonsense, because modern electronic drums are very good. You can even program "uneven" playing style, and it will sound like you're playing acoustic. Can play quieter and louder. It's all there and easy to use. achieve "live" sound on electronic drums is possible - and ignore this technology it is forbidden. This business cannot be reversed. It's like an English union musicians: many musicians are out of work, and the union is therefore trying to ban synths. It's like jumping on the tracks trying to stop racing express. You won't stop.
R: Can you imagine that one day you will play exclusively on electronic drums?
R: It's possible. On my solo album, which I'm currently working on, I I use a lot of electronics. There is also a track on the album "The Works" which speaks for itself - "Machines."
R: When you compose songs, what is your approach to constructing drum tracks?
R: Very often I write the drum machine first, and only then on top laying down acoustic drums. Of course, all tracks are different, but usually I I prescribe Linn or Simmons first. Although this method is not always good. Sometimes it's just a pipe thing.
R: You can bring an example of the erroneous use of such a technique?
R: Well, at some "uncomfortable" pace, if written over drum machines live drums, it turns out such a shit in the end! .. In fact, the whole thing in how to position the microphones. These days it is not customary to hang drums microphones like Christmas tree balls. I want to say what to hang in the kitchen 15 microphones is absurd. All the best drum sounds I've ever had or managed to achieve, were filmed with four, well, five microphones at most.
R: You were talking about your interest in what is happening within the walls of the control room. What sparked this interest? Was the reason just to stay afloat in your professions?
R: Optional. I just realized at some point that I became finally understand the mixing console. And then, over the past 12 years, I spent half my life in control rooms, so I just became more aware of their potential capabilities. Although I don't know much about it, I'm always very interested happening in the walls of the control room. By the way, in my opinion, recording studios are now undergoing major changes. Like it or not, hardware became three to four times larger than before, and the studios themselves, in three or four times less.
R: In that case, you perhaps a recommendation should be given to all novice drummers that in this business can't survive without a solid knowledge of recording technology, and you shouldn't hope that someone in the group will understand these issues in their entirety and fully.
R: Agreed. Of course, it all depends on how extensive knowledge you want to have. If you just want to play drums well, - no problem. But this position seems to me somewhat limited. I couldn't all the time to sit at the installation and do nothing else - you understand what I? All young drummers should definitely study their trade with technological point of view. If they do not do this, they will remain behind board. And one owes it oneself and one's talent to make the most of things.
R: What do you think why England came to the forefront of show business when things got ugly drum machines and other electronics?
R: I don't know. This is true, but why this is so, I do not know. Probably the answer can be found in the attitude of some musicians to this question, or in the manner in which children are born. When a child is born, he absorbs all the popular music that he hears up to a year. This process is all time repeats. I'm afraid it's the same in America. For the British show business is an opportunity for self-realization, because the standard of living in the country very low, immeasurably lower than in the USA. For example, no one in England has conditioner. Americans simply cannot imagine that they will enter the diner, and there will be no air conditioning. In America, the right of a citizen to air conditioning is enshrined almost in the constitution. In England, about air conditioners almost no one heard.
R: Queen started in 1971 - a good 13 years ago. What did you do to support group in its early days?
R: Freddie [Mercury] and I tried to somehow exist. It was back in college and I often skipped lectures. However, I received a grant and ran a shop where Freddie and I traded paintings. We were selling it his own paintings and those of his college art friends. That's how we are supported the existence of the group in the first place.
R: You were too an artist?
R: No. I studied dentistry and then got my degree in biology - because in dentistry I would never have been able to get degree.
R: Have you played with Freddy Mercury in any bands before Queen?
R: No. I was in a band with Brian and Freddie was one of those half-worshippers that were hanging around us at the time. He, of course, thought as if he was also a member of our group, but he always had such a bright individualism, that it was better for him to go his own way - and, by the way, then he did not was such a cool vocalist as he is now. Now he is a great singer - this is between us. I can't believe it. We jammed with Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck, - so Freddie sang almost four times louder than all of them! He stood out extraordinarily. In every case, we played together with Brian, as I said. It was a group of the name Smile. When it fell apart, Freddie, Brian and I decided to create a new one. group. It was 1970. So Queen was born.
R: Which of the drummers influenced you at the time? Who were you listening to?
R: I've always liked John Bonham even though he didn't use it in England. as popular as you are here. And in my opinion, he was the best drummer of all who have ever lived on this planet. In the rock world no one can with it compare. He was an innovator of a particular drum style. He had the best the sound of drums, and the highest speed. In short, he was the best. His the impact on the minds of other drummers was enormous. He did such things with one pedal things on a barrel that some people couldn't do with three. In addition, he was the most powerful drummer I have ever seen. As is known, "Led Zeppelin" was actually much more popular in America than in England. To understand how cool John Bonham was, you have to be a drummer yourself...
R: How strong Was John Bonham's influence on you and your style at the time?
R: It was pretty good. It seems to me that today we have a whole a bunch of drummers who are nothing but a direct copy of Bonham. And they think while having their own unique style. It's just style Bonham, but, alas, they can't even come close to his sound.
R: And as a drummer, who was influenced by another drummer, to make sure not to become his copy?
R: Well, it's all very individual. You need to develop your own style. Everyone can find their own "zest", find what "chips" it turns out better than others. And these are the "chips" and we must diligently develop.
R: How did YOU manage to not become a copy of John Bonham?
R: Well, I didn't want to sound like him because I knew there was no it makes no sense to sound like someone else, especially if it's your contemporary. So I I was just trying to adapt some of his style to my own.
R: What specifically?
R: Well, first of all, the barrel. I mean, he invented a whole school of hard barrel playing style. I learned a lot just by listening to the first Led albums Zeppelin.
R: What about Keith Mune?
R: Keith Moon was cool. In the early days, he was absolutely magnificent. At he had an absolutely unique style, and he did not "rip off" this style from anyone. I first saw him with "Who" in '64 or '65. It was a complete blast. "The Who" was a frenetic band - real energy, real art. I loved them. AT I mean, breaking your instruments on stage was something unheard of back then.
R: When did you start to play on drums?
R: I don't remember exactly. Do you believe? Well, let's say around nine or ten years. I remember I beat my mother's pots with spoons. Then my father brought me especially for this purpose, a broken snare drum, which he found on garbage can. It was an old tree with copper hoops. This is where I started. That's why I got a real snare drum, and then a cymbal. In those days the real the kitchen was a hell of a get! Yes, I did not know what I would do with the whole installation, if I had it then. An event for me was the day when my father brought home a cheap set of used Ajax drums. It consisted of one volume, one kick drum, one snare drum and one minute Zildjian cymbal. Hi-hat I only got two years later, if not later. The drums were for me something truly divine. In my mind learn to play the guitar much more difficult. On the drums, everything is simple - you either have a sense of rhythm, or it doesn't exist. If you don't have it, you have no chance, none. Nobody can be taught to feel the rhythm, or, as we say, "time". I found it very easy to shoot and play things like "Wipe Out". Which is what I've always done. But I never dived deep into the technical side of drumming.
R: I understand that you never took a class?
R: No, never. But I gave them - believe it or not! [laughs] I can't even sight-read.
R: Still not do you know how?
R: Very slowly, syllable by syllable. I always thought it was completely unimportant for business. I just always listened to what was happening around, completely immersed in executable work. Whenever I meet Carmin Appice (Carmen Appice), he is all immersed in some regular little things-dryuchki-fintiflyushki. He seems to be able to talk for hours even about playing with cans... No, I the drummer is not technical.
R: What did you do after you got your first drum set?
R: My friends and I started a school band. We played terribly - in fact really terrible. We hardly had any equipment. But many started from the school group - in the end, bad groups became good. I'm in such groups has always been a leader, for a number of reasons ... Then I also began to sing, until heaps. It was at that time that I laid all the foundations of my career.
R: Why drums?
R: Well, I was jumping around the bedroom with a tennis racket in my hand, imagining that's my guitar. But the drums were louder, and besides, I found that I'm better at them. Plus, I liked them better.
R: Did you have a child Are you influenced by the Beatles?
R: No, not really. When they hatched, they were impossible to bypass. side. The Beatles were everywhere. But their music never touched me for real until the release of "Revolver". Then it hit me. This the album was just great and it really had a big impact on me. But above all, I preferred "Who" and "Yardbirds" - indeed classic British bands.
R: Queen... How much listen to your opinion in the group?
R: Queen is a very democratic band. Everything is decided by voting. To accept something, you need three votes to one, and then if at the same time the one left in the minority will say "I'm against it anyway" or "I don't want it do, we won't do it.
R: The group has already has been playing with the same line-up for years in a row. It's unusual...
R: Queen will no longer be Queen if one of us leaves the band, or if we will start pulling the cart in different directions. The feeling of unity unites us. Today it's the same group that was when we first started. I think it's good. I think it's important. There is an old saying: "The whole is more than the sum its parts." This applies to Queen as well.
R: When Queen sits down to the studio to record an album, what is your role?
R: I'm a completely resilient person. The most important thing is concentrate on the song. "What do you need in this song?" - that's the main question. I I do only what is necessary in this particular song. If you need a heavy sound we stick mics in all the right places but try not to overuse this. The dimensions of my "kitchen" are important, very important. Sometimes I only use a small one barrel and hat. And sometimes, - a large set with a bunch of volumes. I try to be flexible.
R: So you don't have permanent or at least favorite "cuisine" that you would normally use in studios?
R: No. I only have "kitchens" in which I play more often than in all the rest. In our Swiss studio, I have a luxurious set "Gretch": three volumes, small and barrel. Great sounding kitchen. Some "kitchens" sound cool; the rest, no.
R: What kind of "kitchen" are you use on stage?
R: I change them all the time, but I use Ludwig because they take time from time to time they send me their "kitchens" for free. I have one barrel and a set volumes - from small to large. I've always loved big drums, but everyone I wouldn't advise others to do this.
R: They are difficult to mix. The sound of such drums is much harder control than the sound of small drums. Stewart Copeland, Owner set of small drums. And he extracts a beautiful clear sound from them. This, by the way, is one of the reasons why we fight Ludwig all the time. They are they make their drums of large diameters, but they can’t make them at the same time deep enough. Today, almost all drums are made according to the principle: depth equals diameter. The depth of the drums is very important. I also usually I use a set of Simmons pads around my kitchen. Also some "RotoToms". Instead of using them as toms, I use them as timbales because that they have a very cool stitching sound. As for plates, I use "Zildjian" and a few pieces of "Paist". I always change plates after every tour.
R: What philosophy are you do you stick when it comes to cymbals?
R: It seems to be very respectable these days to say, "yes, on this I didn't play cymbals on the record at all." And I love cymbals. Cymbals are cool! They have great dynamics. Often I even abuse some specific plates. Freddie Mercury also suffers from "cymbal fetishism". Cymbals are very important; you just need to know which ones are in which places use.
R: Looks like live you play at the highest possible volume...
R: And I play like this in the studio, unless, of course, the song means a different way of playing. However, I do not belong to the number of "woodpeckers". I don't believe, that you really need all those heavy sticks, because if you have good brushes - and I am sure that every serious drummer should have such brushes, - the click comes from there. That's the secret of loudness. Also you must always be ready for a cool rim shot. He makes the drums loud, and at the same time no need to peel like a woodpecker.
R: In "We Will Rock You" you played unusually loud and hard. What kind of sticks did you use while recording this song?
R: Everyone thinks they're drums, but they're not. These are legs. We were sitting riding a piano and kicking it with their feet. It's hard to explain in words what we did, but what you hear is not drums. We did something around 15 duplicates of this mess. We tried a lot of options to achieve this sound. That's the whole secret. When we play "Rock You" live, of course I play on drums, which somewhat softens the sound of this song. Must always be ready for experimentation. A good drummer must be flexible. This is the law.
R: Studio-like drummers?
R: Yes, these people are flexible, but only in terms of material. In fact they everywhere and always play the same accumulated "chips". They have probably the drums are pasted over with adhesive tape so that, God forbid, nothing moves, so that everything was in the same place for years. I don't blame them, but in truth in other words, they are NOT FLEXIBLE. They are good each in their "chip", since it is the game These "chips" they do all the time. They can play with Kenny tonight Rogers, and a week later - already with "Motorhead", but this does not change anything in their manner.
R: Have you ever worked, or at least tried to work sessionally?
R: I played sessions when our team was just starting, just to earn some money. In those days sessions were mostly percussion, - well, you know: stand on stage and shake something. Today all session work in England is a certain narrow group of musicians. It is very difficult to break into this vicious circle. Nowadays, to get there, you have to be as cool as... Simon Phillips, for example.
R: Why is that? Few session invitations?
R: No. It's the mafia, I assure you. A few guys with keys do almost all work. We can only hope that this side of the business - the mentality of "Tin Pan Alley" will die. All these modern groups with synthesizers and all that - why the hell do they need session musicians on record?!.
R: Discover the secret - how you manage to get a rich sound out of the drums when you need it, and at the same time time dry, soft sound when you need it?
R: Well, I don't like thick plastics. Here's what I'll tell you. How much yourself I remember that there is no greater torture for me than to peel loose "meat" into pieces. Plastics should be sonorous and easily respond to an attack, and for this you need thin plastics. Some drummers use thick heads and just thrash them with all their might. Well, what is the result? It's not for me even though I play loudly. I love hearing the SOUND of drums. That's why I use thin plastics. But they have to pay constant attention in terms of customization. I constantly tweaking my drums during a gig. After every song I tweak your little one. If it sounds to me, then it sounds one hundred percent. Alas, many drummers don't tune their drums - either they're lazy or they don't know how.
R: Where did you learn tune drums?
R: Sam. I just always remembered Keith Moon's words he said a lot years ago - because he knew a lot about this business. On the early recordings of "Who" drums sound - a complete waste. So Keith said: "Just pull the bottom the plastic is slightly stronger than the top one: this way you will achieve a sonorous sound. "I hate I can hit loose plastic. When playing live, everything depends heavily on acoustics. where you play. If you play in a hall like LA "Forum", then it is easier to achieve a high sound from the drums. On the other hand, it's hard to get good sound in New York's Madison Square Garden.
R: How much do you playing drums when you're not on tour or in the studio?
R: Well, a few years ago I did quite a lot. But since then how we succeeded, I hardly ever study at all. I really don't I do, even though I know I should. By the way, last year I did some work with Robert Plant. I had to practice because I had to learn material. But this was the first time in several years that I worked out.
R: Is it difficult for you remember any of the old stuff you haven't played in a while?
R: Oh, yes. This is a terrible shock. Every time I curl, as if in a frying pan, saying to himself under his breath: "God, I forgot how it's done!" But then everything returns. You never forget how to play, but you can easily forget arrangement and all.
R: What about the quality of your game?
R: O-oh.. There's something to say... I always have to rehearse a few days before we start playing like adults. Is always. On tour First of all, the main problem is endurance. In the future I plan to do any surgery to increase stamina. But there are no exercises that could help a drummer always play well, except one folk remedy - to play as much as possible. While playing the drums you develop certain muscles, and none of the exercises I know allows you to develop these muscles in such a way as a "live" game. Especially it concerns legs. Skiing and tennis are fatal for the drummer; alas, it's just two my favorite sport. But these sports have a very negative impact on muscles needed for drumming.
R: How do you feel about tours?
R: Sometimes I like it and sometimes I hate it because it's incredibly boring. But as a rule, we have a good time on the road, which helps a lot.
R: Your drums installation for you is a musical instrument, or a means earnings?
R: I can tell Carmine Appice is a hundred times in love with drums stronger than me. As a child, I also loved drums. Now they are more and more become only a means of production. It's bad, I guess. But I must admit that it’s hard for me to talk about drums, because all my knowledge on this subject was acquired by me many years ago. I never did not give pleasure for hours with foam at the mouth to discuss, say, some latest model pedal. It's kind of boring. I just know exactly what I I like it so I don't have to think about it.
R: How do you feel about my drums, that's what I really want to hear.
R: Well, sometimes I just hate them! [laughs] Sometimes I look at them almost love. I want to say that I am not Charlie Watts, who has been faithful to his "Gretch" for years in a row. One of my problems is that I often changing drums. These constant substitutions have led me to treat each new "kitchen" only as another of many and nothing more. See this phrase resonates with everything I've said so far. I don't really think yourself a drummer from God. My love for drums is overwhelmed by my love for music in general. Actually - let's joke a little - I collect guitars. When I was little, I really wanted to have a good setup. But me and could not dream of her. Now I got a lot of cash and these freaks keep giving me my grandmothers. You can go crazy. So I collect guitars. I have a solid collection of very old Fender's. I like Fenders. me really In fact, it's more fun to watch guitars than drums. True, at home I also have a room completely littered with drums. From this, probably, and it is necessary I had to start - after all, I'm giving an interview for "Modern Drummer" - but this is pure truth.
R: Do you feel like need to sound better today than yesterday? Or do you not have such questions care?
R: I feel it. However, the overall sound of the band is more important to me, than my own. I always know whether I played well or badly. I'm always on tour I play well. If, say, I didn't get enough sleep on the eve of a concert, I can feel himself because of this monstrously. But I always find the strength to cheer myself up to no one noticed this in my game. However, the most important thing for me is the sound of the entire band as a whole. I really care about this more than whatever it is. This is the most important thing, I tell you.