Queen drummer Roger Taylor’s exacting approach to percussion was apparent to Brian May from before the pair got into their very first jam session.
In the latest edition of Queen’s retrospective YouTube series ‘Queen The Greatest,’ May recalled the care Taylor took when loading his drums into their practice space, setting them up and doing something May had never seen before — he was tapping each drum head and then turning a bolt with a key. May asked what Taylor was doing.
“He said, I’m tuning the drums,’ and I went, ‘Oh, really? You tune drums?’ because the drummers that I’d worked with up to that time just basically put the drums down and hit them.”
Taylor’s drum sounds and compositional style at the kit have always been a marked part of Queen’s sound onstage and in the studio.
And while Taylor has never relished his nightly drum solo, his critical ear has forced him to be more creative when he’s in the spotlight.
“In the early-’70s [drum solos] were a cliché, so, and it was just something that one did, you know?” Taylor recalled. “And I never really honestly enjoyed actual solos, I always really preferred playing as part of the ensemble, part of the band and part of the song, really.
“And whereas it’s all very nice, they’re just showing off, really, aren’t they? Especially when you’re playing to a lot of people in big concerts, if I did a solo and I would suddenly look down and notice people going out for a hot dog, I’d never want to do it again because you knew that you were boring people.”
Watch the full episode here…