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Interview: GARY MULLEN

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We’re looking forward to coming to Australia. It is one country that has been with us for a long time and now finally we can fit it into the schedule so it’s all coming together.

Gary admits to being a long time Queen fan and also a fan of the television show, ‘Stars in My Eyes’. One day, he made the decision to audition for the show and from that moment on, his life changed forever. “The next thing I know,” he explains, “I’ve won the whole series. It was surreal. Suddenly, people are asking me to come and sing in night clubs. I’ve always wanted to be a singer and I remember someone once said to me, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ and I said ‘I want to be Freddie Mercury’ and I didn’t mean it literally. It’s weird when you say things and you don’t even think them through but I wanted to be a singer and I wanted to entertain people and this was the avenue. That was fourteen years ago and it’s been an incredible ride.”

In that time, Gary and the band have performed in numerous countries around the world and he admits that he sometimes has trouble remembering all of them. “You try to remember where you’ve been and it’s bonkers to think that we’ve been to so many countries and we’ve been to so many cool parts of the world. It’s a great job. It really is.”

The singer recalls one particular performance in New York and an incident in the venue’s bathroom when a man actually mistook him for Freddie Mercury. And, yes, this was long after Mercury’s passing. Obviously, the guy missed the news… somehow… But it just goes to show how realistic Mullens’ portrayal of the late rock icon is.

One of the most memorable moments of the last fourteen years, for the singer, is being invited to a Queen concert by none other than Brian May. “It was so surreal to go backstage and there’s your hero and he’s asking you how you are and you can’t speak. I didn’t know what to say for the first five minutes. I spent forty five minutes chatting to him and he’s such a nice guy. He’s so honest and he had a lot of nice things to say and told me to keep up the good work. You know, sometimes you hear people say that they get to meet their idol and they are disappointed but that was one time I can say that I was anything but disappointed. He was such a cool guy.”

The other members of the band are David Brockett on lead guitar and vocals, Billy Moffat on bass and vocals, Jonathan Evans on drums and Malcolm Gentles on keyboards. “We all came through and played in bands,” Gary tells me.”David was a very in demand session player when I met him. And he was the first person I called when I decided to put the band together. I was after good musicians. It had to be a fully functioning band to do a full rock concert. So Dave was the first on board and then Martin and John. We had a guy called Billy Campbell on drums for a while and then Malcolm joined us in 2008. So he’s the ‘new boy’. It’s a really tight unit. We’ve been together longer than most marriages. It’s like being married to four people. We spend that much time with each other and it’s great. It means that, on stage, we know that things are going to be ok. There can be all sorts of technical difficulties but you can keep a song going and have confidence in the other musicians and know instinctively that if something goes wrong, you can march on. As the old cliche goes… and the band played on.”

So what can Australian audiences expect from the show? “The most fun you can have with your clothes on,” laughs Gary. “It’s a rock concert. We don’t want people to just sit there and clap after a song and then leave after the show. We want it to be an audience participation show. Sometimes we get guys in the audience dressing up as Freddie, or dressing in drag. Things like that happen so it’s a fun night.”

And the show covers a good sampling of Queen’s back catalogue. “We try to cram as much in as we can,” he promises me. “We try to show Queen for what they were which is an amazing band. Queen wasn’t just a singles band. They had an obscure back catalogue of songs as well.”

by Sharyn Hamey

 Copyright © 2014 Sharyn Hamey. All Rights Reserved

For more information and full list of tour dates for One Night of Queen, click here

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