News Column

First up: Patrick Myers - Freddie Mercury in Killer Queen

July 13, 2013


first memory: I was about two or three and running down a hill at night. I was with my parents on holiday.

There was a party and band playing at the bottom of the hill. I wasn't used to walking so I was virtually tripping over myself in excitement and the fact the hill was steep. I ended up away from my parents and beside my brother watching a Spanish guitarist. He was playing right in front of me.

I'd never seen music and rhythm just being made out of thin air like that. Jaw dropping.

s first single: In 1981 I saw Godley and Creme perform Under Your Thumb on Top of the Pops and thought it was brilliant. I had no idea who they were but that song was gripping.

A spooky ghost story and a pop song all in one.

I couldn't stop thinking about it. I got the 22 bus down to WHSmith and bought it in a deal for three singles. I ended up with Prince Charming and Ebony and Ivory, too. A typical 10-yearold's eclectic mix.

first gig: I'd borrowed a keyboard from school and written a song called Psychedelic Milkman at home. I played it to my friends and we thought we'd take the plunge and do a school assembly with some other bits I'd knocked together. That was at Judgemeadow CC,when I was about 13.

Me on guitar, Adrian Pople on keyboard and Chris Bouch on drums. We were all too shy to sing so my songs ended up as instrumentals by default. The caretaker was there watching as we set up. A gruff Geordie bloke. He said he'd seen the Beatles years ago when they were just starting out and they were good. We asked what he reckoned to us. He shook his head and said we were awful. Then he opened up the doors and let the year group in. We were terrified.

Luckily, afterwards, Mr James, our PE teacher said he liked it a lot. So we persisted.

He came to see Killer Queen at our show at De Montfort Hall in March. first job: Delivering the Leicester Mercury for Mr and Mrs Shah at Wills newsagent on Evington Road. The paper round was primarily a way of funding payments on this weird blue electric guitar with a built-in amp that I'd put a deposit on. A thing of beauty.

Two years and many thousands of mangled Mercurys later it was mine. Tragically, it was clubbed to death a short while later when some kids at school did a Pete Townsend on it during a wet lunch break. I quit the paper round and borrowed other people's guitars until I went to sixth form.

first car: A Renault Megane. I didn't drive 'til I was in my thirties so it was mind-blowing being able to bomb about the place.

I was convinced I'd never be able to drive. Driving myself back to Leicester to show my parents the car felt disproportionately epic for me. I felt like I should be awarded a Victoria Cross or something.

first school: St Thomas More Primary School. Great school. Miss Mills got me started on guitar there just before I left. She'd give up her lunchbreak to teach us. Mrs Tucker got me into drama. They really encouraged and stretched you at my primary. They'd take us to the Herrick Road drama centre to do plays and workshops.

Fantastic place.

I ended up doing a bit of teaching at Herrick Road just before leaving for London.

first love: Doctor Who was my first love. The Tardis was brilliant. I never wanted to be a companion as they always got chucked or would die tragically. I only ever wanted to be the Doctor!

He had the best job and he lived for ages. When I was a boy I tried building a Tardis in my bedroom out of various bits of junk - mostly broken tape recorders. I did meet Tom Baker once in the street after I'd grown up. He was lovely. It's odd bumping into your heroes though.

I'd rather pretend I haven't seen them than strike up an awkward conversation, but saying hello to Tom Baker was a must-do-it-or- regret-it-eternally thing.

So I said hello. He's a very funny guy.

Anyway I was saying hi on behalf of the nine-year-old me rather than the 30-something me.

first holiday abroad: The first time spent abroad was kind of a holiday but kind of not. Dad got teaching work in the States in 1980 for a few months and my mum is American so they thought let's all go.

We lived with my grandparents in Swansboro, in North Carolina. Magical time. I went to school there, did Halloween, Thanksgiving, a road tip to Washington DC with Uncle Denny, and a traditional US- style Christmas.

That whole time was so vivid. I felt like a different person by the time I went home. Grandma suggested I play guitar and study music shortly after that trip. Thank you, Grandma! Patrick Myers plays Freddie Mercury in top tribute act Killer Queen.

'' Mrs Tucker got me into drama. They really encouraged and stretched you at my primary. They'd take us to the Herrick Road drama centre to do plays and workshops. Fantastic place ''

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