Tuesday, September 25, 2012

FM on ET

I haven’t watched Entertainment Tonight in a long time — ET Canada, yes; regular ET, no — but caught a mention of Freddie by co-host, Chris Jacobs, as they went into a commercial break. He mentioned something about lost interviews with Freddie, don’t want to miss it, etc.

Sure enough, after the break there was a lengthy (4–5 minute) segment that was a response to the newly released video documentary called Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender (TGP), and the companion photo book called Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender, a Life in Pictures.

Amongst the other biographical details mentioned in TGP, the lost interview they were referring to prior to the commercial break was taken during the period Freddie collaborated with Michael Jackson in the early ’80s. There was an audio clip of the two of them singing together and at one point Freddie claims that if the timing had been better, he might have been on Thriller.

On thing that apparently irked Freddie about Michael’s recording routine was his propensity for bringing farm animals into the studio. I guess Freddie wasn’t accustomed to having a recording session turned into a petting zoo. But just when you think Freddie’s excesses were noteworthy, even his idiosyncrasies pale in comparison to Jackson’s.

All-in-all a positive look at Freddie’s latest posthumous effort. Chris Jacobs even made the comment that he loves Freddie and he loves Queen, so that was a nice wrap-up to the segment. As a car enthusiast, perhaps I’m in Love With My Car caught his ear as a kid and he’s been hooked on Queen ever since.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Separated at birth?

I see that there was a brief In Memorium on The Emmys tonight and they showed a clip of actor Ron Palillo from Welcome Back, Kotter.

Back in the early ’80s when John’s hair was straight out of a Fritz Lang video and reruns of Kotter were still going strong, for some reason I always made the connection that Palillo was the spitting image of John Deacon.

Palillo suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead at the hospital after paramedics removed him from his Florida home on August 14, 2012. He was 63.


Friday, September 21, 2012

How about some “dust” flavored soda?

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the original London cast recording of We Will Rock You, it reminded me of when my wife surprised me with tickets to the long-running Toronto show a few years ago.

I was struck by some of the merchandising that I saw in the lobby of the Canon Theatre; take this bottle of fufu berry-flavored Jones Soda for example.

I think that if Queen Productions were going to fully capitalize on the Jones’ label marketing angle, they should have issued a unique label for each character in the show instead of limiting it to the standard WWRY theatrical logotype. Yes, it’s a keepsake (until I drank it!), but I would have been prepared to buy a whole caseload of the silly things if it were a set of the cast.

Speaking of Jones Soda, their unique labeling business model really encourages crowdsourced image submissions from pretty much anyone on pretty much anything. As for who ultimately decides on which ones are selected, I think Jones has a voting system set up on their site so the general public can determine the images that swing them the most. Kinda like a huge focus group to figure out what appeals to that demographic.

Apart from taking crowdsourced image submissions, their site also encourages community discussion on the labels, flavors, and photos themselves, so they’ve really taken the social networking model and linked it to a tangible product. Too bad the stock for this Canadian-born company is taking a tumble.

Maybe they need to put out more of their time-honored flavors like “Turkey & Gravy,” “Perspiration,” “Sports Cream,” “Natural Field Turf,” “Dirt,” “Sweet Victory,” “Sweet Potato,” “Dinner Roll,” “Pea,” or “Antacid” (which has no medicinal qualities, apparently).

I wonder what kind of crazy Queen-inspired flavors they could come up with?



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Probst probes his past

Survivor host Jeff Probst has landed a new daytime talk show aimed at women but with some decidedly “manly” themes.

While the jury is still out on whether Probst’s new show will have any staying power (ala Oprah), he and his producers are certainly aiming for a lively discussion of issues related to men but knowing they have a predominantly female audience.

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock made a guest appearance on the show the other day promoting his latest documentary called Mansome, a humorous look at the trend of manscaping while discussing what constitutes being a “man” in today’s society.

For fun, Probst admitted that much of his youth was spent playing the part of being a “man” back in the day; manly things like having a moustache (ala Tom Selleck) and playing in a band at some point. For Probst, though, both of those endeavours converged at the same time as this old family photo proves:

When the photo was shown to the audience, Spurlock commented that that was Probst’s “Freddie Mercury” phase.

I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised that Spurlock made reference to Freddie since he did use Fat Bottomed Girls in the opening few minutes of Super Size Me as I wrote about here.

I wonder how much of a Queen fan Spurlock is in real life. I wonder if Probst’s band did any Queen cover tunes.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Freddie featured in mötley metal mural

Like my blog on The Queen Boutique a while back, I discovered another unconventional Queen sighting here in Calgary. I drove past a utility trailer in the heart of Calgary’s corporate district that was muraled up for a music promotion of some kind. Here’s a look at one side of the trailer which featured '80s metal bands:

The other side featured classic rock icons from an earlier era and there was Freddie, leading the charge near the front of the trailer.

As I drove by, there wasn’t much time to determine the purpose of the trailer or who put it there. So I did a simple Internet search when I got home and found a few items on this specific trailer, such as this Calgary Herald newspaper article from a few days ago.

The Rock Guitar Shelter is the brainchild of J.R. Fleet, a retired musician committed to sharing the magic of guitar playing to youth that haven't experienced it or cannot afford their own instrument.

The RGS actively solicits for guitar donations and refurbishes them with the intent of donating them back into the community to support and inspire young new guitarists. To date, more than 800 guitars have been donated back to the youth of Calgary.

The mandate of RGS is bigger than this, though, as their website explains:

  • We accept donated guitars and other musical instruments from the public and re-gift them to qualified children and youth;
  • We aid our clients in learning how to restore and maintain the instrument they have received;
  • We teach youngsters how to play guitar, and provide a sound stage on which they can edit, mix and record their music;
  • We provide a safe, drug-free environment where youth can form new friendships and share in their love of music

And they provide a bit of a music history lesson, too, it would seem.

The Rock Guitar Shelter Facebook page has some interesting photos of the mural being repainted after it was vandalized one night. More than any other rock god on the trailer, however, it’s Freddie who is shown coming to life in pictures:

To learn more about E.J. Negre, the artist who remuraled the trailer, feel free to check out his blog here or his Facebook page here.

Freddie mural painting photos: © Tony Martin Blass