Monday, December 3, 2012

O’Brien May?

Well, Movember is over and yours truly raised $1,120. It would have been more if I had time to guilt friends, family, and co-workers into honouring their promise to donate, but the end of the month came quickly and fundraising ended. While I was powering through Movember, however, I had plenty of time to think about my next Queenville blog and wouldn’t you know it, Rocky Horror appeared on my radar.

The Music, Theatre and Speech department at my university is currently in rehearsals for a production of Rocky Horror that’s set to debut in January. As part of a first-year visual communications class, design students were asked to pitch a poster idea for it. Out of the 30 or so entries, one would be selected as the official promotional poster for the upcoming show.

Not only was I asked to weigh in with my top two choices from the poster submissions, I remembered that I had the Director's Cut of the 1975 movie recorded on my PVR that was begging to be watched (again!) once I had a free moment. So the combination of Rocky Horror poster judging and Rocky Horror movie watching, I got to thinking that the Queen community and the Rocky Horror community have a lot in common.

At one point back in the mid-70s, Tim Curry and Freddie Mercury seemed to be cut from the same slab. Curry appeared as a shoo-in to play Freddie if a biopic was ever produced on his life, and Freddie probably could have pulled off the Frank-n-Furter character if a few circumstances were different — like Freddie being able to act, I suppose.

Not surprisingly, I’m not the first to raise the issue of Freddie playing Frankie. This Amazon album reviewer had this to say about the movie soundtrack:

“. . . the popular songs from the first half of the record (Dammit Janet, Sweet Transvestite, Time Warp, etc.) aren’t even the good ones. As the film develops the music telecopes in its ambition; the corny fifties throwback feel of the first three tracks is enveloped by swaggering, operatic pomp of which Freddie Mercury would have been proud. Achieving this was no mean feat by Tim Curry — outside the Queen singer I can’t think of anyone else who would have come close to pulling it off. By the time of the Floor Show medley and then the genuinely beautiful I'm going home, it’s impossible to not to be swept away by it all.”

Richard O’Brien, the creative mastermind behind the RHPS phenomenon, has actually crossed paths with Queen. In 1980, he had a bit part in Flash Gordon as Fico, an Arboria native and friend of the Baron. I wonder if he and any members of Queen partook in small talk at the film’s premier back in the day.

We know that Brian and Meat Loaf (Eddie from the RHPS) have done more than cross paths, they’ve actually collaborated on at least three occasions:

  • Brian plays guitar on the vocal version of A Time For Heroes, the theme song to the 1987 Special Olympics World Games (the instrumental version was performed by Tangerine Dream, whom Brian teamed up with at the Starmus Festival in June 2011);
  • Brian was a guest on Bad For Good, a Steinman-penned song that Meat covered on his Bat Out Hell III album from 2006;
  • Brian also lent his expertise to two songs on the latest Meat Loaf effort, Hang Cool Teddy Bear from 2010.

There’s even a fun little clip of Meat selling Brian’s book, A Village Lost and Found. I’d be curious to know the circumstances behind this video. My guess is, it was during Brian’s guest appearance on Hang Cool Teddy Bear as it would have been around the time Brian’s book came out.

Brian manages to pay tribute to both Richard O’Brien and Meat Loaf at the same time when he did a cover in 1995 of Whatever Happened to Saturday Night. I have this CD and actually prefer Brian’s version to Meat’s from the original 1975 movie.

In 2006, Meat tears down a Queen II poster in the opening sequence of Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, which I talked about in an earlier blog. Was the Queen II poster Meat’s idea or Tenacious D’s? It would have been around that time that Brian guested on Bat Out of Hell III and since Queen II (or the band for that matter) never really gets talked about in the actual movie (compared to other metal acts from that era), so I wouldn’t be surprised if Meat suggested the poster idea for that scene.

Remember when Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf made a guest appearance on Glee when the theme was Rocky Horror? It would have been super cool if Brian and Roger made a guest appearance on the episode where Bohemian Rhapsody was played at the Nationals.


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