Brian May Says People Tried To Make Freddie Mercury Look Stupid

In an exclusive conversation with Rosie Bennet for the Fret Not podcast, Brian May of Queen discussed attempts to paint Freddie Mercury in an unfavorable light.

In response to a question on how he handled hostility before the internet, the guitarist said:

“Yes, we had a very bad time with the press. It was horrendous, actually. They really hated us. There was jealousy, hatred… And it is still there in some form. We just put a music; we reopened ‘We Will Rock You’ in the Coliseum.”

Recalling Attacks On Freddie’s Image

May went on, recalling the response to musical criticism and disparaging words directed at Mercury:

“We still had people being horrible, sort of jealous, coping about… Let’s put in the fact that we are successful, and maybe they don’t get it, but yeah, we were being trolled. Especially Freddie. People just wanted to ridicule him. Not just criticizing him but making him look stupid for one reason or another. It was hard to be not resentful of that stuff.”

Queen’s Approach To Handling Criticism

When asked who had the best ability to handle adversity, the musician said that they were all inherently sensitive and went on:

“Freddie, in the face, was very confident and very dismissive of criticism, but I know that he felt it. Nevertheless, he was rough, and it never stopped him doing anything.”

May’s Personal Struggle With Imposter Syndrome

May said in the same interview that he still has impostor syndrome despite all of his accomplishments. When asked if he ever felt it, he responded as follows:

“All the time. I always walk into a room even now, and I’m supposed to be Sir Brian May, and I think, ‘Ooh, what do people think? Maybe I shouldn’t be here.’ Yeah, I get that a lot and until people start speaking to me I always assume that A) they don’t know who I am and B) they wouldn’t be interested anyway, and C) I’m gonna bore them to death. I get that a lot.”

According to Brian, the sense of being undervalued or questioned never goes away entirely. He said that instead of acting like a teenager, people expect him to be more mature and experienced as he gets older. He views this as a good thing as it keeps him modest and keeps him from being too conceited.

The entire talk is available to watch below.

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