Queen Unseen was published in the UK on October 3rd 2011 by John Blake Publishing, and signed copies can still be ordered directly from the publisher. To order a signed copy for £17.99, please contact John Blake Publishing Ltd with your name, address and contact number on 020 7381 0666 (mon-fri) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
UK P&P is free - overseas P&P £ £3.00.
The book is also available (unsigned copies) from Amazon. Please click the 'Like' Icon - if you like my book. Thanks.
Amazon UK Website
My thanks and appreciation go to the many people who have supported and encouraged me in getting my memories published.
The hardback edition of Queen Unseen has been reprinted several times. Many thanks to everybody who has bought the book and contributed to it's success. A paperback edition is scheduled for June 2013 - more information to follow.
The book is available world-wide as a Kindle download in English from Amazon. Check for other language versions on local Amazon websites.
Hardback edition has been published Autumn 2012 in Hungary by Egmont
books, under their REAL series.
The rights to Queen Unseen have been sold to the publisher Prumo Editora
in Brazil. The book was published in March 2012 in Portugese. This does not mean the book will be available in Portugal.
The Italian version of the book was published in spring 2012 by Italian publisher Arcana Edizioni srl
Published by Sine Qua Non
of Krakow. The book is available in hard and soft back editions in Poland
There are other negotiations for the book to be published in various territories/languages - I will keep you updated.
It has taken time to find the right publisher and I feel confident you will appreciate it has been worth it.
This is not an easy-option tabloid expose or simply re hashed information from the public domain.
is a unique account of the many exciting years as a young man I spent on tour, in the recording studio, on video shoots and day to day life at home with one of the world's biggest and best ever rock bands. It is an insightful, enlightening and mostly humorous account for anybody who has ever wondered what working for Queen, or indeed most rock bands of that era really entailed..... the highs and the lows. It is not a chronological history or definitive biography of the band, but a personal story of what it was like to spend your youth travelling the world and living the rock and roll lifestyle - to the full!
There are NO lurid details of the band's private lives. There is plenty of sex and drugs and rock and roll - and of course everybody knows it happened.... I make observations and comments about all the fantastic places we visited and played, and what it was like living, at times, a crazy and surreal existence.
The book covers all the areas that were relevant in Queenâ€™s working life, during my time as Queenâ€™s longest serving roadie and head of their crew. There is lots of new material and surprises for Queen fans and it is a book to interest anybody who likes stories of rock and roll life in the 1970s & 1980s.
There are photo sections in the book that contain colour and black & white images from my successful Queen The Unseen Archive show that was exhibited in London and Australia recently. There are also additional rare and unseen photos and other images of memorabilia.
In the future there are plans for a large illustrated picture book, which will be crammed with my unique photos, memorabilia and Queen related images and information, that reflect the story of Queen Unseen.
Here are a couple of updated extracts from Queen Unseen and some new ones:
I'm sure many of you have heard the story that Freddie wrote Crazy Little Thing Called Love in the bath. There
have been various versions of this tale by people who claim to know the story or to have been there at the time. Like many other Queen stories/myths, most are untrue or exaggerated for effect, or by people who would have liked to have been there. Here is the real 'Crazy' story - I was there!
During the summer of 1979 Queen
were finishing a 'Year Out' to avoid the wicked tax man of the Labour government by doing some recording of new ideas in Munich. A couple of weeks or so into these Munich sessions, I briefly went back to London to clear through customs the balance of the gear that had arrived back by sea from Japan. Having finished my professional duties I was keen to return. Then I received a phone call.
"Ratty?" the chirpy office voice sounded a bit too friendly.
"There's something else for you to take back to Munich."
"What a surprise - what is it? - is it heavy? and will I have to get it through customs?"
Fred, who was also in London for a few days, had nobody to accompany him back to Munich. Would I mind? Fred never travelled alone; there was always somebody with him and always somebody in the next hotel room. Somebody to talk to - to protect him? Well, a first-class seat on British Airways was not too shabby, so I agreed.
Realistically, I had no choice. Unfortunately, a problem arose due to an industrial strike at Heathrow, and all flights were severely delayed. Anxiety was in the air as Fred had used up his allotted days allowed in the UK and needed to leave. Immediately. I dutifully made my way to Heathrow, and hung around the British
Airways desk in Terminal One until I got positive news. When I did get a go ahead for our flight to Munich, Fred was immediately phoned and sped down the M4 from Kensington to join me. It was a sunny summer's day in both London and Munich and a few glasses of in-flight bubbly were well received. At Munich airport we were met by Peter,
a local guy who was currently Fred's driver in a hired Mercedes. We cruised with smiles on our faces into the east of the city and our Hilton home. Fred was reinstalled in his grand suite and wanted to take a bath before going to the studio. I called Musicland and announced that 'his self' was back and would shortly be arriving.
Fred was humming and tapping in the bath and shouting out the names of chords:
"D - yes, and C and G - Ratty quick - come here!"
"Uhh - you want me to come into your bathroom Fred? I'm not
sure about this."
"No, no! Get me a guitar! Now!"
He emerged from the bathroom wrapped in towels, still dripping, and scurried into the living room of the suite where I gave him the battered acoustic that had been installed for these creative impulsive moments. Fred strummed away for a short time with his fingers - he never used a pick or plectrum, even on stage.
Seizing the urgency of the moment, he insisted we make a dash to Musicland where a halt was called to whatever work was in progress. He summoned the band into the studio and enthused about this new idea, which they started to work on and record immediately. The song was Crazy Little
Thing Called Love, one of Queen's most successful world-wide singles.
It was a privilege to have been there with him, but no matter how long I knew Fred, got to be accepted, trusted and cared for by him, you could rarely totally relax around him. Over a period of almost twenty years we enjoyed many great social times together but there was always an edge to it.
Simply - Fred had an aura. It was always there, whether he was on stage in front of 130,00 people or picking his teeth at the breakfast table and moaning about his hangover. When he walked into a room - any room, you knew you were in the presence of somebody special. Somebody unique. Magical.
Another Queen 'myth' is the yarn about when Fred met Sid Vicious. Here's the real one - from somebody who was there...........
Wessex studios, a converted church in Highbury, north London, is where in autumn 1976 during recording of A Day At The Races, Queen first witnessed Punk. The Sex Pistols, freshly signed by E.M.I, were also booked into Wessex and doing some early sessions (Probably Anarchy In The UK?) when nobody really knew
who they were. Soon the world knew about the Sex Pistols, when E.M.I replaced them for Queen (who couldnt make it...?) on The Today TV Programme and their infamous interview with Bill Grundy was to
become a seminal moment in The Pistols' short but explosive career.
Johnny Rotten was sitting in the lounge area on a brown corduroy seating unit, wearing a lime green, mohair jumper and ripped jeans. Safety pins were inserted in every available space and his hair was dyed a ginger hamster colour, spiked and lacquered. Despite this, he seemed a quiet, pleasant sort of bloke - he didn't snarl at me when I asked if I could change the TV channel, just shrugged and nodded. What was all this fuss about these guys?
One afternoon when Queen were working in the control room, Sid Vicious stumbled in, the worse for wear, and addressed Fred:
"Have you succeeded in bringing ballet to the masses yet?" (A reference to a quote Fred had made in the music press.)
Fred casually got up, walked over to him and quipped: "Aren't you Stanley Ferocious or something?", took him by the collar and threw him out. So much for the mean edge of punk.
Mr Mercury did not care for this new, limited chord, musical movement - and even less for it's wardrobe......
Queen parties were infamous and one story stands alone about the alleged debauchery - that at one party in New Orleans there were dwarves circulating amongst the guests with bowls of cocaine strapped to their heads for
the revellers to dip in to. As I recently stated on the BBC Queen - Days Of Our Lives documentary - it's complete Bollocks ! It has no doubt been circulated to add spice to the Queen legend. Even Brian and Roger have stated they never saw these alleged small people with what is an illegal class A narcotic......
Allegedly the dwarf had straws in his top pocket in order for people to take the drug. Once again - bollocks !
Anybody who may have any experience in the imbibing of this particular recreational pastime would know that if
cocaine was in a bowl, you would not use a straw......
As Roger and others have accurately said on record, there was a dwarf at the 1978 Jazz party in New Orleans, who was lying underneath the piles of cold cuts and sliced meat - and quivered when people approached the table. That's it ! This 'Dwarf' myth may have been expanded by another far less known 'Dwarf' story. During a run of shows at Madison Square Garden in New York, the backstage after show entertainment included female mud wrestling. Fred said if that was the case then he wanted dwarves with moustaches wearing leather shorts to serve the drinks.... in New York - anything goes !
Everybody loved Japan - and Fred in particular adored it. Queen were idolised there in the 1970s and it really was akin to Beatlemania. The shows were on a totally different schedule to what we were used to, and had no support act and started at 6 PM sharp. We also did matinees at 2 PM at some venues too ! Working a double shift. Japanese audiences were wildly enthusiastic, yet remarkably respectful. No steel barriers or heavy security were needed, just a rope or tape strung across evenly placed posts. Like a queue in the post office. Very civilised.
The honourable Japanese and their custom of bowing was taken to task by the dishonourable crew, when prior to a show in Tokyo's famous Budokan arena, a group of us walked onto the stage, stood in a line and all bowed to the audience. The first few rows, having seen us, would stand up and bow back. We repeated our courteous gesture, getting more and more people to respond until the crowd caught on to what was happening, laughed, hid their faces behind their hands and applauded.
It is said that night we went down better than the band...........
© Peter Hince, 2011