Depending on what you read or watch, that talented tenor with the monstrous octave range Adam Lambert may or may not be taking Freddie Mercury’s spot fronting Queen on some upcoming dates or perhaps permanently. He has done terrific one-offs with the band on TV and clearly has the chops. Lambert is the openly gay American Idol runner-up who has gone on to an honorable plop of success selling close to 1.5 million albums. Queen of course is one of the great rock bands of all time mixing metal and rock with vaudevillian glitter selling in excess of 300 million albums thanks to classic tunes like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You.”
Freddie Mercury died from AIDS almost two decades ago. Adam Lambert would not be the first to fill his boots: From 2005 until 2009, Paul Rodgers from Bad Company sang the songs. But if he jumps in, Lambert would put the gay fab back into arena rock.
Freddie, like Elton, Liberace and Peter Allen, was one of Earth’s most flamboyant, dazzling peacocks. He strutted every stage like the Castro cartoon that he was; tight tank top and tighter white pants barely concealing his junk. For reference, check out Queen’s UK Live Aid performance on YouTube. It’s gayer than the alley behind Gold Coast on a Friday night. Freddie almost always wore a mustache and said it was to hide the stretch marks. He was gay as a goose and loved every minute of it—and so did his audience. Boys, girls, men, women, gay and straight; they all loved Freddie Mercury.
I loved him too. Freddie and I because fast friends one summer when we met in Switzerland at the Montreux Music Festival. Lake Geneva was his second home and when in residence, he owned the joint. Today on the lake, there is a grand statue of Freddie in full rock god pose. RCA Records were tossing a pretentious party on a yacht and Freddie’s gaydar picked me out of the stuffy crowd. Not that he was into this preppy entertainment bloke in an oxford shirt and khakis from the states; nope, Freddie just wanted a playmate.
And play we did. The tramp and the twink. We would meet up in different parts of the globe and support one another’s attempts to shag a bloke or two. We were buddies on the hunt. See, Freddie believed pigs and bears were not necessarily just rural wildlife. To say he had a “type” is like saying Obama is president. The bearier, the better. During the first party cruise we were a tad overserved and the late sexy INXS singer Michael Hutchence and I depantsed a passed-out Freddie and tossed his jeans overboard. Our relationship was all downhill, in a good way, from there.
When Freddie came to L.A., hedonism became the mantra. Studio One, the bath house 8709 and the alleys of West Hollywood became his playground after watching bands on the Strip and dinner at the Brown Derby or Chasen’s. It was all followed by breakfast at the Polo Lounge and shopping on Rodeo. It was wacky and wonderful.
Freddie Mercury was one of the most talented, funny, sharp and sweet raconteurs to ever walk the planet. Back in the summer of ’82, Freddie mixed up the L.A. party by tossing in a few spectacular shows at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood. They were part of Queen’s worldwide Hot Space Tour. That summer was Adam Lambert’s first one on Earth having come into this world that January.
As so it goes. I, for one, would love to see Lambert bring those amazing songs to life with a touch of flaming flare. It won’t be the same. No one can ever replace Freddie Mercury. But that music is worth another listen. I don’t want to see Lambert in a tank top and Freddie’s white pants. Hell, I don’t even want to see his junk. Yet if the lad can wail on “Another One Bites The Dust,” and for a moment or two it takes us back to a time long lost, I’m in! Lord knows, we all need old memories and young hopes. There will always be tramps and twinks.
Please take a second and register right now for the K-EARTH California Music Festival & AIDS Walk benefiting AIDS Healthcare Foundation and six additional local vital AIDS service organizations. It takes place on Sunday, May 20 in Griffith Park with free carnival rides and games, music and free food trucks. Then it’s on to a short hike through the park and into the Greek Theatre for a superstar concert hosted by Magic Johnson. This event will sell out so I want you to grab your space now. Every dollar you raise is 100 percent deductible and will provide direct service for people living with HIV plus testing and advocacy. Please join me. I promise you a totally outrageous and fun party for a cause. Go to walkeatdance.org to register or text a donation so that a person living with AIDS can attend for free. Just text the word MUSICFEST to 20222 and $10 will be donated then go forward knowing your account in the bank of karma will be rich and full.