On Air Now
The Smooth Sanctuary with Gary Vincent 7pm - 10pm
15 September 2020, 16:09
Video footage of John Deacon's last ever public appearance as a member of Queen was filmed in 1994 alongside Brian May and Roger Taylor.
The video was shot for the Queen fan club in 1994 and is thought to be the last ever time John was seen with the rest of the band, before leaving Queen in 1997 and losing all contact with Brian and Roger.
The trio were reportedly in the studio putting the finishing touches on the album Made In Heaven when the film was shot, with Brian doing most of the talking as a shy John Deacon struggles to find the words to say to their fans.
The video, which was shot just two and a half years after Freddie's death when the band were grieving and still struggling to come to terms with their loss, shows Brian May speak to fans for the first time in many months.
“Here we are in darkest Chiswick in 1994, trying to sort out the pieces of this supposed album which will contain the last things that Freddie did," Brian says, "So it feels quite strange, but we do still exist…”
May adds: "This is what we’re doing," before turning to John Deacon and inviting him to say something.
Brian May performs Bohemian Rhapsody guitar solo on set
"Hello, it’s John Deacon here," the famously shy bassist smiles at the camera.
"Greetings from here in London," he continues before finishing: "As usual I don’t know what to say so I’ll dry up now..."
Brian smiles at John's efforts and once again takes over, saying to their fans: "We’re thinking of you guys out there and that’s why we’re sending you this message… If this (album) ever comes out, please buy it."
Three years after the final footage was shot, John Deacon - who is estimated to be worth up to £130 million - retired entirely from music and the public eye to privately raise his six children in the South West London home he bought with his first Queen paycheck.
Speaking in the documentary The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story, both Brian May and Roger Taylor spoke of the turbulent time when they lost John Deacon and the reasons the guitarist left the band.
The last Queen Fan Club Message from John Deacon 1994
"John freaked out and decided he really couldn’t deal with being in the music business anymore, it was an odd period," Roger Taylor said, adding: "Really the band was over."
John Deacon himself made a rare public statement in the aftermath of Freddie Mercury's passing, saying: "As far as we are concerned, this is it. There is no point carrying on. It is impossible to replace Freddie."
Speaking to the Independent, Roger had much stronger words for his ex-bandmate: "I haven't heard a squeak from John," said Roger.
"Not a single guttural grunt. We're not in touch but John's a sociopath, really, and he's given his blessing to whatever Brian and I might do with the brand – and we've done rather a lot."
Brian May elaborated in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2014, saying: "We don’t, really [speak to John]. He doesn’t want to. He wants to be private and in his own universe."
"He’s completely retired from any kind of social contact," Roger added.
Brian May says Freddie Mercury would love Queen’s continuing legacy
But friends, bandmates and colleagues all agree that after losing Freddie Mercury, the pressures of the music industry became overwhelming for the naturally reclusive John Deacon.
All was not lost though, as the ex-Queen member is still very much involved with the financial side of the band.
Brian May confirmed to Rolling Stone: "We don’t undertake anything financial without talking to him."
Giving an insight into the private star's personality, he added: "He still keeps an eye on the finances. John Deacon is still John Deacon. "