Will John Deacon ever rejoin Queen? Brian May reveals he's asked bassist to return

3 July 2022, 23:21 | Updated: 6 July 2022, 20:08

John Deacon famously left Queen in 1997 after being 'traumatised' by Freddie Mercury's death and has lived a private life away from the spotlight for the last 25 years.
John Deacon famously left Queen in 1997 after being 'traumatised' by Freddie Mercury's death and has lived a private life away from the spotlight for the last 25 years. Picture: Alamy

By Giorgina Ramazzotti

John Deacon officially left Queen in 1997 and has lived a quiet life away from the spotlight, but in a new interview, Brian May has revealed the band have never stopped trying to get him to change his mind.

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Bass player for Queen, John Deacon, famously quit the band after Freddie Mercury's untimely death 1991.

The now 70-year-old, who is estimated to be worth up to £130 million, retired entirely from music and the public eye in 1997 to quietly raise his six children in the South West London home he bought with his first Queen paycheck.

However, Brian May has revealed in a new interview that he has actually asked his ex-bandmate to re-join the group on more than one occasion.

Bass player for Queen, John Deacon (pictured in 1992),famously quit the band not long after Freddie Mercury's untimely death 1991.
Bass player for Queen, John Deacon (pictured in 1992),famously quit the band not long after Freddie Mercury's untimely death 1991. Picture: Getty
Speaking to RockFM in Spain, Brian May opened up about the likelihood of John Deacon returning to Queen and his and Roger Taylor's efforts to lure him back. (Pictured in 1985, L to R: John Deacon, Roger Taylor, Brian May, Freddie Mercury)
Speaking to RockFM in Spain, Brian May opened up about the likelihood of John Deacon returning to Queen and his and Roger Taylor's efforts to lure him back. (Pictured in 1985, L to R: John Deacon, Roger Taylor, Brian May, Freddie Mercury). Picture: Getty

Speaking to RockFM in Spain, May opened up about the likelihood of John Deacon returning to Queen and his and Roger Taylor's efforts to lure him back.

‘Of course we love John and we will always will, but we don’t have any significant contact with him now. That’s the way he wants it, he wanted to cut that tie and to be a private person and we have to respect that.

“I don’t think that it would be easy for John to slip back into the arena that we inhabit. In fact, a couple of times we have asked him, but he always says 'that’s not what I do now'. And we have to respect that John doesn’t want to do it.

Reflecting on the 25 years since John left the band, Brian added: "I think it would be difficult for him anyway because things have changed a lot, and Roger and I have adapted a certain amount.

"We’re still very old school but we’re aware of different ways of behaving these days and different ways in which our art is channelled."

‘Of course we love John and we will always will, but we don’t have any significant contact with him now. That’s the way he wants it, he wanted to cut that tie and to be a private person and we have to respect that," Brian May has said.
‘Of course we love John and we will always will, but we don’t have any significant contact with him now. That’s the way he wants it, he wanted to cut that tie and to be a private person and we have to respect that," Brian May has said. Picture: Getty

Speaking in the 2019 documentary The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story, both Brian May and Roger Taylor spoke of the difficult time when they lost John Deacon and the reasons the guitarist left the band.

Roger reflected on how close John was to frontman Freddie Mercury and the difficulty he faced after the singer's death in November 1991.

"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 in carrying on. It is impossible to replace Freddie."

Speaking to the Independent a few years previously, Roger had much stronger words for his ex-bandmate: "I haven't heard a squeak from John," said Roger.

John Deacon is estimated to be worth up to £130 million, retired entirely from music and the public eye in 1997 to quietly raise his six children South West London home. Pictured at the height of the band's career in 1984.
John Deacon is estimated to be worth up to £130 million, retired entirely from music and the public eye in 1997 to quietly raise his six children South West London home. Pictured at the height of the band's career in 1984. Picture: Alamy
Speaking to RockFM in Spain, Brian May opened up about the likelihood of John Deacon returning to Queen and his and Roger Taylor's efforts to lure him back. (Pictured L to R: John Deacon and Freddie Mercury in 1977)
Roger Taylor has previously reflected on how close John Deacon was to frontman Freddie Mercury and the difficulty he faced after the singer's death in November 1991. (Pictured in 1977). Picture: Getty

"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."

In a later interview with Rolling Stone, Roger added: "He’s completely retired from any kind of social contact,"

"I think he’s a little fragile and he just didn’t want to know anything about talking to people in the music business or whatever. That’s fair enough. We respect that."

Brian May recently described the last time John Deacon played with Queen and how 'traumatised' he seemed, in an interview from January this year.

Recalling watching a video of his last performance with the band, performing for the Bejart Ballet in 1996, Brian said he could see how unhappy Deacon was.

Brian May recently described the last time John Deacon played with Queen and how 'traumatised' he was. (Pictured, John Deacon in 1982)
Brian May recently described the last time John Deacon played with Queen and how 'traumatised' he was. (Pictured, John Deacon in 1982). Picture: Alamy
Brian May confirmed to Rolling Stone: "We don’t undertake anything financial without talking to him," adding: "He still keeps an eye on the finances. John Deacon is still John Deacon. "
Brian May confirmed to Rolling Stone: "We don’t undertake anything financial without talking to him," adding: "He still keeps an eye on the finances. John Deacon is still John Deacon. ". Picture: Alamy

"John is so desperately uncomfortable with the whole thing. You can see him kind of his whole body is reacting against it. At the end of it, he says, ‘I can never do this again, I can’t do this.’

"And it was true, that was the last time he ever played with us in public," Brian said, sadly.

While John Deacon has never performed with his bandmates again, all was not lost - 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," adding: "He still keeps an eye on the finances. John Deacon is still John Deacon. "