On Air Now
Smooth Breakfast with Jenni Falconer 6am - 10am
3 July 2022, 23:21 | Updated: 6 July 2022, 20:08
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.
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.
‘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."
Brian May Asked John Deacon To Re-join Queen
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.
"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.
"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. "