Queen's Roger Taylor explains why John Deacon quit the band

15 May 2019, 11:33 | Updated: 16 May 2019, 12:59

Roger Taylor speaks out about his feelings towards ex-Queen bandmate John Deacon
Roger Taylor speaks out about his feelings towards ex-Queen bandmate John Deacon. Picture: Getty

Roger Taylor and Brian May have spoken about John Deacon quitting Queen, explaining what happened in the aftermath of Freddie Mercury's death and their total belief that Queen was finished.

Queen are everywhere. From red carpets to topping the charts, thanks to the success of film Bohemian Rhapsody and frontman Adam Lambert, the band has seen an enormous resurgence in recent years.

Read more: Who is ex-Queen guitarist John Deacon?

However bass guitarist, John Deacon, is noticeably absent from proceedings having quit the band in 1997.

John Deacon (left) quit Queen in 1997
John Deacon (left) quit Queen in 1997. Picture: Getty

The founding member of Queen, 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 new 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.

Read more: Freddie Mercury in private - rarely seen photos of the star behind closed doors

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

Freddie Mercury helped John Deacon deal with the pressures of being in Queen
Freddie Mercury helped John Deacon deal with the pressures of being in Queen. Picture: Getty

"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."

Unearthed Freddie Mercury interview: Watch star discuss his own death in moving new documentary

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."

Read more: Did Freddie Mercury really stake Princess Diana to a London gay pub in the '80s?

Brian May elaborated in an interview with Rolling Stone, 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.

John Deacon (right) pictured at a Queen press conference in 1975
John Deacon (right) pictured at a Queen press conference in 1975. Picture: Getty
Roger Taylor And John Deacon Of Queen In Munich
Roger Taylor And John Deacon Of Queen In Munich. Picture: Getty

"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."

Read more: Elton John shares beautiful story of Freddie Mercury's battle with AIDS

John Deacon was especially close to Freddie Mercury who was a stabilising force for John, helping the quiet bass guitarist cope with the pressure of being in Queen.

Ironically, it was John's quiet nature that endeared him to his bandmates in the first place.

Remembering Freddie Mercury's last public appearance at the 1990 Brit Awards - video

In an interview reported in the Daily Express, Roger said: "We were so over-the-top, we thought that because he was quiet, he would fit in with us without too much upheaval."

All members of Queen struggled with the pressures that came with worldwide fame in the mid-eighties, with Brian openly talking about thoughts of suicide and John on his depression.

John Deacon at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992
John Deacon at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992. Picture: Getty

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.

George Michael impressing David Bowie and Seal with Freddie Mercury cover song is so powerful - video

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. "

Last Played Songs