Queen's Roger Taylor explains why John Deacon quit the band
18 July 2022, 17:07
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.
However bass guitarist, John Deacon, is noticeably absent from proceedings having quit the band in 1997.
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.
Roger reflected on how close John was to Freddie Mercury and the difficulty he faced after the frontman's death.
"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 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."
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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.
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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. "