We Will Rock You: British tribute act Killer Queen coming to Fraze Wednesday

When Patrick Myers first slipped into the shoes and mustache of Freddie Mercury in 1993, he called his band Closet Queen. Although he jokingly still prefers the cheeky moniker, he settled on Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen. The British group brings its U.S. tour to Fraze Pavilion in Kettering on Wednesday, June 29.

“I thought we’d call ourselves Closet Queen because we were all students by day and then we’d secretly dress up like Queen at night and then hit the town,” Myers said with a chuckle. “I really liked the name, but we got offered stuff fairly quickly at the West End, which is like Broadway. They said, ‘Look, we want to sell you to a family market, we can’t in all earnestness expect to do that with you being called Closet Queen. Can you please change your name to something else? I decided to call it Killer Queen because it was the obvious choice. In retrospect, I have to begrudgingly say their advice was right but if I could somehow change that and call ourselves Closet Queen, I would.”

Killer Queen performs in legendary venues like Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver and Forest National Concert Hall in Belgium. The group has been transported around the Republic of Cyprus in military helicopters and toured through South America on a private jet owned by a millionaire fan.

The tribute band was filling a void for old and new fans alike when it first started because Queen hadn’t toured since 1986. A future reunion seemed impossible following the deaths of lead singer Freddie Mercury in 1991 and bassist John Deacon in 1997.

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“When I went to university, everyone my age also hadn’t seen Queen live,” Myers said. “It was something we all shared. (But) we ended up headlining the big Student Union Ball at the Hall of London, which is kind of a big deal. It was like throwing down the gauntlet. We didn’t think we were ready, but people seemed to like it. Everybody in the room felt this keen sense of loss and this keen sense of love for Queen. It was like a great, massive outpouring of love. It was a love letter to Queen from both us and the audience. It was so cathartic and so powerful but so joyous.”

The Hall of London show set Killer Queen on an ongoing journey. The group remains successful even after the unlikely reemergence of Queen.

Against all odds, surviving members of Queen, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, revived the defunct band with Paul Rodgers of Bad Company from 2004 to 2009. Since 2011, Adam Lambert has been singing with the group, which is currently doing shows in Europe. According to Myers, the fact Queen is touring doesn’t negatively impact the interest in his group.

“It’s two different things, really,” he said. “Audiences tend to do both. People want to see Queen because you’re seeing Queen. It’s a once in a lifetime experience for some people. It’s like a bucket list thing to do. People want to experience a Killer Queen show because they want that sort of magic show that exists outside of time. They can experience that, and pretend life doesn’t change. So, you’ve got the best of both worlds, really. You’ve got Queen doing it on an extraordinary level and we’re able to do it on the level we’ve managed. They’re just two different things but, essentially, obviously, it’s these fantastic songs and they work so well live.”

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Whether it’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You” or “I Want to Be Free,” these songs were written for the arena rock experience.

“Queen songs have achieved this dimension of universal acceptance really,” Myers said. “Some people want to throw their hands in the air. They want to scream, and they want to party, and they want to turn on the flashlights on their cellphones and wave them in the air. It’s the language of an arena or stadium show that was almost written by Queen. People want to have that right of passage experience. It also has to do with the legend and their personalities and Freddie’s story. It all becomes part of the folklore of Queen and people want to be part of that.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.


Who: Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen

Where: Fraze Pavilion, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 29

Cost: $20 lawn & terrace, $30 orchestra and $35 plaza in advance, $25 lawn & terrace, $35 orchestra and $40 plaza day of show

More info: 937-296-3300 or www.fraze.com

Artist info: killerqueenonline.com

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