Chichester/Bognor Regis-based Queen tribute band Monarchy are hoping for great things this year.
They have secured a slot in association with The Mercury Phoenix Trust at the Hard Rock Cafe London on September 5 to mark what would have been Freddie Mercury’s birthday, and repeat bookings are starting to come in.
In the meantime, they are playing at the Station Theatre on Hayling Island on Friday, April 13.
Bersted-based singer Paul Joyner – the band’s Freddie – is delighted with the progress Monarchy has made since its launch last year: “I was in Queen tributes for about ten years and then I took time out when our daughter was born. I had about six years out, and then I was invited about two years ago to sing with another Queen tribute band that was called Monarchy. The production was two years in the making. It absolutely wasn’t a rush job. As far as we are concerned, we are a million miles away from being a pub band. This band is a proper production with all the moves, all the costumes. We were determined to get absolutely everything right. We launched the band last September in Southampton, and we have played four times since then.
“It has all gone really well. The show has been fantastic, and the repeat bookings are coming in, which speaks volumes about the band. The Hard Rock Cafe saw our promotional video and booked us for Freddie’s birthday party.
“For me, it is a pleasure to keep the music alive. From when I got my first paper round, I was spending every pound I had on Queen cassettes, as it was then. And then I went on to CDs and vinyl, and it has carried on. I have got an enormous Queen vinyl collection, a huge memorabilia collection. I am a bit of an anorak, to be honest, but I hope that all exudes from my performance.
“The first album I got was The Works with Radio Ga Ga and I Want To Break Free, but once I got into that album, I worked my way backwards through the other albums, their whole back catalogue. They started off as a glamrock band and then they became more commercial as they got older and got wiser and went from 500 people standing to 1,000 people standing to playing all those huge stadiums.
“I saw them. I was blessed to have seen their last show, Knebworth Park, August 1986. I was 15 at the time, and there were about 160,000 people there. It was very daunting for your first-ever live experience. I just remember the big screen on top of the stage and the fact that it was the fastest two hours of my live. I knew the set list. I knew how each track would be. I knew how it was going to end, and I didn’t want it to end.
“And who knew that it would be Freddie’s last show?”
Other stories by Phil: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2