Brian May: It was actually the BPI Awards that we went to to collect an award and Geldof was a few tables away and came over and said “How about doing this, this thing?” And he said “We’re going to have this and this and this and this.” And we said “Oh yeah, I’m sure.” You know? I think he thought it was an almost impossible thing to get together but we said “Yeah, we’d be interested.” And then a bit later when he rang up and said “Look, Brian, I have to have a commitment. You know?” And so we all sort of talked about it a bit more ….
Interviewer: Is that because you support the cause and want to do your bit or because it’s such a unique rock even that you can’t afford to miss out in a way?
Freddie Mercury: To answer that, honestly it’s a bit of both actually. Cause I think it is a very good cause and initially I think we would have liked to have taken part in the Band Aid single but I think we were in separate parts of the globe. And so the second bash I did was this thing and also the fact that some of the biggest and best known groups around the world are taking part, why not us? So I think it makes me personally proud to be a part of it.
Interviewer: Is it difficult to choose numbers for a twenty minute set, do you find that you have to stick to your best known numbers?
Brian May: Yes, we’ve just been talking about that. It’s pretty hard to make the choice.
Roger Taylor: Yes we don’t really know quite what to do, whether to play the hits or to try and do something new, but I think in twenty minutes really we’ve got to play things that people know and will recognize, you know, in Turkey or wherever they’re watching maybe.
Freddie Mercury: So we’re still squabbling over that fact, that’s what he’s trying to say.
Roger Taylor: Rawr!
Interviewer: But the spectacle of your live performance, from the backdrops and the expansive lighting rigs, is it going to be difficult to cope with the sort of sparsity of Wembley?
Brian May: Uh well it all comes down to if you can play or not really which is nice really in a way because I think probably there’s probably an element of people who think that groups like us can’t do it without the extravagant backdrop but we’ll see, huh?
John Deacon: Raises eyebrows
Interviewer: After thirteen years do you still get excited about this sort of live performance?
Freddie Mercury: This one especially.
Brian May: Yeah, it’s great.
Freddie Mercury: We still like to play and fool around.
Interviewer: And what about the number that you two are going to be performing towards the end, towards the finale? What’s the story behind that?
Freddie Mercury: Well actually it seems like, it looks as if we wrote it for this occasion, but we didn’t actually it was done a long time before that. It seems to fit the bill actually so I think they opted out and said don’t the two of us cause I mean during a Queen show that’s just the two of us gesturing towards Brian that actually play, Roger and John actually go and have a drink or something but so we weren’t going to do that one but it seems to be very sort of part of the show, it’s very meaningful and so we’re going to do it.
Interviewer: Tell me a little bit about it.
Freddie Mercury: Oh you tell them! Playfully shoves Brian
Brian May: Ah! It came about when we almost finished recording the album The Works actually and we’d been throwing stuff off because there wasn’t room for it and in the end we threw off so much that we said there’s a little hole here it just needs something. And actually Mack who’s producing us said “Why don’t you do something really simple, you know? Just write a song.” And Freddie and I were there late one night and we just came up with this thing it was very quick and we just had this particular thing in mind you know? The whole business of Africa was in our minds and that’s the way it came out.
Interviewer: Saturday is meant to be all for a good cause and there aren’t meant to be any egos involved but also-
All: laughing and smirking
Brian May: No egos at all, no!
Interviewer: But are so many superstars going to find it difficult to be in each other’s personal spaces?
Roger Taylor: Completely totally impossible.
Brian May: Should be hilarious.
Roger Taylor: It’s going to be chaos.
Freddie Mercury: I think it’s going to be chaotic, yes. It has to be I mean we’re not, we’re not all wonderfully well behaved kids are we? But that’s, that’s going to sort of actually be the nice part of it. There will be lots of friction and we’re all going to try to outdo each other I guess and but we’re just going to go out there and play.
Brian May: That’s right. We want to give something special really, that’s what it’s about. No the regular thing. So everybody’s going to out there giving their best and that’s what it’s about. Make some money for those people. That’s Geldof, that’s what he comes down to you know. We want to have a great time and I think we will but it comes down to the fact that it’s going to make tons of money and for a change the money’s going to go to the right place.
Live Aid Backstage Interview July 1985