Queen for a day

DOING THE FAN-DANGO | Gary Mullen was a huge fan of Queen before filling in as the legendary bisexual frontman Freddie Mercury in the tribute show coming to Music Hall.

Gary Mullen, frontman for cover band One Night of Queen, fills Mercury’s tight pants just fine

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Cover bands get no respect. You can’t help but wonder why they play other people’s music, never their own. They have the musicianship, so why not the song catalogue?

It’s a tough argument to make. But when it gets to the level of world tours and actually paying the bills, well, Gary Mullen might have a little something to say about what he does.

“We have side projects, but this takes up most of our year,” says the lead singer for the group The Works. “We’re all creating music and have other bands. Music is in all of our lifeblood, but we have fun with this.”

“This” would be Mullen and his band, the guys behind One Night of Queen, a show of Queen hits that stops in Dallas on Saturday. Yes, Mullen fills in for perhaps the frontman of all frontmen, Freddie Mercury. The band is convincing enough that it’s been turned into a concert experience and takes them on the road worldwide. Fortunately, Mullen doesn’t get swept up in false ideas of whom he plays and who he is.

“I have to approach it with a bit of caution,” he says in a charming, thick Scottish accent. “I’m not Freddie, but I do want it to be convincing. I try to treat him in a way that’s the guy onstage, but I’m the guy offstage. I have to do that with a bit of caution.”

Life changed for the former computer salesman when he won an American Idol-like TV contest, Stars in Their Eyes, in 2000. Using that boost, he and his band took their Queen act on the road, selling out venues and growing it into an entirely higher level. The show replicates a Queen concert at their most successful period, touching mostly on the mid-’80s Magic Tour. Adding flavors of the band in the ‘70s and ‘90s, One Night of Queen has garnered the attention of original Queen member Brian May and even “massive Queen fan” Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The bisexual Mercury, of course, is legendary to the LGBT continuum and Mullen, who is straight, and his band have found their gay fans along the way.

“We’ve played a gay Pride festival in Scotland and they showed us a damn good time,” he says. “Although one couple wanted me to come home with them.”

No doubt they got caught up in the moment as Mullen says the fans do. But he admits that he’s not like Mercury in one way that might have disappointed those boys.

“Well, I’m more phallically challenged,” he confesses.

Gotcha. So long as the music is killer, we will let you rock us.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 25, 2011.

—  John Wright

‘One Night of Queen’ to rock Fair Park in March

With all the attention focused on the Super Bowl and groups like Prince coming to play that weekend, you may have missed the fact that in March, you can see Queen.

Of course, that’s kinda hard since lead singer Freddie Mercury died of AIDS nearly 20 years ago. But it is the next best thing, as the above photo can attest.

Gary Mullen and the Works perform the show One Night of Queen, re-creating the flamboyant musical style of one of the signature bands of the rock era. In the vein of Beatlemania, the concert is a tribute mirror of the original.

The performance takes place March 27 at Fair Park Music Hall. Tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster.com.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones