Gary Mullen, frontman for cover band One Night of Queen, fills Mercury’s tight pants just fine
RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer
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.