Ok guys, I've been fuckin around on this forum, but this time I'll start a serous discussion topic.
I think that Fred Mandel is the best additional musician Queen have ever played with. The rendition of Crazy Little Thing Called Love at the Osaka gig in 1982 is imho one of the best live performances of Queen and Mandel plays an important role in it.
Do you guys think that, if it would've been possible, Fred Mandel should've joined Queen during the '84-'86 gigs instead of Spike Edney? Don't get me wrong, I think Spike is a very good musician, but for me Fred Mandel is the best of the best as a session musician.
I wonder what you guys think...
Spike said the following in a magazine interview:
Then they hired Fred Mandel, who had been playing with Alice Cooper. I don’t know how they found him, but he took over. He was my predecessor. He finished off the tour that Morgan Fisher should have completed. Then they took a break after their legendary tour of South America and went to Munich to complete The Works. Mandel was involved with that recording. He’s on “Radio Gaga” and “ I Want to Break Free.” By the time they got around to touring it, he was no longer available. Perhaps he was off with a gig he couldn’t turn down.
I don’t know what happened, but they needed someone. It’s really about being in the right place at the right time. I was playing in London at a bar and a member of Queen’s crew came in, someone I had known 10 years before. It was, “What are you doing here?” and yada, yada, yada. I said, “What are you doing?” He said, “I’m working for Roger Taylor. Queen needs a keyboard player. Do you want the job?” I went, “Yeah, of course.”
Of course, that is not how these things are done. You usually show up somewhere and sit down near 200 other keyboard players, wait your turn and then go home and then wait for the phone to tell you that you haven’t got it. This was different. I turned up to where I was told to go, I walked in and got interviewed by the legendary Gerry Stickells. He is one of the great men of rock & roll. Sadly, he passed away this year.
He said to me, “Do you have a passport?” I said I did. He said, “Are you available to go to on a world tour?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “OK, on Monday, you fly out to Munich and start rehearsals.” I said, “What? That’s ludicrous! What happens if they don’t like me?” He said, “Then on Tuesday, you’ll fly back.”
Fred Mandel started to play with Elton an Australian Tour in March. Later the European Tour until June and again on tour from August to November, this time in North America.
Incredible musician. I miss him a lot on the Elton John farewell tour...