Tony Bourke: Queen, Roger Taylor and theatre hits



This month's Rhythm cover star Roger Taylor has woven one hell of a legacy, not just through Queen's backlog of huge hits, but also in the many offshoots that have featured the band's music.

Perhaps the most popular of these is the hit West End musical We Will Rock You. The show has proved a runaway success since opening ten years ago, and drummer Tony Bourke has been there night after night ever since that curtain first went down.

To celebrate the show's ongoing success we ended down to the Dominion Theatre to find out what it takes to make it as the man powering two hours of singalong theatre pop rock.

Getting the gig

"I was playing pop gigs, things like Bucks Fizz back in 1982 when I was asked to audition for Pirates of Penzance. Going from pop to playing orchestral was interesting! Later down the line when We Will Rock You started I got the gig and I've played it ever since."

Studying Roger

"I studied Roger's playing. This gig was only the second thing in my life I'd ever auditioned for. I got it and then had four months before we were due to start rehearsals. I was doing two or three hours a day listening to all the songs we'd be playing. I charted everything out for myself so I could get a real feel for it. I'd listen to Roger's playing and his drum sound, his hi-hat. Like in 'Somebody To Love' here's a hi-hat bark that he does that is an intrinsic part of the song and he has to be reproduced every night. If you play it straight it doesn't work but if you put the bark in, that's the DNA of the song."

Tony's picks

"I like 'I Want It All' it's a good groove. You have to get in and just keep it going along. The hardest song in the show is 'Only The Good Die Young'. It's a very slow 6/8. It has to really work with the piano. It's got energies and you have to sit on it at times."

Rich Chamberlain

Rich is a teacher, one time Rhythm staff writer and experienced freelance journalist who has interviewed countless revered musicians, engineers, producers and stars for the our world-leading music making portfolio, including such titles as Rhythm, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, and MusicRadar. His victims include such luminaries as Ice T, Mark Guilani and Jamie Oliver (the drumming one).