Frontman Steve Walsh of Kansas’s unrepentant hatred of Freddie Mercury

Controversies, disagreements, and personality conflicts have long been a part of the history of rock ‘n’ roll. It seems that Freddie Mercury experienced some hate in the scene. Steve Walsh praised a number of bands in an interview with Gary James from 2003, but his comments regarding Mercury were unmistakably more unfavorable. During the meeting, Walsh candidly discussed his views on touring with Mott The Hoople and Queen. Walsh showed admiration for both bands, but his remarks about Freddie Mercury changed dramatically: Mott The Hoople and Queen were outstanding. Except for Freddie, the lead singer of Queen, they are all genuinely good people. He was a scumbag. The rest, however, were fantastic. The guys in Mott The Hoople were all outstanding. They treated us so wonderfully.

Walsh went one step farther, referring to Mercury as a “diva” and a “prima donna,” but not in the flattering sense that these terms are frequently used in popular culture: A prima donna, he was Let’s call her a diva. Despite what many people believe, that word was not intended to be a compliment. That is nonsense. That is having a bigger ego than you are talented or deserving. Being a diva entails doing that. A prima donna is that, and Freddie fit that description. Contrasting this story, though, are the experiences of other Kansas members. For instance, when Kansas opened for Queen on the same tour, drummer Phil Ehart related his personal experience. Technical problems with the stage and lighting existed at first. However, as soon as these worries were brought up to Queen guitarist Brian May, the problems were quickly resolved, which enhanced the bands’ relationships.

Following this, the members of the two bands grew close. Rich Williams from Kansas also gave this narrative substance. Williams reflected on the time Kansas toured with Queen in an interview from March 7. He praised each and every Queen member, calling them all “great guys.” Williams mentioned how Roger Taylor even contributed background vocals to a Kansas song. Williams recalled Freddie Mercury as a “lovely person,” in contrast to Walsh’s portrayal. Additionally, he made fun of Queen’s peculiar eating custom of regularly ordering “cheese and tomato sandwiches.” Walsh had his complaints, but Kansas residents from other generations had happier stories to tell about their interactions with Freddie Mercury and Queen.

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