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Freddie’s famous “bottomless” mic

Freddie’s famous “bottomless” mic

Freddie joined a band called Ibex in August of 1969 and according to Ibex roadie Geoff Higgins, their equipment was pretty bad. The mic stand was one of those big, heavy three-legged ones that most jazz bands used. Freddie liked to move around, and because it was too heavy, he used to unscrew the middle and take out the pole. He did it all the time. It was purely a practical thing.

Ibex soon changed their name to wreckage in October of 69 (suggested by Freddie of course as he was never enamoured of Ibex).

They performed one of their final gigs during a Christmas dance at Wade Deacon Grammar School for girls in Widnes (near Liverpool). The concert was a debacle as the band struggled against poor sound with equipment breaking down all around them but the one incident noticed was when Freddie attempted to hoist the microphone stand above his head and it broke away from the base. Without its heavy “anchor” Freddie was free to use the stand like a cane and he swirled it around, dropping it to his midriff when he wanted to mime a guitar solo. This didn’t phase Freddie one bit and he loved the idea of using the mic as a wand.

This gig has gone down in history as the night when Freddie discovered what was to become his trademark for the remainder of his career.

His mic wand was his prop and could be used as a sword, guitar, golf club, baseball bat, or whatever Freddie wanted to convey with it depending on his mood.

Once Freddie was part of Queen, his microphone cable was noted as another prop. He gripped and twisted it with levels of intensity, cracking it like a whip or flicking it like a lasso.

Watching Freddie and Brian May with their cables was always fun. Freddie would deftly side-step so their cables didn’t cross, get tangled and inhibit each other’s movements. As Brian roamed across the stage in his own world, Freddie would pass his ‘wand’ under Brian’s cord to avoid being locked together. When the tangles did unavoidably happen, he’d drop his mic and give Peter Hince the eyebrows raised signal so he could give him his spare mic set up as Peter would work to unravel the mess on stage while Freddie continued with his performance.

Only on the final Magic tour with its vast outdoor stages and walkways did he switch to using a wireless microphone.

Unfortunately, his corded mic would be upgraded to cordless during Queens 1986 Magic Tour. The stage was extremely large and it would have been impossible for Freddie to cover the entire stage with a corded mic 🎤💛👑

Peter Hince couldn’t help it by adding, “The phallic-shaped Sony mic was different than his classic Shure one; longer, fatter and matte black. It would not have looked out of place in a Soho sex shop.” 😂🤣

Sources: Queen The Early Years by Mark Hodkinson and Queen Unseen by Peter Hince

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