Four decades later, the music of QUEEN hasn’t just survived, it’s thrived. The band, who recently received the “Global Icon Award” at the MTV European Music Awards, has sold more than 300 million albums, 16 of which were No. 1 chart-toppers. They’ve written and recorded 18 No. 1 singles, played over 700 live concerts in every part of the world, have amassed a planet-wide fanbase whose members number in the hundreds of millions, and remain one of the most influential groups of all time. And to hear QUEEN drummer Roger Taylor tell it, they’re just getting started. The last thing they are doing is standing still.
2012 will see the launch of “The Queen Extravaganza” tour, a grand touring production booked by powerhouse agency CAA that will celebrate the music of QUEEN. Coming on board to ensure the touring show will match the design and excitement of QUEEN at its best will be such rock tour heavyweights as stage designer Mark Fisher (U2, AC/DC, MUSE, THE ROLLING STONES, Cirque de Soleil) and lighting designer Rob Sinclair (ADELE, VAMPIRE WEEKEND, GOLDFRAPP, PETER GABRIEL).
Taylor will oversee this royal road show, taking the role of producer and music director, with Brian May involved later in the production, but Taylor‘s most important role, however, was leading the judges, Spike Edney (QUEEN‘s keyboard player since the mid-’80s and Trip Khalaf (QUEEN‘s eternal sound engineer) in hand-picking the musicians that will be featured on the tour. And after 11 weeks of reviewing online auditions and weighing votes from QUEEN fans around the world, Taylor is ready to announce the lineup.
“As the audition videos began posting, we could see right away that the caliber of talent was very high,” says Taylor. “But when I got into the studio with the final 25 musicians, I realized that these guys are seriously good players. They went way beyond my expectations. It was an incredibly difficult decision to choose the final lineup. I wish I could’ve kept them all, but in the end, I’m very happy with this group of exceptional musicians.”
“The Queen Extravaganza” band lineup will be:
* Jennifer Espinoza (San Antonio, Texas)
* Marc Martel (Montreal, Qeuebec, Canada / Nashville, Tennessee)
* Tristan Avakian (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
* Brian Gresh (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
* Tyler Warren (Camden, Tennessee)
* Francois-Olivier Doyon (Quebec City, Queebc, Canada)
“What an amazing and unexpected opportunity to come our way — not to mention the timing of it all for me,” said Marc Martel, whose audition video for “Somebody to Love” earned him an MTV O award and an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”. “Having gotten to know the other contest winners a bit in L.A., I’m confident we have what it takes to gel as a unit and give our best to do justice to some of the best rock music ever recorded. I am so thankful for the chance to do this. Gonna be fun!”
As part of this year’s celebration of QUEEN‘s 40th anniversary, Taylor launched a North American talent search that offered “shit-hot vocalists and musicians” the opportunity to star in “The Queen Extravaganza” live tour. Taylor endeavored to assemble the most talented band to perform QUEEN‘s music, outside of QUEEN themselves, of course, to carry on the celebration. Auditions began online September 19. Final auditions took place on December 5 in Los Angeles, in front of Taylor, at the FOO FIGHTERS‘ Studio 606. The tour, booked by powerhouse agency CAA, launches in 2012.
“‘The Queen Extravaganza’ will not be a traditional tribute show,” says Taylor. “It’s a brand-new show specially designed to enable fans to celebrate the music of QUEEN in a heart-stopping event.”
“The Queen Extravaganza” will bring the glorious music and live experience of QUEEN to a new generation of fans in cities across the U.S. in 2012.
“It’s going to be spectacular” says Taylor. “It’s going to be very visual, there are going to be some shocks and some tremendous surprises. It will be a rock celebration in the royal tradition.”
The audition process involved two video audition rounds: the first round judged by Roger Taylor and a panel of appointed judges, the second round judged by public vote. Taylor was present to judge the final audition round, which was held live in Los Angeles December 5.