“I was like anybody else, I originally just liked their hits and the stuff that you heard on the radio but I think I got into them more later on in life as I started to appreciate their talent. What always amazed me was their ability to perform live as well as they did and the way they segued from one tune to another; it was just brilliant rock ‘n’ roll and I don’t think anyone sounds like them. I thought this well before anyone suggested I write a tune so it was not a recent discovery.”
Kevin Michael Giordano is an accomplished musician, well rounded in multiple genres and instruments but what he has accomplished recently is a unique recording project that has coincided with a blockbuster film purely by accident.
Giordano who modestly says that he’s, “Spent some years playing around the country, out west, down south” and “Went to school a bit here and there,” was asked to undertake the penning of a song in a style as close as possible to that of rock legends Queen. A daunting task for sure and one that even he looks back on and questions himself for agreeing to attempt.
“I’ve been writing music all of my life, I’ve been in bands forever, I’ve gotten all of my degrees in music; I’m a music director, an orchestra teacher but I’ve never really written for another band or in a tribute form as I did for this song.” he said with a tone of lingering disbelief. “I was actually asked to write it by a Queen tribute band that was looking for some of their own material to play and sell and I was asked in August if I could come up with something that sounds like Queen. I found myself over the last 10 years drawn to, listening to and watching videos of live tour clips on YouTube; I love a lot of bands and love a lot of music but I just have so much respect for Freddie and Brian and Roger and what they did; I just don’t know if there will ever be another rock band and another front man like that. I was listening to it, watching it and studying at least once a week, so it was a real coincidence that they asked me if I could write in this style and I decided to give it a shot. So when I left the studio, I thought oh boy; what did I do that for? I’ve never written a Queen style song before. So I went home and as I started to fall asleep it just came to me the title, “God Save The Queen” and then the thought that it would be about Freddie’s life towards its end. He was such a talent and such an individual and to have him suffer as he did was just horrible; I always mourned for what he was going through. I heard a lot of the song in my head so for the next three weeks I tried to just get it all out on paper and it made me depressed because I did some real in depth study and a lot of research on his life so that I could put the story together and still be respectful.”
Much like a college student cramming for an exam, Kevin felt the need to get this moving and done based on a self-imposed deadline but he also knew that to do it properly he would need to pay attention to even the smallest of details; including using a coin on the guitar tracks a la Brian May.
“My intention was that if I was going to do this that I would pay as much respect to the sound that they had and that I would try my best to emulate the sound. So it was an accumulation of all these little things that started to create that amazing sound of theirs and I wasn’t sure that it was going to come out like I heard it in my head which was sounding like Queen but what I heard in my head eventually worked.”
Part of that included lining up the right musicians and engineer/producer in order to achieve the signature sound and the vocal harmonies that the band was renowned for. Giordano stayed within his own inner circle and it seems to have worked perfectly.
“We had a good pianist (Andy Rudy) at the studio where we recorded and he was interested to jump into the project; I did the rough takes and he played most of the song. I used to have a Steely Dan tribute band for a long time and it was run by my brother and I and a drummer named Gary Iacovelli who has also performed all over the country as well and is just a great jazz drummer. My brother was a bass player, my musical partner, my best friend, he and I wrote music together and unfortunately we lost him suddenly several years ago and I didn’t think that I’d ever want to play again but in the last couple of years I put it back together and carried on; he would’ve been a good fit for this but fortunately I hired one of my students who is now a very accomplished bass player who also performs all around the country named Joe Arcuri and I did all of the guitar tracks and vocals and that was it. Ron Keck was our engineer at Subcat Studios who did a great job to replicate; just the drum set alone, we really put a lot of time in getting the drums to sound like Roger’s drums. That old 70’s sound was a much bigger, boomier, fatter sound than what we had originally from a jazz kit and that was a a big detail in the sound. I’ve got to give it to Ron, he just continued to work on the drums to get them to sound and to get what Roger was getting out of his.”
“You have to look at bands like Steely Dan to find vocal harmonies of that type. We put 35 vocal tracks down for this tune and I did them all myself and I tried to do them like Queen would have done them. Brian May explained in, “The Making of Bohemian Rhapsody” how they did it. They’d take a note and sing it in unison and then do it three times so they had nine tracks and then take the next harmony and sing that in unison three times and they would eventually have multiple notes in unison, nine tracks each and they would put it all together and it would sound like a chorus and Roger with his vocal range and him singing so high when needed and operatic when needed and so dramatic and the guitar licks; everything was just so great.”
So with everything in place and the recording process begun; what happened next may be considered a nice twist of fate.
“We finally started putting tracks down in the fall and it was just a coincidence that the movie was coming out, I didn’t plan it that way and I didn’t know. So it was two real coincidences that came about; I’d love to say it was my intention but it was not; I can’t take responsibility for that.”
“Bohemian Rhapsody” turning out to be a blockbuster has spawn good publicity and drawn attention to the release; something Giordano can only hope continues but as of now he’s relishing the success of his accomplishments thus far.
“We’ve been getting some good spins around the country but to perform it live will be a little more of a challenge because of so many tracks but the first objective right now is to get it out there and get it known to people. I love that my song can possibly be heard; but who wouldn’t right? I’m really enjoying that I can emote a little bit for all of us that were completely broken when Freddie died. I feel that even here in the United States we just didn’t pay attention to the reality of what he died from and it feels like nowadays we can express that a lot more openly. Unfortunately that disease was not real popular to talk about and now it’s different and I’m glad the movie really opens that up and doesn’t cut corners; it just says what really happened. Then there were all of the people that have suffered and died from it which I tried to mention in the song and the people he was closest too; not to mention the band members.They were on top of their game, that tour in 1986 was insane; I can’t imagine what they went through. I had that in me when I wrote it and I tried to envision and say the words that he was possibly feeling and to speak what he might have felt.”
To purchase the single, please visit https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/kevinmichaelgiordano.
Giordano is hoping that the success of this single via downloads will parlay into more opportunities; perhaps even on a larger scale.
“We’re using this tune in hopes that we may find a Queen tribute band that’s looking to perhaps do an album and pick it up; which of course hasn’t happened yet (laughs). I have a whole catalog of music that I’m working on and hoping to get out there. I’m a violinist, an orchestra director, a string teacher and I have degrees in guitar and violin so I’ve spent most of my life in music. I’ve always played rock music as well so it’s all coming along and coming together.”