Fred Mandel: Touring & Session Musician for Queen, Alice Cooper, & More! – Produce Like A Pro

Fred Mandel: Touring & Session Musician for Queen, Alice Cooper, & More! -  Produce Like A Pro

hi everybody hope you're doing Marvis tea well I'm sitting here with the rather wonderful mr. Fred Mandel how are you I'm doing okay why thanks this is that this is exciting for me and I have to control my my fangirl side because of course me too okay well you know you did play with some rather incredible artists over the years one of which would be queen of course and anybody's ever watched a you know episode of anything I've done I probably get to talk about Queen at least two or three times yeah they're they're pretty popular yeah a huge influence on me and so many other musicians but I'd like to know a little bit more than just that so you were born in Canada yeah Estevan Saskatchewan Canada little mouthful there I don't think and get more Canadian and subscribe know right in the middle Estevan Saskatchewan Canada it's ten miles north of the American border the big American city is Minot the big excitement was the Air Force used to break the sound barrier over our house and our dishes would come flying out of the cupboard and sear the out of my father but it's small prairie town five thousand people you know I was there till I was 11 years old and I heard a lot of rock and roll on the radio when it started you know from the states and country and western and stuff so it was kind of a a mixing melting pot of music coming through that that little town but it was a great place to be born you know run around the prairies and have fights with my friends it was great when did you first stop playing piano I started at 4-4 Wow and I started guitar at 8 but my dad had a friend my dad was a played a ridiculous story but he used to play piano and never really realized what he was playing but he was just you know you don't own the store but he also a lot of piano and blues and all that stuff so I stole it man Dells yeah it was a clothing store you know he had a little clothing store in a small town and had you know ladies and men's wear and they had done groceries originally but then they just branched into clothes and he learned how to play this kind of blues oriented piano style from a teacher and Estevan I never really realized what the kinetic he was British British guy and he taught my dad some of the stuff which was New Orleans piano which you know st. Louie blues and much other things and my dad used to play these songs and it wasn't till years later that I realized he was playing New Orleans style blues and that was an influence on me it's great that's a great way to stop so he was you know unfortunately that the piano teacher had a limp in one leg from some an injury and and all the craziest thing happened there was a riot in Estevan of all places the coal miners and there was some shooting in the main street and he got hit in his good leg which is anyway that one was my dad's piano teacher and he sort of transferred that so your dad taught you piano well did you really teach me he just played and I started banging around myself and my dad had a friend a guy by the name of Mitchell Parkes it was a camiรณn piano player from Winnipeg and he used to come visit and he was a professional player for the CBC and he had this program called him sing he used to play all the piano for it but for years he was a CBC you know session guy he shot he showed me my first Boogie run at 6 and it took me until 12 till I had that run down and I showed it to him years later only when we were both adults well he was at a town that was still but it was pretty interesting and I still work on that today but I got the foundation for the blues and all that stuff from my dad and from Mitch and it's listening to the radio and all you know when I was 8 I got a guitar and I tuned it to an open tuning and played like that for years and the Beatles came out and when I was 12 I played with a guy who said I won't play with you because you play weird so I had to relearn guitar at 12 with standard tuning which was I'm glad that guy said that because then I learned how to play properly but you know had that foundation from Saskatchewan so so at 11 where did you move to Toronto ah that's definitely a biggest city the big city I've never been on a bus like that you know I took I would took a bus to school and I went through Yorkville village to cut through to school every morning not realizing that that was such a historical musical place you know and like I was too young to go to the clubs but Joni Mitchell is playing there and Neil Young was playing in a town in the town Steppenwolf was in Toronto from Toronto and a lot of bands that came out of there Rick James and Neil Young were in a band together called the miner Birds believe it or not which not a lot of people know and all these things were happening I was hearing it on radio but I wasn't they you know too young to go to the clubs so when I got older I started to have associated with some of the people that knew these guys you know because my friend Don Toronto took over from Robbie Robertson when they became Levon in the hawks and then became the band so there was a connection there I was you know influenced by a lot of the Toronto R&B scene that's incredible the Toronto music scene even to this day is incredible there's a lot of great players great players up there some of the best organ players I've ever heard her in Toronto just sitting around doing gigs you know weekly and there was always an organ and a b3 in the club's back then but I was a piano player and you know and I had to learn how to play that eventually you know I'm probably in demand because everybody wanted to be a guitar player I probably wasn't very many good keyboard players at least that's what it was like in England when I was a kid well there were in Toronto there there were a lot of good b3 players but it was all organized so many you know I guess Richard Manuel is playing piano with rot right you know with the Hawks but everybody had to be three in their band and I ended up in Don Toronto span with my keyboard partner Dave Tyson who was playing b3 and synth and I would play clavinet roads and and since so we had a kind of partnership we played well since in those days at korg maxi korg and it was a – it played it was a to note synth so Dave and I used to arrange for note horn parts you know there that and polyphonic two notes – now yeah and you could bend notes on it so I treated I always thought guitar when I did solos which even translated the water break free solo which was guitar thought if you think about it you know it's all bending notes and stuff but so we had you know a little little sense back then and we just used the two of them to make one four note chord that's incredible kind of crazy it doesn't seem that long ago actually when I think about it late seventies early eighties when it was still a big deal like oh my god you've got a five note polyphonic synth I mean well I got into this country on a visa yeah and got my green card as a synth specialist nice because I was running an Oberheim for voice modular synthesizer when I was playing with Alice and I had jail Cooper modify the two levers on it because I couldn't bend notes on it like I could on my maxi chord so I talked to jail Cooper and he put in the little box and hung off the edge of this Oberheim and one was for modulation one was for bending and I had my little it was a big fat sound and eventually they incorporated that design into the over Himes themselves so they were sticking out of the construction of the box itself but yeah I was one of the first benders for that for that keyboard back then I used to have to hit it with my shoe to keep it in tune because the or oscillators were not you know they wouldn't stay so let's get a little bit of detail about Toronto – yes coming coming to America to work with Alice Cooper what was the sort of what's the bit in between there well I started I worked with this guy called grant Smith and he had a band called grant Smith in the power and they'd had a hit with keep on running Spencer Davis two years later I'd ended up playing with Spencer played that tune with Spencer himself in the States here but I worked with Grant Smith for about a year and then I ended up in the band called lighthouse which was came kind of Chicago horn band they had a couple of hits in the States here and then I went on to work with Dominic Triano and during that period of time I was friends with Prakash John it was a favorite famous kind of bass player I played with Lou Reed and and why do you know guys so uh when I work with Donny we did a whole whole year of touring and recording we went to New York did a record there with capital and then I got called in by Don to come play on Dick Wagner's record who I hadn't met but Bob Ezrin was producing Dick Wagner in Toronto so Dave Tyson and I came in the frost record all know this was a solo record he'd already written only one bleed I believe and some other stuff you'd written some big hits for Alice and this was just solo okay since I'm mid late seventies yes 7067 knows 77 to me seven okay so we went in with with Bob Ezrin and we cut that record and during that period of time dick like my rock and roll channel playing and asked me if I'd be interested in you know playing with Alice Cooper and so I went told Dominique that I was had this offering he said yeah sure you should go do it so I left I got I left in May 20th 77 I think it was and came down to LA and that's when I started playing with Alice down here marvelous yeah was a lot of fun what was that now that was like Alice's first or second solo record welcome to my nightmare welcome to my nightmare it would have been it would have been the nightmare band right after that yeah after that I think nightmare came out in 75 or something and this was 77 okay so we did a live album called the Alice Cooper show that was a that band and then Alice did a record with David Foster 78 or something which I played one track on I was not a session player then I did couldn't read charts and David put this chart in front of me might as well turn it upside down because I was not a good session player I had not only done one record but I'd always done records with bands so they were my parts and stuff it didn't have to read anything I was part of the band so did you have to do a crash course in reading I I kind of had to figure out some stuff but I usually ended up in bands where they were my parts you know with Elton I had the freedom to put together the parts that I wanted so I was never really reading anybody else's stuff after that I would I never considered myself a session player it's only recently and then you know that I in the past 10 20 years that I did a lot of sessions for other people what I did make charts and stuff but but I was never you know in a call session player and mostly a touring musician who did sessions with the bands that I toured with you know with the alt and I did five records with him and maybe six actually and then queen you know with the Queen record and – you know solo projects which were Brian and Freddie you know so but through all that period of time I just came down here and started working with Alice I played keyboards for about three years with Alice and then the band changed in 78 dick was not there anymore and Steve was not there and so I ended up the de facto musical director and we got these two guys from a big guy named Elton John's band D Murray and Davey Johnstone joined Alice ban so that's where we became friends and we toured for a while and became really good friends and that's how I eventually ended up in Elton's ban because they went back to play with though they went back to play without and came with them and I didn't come with her hi Davey I and Alice wrote some stuff for a record about 79 and I switched a guitar on that to her because Davey left and there was myself and another guitar player Mike Panera so I had written a lot of stuff on guitar so I decided just to go on guitar and play lead guitar first and seem like fun and it was and plus we were able to dodge bottles and a lot easier when you're on a guitar than you were sitting at a guy through a hockey puck at me I might you know how do you dodge a hockey puck in a dart turned around this thing was rolling around on the ground beside me yeah that was a whole other thing what will happen to us on stage we were tear gas there were riots there was a sniper this is madness is that Alice yeah yeah it took me years to start to start you know stop scanning the audience with him so I spent a year on guitar and then I wrote some stuff and Roy Baker the right time I spit well todd rundgren was going to do it he produced a couple songs for us but then we ended up going with Roy Thomas Baker and he did the whole record with us and I became friends with Roy and I think that may have been my connection to Queen because Roger Powell was playing a couple things we did a couple of mergers Elton befool queen no Queen Queen I've joined at 82 played with them did an American tour and a Japanese tour where they were unbelievably famous you know and they we got out of the airport and we had to start running and Brian said you know run this way I jumped in the car with him and people's girlfriends crazy then I ended up doing brian's solo project with Eddie Van Halen Eddie Van Halen and Phil Chen from Rod Stewart's pan and Jeff Beck's blow-by-blow I think Phil on bass and then Alan Gratzer from REO Speedwagon and myself and was kind of a blues record with some you know Starfleet kind of theme things from the British TV show and then the Queen took a year off so I ended up touring with Supertramp for a year I think yeah I went out with them and that was a lot of fun we were additional musicians Scott page and myself and we toured I know Scott I haven't seen him in yeah yeah sax play sax right yeah who is this thing boy right and I was running all over the stage sometimes I play piano then come running back and go back to Rick's organ and then I was playing and I was doing some guitar stuff on that too but that was great to her and had a lot of fun with those guys and they used to like to jam afterwards so we would do the set then would go jam at a club afterwards because they were really an R&B band it was great playing with them I remember we were playing in Austin one night and I turned around there's Willie Nelson standing beside me jamming onstage was great so we had a jam with new Willian and his harp player but so I did 83 with Supertramp and then 84 I got the call to come play with Elton and I had audition for foreigner and got the gig because they were just in the middle of the I want to know what love is period so I went to New York and I did a edition with them and I got that gig but I had a home I wanted to continue with Elton because I I didn't realize that I was gonna be asked to do the first record and I had to check with them and it turned out I was they wanted me to do it so that kind of set me going with Elton and I was with Elton from 84 to 90 I think I was seven years altogether but the connection that brought me to the States really was Dick Wagner he started the whole bowel rolling because dick WA hired me to do the you know you know his record and then to do the Alice to her and that really was my ticket into the United States and you know I became an American citizen just a couple years ago yeah so I'm Dylan any out so it opened up a lot of things for me so I'm thankful to dick for opening that path dick is a was unfortunately he died a couple years ago it was a mutual friend of ours and write huge fan of his I grew up on his records we talk about rock'n'roll animal earlier and of course all the stuff he did with Aerosmith and Kearse as a session player he was second to none and he was him and Steve Hunter were Bob Ezrin is kind of first called and Jack Douglas is first cool and pretty much any record that's right they were kind of a dual do a little dueling guitar team and that's the band I joined when I was with Alice to begin with and they were great those guys were really great guitar players and you know I learned a lot from dick and he was a great writer I mean he wrote so many hits for Al only women bleed you and I I never cry bunch of stuff and some stuff on the the from the inside record with David Foster producing dick wrote a lot of that stuff and then I think Alice was writing with Bernie Taupin which is another connection – it's kind of funny because Alice lived in the hills up in Beverly Hills and Elton lived next door apparently I didn't know this but Alex used to say yeah I like to go next door borrow a cup of diamonds and actually we did go next door once and I didn't meet out and he was wandering around the house and a sombrero and Davy was playing guitar so he brought us we went next door and met Alton but I didn't really know Alton by the time you know I knew everybody else in the band by the time I joined Elton's band so it was kind of all these things were intermingling you know in the in the 80s so it's an interesting scene and that's how I ended up in the henna albums band I think did you did you get to play in South America McQueen I never did South America with them because they took a year off after we did they took a year off and I ended up a super time and then I ended up with Elton so when I was self with health and I was still working with Freddie Mercury because I was in London doing some stuff with Elton and I had break and I went down to do the mr. bad guy solo record in Munich with Mack and Freddie so I have those issues they were great I mean I saw that was portrayed in the movie but that freddie was depressed or something but that wasn't the guy knew and Munich we're having a great time and he was you know went out – it went out for dinner I was having a good time and we were just working it was work you know and we did a lot of I have us some actually some takes of us jamming together on this too and then we actually ended up I guess was a co-write because it was a thing called she blows hot and cold and I did there's the two of us sort of just jamming in the studio which turned into this tune but the other stuff I did some overdubs on tunes had already been you know recorded and I think I played on Oh quite a few things on that record and it was pretty quick because what I'm only there for two or three days oh yeah that's pretty good well yeah I was not along I think we did song after song fooling around I think that was one of the tunes we did and I can't remember all the names of the tunes but someone over you know we're kind of disco hits and stuff was a lot of fun but he had a good band together and I think I think we got a lot of stuff done in a pretty short period of time and Mac was producing the whole thing max great he used to be in LA today right here he's back he's back in Munich back in Munich hmm I wouldn't find an excuse to interview myself oh you should yeah I mean I've done a lot of stuff with Mac and he's I mean he done all the Billy Squier records the stroke and all that other stuff and he did a lot of stuff he were black and blue engineered he did the Jeff Lynn stuff engineering and he's you know that studio was a lot of people came through that studio in Munich so after Elton what did you do I took some time off I did a little producing with Rick Davis which turned into a song that ended up on the next Supertramp record there's a co-write with a co-production with Jack Douglas producing fantastic uh but I never met Jack I'd already done my part so they just they just added some stuff to it and then I sort of started trying to acclimatize myself I didn't really want to go on the road again I was trying to stay in town and it's going to be a long time to get back into the LA scene and I started working on a variety of other things and did some stuff with Spencer I went on the road with him a little bit Spencer Davis but most of it I was just working locally then I met Phillips ace the guitar player and I started doing some stuff with him and I had been playing in a club in where I was playing bass for some guitar bass sometimes and keyboards and you know and I met Philip and I started doing some records with him and I met through him Dave Cobb and Jay rust and who are two producers I know and did a lot of work with those guys I did some work with Perl I worked with her for a while whose Meat Loaf's daughter and married to Scott Ian so through that I did a couple anthrax records where they covered Boston's – and smoked and I didn't know Paul was meatless daughter yeah but I I know who she is I realize that it's so ridiculous because when we did this we did the movie with Alice called the roadie with meatloaf was a star and she was a little kid at there like one-year-old at that time when we were shooting at the sports are gonna hear so we were in the same place together when we were you know when she was a little baby you know I did a lot of country stuff what they have cob and I did some stuff Thrax and played one couple live gigs with anthrax we did that we covered that Kansas too and carry on wayward son yeah so they like I played all the keyboards on that and we actually did live a couple times I was expecting you know I never had a keyboard player so I was expecting a bottle in the head or something but they were very receptive with Dave Cobb we started doing you know country records and I did a rock stuff you find yourself traveling to Nashville to work with Emily I may do that at some point but I did a lot of stuff you know I just did a Chris Stapleton track here which was an Elton to and that Elton would ask Chris to do so once again those connections are reading which song was it it was a song called I want love and I I had already I knew that song because I came back to rehearse with the band a couple times I got called back to sort of sub for Elton in 2003 they did a tribute to Elton at the after the NAMM show at the pond in Anaheim and so I was playing piano instead of Elton because he can't play for his own tribute you know so I played with Ray Charles and Brian Wilson came up and did some stuff and that's incredible yeah it was really cool and then we went to London and did sort of the same type of thing as a benefit for the Old Vic Theatre there and I think I played with Courtney Love who was arrested on our flight thank you very much it's always great to see that pilot and the cabin crew go leaving the cockpit running towards the back and but apparently you're not allowed to call the stewardess the c-word and Courtney depend hadn't gotten that memo so uh but I played with us I think Sinead O'Connor and some other people and there's a lot of fun sting was there and Elvis Costello so you know I did that and then I did a bunch of country records with Dave Cobb one of which was Jamie Johnson's record and that went to number one on the country charts so about four or five yeah the guitarist guitar song I was called in to play one song and I ended up doing the whole record it so Dave had a lot of success with that record and you know we did the Oak Ridge Boys and some other stuff and a couple rock bands and a lot of things too now and then Dave moved to Nashville so then I started working on my own stuff and playing around town a little bit with pearl and Phillips seis you know I did a lot of stuff with Phillip and now I'm just sort of trying to get my own stuff together and just in my own things it's incredible do you have a studio of your own you work from I have a little room but it's not really a studio I mean I have my little setup my pro acts speakers in my little lunch box and you know Mike all my keyboards but I wouldn't call it a really cool interface yeah a little interface and I mean I did it when I first did my first record I didn't have a proper division at an EM box and I had one wire the special court so I could bypass the preamps and that used my API preamps and get into the Ian of trio yes yeah and of trio audio even Gardner it was also a really good bass player and but he helped me out with a lot of that stuff and then I ended up mixing it and now I'm just trying to do the minutia which I hated in high school which is the basically the homework you know all the stuff that when you did before it was taken care of you know you go on tour and it would be taken care of for you and the record would come out well I didn't I missed a step there which now you have to do yourself and so I've been working on that and I mixed and mastered and kind of raised is the album out no no it's just it's just being there's no link no I mean well let us know are you singing on it as well yeah I played everything on it except drums played bass guitar keyboards and all the other stuff and did the vocals and Dave Tyson produced vocals for me and Jay Rustin did the drama engineering so I did everything at home and then I took it into the I did add bath backwards you know I did all my truck tracks at home and then I went into the studio and we did drums in the studio our studio do you use for the drive clear lake clear Lincoln in Burbank and Jasmine working on a sphere lately I think but I just finished Thin Lizzy record a little while ago but it's actually black star riders but they got as black star riders sometimes it's an offshoot of the Thin Lizzy who was playing in that band well Scott Gorham and the they've got a new singer that nobody from the it's a more modern band but it's really the Scott's in it yes God's in it yeah I know Tom how was playing bass on some of that I wasn't yeah if some of the life stuff yeah oh I didn't realize that yeah no yeah yeah I just did this a few months ago and I think that's coming out pretty soon so yeah it sounds great I did the one before and they had a real hit with testifying or say goodbye in England I think in Europe well we're gonna have links to you your discography and people can go and yeah listen to all the stuff you've recorded and worked on yeah I think I think there's a link to my my facebook which is I think it's Fred Mandel music I'll get some more stuff out as soon as I get closer to releasing this and get the minutia done and all the things that you know that I have to be done on the on the record itself but I'm slowly moving forward on that what's marvelous well I mean there were a lot of interesting stories have happened with Alice I mean there was no shortage of excitement with that band give it send us some Alice Cooper stories alright well dick was not in the band at this time it was a little later band I believe Davy was playing guitar if I'm not mistaken yeah but we were playing st. Paul Indianapolis we were at near the Encore and we used to do schools out as the Encore and everybody would do a solo and it was about twelve thousand people in this arena and I was in the middle of doing my solo and I saw one of the road crew kind of gesturing and yelling at me and I thought no you must be getting off on when I'm playing and then I played a little more and all sudden the house lights went up and the crowd was running like 11,000 12,000 people were running yeah like the eighth floor was just opening up and I thought jobs like some bad solos but nothing like this yeah and what had happened is a guy and I've said this before to show his appreciation had thrown a military teargas canister onstage which emptied out the whole auditorium which I and we hadn't felt the effects and what the road crew was trying to yell was get offstage what you idiot but I was still playing my solo then and and meanwhile 12-foot Cyclops on stage with a flashing light he got hit and he was found this on on his face with his feet kicking so it was Scott like comedic whore her story and all of a sudden I started feeling weird and I thought oh wait a second this is an Alison the lights went up and everybody started running so and then I felt this the gas and it inspires panic it causes panic and you can imagine so we ran into the dressing room and I thought well gas is going to come under the door I'm not gonna stay in here so I went running out and there was a limo there and I just jumped in it and one of the dancers was on the floor coughing and I said get us out of here and he drove out and drove us to the hotel Alice apparently went running into the parking lot jumped into a mercedes-benz and take me to the hotel picked a nice car and that was just a typical night with Alice I suppose in those days it was sort of you know he was he was you know there was a horror theme and it just people were up in arms about his you know supposes satanic worship which is funny of course cuz we all know that the house is actually a Christian yeah he wasn't he doesn't even drink no you did there is a little bit now he's been sober for decades there's decades and he was never into that anyway he was it was a Hollywood guy he was friends with Groucho Marx he was hanging out you know we do the stage show yeah I was asked persona yeah persona better better description I saw the same kind of persona with Lady gaga who refers to herself in the third person you know so yeah he had that figured out and we did you know we did concert a concert that helped restore the Hollywood of the O and the Hollywood sign and stuff he was a Hollywood guy and he knew really well he said to me once I don't care what they say about me as long as they spelled my name right and I think I think that summed up a lot of you know right but there's back in the days of old publicity is good publicity absolutely yeah and well I guess doing that's true anymore no it's definitely true but the you know you always want to play your hometown when you're in a successful band and my first homecoming was with Alice and I hadn't met Alice before I joined Alice I met him when I was a 15 year old kid I had written out we went my friend and I skipped out of school to go see him at a television station my friends and hey Alice is playing a doing this thing go down see him so they said if you have any questions for Alice you know so I wrote it down on my hand and my little pen and when I met him I was really nervous and I said I understand you have a contraption that allows you to hang yourself and he cut your hand and he said yes well yes Fred idea and was weird thing but and you know nine years later was in the band so it's very strange but uh the Toronto homecoming we got back to Toronto after three months where three months bus tour and we were playing pretty big place there the Canadian National Exhibition and it's about eighteen to twenty thousand people and it was packed and I was outdoor concert you know I had like 35 friends there are my parents and I got a limo so I could take them down there about an hour after the opening act Alice had not shown up and we heard he was sick I know wonder what happened to him but he was but someone made an announcement that indicated he was held up at customs so there was an authority thing that people were pissed off and I I was using trainer apps in those days and I'd brought the guys down to see my handful fires and that's the first thing they started throwing chairs at so when I I didn't get changed that night into my stage stuff because I just felt something was wrong and as time went on I'll suddenly realized this was getting heavier the people were throwing chairs and it was starting to become a full-scale riot so I had to get my parents out of there and my 35 friends and we got outside of the stadium and I thought oh this is gonna be a drag house gonna show up and then we're gonna I'm gonna miss this my first hometown gig and then the band went screaming by in their limousine with their faces all white and then the helicopters were coming in a police were on horseback and that was really a mess it's on YouTube but that was my first home yeah the riot yeah you caused a riot in Toronto yeah and that was my so those are a couple of you know typical days and Alice's band to calm down after that whatever every band I played with you know but but you know after that was just a musical experiences I had with those guys with all great musically especially with Elton who was a childhood hero of mine you know I could imagine and in a weird way I I know I sound like him in some ways but I always related to help him because it was the first guy that I heard with a left hand and when you're a kid by yourself you're sort of accompanying yourself but you're trying to play bass as well and I always went for a big piano sound and here's was the first recorded sound that I could relate to that I thought I sounded like I wanted to sound like so we have similar styles I think piano piano wise years later from my birthday in 1988 he gave me a piano a grand piano in Steinway grand we had had on the road with us and he played it a little bit and was backstage and it had developed a little crack on the side so they didn't think it was Road worthy and I don't know why he had it I guess we were gonna face one another but I didn't figure out why I was gonna be playing piano I don't know why they had it but someone had an idea would be great for us both to have pianos after the insurance company deemed it unroadworthy I thought maybe I can buy it so I started inquiring to see what it was worth and I forgot about it and we were doing this record called red strikes back air London and for my birthday I got a card from Elton saying enjoy the piano and I still have that piano today it's a 1928 refurbished completely refurbished Steinway is it be Steinway Oh semi a 6 6 foot piano Hamburg model and I've had it worked on a lot it sounds great and there's nothing else that plays like it you know it's so Elton was taking a 20 Steinway on the road for touring it was recompete lee refurbished brand new sound board it would looked completely new inside yeah but still that's yeah 1928 1928 that's a that's a heck of a pianist icon the rest I guess so yeah was he serious about to take serious instruments well he had a Steinway out himself you know and he had a nine-foot Steinway on the road and I played as the piano since now I think he's using Yamahas at the time you know all those guys Burton Cummings and Freddie Mercury and all those guys were playing Stein ways and their top-end was all gone because they'd been you know fighting with guitar players and in order to have that you have to go be in the early days of playing through guitar amps and stuff you know trying to give as loud as they could and when I first like Dave you know I used to run over sometimes when we playing bitch or Saturday Night Live we were both playing guitars and we'd run over to Elton's podiums jump up where those monitors were and we can only stay up there for about three seconds or four seconds before it became so intense we'd have to leave first time ever played Freddie's piano I hit the high end and I almost went over I just checked it out and went ding and I went through my head like an ice pick it was so loud so whenever I played his piano I had to turn it down but those guys had a lot of top and missing from the years of playing you know well electric piano was easy at one point he was using a roland Rd 1000 when they're out front but when I joined he was using a Steinway grand and of course then he had monitors proper monitors now and he likes them a little loud so we've got a little little crazy and I just started mixing myself I just have them send all the stuff to me and I had a mixer on stage so I didn't have to keep yelling the sound guy anymore guitar more piano I just had my own setup nice stereo mix for all my keyboards it was great fantastic yeah it was really I mean it was a perfect stereo sound when we played I really enjoyed it and of course playing those songs how can you not like that stuff incredible and you must I mean in 82 the shows must have been enormous they were pretty large 84 is when we were first time we played was well you did Wembley Arena I went any stadium I should say and that we did as a five-piece band was Dee Davey Nigel Elton and myself and I think we had 70 or 80 thousand people there so when we did live 8 it wasn't as foreigners you know or scary as you'd imagine because we already done that by ourselves we did a thing called a nighttime daytime concert oh so you were playing with Elton all night yeah Elton I wanted to tell Queen I thought they did a great set but when we came in there were four little caravans you were allowed to stay in trailers and you had like I think 30 minutes to get ready or 45 minutes to get ready in 30 to get out and there was the who David Bowie Elton and Queen so I'd already were playing with Queen so I went in to tell them they did you know a good set but I'd always say that to them there was nothing they never did a bad set it's not so I had nothing to say other than you guys were really great you know but they always seemed to be interested in my comment you know because they were literally literally wanted to know well sure people thought well somebody they respect it Jenny yeah well fans are always gonna be you're amazing yeah I but I didn't have anything negative to hard to find anything there those they were all amazing shows you know and Munir on a certain level they never won below i when i was working with Aerosmith Stephen and and Tom told me that they taught together because I had the same manager in America and they he said they said that they used to always use the t's Queen because you know Freddie would take the boom stand off and they would always get aa you know tease them and then they said secretly we always tease them because they blow us off the stage every night I think that that's the sort of thing isn't it they're they're sort of little almost sibling rivalry between yeah and Queen would talk about stuff I remember when Freddie was listening he said he was listening to something on his Walkman in those days and he said you got to check this out he'd play it yeah I think he hand it to Brian and they hand it to me so this is gonna be a hit and it was every breath you take the police you know and they were kind of you know they want to know what was going on with the other bands and stuff so ever was kind of wherever what everybody else was doing and there was a competition of sorts you know that especially on the charts but the weird thing was when we did I want to break free at the record plant radio gaagaa we did that here and then they did a video for it which was kind of take-off on Coronation Street and all the you know they dressed up as the housewives and they had a bad reaction to that by MTV America didn't get that joke and of course coming from Canada a new it was just put on and you know it's Monty Python okay Benny Hill the English in particular yeah love to you know the British but definitely the English we do like to do things and dragon p6 right look at the Rolling Stones and whether I dressed up as the RAF of women back in the you know album cover so what happened was apparently they wouldn't played on MTV there's this insect because MTV is music television alright and they're supposed to be cutting-edge they wouldn't play it here and Queen kind of said well we we're done with America and they started concentrating on Europe and South America and things change for them here at that point of course they had worldwide hits with both those tunes you know but it was why don't you play on those songs I played a lot of keyboards on radio gaga Roger had they did it at the kind of sequence stuff okay I played all the piano and synthesizer stuff and the bowels and stuff on that and then on radio gaga I'm not wanna break free I played the solo in the middle which was kind of weird because who didn't yeah like that yeah and I played some other I play something I think Sean had some keyboards on that as well I think you've done a lot of stuff on that I thought I played more keyboards than I did on that but I remember playing some other I think I may have played a pad kind of string pad on that as well but the solo I didn't realize was problematic because I didn't realize was the first guy that had ever played a solo on a queen record other than Brian and Brian wasn't in the studio when I did this and by then I'd been with bands and doing records and it wasn't a big thing as someone said can you do a solo and John said won't you throw a soul on here I didn't think anything of it that was a political you know no no at that time so I did the soul and I was good friends with Brian I would not have done what done anything to you know so I just did the solo and it was one take except for the last note which I had to punch in with Mac which one a whole octave because my jupiter-8 was set for like a whole stay half step I think yeah a whole tone and that couldn't go down anywhere anything more than so when we punched it and I said it for an octave and I didn't think about it and then I found out afterwards that you know I take him Brian's spot basically in this old position but he eventually like the the tune I think I like the soul and yeah I'm sure if he didn't like he would have replayed it yeah yeah but I mean I'm still friends with Brian today yesterday so that's a good thing sorry right he's I we talked battle of camera I've never met him but he he comes across as well as incredibly genuine well first of all he's a pretty bright guy you know yeah you know I mean the arguments you know the Queen arguments backstage you know there was tension like any band but it wasn't like they're having dumbass arguments about who you sure they would be argued by you know arguing about the wingspan of a butterfly or something the technical you know they it was just you know it was a high level of problems that they were having but you know they're like any family they were supportive and you know they'd argue with one another but you know somebody else criticized anybody then I was four against ones you know four musketeers it's interesting I had that experience with with with working with Aerosmith that I can't name names but somebody came in and got involved in the dynamic and then all the band members turn against that person yeah well that would have happened with Queen two because the great thing about great bands isn't it yeah I mean I think that it's the diverse personalities that helped make Queen greater than the some you know there was something that they all brought in and like I said before I think John Deacon was a secret weapon because he wrote all these hits you know another one bites the dust and you're my best friend and I want to break free spread your wings yeah and then Roger was started to write when we wrote Radio gaga which was number one hit for his first try but it was long and they all were really bright guys and Brian himself is on dr. Brian May so you're not dealing with a an idiot here I was listening to a radio program and Brian just kind of explained the probability of alien life using a formula that I'd never heard before and so was like back in science class and I'm listening to dr. Brian may explain explain the universe you know on a casual afternoon and I'm going oh yeah that guy that's the same guy that you know plays that loud guitar stuff so I think that you know he's a really interesting guy and they were all had their own personalities they're all bright guys and I think that they just had something when they came together that was unique nobody else had and Freddy just was a true artist in every way shape or form from at least from the outside it's very interesting cuz when you talk about these massively successful bands his people have such strong opinions based on the outward look just the other day Brian put up an Instagram post and people started like going on about Freddy and all this kind of stuff and he did actually take a stand and I applaud him for it he's like he's like there is the outward version that people understand about people that are famous right and there is the you know the private side that we all know about each other and you're not thinking oh famous I'm when you're in a working situation your friends and you're trying to accomplish a goal I think this explains Freddy's character to me he kind we had a mutual respect for one another's playing he was more classically but oriented and I was kind of wild rock and roll player but there was a tune called man on the prowl on a record called the works and Freddy had played three quarters of the way through it and he said why don't you come in and play the rest of the tune all that rock and roll stuff you do and they'll think it's me darling I said don't think it's you okay I'm used to doing sessions you don't always get credit you know I thought okay so I played this thing and you can hear us it splits not really but you know at certain point you could hear me takeover and playing all this stuff and it ends with my piano kind of doing this weird rock and roll stuff up and down the keyboard I thought okay I've done it and he gave me specific credit on the record thanks to Fred Mandel so that indicates what kind of guy he was you know and I've had tea with him and hung out with him he's not he's not a while yeah he was a very introspective thoughtful guy and he was in a lot of ways the opposite of his stage persona you know and people get that stuff confused but you know Freddy was sold very intelligent guy and very thoughtful and I thought it was a nice guy and he was he used to drag me out and he brought me out to start playing crazy little thing on his piano and then after a while he picked me up and take me to the front of stage and introduced me though he was nothing but encouraging to me so I have utmost respect for that guy who's great guy good yeah well that's wonderful to hear I don't doubt any of that yeah that's it Freddy I do so I I don't like to here is his reputation besmirched because the last time I saw him 1988 we were at doing a record with Elton at era London and we were invited over to Queens for Thanksgiving to Rodgers place and get a condo on the Thames and I went over there was a whole band and myself and ratty the roadie famous queen roadie and we had a great time and then Freddie wanted me to stay behind because he had just finished wanted to play something to me so he played me this record he done with monster a copy a there was a female opera singer famous opera singer and he'd done a record which I think he always wanted to do an operatic record you know and he played me this thing was great saying incredibly and I thought him I thought it was amazing you know that was last time I saw him 1988 and then Mac and I went to yeah Queen Mary Queen Mary yep and I know all of that to policy yeah and only I think was two guys from Queens showed I was Brian and maybe Roger and perhaps and two guys didn't and I thought something's weird because they always came to press things you know so that's when I first started to suspect something was wrong and you know the rest is medical history unfortunately but yeah that was last time I saw him in 1988 in person you know recently they released I always liked this song that we had done we cut this record it was basically Queen we cut it for Brian's wife I needed Dobson from EastEnders for those genders right those of you remember that show and I always kept saying to Brian throughout the years that song this great song you should you should cut it again do it release it or something and he put Freddie on it they cut it with Freddie's vocal and at the track that we originally did and they released it a few years ago and I think it's 2014 it's called let me in your heart again and it's just myself playing piano with Roger and John and Brian and then Freddie put this which i think is one of his best vocals on this track it's very raw it's not a lot of stuff going on Brian's tripled guitars but it's still a rock queen track and the released anon the Queen forever LP a few years ago so I'm really proud of that and I think his vocal is just amazing it's I didn't I hadn't heard it because we cut it you know in the studio just with the four of us but certainly worth checking that out I'm still flabbergasted I didn't know that you played the subtle one I want to break free oh really that's pretty that's pretty huge yeah well you know the weird thing about it is when you do is I used to mimic that on guitar in a commas band in the 80s yeah when I was a little kid well it comes out of a guitar concept yeah yeah because I always used to like guitar solos on synthesized like yeah hammer and all that stuff I always used to think guitar because it made sense to me you know cuz you're bending notes and in the eye you know I guess I wanted to play my keyboards like a guitar player a lot and that's where it comes out of that and I only played it once I can I doubt if I could play it again today and if you look on YouTube there's millions of guys trying to play that soul on the rigid versions of it so I didn't realize that it had become a big solo but apparently it was you know but like I say you know it's a one-time one-take thing was one take with a punch and that was it and then Bob's your uncle and on you go it's amazing yeah I was fine but apparently that tune was big in South Africa when they were having the Nelson Mandela it's wonderful to hear yeah I wasn't unaware of that so you just don't hear all that stuff in the States anymore I mean it was worldwide but it wasn't just prominent in the States I well nothing now because of the movie yeah it's but what's interesting to mention before the movie came out Queen was still pretty much the biggest legacy artist in the world if you're going to Spotify those it was a point they were like number 75 in the world of every artist right modify I think as we're pointing out the rest of the world there always been so huge you know that's true regardless of their success up and down in America I mean you look at I mean universe you know it's why I was asking about the shows in South America because they broke record attendances over hundred thousand and people like that you know example eight everywhere yeah you know I didn't know as much about them when I joined them I was a much bigger fan coming out of the band and I that I knew it was so weird the way I was hired for Queen I I don't know who gave me the recommendation but I went to meet Jerry Stickles who was their road manager who I never knew was Jimi Hendrix's road manager from beginning to end I didn't know through the whole you never mentioned it so I went and I met him in LA here and we talked for a few minutes and he said okay you'll do I said don't you want to hear me play said now I know you can play I just want to make sure you can get along with the bad so I flew to Montreal on Sunday night and we rehearsed Monday and Tuesday and played with him Wednesday night a bunch of complicated stuff I don't know I couldn't do that I mean it's like you know Mission Impossible and I don't know how you learned all those tunes I had to learn the synthesizer in a week that I've never used before and about a bunch of – and same thing happened with Elton I went to Australia I got the gig so we start off in Australia I have 44 Tunes I need to learn we have one three hour rehearsal he then decides to get married and that's it the next thing I know I'm on stage playing someone saved my life tonight and you know all this complicated stuff that I learned on a little Casio and my you know my my hotel room and I just sat there and worked on tunes next thing I didn't know we were gonna call off all the rehearsals but anyway it worked out in the long run kind of crazy I could not have done that again today if I thought about it you know what I mean you're better well I mean you were so in it you were in the music yeah in that place I fully relate when when that's all you're living and eating and breathing well it wasn't like I could coast because we were doing the stuff off of hot space so John was not playing bass on a lot of that stuff he's playing rhythm guitar so guess who was playing bass I was and you know you can fool around a lot of instruments but you can't stop playing bass you know yeah and it was faster dude dude you did it and there was not symmetrical tunes there was a and B did not always return they went to C and then back to possibly be or half a B I was like I don't know how he did it but we we got it all done and it wasn't six forty one five the whole time yeah it was crazy stuff and they worked it all worked out and you know by the time I think we think we did Japan first or America I can't remember the order those tours but we had the tunes down by the time we got to play them obviously but it was a lot of fun I really enjoyed playing with those guys was great great experience and it was always exciting and there was never any lack of guitar on stage you could always hear thick star but it's such a huge sound was really inspiring you know it's a giant sound on stage and the vocals with Freddy singing you know it's incredible and Roger great drummer underrated drummer I think they're amazing drummer and so was John Deacon I was really surprised some of the guitar lines your bass lines you know he'd play and the guitar stuff he did on rhythm he was really a great musician in the four of them together it was just like a powerhouse so you know it's really proud to be part of that I was when I went to I never saw them with ready I think at that period of my life I was a up-and-coming struggling musician myself and I didn't have any money to buy expensive tickets and go to big shots yeah yeah they were well past Club gigs in the 80s right so but I did you know I have seen them subsequently I saw them with Adam just last year for instance and it's still basically a four-piece it is well it's insane how much sound comes out and you're like there's so many songs where there's not even a piano going it's with guitar bass and drums right and I do have to give a shout out to spike Adney because he took over for and I did and he has done a remarkable job of the keyboard stuff that's you know he put together all the the radio Gaga stuff that we did which was layered and complex and he's got that all together when he when it comes in it sounds great he and Spike was playing with him 84 or 85 on he did a great job and his still continues to do a great job with those guys so I have to give him a shout out because that guy really is holding together the keyboard end of that band reproducing all the stuff that we did live is tough you know it's amazing yeah I just I just marveled at Bryan plays plays rhythm and then you know goes into the solo part and battle rhythm there's no there's nobody covering it when he's it's just a band your way basically is a trio yeah that's a trio I tell you the truth I always wondered how are they gonna cover that stuff locally live because they were known for 90 92 tracks or vocals and Roy was telling me about this stuff they do it because Roger is also a secret weapon weapon there with the high parts he sings all that top stuff and it's pretty thick with with the three of them harmonizing it gets pretty thick I loved I loved that they read up the smiles stuff because then you hear them harmonizing behind a different singer and you're like wow these guys can sing yeah they can all sing yeah I mean they're all they're all solo singers I mean well done solo records Roger Roger can sing all the high stuff and he's a rock and roll singer and so can Brian I've seen I saw Brian solo to her he was playing in LA went down caught that I mean he sings great live so there was no shortage of you know and it was good harmony all in tune in time you know they they had that thing happening you know and that as a power trio and you know that Brian had something special going on guitar player he's a special player and he's an hour Kestrel arranger if you listen to the stuff he's done where he's mimicking clarinets and stuff and then literally you know I mean there's something way more than just you know you know going down on that guitar he's got you've got that but he also has a whole other sensibility involved you know you forget what a brilliant player is you know because you take it for granted you've heard that when when the first came out nobody heard anything like that the tripled guitar parts and he duplicates that live with delay you know so he was able to play on top of his own stuff but but as an arranger he's responsible for a lot of that stuff with clean amazing yeah Fred thank you ever so much I mean pleasure I'm glad to be here well thank you thanks for telling us about your career thanks for indulging me in some queen moments I really appreciate that's great i watch your stuff anyway so it's just happy to add to the collection it's fantastic it's wonderful having you here nice to be here man we'll definitely put there'll be a link there'll be a blog of course we'll have you know some more in-depth stuff we're talking about we'll also link to all of the stuff that Fred was talking about in his own career as well outside of just playing with Queen but I will definitely have a Spotify link today I want to break free well great yeah because that's a heck of a solo that's all thanks ever so much a one take with a punch with one one take with a punch and it was a Jupiter right reminds me my old girlfriend but that's not that's not that's another story yeah Jupiter 8 that is quite outstanding cuz that is was literally my favorite synth I love that synth yeah I was great since I will add well ideas sometimes I you something afterwards at all I went home eat well okay I had done that solo yeah and I was in London a few years later after the record came out I was looking at a rollin synthesizer and it had some a sound on that on it said may sound you know one of the names they call of the sound and I played it it was why it was a the sound of my synthesizers a rollin thought that had been done by Brian May on a guitar and they duplicated it was really done in a rollin sent then they duplicated that sound onto another synthesizer which was really really their own jupiter-8 oh yes so I thought yeah so you tweak the sound presumably you created your own sound with it that's yeah preset it was a preset it was a preset that was a preset on that they were using to sell another synthesizer the sound the original sound you created originally yeah I tweaked on the roland jupiter-8 which I really like because it you know but that's kind of one of those crazy stories which doesn't mean anything really Marvis thank you ever so much and please leave a bunch of comments and questions below thank you ever so much for watching and have a Marvis time recording and mixing and play you


  • Produce Like A Pro says:

    Who would you like me to interview next? Let me know below!

  • Gerry Bostock says:

    Hey Warren, if you really should be coming over to Munich to meet Mack make sure you visit Klaus Voorman as well! He lives near Munich! That would be two really wonderful interviews I bet.

  • midirok says:

    I met Fred back stage, this was for a group called Kanawormz. It was in L.A. in about 2012. Nice guy with a serious background.

  • Taggart Snyder says:

    Yay, Minot, ND! Thatโ€™s where I was born! I went to college with some folks from Estevan.

  • theDeadliesTV says:

    Fantastic interview Warren!!!! Thank you!

  • Steve Zeagman says:

    Great interview! Hadn't heard "Let me in your heart again", what a great song!

  • L. Scott Music says:

    Maybe Fred will give the PLAP free trial a try?

  • Rikkousa says:

    Warren, I donโ€™t know how you do it…another superb interview. Fascinating and riveting..always entertaining. You have found a wonder niche for your talents and connecting your audience with major players in the music business. You always ask us who we want you interview interview..your the boss..canโ€™t wait until the next one!

  • Scott Yeager says:

    This channel is sooo good.

  • Mark Holden says:

    Great Guy, just shared this interview with planet rock where Alice does the night shift ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Dave Scarlett says:

    Prikash John with the Lincolns! Now you're talkin'

  • Mark Mark says:

    this was a nice trip ! been listening to this chap for 40 years and i had no idea (even with due credit given by Queen) …. but how did you skip the pink floyd bit ?? …..doesn't matter…. this was still fascinating to me…. and not just because im a fellow hosehead ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  • Robert Andrew Junior says:

    Outstanding guest, outstanding stories. Thank you "ever so much" Warren.

  • Ken Stewart says:

    Another great interview! Amazing stories. Thanks Warren!

  • Acme Brand says:

    Interview Joe Travers Drummer extraordinaire played with Zappa plays Zappa currently with Joe Satriani..I bet he's got tons of great stories!

  • Markus T says:

    Very cool interview! I wish Pentti "Whitey" Glan was still alive, I would have loved to have seen you interview him. I miss him.

  • anonagain says:

    The story about the hockey puck reminds me of a couple gigs I had in the 70's in Dallas at a club where the stage was surrounded by a metal cage to protect the musicians from flying beer bottles and other projectiles. Fun times ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Warren and Fred for another great interview!

  • Chris Jackson says:

    Great video! Could have listened to you guys chatting all day!

  • Bring MeSunshine says:

    Blimey, Fred can sure talk, but then, having done so much with so many,. there's a lot to fit in. Seriously, another vid that you start watching, thinking, I'll give it few minutes, and next thing, youre in for the whole ride.

  • Peter Brandt says:

    And that Courtney Love was arrested on their flight… Made my day :D.

    What a portfolio. Stunning at least!

  • Neil Barbu says:

    I stopped the video to listen again more intently and agree itโ€™s a great solo that sounds original. I always wondered whom played that solo.

  • Los Cajones says:

    Great, great, great…Did I say great? 'cause that is what it was…Greaty McGreatFace!

  • William Clark says:

    Fantastic. Great to see a guy from my era and geographical beginnings make it all the way. Love this guy

  • angel graham says:


  • Harmony Smurf says:

    Amazing. Had me glued to my phone

  • Platinum Black says:

    Clear Lake is in North Hollywood. ๐ŸŽš๐ŸŽš๐ŸŽ›๐ŸŽง

  • Ron Mockridge says:

    Fred Mandel great interview, top guy! you sure find the cream my friend!! Fantastic.. plus QUENN SOLO hey !! wonderful !!

  • Michael Joe Deal says:

    Wow very cool! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Guitar5986 says:

    Wow…this is one of your best interviews yet Warren. Ashamed to say I had never heard of this legend. What an incredible career he's had… Thanks Warren & Fred!

  • Radio Bikini says:

    Awesome vid!!!

  • Mike Dr says:

    This is great stuff – more like this please!!

  • bwm5150 says:

    Great stuff Warren! Yes, please find an excuse to interview Mack! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • James Johnson says:

    Oh gosh! This is super awesome!

  • Charles Boyle says:

    What a great interview and what a resume Mr Mandel has! Thanks Warren.

  • Claudius says:

    Wow! That guy is just incredible! It seems like he played with everyone! Thanks Warren for another great interview! Have a nice day! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Dan Peltier says:

    just one more good one Warren too cool

  • Charles Boyle says:

    What a great interview! And what a resume Mr Mandel has! Donald Fagen would be my dream interviewee but I realise this is not likely to happen. Thanks,Warren,for such a great channel.

  • Skipps says:

    smashing pumpkins next!

  • Scott Rogers says:

    Ohhh someone who played with Queen! I bet Warren was in heaven!!

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