Adam Lambert Reveals He Discovered Queen Through ‘Wayne’s World’
Q&A: Queen, Adam Lambert Talk New Tour, Pressure and John Deacon
Could the movie "Wayne’s World" have led a prepubescent Adam Lambert to Queen?
No way? Way!
Back in 1992, when Lambert was 10 years old, he saw the film's lead characters Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) banging their heads to "Bohemian Rhapsody" ... and he lost his mind.
"I thought, 'What is that song? It’s so cool!' Lambert said during a press conference with Queen to announce the band's upcoming North American tour with the singer. "My dad said, 'Here son. This is Queen.' I pulled out the Queen stuff [from my dad's record collection] and really dove in. I got to hear it on vinyl, which felt very legit."
Lambert retained his adoration of Queen, even as he performed in musical theater as a teen and developed into a pop singer in his 20s. When he auditioned for "American Idol" in 2009, one of the songs he sang was "Bohemian Rhapsody." And for his performance in the finale that year, he sang "We Are the Champions" with Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor.
"If someone had said to me, 'By the way, you’re going to be performing with them in Madison Square Garden in five years,' I would have laughed in their face," said Lambert. "This is so surreal, and I'm glad I sang that song for my audition because maybe it planted a seed. I think because of that audition that's one of the reasons at the end of the show they said, 'Okay, let’s think of some things to do for the finale'; and when I heard that Queen were going to be onstage, it was a full-circle moment then. And now the circle’s huge."
Also at the conference, Brian May revealed that seeing Lambert's audition performance was a motivational moment that immediately put the young singer on a short list of candidates to replace Paul Rodgers, who sang with the band from 2004 to 2009. "That [audition recording] rippled around the world," the guitarist said. "I had thousands of people send me the video, saying, 'You have to see this guy!' So it immediately put [him] in there. And then we came to see [Adam perform]. That's where it began."
After their "American Idol" appearance, Queen reconnected with Lambert at the 2011 MTV European Music Awards in Belfast, Ireland for an eight-minute finale medley of "The Show Must Go On," "We Will Rock You," and "We are the Champions." The next summer, Queen and Lambert toured Europe, including three sold-out dates at London's Hammersmith Apollo; and also played Russia, the Ukraine, and Poland.
"There was an immediate [chemistry]," May said. "We get on personally and that counts for a lot. And we were awestruck by his instrument and the way he used it. And then when we went onstage it felt natural. It didn't feel like we were trying to be anything that we weren’t."
Taylor said the band's 2014 tour set will feature a mix of fan favorites and songs the band finds fun to play. "We're very aware of what we think people want to hear, and we're going to try to deliver that and make it an interesting journey through the hits."
If the 2014 Queen North American tour goes well, May and Taylor agree the band might start working on a new studio album. Said Taylor: "If we enjoy it as much as I hope we do, then who knows?"
Queen will launch their 19-date tour June 19 in Chicago and will remain on the road until July 20 in Washington, D.C.