He was notorious for his love of a wild party.
But Freddie Mercury’s hard-living included alcohol-fuelled tantrums in which he refused to go on stage – and rants that Queen fans were too ugly to play to.
The antics of the late Queen singer – who died in 1991 aged 45 from AIDS-related complications – were witnessed by head of his band’s roadies and photographer Peter ‘Ratty’ Hince.
Freddie in his 1980 pomp playing New York’s Madison Square Garden. Picture: Waring Abbott/Getty Images
Hince, who toured with Queen at the apex of their success in the Seventies and Eighties, has revealed Mercury’s fast living in his book about the singer.
He was with Mercury when he composed Crazy Little Thing Called Love and privy to his sex, drugs and rock’n’roll lifestyle, which famously included employing midgets to tour his parties with trays of cocaine strapped to their heads.
Hince writes in his book Queen Unseen: My Life With The Greatest Rock Band Of The 20th Century, how Freddie also used to whip him with a towel backstage.
In an extract from the tome printed in today’s Daily Mirror newspaper, Hince wrote of one night at the height of Mercury’s fame: ‘Queen are at the peak of their successes – and excesses, and a pale, fragile Fred shelters backstage in the comfort of his dressing room.
Queen in 1973, from left, drummer Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury, guitarist Brian May and bassist John Deacon. Picture: Michael Putland/Getty Images
‘A packed arena of 20,000 baying rock fans wait expectantly, and it’s less than an hour until show time. Mr Mercury is in one of his moods and nobody dares challenge him.
‘Fred stands, poses theatrically and shrieks his feelings: ‘I can’t do this show – my voice is f*****. I’m f*****!’
‘Fred is precisely where he wants to be – at the centre of attention, and is playing the drama queen role to perfection. Silly old tart!’
Hince goes on in his description of the night backstage: ‘Fred ponders the tour manager’s words, passes the cigarette to somebody to extinguish, sips a drink of hot honey and lemon and huffily settles into a comfy chair, giving a final outburst, ‘Did you see those people in the front row last night! Did you? They were all ugly! I will not have that at a Queen show!’
Towel-draped Freddie heading for the stage at the Live Aid concert on July 13 1985. Picture: Dave Hogan/Getty Images
Hince adds in the book ‘few people’ could approach Mercury before a show – except him.
And the former roadie would use the opportunity to tease him about his set list and listen as Mercury went by his ‘gay nickname’, Melina.
He adds in the book Mercury may have flounced around like a ‘silly old tart’, but he had the ‘utmost respect, admiration and admiration’ for the singer.