Music: We Will, We Will Rock You » Urban Milwaukee
Christina Wright
Music

We Will, We Will Rock You

Gary Mullen and the Works have been performing Queen for 12 years and audiences still love it.

By - Mar 15th, 2014 09:31 am
Sign-up for the Urban Milwaukee daily email
Queen

Queen

When Gary Mullen and the Works bring “One Night of Queen” to Potawatomi’s Northern Lights Theater March 18 and 19 it will be a homecoming of sorts for the guys from Glasgow, Scotland. Milwaukee was the first stop on the Queen tribute band’s American tour last year and, to their surprise and delight, a group of around 20 Glaswegians were in the audience, dancing and singing along to the hits. And lead singer Mullen, bass guitarist Billy Moffat, keyboardist Malcolm Gentles, drummer Jonathan Evans, and guitarist David Brockett have friends in Milwaukee.

“On our American tours we use Clearwing Productions (headquartered on Historic Mitchell Street) in order to make the set look very Queen-esque,” Mullen says. “We always come to town a night early to hang out with our friends from Clearwing.”

2014 marks the band’s 7th American tour. Mullen can’t believe his good fortune. He’s a former computer salesman who wowed UK audiences with his spot-on Freddy Mercury impersonation on the British talent show “Stars in Their Eyes.”

“When I won Stars in Their Eyes in 2000 it kind of shocked me!” Mullen says. “I go from selling computers to being on tour three weeks later. The band will have been together for 12 years this May

and I’ve been singing professionally for 14. Many British bands yearn to break into the American market and tour in the US and we’re a tribute band on our 7th American tour. I can’t believe it!”

Gary Mullen and the Works isn’t your typical tribute band with a rotating cast of band members and a cheesy lead singer. No, these guys are a fully-functioning rock band that, after 12 years, has become a family. Each member of the band is also an accomplished performer in his own right. Back in June, bass guitarist Moffat released his own single called “Personal Decay” and keyboardist Gentles has had the royal treatment, performing for the Prince of Wales. Brockett’s guitar is personalized and customized in the spirit of Queen guitarist Brian May’s homemade “Red Special” instrument. The band’s emulation of Queen goes pretty deep.

“Queen wasn’t just Freddy Mercury and a backing band,” Mullen says, an encyclopedia of Queen facts. “Queen is the only band where every member wrote at least one of the group’s hit singles.”

So, what can the Milwaukee audience expect from this year’s installment of “One Night of Queen”?

“We’ve completely changed the set list. Anyone who came to the show last year will see something totally different,” Mullen says. “Of course we play the classic hits, but we have the flexibility to throw in a medley. We want to give the audience a scope of Queen’s entire canon. Queen performed all genres of songs, from vaudeville-esque numbers, to hard rock tunes, to ballads. We always want to surprise the audience. It keeps things exciting.”

Mullen loves to interact with the audience. And Mullen never reveals his thick Scottish brogue during the performance, instead maintaining Freddy Mercury’s smooth voice throughout.

“When I’m on stage it’s not me; it’s Freddy Mercury,” Mullen says. “The most important people in the room are in the audience. I love latecomers who sit in the first few rows. I’ll call them out just for fun and say, ‘Why are you late?’ We want people to dance and sing along. Help us out! Be our back-up choir!”

One Night of Queen is two hours of high-energy and high-quality fun. As Mullen says, “It’s the best time you can have with your clothes on.”

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us