My dad was a mechanic. He worked on a lot of bottom-of-the-rung cars that didn't have cassette decks. But they had 8-tracks. Somebody left an 8-track tape of Queen's Greatest Hits in a car — the one where they're wearing leather jackets on the cover, and Freddie's got the mustache. I loved it immediately, and I came to emulate Freddie both as a child and as an adult.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" is arguably the greatest song ever written. I'm sure people told them it was too long or had too many movements. But then it came out and just took hold of the world. When you're in a band and you find something that breaks every rule, it gives you creative hope. And Queen were always trying something new; none of their hit songs were paint-by-numbers.
When My Chemical Romance were making The Black Parade, we watched tons of documentary footage about A Night at the Opera, Queen's best album. We used Brian May amps and wrote songs with different movements. But we didn't try to make another "Bohemian Rhapsody." Whenever someone tries to do that, they fail.
I love the way Freddie performed. He would strike amazing poses; maybe he practiced them in front of a mirror, but he wasn't pretending to be somebody else. That was him telling the world, "This is who I am." I remember when the surviving members of Queen were looking for a singer a few years ago, I was like, "I would love to try it." Freddie's songs are just so much fun to sing, and he had such stamina. I would definitely have to quit smoking to be able to do what he did.
Queen fell in and out of being cool, maybe because they were so sincere. Rock music is all about being phony sometimes. And they weren't. They were obviously so psyched to be doing what they were doing.
They had a polarizing quality. I heard a story — maybe apocryphal — that Queen played a festival and got booed off the stage. Freddie vowed they would return as the biggest band in the world. And they did. When we played the Reading and Leeds festivals, we had to follow Slayer, and got bottles of piss thrown at us. I thought, "If we ever come back here, we're gonna headline it." I've always held on to the same dreams as Freddie.