Queen have risen triumphantly back to the top of popular culture over the past few years. The movie Bohemian Rhapsody smashed box office records and introduced new generations to the magic of Freddie Mercury and the majesty of the band’s music. It magnified the popularity of the latest incarnation of the band fronted by Adam Lambert. But where is John Deacon. why isn’t he in the band if the are touring again? Roger Taylor bluntly admitted: “We don’t have any contact with John.”
Deacon still has financial involvement with the band since Queen royalties are split four ways between the three surviving members and Freddie Mercury’s beneficiaries. Brian May confirmed they keep Deacon informed of any plans or developments but he never replies.
May and Taylor take his silence as acquiescence: “It’s his choice. He doesn’t contact us. John was quite delicate all along.”
When the film Bohemian Rhapsody came out, Taylor said: “I haven’t heard a squeak from John, not a single guttural grunt.”
But why? What happened?
Freddie Mercury and John Deacon
Queen: Brian May, Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor and John Deacon
It’s clear that from the beginning right up to today that May and Taylor were a team. They were together in various bands before the formation of Queen.
Then Freddie joined and John was the last addition, with a consensus that a quieter fourth member would be preferable in a band already loaded with three large personalities.
Freddie’s long-term PA explained that he and John formed their own special bond: “Freddie took John under his wing because he was the new boy. He was shy, not like Brian and Roger. He wanted to protect him.”
Freddie Mercury and John Deacon were always close
Jacky Smith ran the Queen fan club for 37 years and said: “John just gave up after Freddie died. He and Freddie were opposites really because John is so shy and he was the youngest in the band. Freddie took him under his wing and they were very close for all those years.
“Freddie drew the attention away, and without Freddie there, I don’t think John could face any of it.”
May said: “I think losing Freddie was very hard for him as well. He found that incredibly hard to process, to the point where actually playing with us made it more difficult.”
Queen goes on without Freddie Mercury and John Deacon
Deacon’s college friend, Robert Ahwai said; “Maybe he thought, ‘Freddie was the band, so what’s the point? He suffered from depression after Freddie died and I am not sure he has ever come out of it.'”
May told Rolling Stone magazine Deacon no longer takes any active part in the legacy of Queen or potential projects: “John doesn’t want to be (involved). He’s in his own space and we respect that.
“It’s a shame, because we would love to have him around but he doesn’t want to be in that arena anymore…he just doesn’t want to be walking those roads.”
John himself famously said: “As far as we are concerned, this is it. There is no point carrying on. It is impossible to replace Freddie.”
However, May comments make it clear that any connection with the band intensified John’s grief over losing Freddie.
While the two remaining members of the band celebrate Freddie by continuing his legacy, John has built a quiet life far away from showbusiness.
He still lives with his wife, Veronica Tetzlaff, in the same house in Putney he bought with his very first royalties from the band and where they raised their six children.