RUFUS TAYLOR: Royalty In The Darkness (2017)

Published on April 6th, 2017



RUFUS Tiger Taylor is the son of legendary Queen drummer Roger Taylor. The opportunity to chat to Rufus came about as he will soon be in Australia for a slew of highly anticipated shows with British rock’n’roll vagabonds, The Darkness.

The band fronted by the Hawkins brothers, Justin and Dan, are now five albums into a rocky career. Justin effectively left the band as he battled a well-publicised substance abuse problem, this forced them into an extended break from 2006 to 2011. The tide eventually turned and the Darkness reformed, inviting Rufus to join after a brief stint on the stool by Emily Dolan Davies. “We know of a mutual friend who’s a guitar tech and he put Dan in touch with me. He let me know that there was a vacancy at the back of the band. I was in Sydney at the time, I remember replying to Dan by saying, ‘I love it round the back, Dan!’ “

Those who follow the band will recognise that Rufus’s sense of humour is a perfect match for the Hawkins brothers and Johnny Depp circa Pirates of the Caribbean looking bassist, Frankie Poullain. “It’s just great fun because the music’s awesome. That’s always been what I’ve been looking for. I’ve always loved them since their first album, since I first saw them doing their crazy videos.”

Rufus also performs with his father in Queen. Queen are one of those bands with so many great moments spread across their catalogue that it is neigh impossible to single out one era of the band’s music for specific praise. Many also consider the sadly departed Freddie Mercury the greatest rock’n’roll front man of all time. Taylor was only a baby when Mercury passed away so I ask if he was aware of any special connection he may have had with the iconoclastic Mercury. “Freddie actually named me, if I was a boy he wanted me to be called Tiger and if I was a girl, Tiger Lily. So my mum called me Rufus Tiger Taylor. Apparently Freddie and I got on really well.”

Mercury is an impossible act to follow and Taylor is quick to offer hosannas to the bloke tasked with that very tough gig. Adam Lambert was selected by both Taylor Sr. and Queen guitarist Brian May as the anointed one to carry Mercury’s legacy to millions of fans across the globe. “He (Lambert) is not trying to emulate Freddie at all. He’s not trying to be him and he’s not trying to like replace him. He’s just doing his own thing and he gives a lot of respect to Freddie throughout the gig. He’s probably the only human being on the planet who can do those songs every night consistently well. Freakish tone and unbelievable pitching, his showmanship has come on so much over the years. We both joined (Queen) the same time. He did one concert before me and then we both started on the Queen tour at the same time five years ago.” (continued below)

By joining Queen onstage with his father, Rufus can offer unique insight into the band’s material. “I’ve had to play Queen’s material a lot. It makes you appreciate how the songs were arranged and how well the songs are composed. I’m just incredibly proud (of Taylor Sr. and Queen). I hope I get somewhere close one day but it’s very difficult. They were one in a billion.”

Rufus and Taylor Sr. sharing the stage together must be a real thrill, I ask what it’s like to perform as a percussive duo. “Its amazing fun touring with my old man and it’s the same thing with Brian. I’ve always just watched him and dreamed but never in my life did I think I’d be on stage with him. Dad chucks a stick at my head every now and then if one of us makes a slight mistake or affects a slight latency. Hardly anyone will notice it but we will. We’ll just have that little look like, ‘You fucked up.’ “

We all think of Brian May as a quintessential guitar god. Rufus better knows him as a family figure and musical mentor. It also turns out it was May who offered Rufus the gig in Queen. “I’ve got to thank Brian for a lot because he gave me a shot at a very early age. Playing with him is an eye opening experience and really surreal at the same time because I always looked up at him and my dad. To be on stage with him was a different thing, it was an eye opener, it definitely made me determined to not fuck up. Yes, it’s awesome and he is like an uncle, he’s a great guy, a really cool guy”

I am hoping to gain some insight from Rufus into the activities of reclusive Queen bassist, John Deacon. Deacon has barely been sighted since the passing of Mercury and appears content to avoid the limelight. Rufus is coy about the subject before offering that Deacon is “… just doing his own thing.”

Rufus lands on Australian shores to perform in The Darkness through April and May.


Thursday April 27 – Eatons Hill, Brisbane (18+)

Tuesday May 2 – Max Watts, Melbourne (18+) – 3rd and FINAL Melbourne Show

Wednesday May 3 – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+) – sold out

Friday  May 5 – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+) – sold out

Wednesday May 10 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (Lic/Aa)

Friday May 12 – Metro City, Perth (18+)


Liked it? Take a second to support Andrew McKaysmith on Patreon!


Comment guidelines, edit this message in your Wordpress admin panel