Amplify Entertainment Marketing’s product placement division, Music Depot LA, was invited to the FOX lot for an advance screening of the Freddie Mercury/Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (the film hits the theaters officially on Friday November 2nd). Before we get into the technical elements, let’s just say that in our opinion, the film is a tour de force for actor Rami Malek. In his real life, Freddie Mercury, the lead singer for Queen was an immensely talented, flamboyant performer, and in his reel life, Malek portrays this aspect along with Mercury’s troubled personal life without becoming a parody. The actors portraying members of Queen are spot-on and the concert scenes are stunning, particularly the final Live Aid performances.
From a technical perspective, Music Depot LA is extremely pleased with the accuracy and presentation of the replica “hero” instruments we had been involved with procuring, particularly the reproduction of John Deacon’s custom bass guitars and Brian May’s legendary “Red Special,” right down to the authentic Burns pickups used by May during that era. For those not familiar with the Red Special, the original was designed and built by Brian and his father, Harold, when Brian was only a teenager in the early 1960s. The guitar is also sometimes referred to as the “Fireplace” or the “Old Lady” – the former due to the fact that the wood in the original came from the May family mantle.
Hours and hours were dedicated to sourcing and reproducing the main featured instruments that are featured in the film. Music Depot LA would like to give special thanks to the following for their valued contributions and partnership in making these replicas as authentic as possible; Tim Dove at Ernie Ball Music Man, Alex Perez at Fender Musical Instruments Corp., Barry Gibson at Burns Guitars, and Pepin Clout at John Henry’s who coordinated and staged all the gear in London where filming was done from a multitude of manufacturers.
UPDATE: After Bohemian Rhapsody was released worldwide, Brian May reflected on the film and talked about the authenticity of all the instruments, saying “It satisfies us. It makes us feel something. There’s a lot of incredible detail. All our technical people were involved, so if you look around at the guitars and amps you see on stage at Live Aid, you’ll see they’re pretty damn perfect and correct.” (read the full article here on Loudersound.com)
UPDATE2: @ chat with Del Breckenfeld: Popular Technology Radio Episode #196 – March 2, 2019
[00:19:51] Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born
The Queen biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, has done much better in the box office than anyone expected. Chief Amplifier at Amplify Entertainment Marketing, Del Breckenfeld, is very proud of the work he put into making sure the instruments and clothing were as authentic as possible. Del tells us about the competition he had with his wife, who worked on “A Star Is Born”, to see who had the bigger movie. Of course “A Star Is Born” won, but the success of these two movies is likely to green light many music-based movies in the future. Listen in for more about “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the resurgence of Queen.