Not only does May reveal the fourth band member, who only lasted a few months, he also delights in remembering his own very different look. Those famous fluffy curls are gone. This is Queen but not as most of us know it. The film Bohemian Rhapsody told the story of how Freddie approached the band, wanting to join, but he was not the final piece of the puzzle. Brian May and Roger Taylor were already playing together at the very end of the 1960s. They were in a band called 1984 and then formed Smile.
Freddie was a fan of their sound and finally became part of the line-up before they tried out their first bass player, Mike Grose.
May revealed the rare black and white picture of the new foursome unearthed by a fan on their Instagram page. But why did Grose leave the band and what happened to him afterwards?
May posted: “Well here’s a rare moment! The original line-up of a young hopeful group called QUEEN! Roger Taylor, Mike Grose, Brian May and Freddie Bulsara. Mike was a bass player from Cornwall with a very big sound, but things didn’t work out with him and we went in a search for a bass guitarist who shared our dreams. Guess who we found!!!”
Taylor knew of Grose from their schooldays in Cornwall and suggested him to the others.
May also comments on his own sleeker locks in the early days: “Yes! A young Bri with straightened hair – just like in the film!!!
“I think this was taken at our very first rehearsal in a lecture theatre in Mech Eng that I booked – at Imperial College. Bri.”
The original four would play just three gigs together at City Hall, Truro on June 27, Imperial College, London on July 18 and PJ’s Club (which Grose part-owned) in Truro on July 25.
Mark Blake’s book Is This the Real Life?: The Untold Story of Queen explains why Grose parted way with the band before they were famous.
Gross lived long enough to see the Queen story played out on the big screen, but his brief part in the legend was left out.
Although the film Bohemian Rhapsody showed Freddie following the band Smile, it glossed over the rocky period while the newly formed Queen looked for the perfect bass player.
On hearing of Grose’s death, May posted: “Mike Grose was Queen’s first bass player. Around 1970, Roger [Taylor] invited him to come up to London from Cornwall to rehearse with us, putting those first songs together. He was a powerful figure, with powerful gear! His sound was massive and monolithic! In the end, the liaison didn’t work out, but we owe Mike gratitude for helping us take those first steps. RIP Mike. Bri.”
Taylor said of him: “So sad to hear about my old friend Mike Grose, who I first heard in a band called the Individuals, when we were both still at school. He always sounded huge. RIP.”
After Grose left Queen, John Deacon was still not the first or even second choice bass player after Grose.
First came Barry Mitchell, later on in 1970, and then the band played a few shows at the very start of 1971 with Doug Bogie before John Deacon joined in February 1971.