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Sunday, July 27, 2014

An open letter to Dr. Brian May, CBE

Just about anyone who knows me also knows that I am a huge Queen fan.  As an American, this is a bit of an oddity.  Ask most Americans and they will tell you the Freddie Mercury was the lead singer, he died of AIDS, and that they wrote "Bohemian Rhapsody."  A few more will also recognize that they wrote "We Will Rock You," "We Are The Champions," "I Want It All," "Somebody to Love," and, if you're lucky, "Another One Bites the Dust."  They'll know plenty of other songs, they just have no idea Queen wrote them.  On the other hand, I listen to their solo albums.  When I went to see them in Chicago a few weeks ago, I was hoping to hear "No One But You (Only the Good die Young)" and "C-lebrity."

Of course, as we were walking outside the concert hall hours before the concert, I walked past a man taking a smoke (who then ducked inside), a man that looked suspiciously like Roger Taylor (drummer/songwriter/vocalist).  I have learned that Brian May (guitarist/songwriter/vocalist) banned smoking from the venues, and that Roger Taylor smokes.  The more I think back on it, the more I realize that I *walked past Roger Taylor* and I did not even say, "Hi!"  Great first impression.

But I'm not here to try to prove my fandom or one-up another Queen fan.  Frankly, I think everyone should listen to more Queen - particularly those of my generation and younger.  I know there are bigger fans than me, and frankly I would love to have some long conversations with them so I can learn more myself.

This all being said, I have longed to write a letter to Brian May.  Every member of Queen was important.  Every member wrote at least one chart-topping song.  Every one had a degree.  But for me, Brian May has become an inspiration.


Dr. Brian May, CBE,

Thank you.  Thank you for the truly divine music.  Thank you for building the Red Special at the age of 17.  Thank you for being an inspiration.  But most of all, thank you for being a role model that is worthy of aspiring to.

One of the reasons I picked up the guitar was so that I could play like you.  The second song I ever learned to play was "Crazy Little Thing Called Love."  My brother wanted me to play it for his wedding along with some other friends.  I learned every part so that I could teach it to them, but, sadly, I was the only one that could play the parts or practiced it.  More recently, I have been teaching myself "Last Horizon."  Sadly, I do not have the time to dedicate to the craft that is necessary to reach a professional level, at least not anytime soon.  But I am still inspired by what you have achieved and use your example to fuel my own passions.

However, what has impressed itself upon me the most is your personal life.  After battling depression, you have gone on to earn your doctorate, record two solo albums and a soundtrack, reform Queen, record a new Queen album, become an activist, play for a variety of artists, and be appointed a CBE (Commander of the most Excellent Order of the British Empire).  You have had mistakes in your past, but you conquered them and have continued to strive to make the best of yourself.  This is what I truly aspire to do.  To be the best person I can be.

I am currently a stay-at-home dad and writer in his 30s with arthritic knees and an expertise in practically nothing.  But I may have 40, 50, 60 years ahead of me.  Arthritis be damned!  I must strive to be the best dad and writer that I can be!  I must be the best husband I can be!  And I must be the best person that I can be, even if I make mistakes from time to time.

So thank you, Doctor.  Thank you for being someone worthy of being looked up to in a time when decent role models are so few and far between.  I hope that my own children can look up to your example as well, or that I can be become such an example to them.

Spencer Hixon


  1. Lovely letter :) I think we all feel that way about Dr Bri, he's a pretty amazing guy :) a rare sort of fellow. I don't like to have idols, but I can't help but idolise him. He is pretty worthy of it. His story is so inspiring.

    1. He replied! I seriously did not expect that, and it has really made my day!

      @spencerhixon Thanks Spencer. I was very moved. Good luck to ya ! By the way my replacement knee has made me able to do this tour ! Go !