Why Kansas’ Steve Walsh Calls Freddie Mercury A Prima Donna

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Rock ‘n’ roll history is rich with tales of creativity, and sometimes, clashes of personalities. One such clash emerged in the candid remarks made by Kansas’ Steve Walsh during a 2003 interview with Gary James.

Shedding light on his experience touring with legendary bands Mott The Hoople and Queen.

Walsh had positive words for both bands but reserved sharp criticism for Freddie Mercury, Queen’s iconic lead singer:

“Queen and Mott The Hoople were fantastic. They are really nice people, except Freddie, the lead singer of Queen. He was an a**hole. But everybody else was great. All of the guys in Mott The Hoople were fantastic. They were just great to us.”

Walsh didn’t mince words, labeling Mercury as a ‘prima donna’ and a ‘diva’

Implying a negative connotation usually associated with an inflated ego overshadowing talent:

“He was a prima donna… Diva, if you will. That word was not meant to be a compliment, although a lot of people consider it to be. That’s bullsh*t. That’s having an ego bigger than you are talented, bigger than you deserve. That’s what being a diva is. That’s what a prima donna is, and that’s what Freddie was.”


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However, this perspective starkly contrasts with the recollections of other Kansas band members who toured with Queen.

Drummer Phil Ehart shared a story of technical issues during the tour, which were promptly resolved after being communicated to Queen’s guitarist Brian May. Following the resolution, relations between the bands improved, leading to camaraderie and mutual respect.

Rich Williams, another member of Kansas, fondly remembered the time spent with Queen on tour. Contrary to Walsh’s description, he spoke warmly of all the Queen members, highlighting their friendly nature. Even Freddie Mercury, often portrayed as a ‘diva’ by Walsh, was remembered by Williams as a ‘lovely person.’ He also shared a humorous anecdote about Queen’s peculiar dining habits, involving a preference for ‘cheese and tomato sandwiches.’