Roger Taylor of Queen Announces Winners of Queen Extravaganza Competition

As reported earlier, Queen drummer Roger Taylor recently launched an international competition, the Queen Extravaganza Tour Talent Search, in an effort to assemble a Queen-sanctioned band that will hit the road in 2012.

“The Queen Extravaganza will not be a traditional tribute show,” Taylor says. “It’s a brand-new show specially designed to enable fans to celebrate the music of Queen in a heart-stopping event. It’s going to be spectacular. It’s going to be very visual, there are going to be some shocks and some tremendous surprises."

For 11 weeks, Taylor led his fellow judges, Spike Edney (Queen’s keyboard player since the mid-'80s) and Trip Khalaf (Queen’s sound engineer) in picking the musicians that will be featured on the tour.

“As the audition videos began posting, we could see right away that the caliber of talent was very high,” Taylor says. “But when I got into the studio with the final 25 musicians, I realized these guys are seriously good players. They went way beyond my expectations. It was an incredibly difficult decision to choose the final line-up. I wish I could've kept them all, but in the end, I'm very happy with this group of exceptional musicians."

Taylor will oversee the road show, taking the role of producer and music director, with guitarist Brian May involved later in the production.

The Queen Extravaganza band line-up will be:

GUITARISTS

Tristan Avakian of Toronto, Ontario (below) ...

... and Brian Gresh of Tulsa, Oklahoma (below).

BASS

Francois-Olivier Doyon of Quebec City, Quebec.

VOCALISTS

  • Jennifer Espinoza of San Antonio, Texas
  • Marc Martel of Montreal, Quebec, and Nashville, Tennessee

DRUMS

Tyler Warren of Camden, Tennessee.

“The Queen Extravaganza will not be a traditional tribute show,” Taylor says. “It’s a brand-new show specially designed to enable fans to celebrate the music of Queen in a heart-stopping event. It’s going to be spectacular. It’s going to be very visual, there are going to be some shocks and some tremendous surprises. It will be a rock celebration in the royal tradition."

It began on September 19, when Taylor launched a talent search via www.queenextravaganza.com to find players for a full band and several vocalists who could carry the tour.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.