QUEEN EXPERIENCE, MONTREAL, CANADA
Johnny Zatylny admits he’s hardly a household name in his native Greenfield Park – yet. But friends and family and fellow Parkers might be surprised to learn that Zatylny is a superstar in Germany and much of northern Europe. And he’s almost god-like in Gubin, Poland.
He may move around by métro in Montreal, but it’s mostly limos when he’s on the other side of the pond.
Zatylny is considered to be among the world’s top three Freddie Mercury impressionists. He has performed over the last eight years throughout Europe and North America with his Queen tribute band, MerQury, and has played to packed stadiums from Berlin to Stockholm and, yes, Gubin. Montrealers can see and hear what all the fuss is about when Johnny comes marching home with Another One Bites the Dust, his homage to Freddie and Queen, at the Gesù on Saturday. For he will certainly rock you.
Freddie Mercury – né Farrokh Bulsara – has been an unlikely boon to Zatylny’s career. Though the British glam rocker died in 1991, his music resonates almost as much today as it did in his group’s heyday with the release of such chart-busters as Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody to Love and We Are the Champions (once the anthem of the Habs).
Mercury was no run-of-the-mill rocker. With his four-octave range, he could do it all, from falsetto to baritone. His voice had an operatic quality and is not easily imitated. Zatylny is one of the few who can almost match him note for note. All the more surprising since, unlike Mercury, he has had no formal training. “Just 30 years of non-stop singing,” the affable Zatylny says over a beer downtown.
When he glues on the trademark Mercury moustache and dons the glittering garb and keeps his once-blond locks coloured jet black, Zatylny can almost pass for Freddie in the flesh as well as in voice. Curiously, Zatylny was not much of a Queen fan. He spent most of his early career here as the frontman for the Montreal rockers Simon Says, doing covers of the most popular acts of the day.
But when Simon Says disbanded in 1997, Zatylny found himself for the first time in years without a regular singing gig. He wound up sweeping floors in a factory.Add text