Friday, 10 September 2010

Truro School Magazine: Terraces 1985

This short biography was written for the Truro School Magazine by a pupil. The prose is very sixth form and its not very accurate, but it's interesting because it seems to have been based on teachers recollections.

Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor is the drummer in the super-mega-ultra etc. group Queen. His greater claim to fame, however, is that he is a Truro School old boy.

Born Roger Meddows Taylor on the 26th of July 1949 in West Norfolk, he first came to Truro when his parents moved to Falmouth Road in 1957. In fact, Mrs Carruthers’ son does Roger’s mother’s hair. He spent one year at the Cathedral School, and was a member of their choir. At the age of eleven, in 1960 he won a place at Truro School under the direct grant scheme. Roger Taylor initially took up the guitar, but eventually ended up playing the drums. This was to become an all-absorbing occupation, and one in which it was recognised at the early age of sixteen or seventeen that he had great talent.

In 1966, he formed a group called ‘Reaction’, with Mike Dudley as guitarist. Other members included Steve Passmore and P. Stethridge. This was probably the best group Truro School ever had. Consequently Roger Taylor was very popular and was in with the ‘in crowd’ as they would say in those days. Mr N.J. Baker was in the same year as Roger. He remembers a birthday party held behind St Mary-Clements with Reaction playing. Roger was a ‘magician’ on the drums. The group used to play and rehearse in the old gym.

Once, whilst going between gigs, in the Volkswagen van, they had a serious accident. One member of the group was seriously injured, but Roger was unharmed.

In those days, the school had streams A, B, C; Roger was in the B stream and tended towards the sciences. Roger is remembered as a shallow, pale-faced, wide-eyed, effeminate-looking person by the teachers who knew him. Mr Weeks was his form teacher in the third year, Mr Taylor in the fifth and lower sixth. He was taught Chemistry by Mr Edwards and Biology by Mr Jackson. One thing they all remember was that his drumming took priority over his work. He was quite intelligent, and with more work he would have done much better but even so he obtained seven ‘O’ levels. Roger listed amongst his hobbies drumming and driving. The fascination with the latter led to his writing, ‘I’m in love with my car’, which reached number one in the charts in November ’75.

Everyone expected Roger to leave after his 6th year, but he came back to the upper sixth took Biology, Chemistry and Physics. He then started a dentistry course – on the advice of Mr Taylor – at the London Hospital Medical College in Whitechapel but he gave up the course after one year. Eager to continue his drumming, he answered an ad, and started the group ‘Smile’ with Brian May and Tim Staffell. Later Staffell quit and Taylor set up an old clothes stall at Kensington market with a certain F. Mercury. During this time, Mr Baker happened to see him at his Kensington stall, and they talked for some time. Mr Baker does not remember seeing a dark-haired, flamboyant Persian with him.

In ’69 Roger took up a degree course in Biology at the North London Polytechnic, and eventually got his degree. Mercury joined ‘Smile’, and Deacon was accepted after an audition.

In July ’71 they came down to Truro for two months and played the local gig circuit. The rest is history.

I am presently trying to contact Roger Taylor. Who knows, I might persuade him to do a concert in the sports hall with three of his mates!

The last word goes to Mr Taylor who advised him to take up dentistry as there probably wouldn’t be much money in drumming.

James Daniel.

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