Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Queen Unseen: My Life with the Greatest Rock Band of the 20th Century” as Want to Read:
Queen Unseen: My Life with the Greatest Rock Band of the 20th Century
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Queen Unseen: My Life with the Greatest Rock Band of the 20th Century

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  841 ratings  ·  107 reviews
An intimate and affectionate insider's story of his years spent alongside Queen, with exclusive personal photos


For more than a decade, Peter Hince worked alongside one of the greatest bands in the history of rock, touring the world and heading up their road crew as they performed at some of the best and biggest music venues in the world. Here he recalls the highlights of 
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published November 2nd 2011 by John Blake (first published October 3rd 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Queen Unseen, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Queen Unseen

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  841 ratings  ·  107 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Nov 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
So many red flags in this book. The first thing I noticed was that in the acknowledgment section, the author thanks an incredible number of people, some of which are famous musicians, but none of which are members of Queen. The second thing was that the author pretty much set a tone from the very beginning. Freddie is a hot headed, far-to-often-drinking, attention whore and drama Queen, while the author is level headed and has the job of trying to make things go smoothly to avoid Tantrum-throwin ...more
James Hartley
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Written by a Queen roadie nicknamed Ratty, this is a close-up, with-the-band view of Queen in their early-to-mid eighties pomp. Unapologetically of its time, this boorish, hilarious, sexist, revealing, bitty autobiography gets you up close and personal with the members of Queens group and crew.
My version of the book did not include any photos - but they were praised in the blurb and quotes on the opening pages. I guess the photos are in the hardback edition.
Oct 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography
Rather free with the judgmental stereotyping

Well! This perhaps won't have bothered many of you, but... I must run with a more polite crowd, because it isn't often that I hear this amount of bald-faced judgmental stereotyping, let alone unabashed objectification of women. Wow! I found the writing downright crass.

Not to mention repetitive, non-linear, and chock-full of British idioms that I couldn't interpret. This book could have been greatly improved with a good editor.

Now, to be fair to Mr. Hen
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Like many other reviews on the internet state, this isn't the book for you if you're looking for sensationalised scandal and tabloid tales. At the same time, this also isn't the book for you if you're looking for details of Freddie Mercury's later years and his ailing health.

Queen's roadie, Peter Hince, in this book, describes the intense work and mentality behind Queen's incredible stage-show, fronted by the ever-flamboyant Freddie, brainy Brian, raucous Roger, and the demure Mr Deacon. Not onl
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This books delivers exactly what it promises. It is not a book on the Queen nor on its legendary frontman. It’s the autobiography of one of their “roadies”, one of the guys who at times spent more time with the band than the band’s own partners.
It is a life on the road, of hard work, little sleep, lots of alcohol, sex and drugs to keep them going. Amidst the ever fully booked agenda there were moments when roadies and stars could get together and have a chat or just chill out together. That’s wh

Brilliant. Fabulous. Humane.

This was a wonderfully written, warm and deeply interesting look at the author's time with Queen. I can see where people expecting to learn salacious, sarky tidbits and scandals would be disappointed with this book. Completely unlike what they expected, Peter Hince gives us here a genuinely respectful view of tour life - as one of the band, with the band. Yes, there are a couple of interesting bits included, but more so from the perspective of someone like me, who als
Deia Skitalica
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
A really enjoyable read, Hince is humorous and there's a decent flow to the book. I wouldn't call this a story about the band per se, but about their roadie (which the addendum "my life with the greatest rock band.." substantiates), and that's just fine!
It was good to read about the 'Queen machine' from that perspective.. this is your all-access Queen backstage pass!

More than once, however, I got the sense that Hince is resentful, and, at the same time, it was sad to read that, apparently, the
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
Entertaining stories of what life was like as Freddie Mercury's main roadie from someone who was actually there. No scandalous tabloid shite here, just fond (and some not-so-fond) remembrances. Recommended.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I loved this book. Let me say right from the beginning that this book doesn’t promise to be a biography of Freddie Mercury... so if that’s what you’re looking for, you should look elsewhere. This was a fun and very informative retelling of the adventures of being a roadie on tour with Queen. I have to say that at times I felt like I was on tour with them! Mr. Hince has a great sense of humor, and I found myself laughing heartily at some of his stories. Yes, they were crude.... he was young man i ...more
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed the audio book. Laughed so hard at times.
Timeline jumps around a bit which if I was reading it may have annoyed me but because I was listening to it I felt like the author and I were just having a good old chat about his days as a roadie.
I really really enjoyed it.
Carrie Templeton
Dec 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Definitely a different perspective on the Queen craze. The story written by this Queen roadie was more about life as a roadie than it was the life of Queen as seen out of the public eye.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, this was a waste of time actually. No interesting facts about the band, only boring childish stories from someone who clearly thinks he is much funnier than he is. Definitely not a book for intelligent Queen fans!
If you're looking for insight, wit, charm and good writing.....then save your money!
Jeff J.
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Memoir from the former tour manager for the band Queen. While the title implies some sort of expose and it is actually about the life of a roadie. No big revelations here.
Feb 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed this book - it held my attention and actually had me laughing out loud in places. I generally prefer memoirs that are more chronological in nature; oddly enough, the non-linear style of the book didn't bother me as much as I expected and I got used to the narrative bouncing from one story into another.

While there are some anecdotes about band members, this book isn't about Queen - it's a collection of personal stories related to Hince's experiences as a roadie in the '70s and '80s. Th
Lance Lumley
Jul 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Rock Music fans, Queen fans
Recommended to Lance by: library
This book tells the story of Peter Hince, who started to work with the rock band Queen from the 1970s- 1986. The book is a different rock autobiography because it tells the day in and out of the road crew for a band. Yes, there are a few wild stories in the book, but most of it is told on his duties and his friendship he encountered with the band. There are several great stories that was knowledgeable to me; like lead singer Freddy Mercury loved playing the game Scrabble and almost every day wor ...more
I found this a fairly enjoyable read, but lacking. Peter Hince's writing style is a bit jumbled, he begins stories and often seems to leave them slightly unresolved as he begins a new tale. The stories all come thick and fast, often only a few paragraphs in length.

This means there is quite a lot of entertainment to be found in the book, but unfortunately it never quite told me the things I was hoping for. Many of the stories do not involve the band, and those that do are quick and fleeting, not
Jason Leroux
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting read about one of my favorite bands... The flow of the "prose" is quite frankly awful, but there's enough tidbits about life on the road with Queen to keep you interested.

The best parts are the descriptions of the interactions of the band and the crew while on-stage at legendary concerts (Wembley and Live-Aid are recalled by "Ratty" Hince), and the photos that Hince took of the band.

Although the juvenile antics and debauchery are somewhat appreciated by my inner-20-yr-old, I really w
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disappointed ! Don't waste your money.

The worse Freddie Mercury book I have ever read!!. Basically this. Book is all about the Author, Peter Hince How he loved The USA .Don't waste your money and your Time.
Aug 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-non, music
Stories and perspectives from a rock and roll roadie during the 70's and 80's for the band Queen.
i picked this up to gain a wider understandng of the band from an insider.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A well written, engaging and fascinating look behind the scenes of the legendary rock group, Queen, through the eyes of a member of the road crew (a nice way of saying the clean-up crew), a jovial fellow nicknamed "Ratty".

Narrator Rupert Holliday Evans does a fabulous job in his reading of this memoir of Peter Hince, who began his once in a lifetime experience when the band first came together in England. I was captivated from the get-go with these personal anecdotes, some humorous and some eye
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
In terms of reviews, I think Roger (Taylor, of Queen) did it best in a little blurb at the very beginning of the book - buried, of course, beneath some of the more congratulatory sound bites: "Of course, it's written from his perspective and it has compromises, but it's the closest to reality - and it is quite amusing."

Queen Unseen certainly is from Peter Hince's perspective, certainly has its compromises - there are a few too many anecdotes that put him right at the center of iconic moments to
Patti M. McClure
Life on the road with Queen

Enjoyed the book tremendously. Peter gave a first hand account to the hard fast, most times sleep deprived, sweaty, and dirty job of a rock and roll band roadie. The valuable memories received were priceless. The saying sex, drugs, and rock and roll were true for the road crews, too. The life of a roadie looks glamorous but it was hard work and long hours. Peter’s relationships with Freddie and John were unique and special, ones I’m sure he treasures to this day. What
Connie Faull
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Looks like I picked the wrong edition but I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by Hince and surprisingly was done really well. He was quite animated in his story telling and to hear the stories of what it was like to be a roadie for Queen during the 70s and 80s was quite interesting. This is not a tell all. There's no big scoop on Freddie or anyone else in the band. He did confirm what even Roger Taylor said in an interview shortly after Freddie died, which was that no one really knew ...more
Sep 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Let’s just say I will always enjoy reading about Queen and Freddie Mercury. Initially, I was kind of annoyed with the author, I felt that he was trying way too hard to be funny and claiming to be more important than he was but as I kept reading, I overcame that feeling. It was an interesting insight into the work that went behind the Queen shows, how the equipment was managed and how the crew handled the pressures of supporting the band while they were on tour. It also was interesting to see how ...more
Raza Syed
Jan 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
It was a poorly written, non linear and at time just plain 'weird'. The author and the book could have really benefited from assistance by even a mediocre editor. For the most part the book is just a hodgepodge of stories.

Granted, some of the stories are interesting and enjoyable. However, for the most part its "Ratty" the Head Roadie's sad attempt to make himself appear more important than he really is. He keeps painting Freddy in a fairly negative light and himself in almost a loyal savior rol
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my type of (auto)biography. I enjoyed this almost as much as Van Halen’s and Led Zeppelin’s stories as told by their respective tour managers; I feel there’s more ‘realism’ than an ‘official’ band bio, and I do like reading (listening in this case) to the behind the scenes antics.
I think that a Queen fan may be a bit disappointed as it doesn’t really give much of an insight into the band and, as a non-Queen fan, I don’t think I learnt anything new about the group but it was an enjoyable
Amy Wolf
Of course I'm a huge Queen fan, so I was anxious to read a book written by Freddy's main roadie for most of the band's career. What was frustrating is that Hince focuses more on his job than he does on Queen. Insights into Freddy and the other band members are few and far between. I came out knowing as much about them as I did going in. It would have been nice if Hince had shared some truly personal anecdotes, but his concentration on his own adventures, involving (natch) sex, drugs, & rock ...more
Kallee Buske
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story is certainly about Queen but it isn't a straight-forward comprehensive description of how the band began or how they got involved in music or anything like that. That information is out there already. What this biography brings is a fresh perspective as it is written by a prominent crew member of Queen. This story talks about their travels, recording, making music videos, their personalities, etc. as well as sharing about the life of a rock and roll roadie. I found it very enjoyable a ...more
Stephanie Harvey
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
The author, a stagehand and roadie for Queen, claims that much of the band or just regular guys and don't almost deserve all the attention or who plow that surrounds them, then continues to tell this entire book about them. I think it would have been significantly more interesting to tell his own personal story rather than just little stories about the band and his relationship with the band. Author is kind of a sad guy who bashes few different cultures/ countries. Not great book, but at times, ...more
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Funny, candid, and unapologetic memoir of a roadie to one of the best rock and roll bands during the time when political correctness was not yet in fashion.

It paints the highs and lows of a life on the road and also the perks and the ugly underbelly of being in service of the band known for being excessive. All the magic and the cringes.

Many outrageous anecdotes would really make me laugh out loud and interestingly enough, many of the author's ponderings about life/career are highly relatable.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Backwash of War: The Human Wreckage of the Battlefield as Witnessed by an American Hospital Nurse
  • The Big Book of Pain: Torture  Punishment Through History
  • Pimp State: Sex, Money, and the Future of Equality
  • 40 Years of Queen
  • The River War
  • Frost Fair
  • Is This the Real Life?: The Untold Story of Queen
  • Seven Summer Nights
  • Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution
  • Don't You Know Who I Am?
  • Bearded Tit: A Love Story with Feathers
  • My Outdoor Life
  • The Dead Past (Puddledown Mysteries, #1)
  • A Cure For Gravity: A Musical Pilgrimage
  • Rockers and Rollers: An Automotive Autobiography
  • A Lady for Lord Randall (Brides of Waterloo, #1)
  • All Balls And Glitter: My Life
  • No Holding Back
See similar books…
“That was all I really ever wanted to do – go to America. To go with a rock band would be a dream come true – with bells on. Liberty Bells.” 0 likes
“Queen were sometimes late appearing on stage but once, at a show in Spain, it was not their fault. Joe Trovato, Queen’s lighting designer of the time, had been partaking of the cheap and plentiful local wine, causing him to spend several sessions in a backstage lavatory. Forlornly sitting there, he lost track of time until there was a polite little knock on the door and a concerned, recognisable voice asked, ‘Are you all right in there?’ Joe opened the door to see Fred peering in, along with the rest of Queen – all dressed and ready to take the stage. With a grimace and an apology, he adjusted his attire and took to his lighting console.” 0 likes
More quotes…