Profile for Matthew Harffy

Matthew Harffy Location: Trowbridge, Wiltshire (UK)

Distance from:

  • Paul: 3570 miles (5746 km)
  • Simon: 135 miles (217 km)
Matthew started singing at school, often appearing on stage in musical productions. It was after performing in one such show that Matthew was approached by guitarist, Tom Walker, to sing in a band that already had its first paying gig booked, but no lineup!

Matthew of course jumped at the chance, and 19 Days was quickly formed (so named as that was how long they had to rehearse before their first paid performance). In a strange twist of fate, Tom later went on to cross paths with a young bassist called Simon Mann in a Battle of the Bands final in the early 90s.

In 1989, Matthew moved to Madrid, Spain. He had spent some time there a few years previously due to his parents' work and now his heart pulled him back, as he had already met the woman who was to be his wife.

Over the next decade, Matthew played in several bands, from one where he had to travel to a shanty town and rehearse in a disused pig sty, to a heavy metal band in the town of Toledo (which always seemed ironic, due to the town's famed sword manufacturing). The last band he played with in Madrid was a Brit Pop Psychedelic group called Space Cake.

In 2001, after a few years without singing in any bands, Matthew and his family moved back to the UK to be closer to his family.

At his new job, he met a guitarist called Paul McCluskey and they started to record and perform together from time to time. Then Paul moved to the States and it looked as though their collaborations would end there...

However, a couple of years later, after mentioning on the Queen Online forums that he had been recording some vocals with an old school friend (yes, you guessed it - Tom Walker), Matthew received an email from Simon Mann...The rest, as they say, is history!


Profile for Simon Mann

Simon Mann Location: Telford, Shropshire (UK)

Distance from:

  • Paul: 3582 miles (5764 km)
  • Matthew: 135 miles (217 km)
Simon took up bass at the age of 17 whilst at college, and began playing live almost immediately (well, there’s only 4 strings to learn!).

After playing in a couple of local bands, he was asked to perform in a production of West Side Story for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1990, alongside longtime collaborator and drummer, Mattie Deal. The show gained widespread critical acclaim, including exposure on Channel 4, and played to full houses for the entire month-long run.

On their return home to the South Coast, Simon and Mattie formed hard rock band, Bad Girl City, and immediately worked their way to the finals of the local Battle of the Bands, where they were defeated by funk band, The Government, whose guitarist, Tom Walker, was good friends with a singer by the name of Matthew Harffy.

Within a year Simon had moved to London with his job and joined East End based Alchemy, a melodic hard rock outfit who counted a violinist among their number. Alchemy made the finals of the Radio 1 Rock Wars and also supported Ex-Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’Anno’s Killers, blowing them offstage with their version of Phantom Of The Opera which utilized the violin in place of the second guitar.

In 2001, Simon moved his family to within a stone’s throw of historic Ironbridge, to be closer to his wife’s family and spent the next couple of years playing in blues/rock covers band, HMV, before quitting to concentrate on an idea he and a new internet buddy had discussed to try recording songs by post…

  • Favourite Drink: Absolut vodka
  • Favourite Food: Curry
  • Favourite Film: Star Wars
  • Favourtite Song: It’s Late


Profile for Paul McCluskey

Paul McCluskey Location: Washington D.C. (USA)

Distance from:

  • Matthew: 3570 miles (5746 km)
  • Simon: 3582 miles (5764 km)
Paul has been playing guitar since about 1975, and he believes that after all that practice he should be better by now!

His first introduction to the wonder of the electric guitar was when his uncle bought the Sheer Heart Attack album and they listened to Brian May playing Brighton Rock and Now I'm Here – excellent!

At 13 he had a rock band and was playing Black Sabbath and AC/DC covers, much to the annoyance of the school headmaster who tried to expel the singer for headbanging on stage when they played at the school Christmas concert.

Since then, Paul has played in numerous part-time bands, playing all sorts of rock, pop and blues music. Paul has always had to travel a fair bit with the day job, which makes it difficult being in a band - hence the gradual accumulation of studio gear.

More recently he has written and recorded a few tracks for TV shows and collaborated with other musicians writing original material.


Guest musicians

Steve Eastment


Steve started playing guitar at the age of eleven and was gigging within his first year with his brother, Andy. He moved on to bass at the age of fourteen (like most bass players, because nobody else wanted the job!). He became highly proficient and the next ten years saw Steve playing guitar and bass for several local bands before deciding to move onto the drums, inspired by his father’s semi-professional career during the seventies and eighties.

The spring of 2004 saw Steve joining local Blues/Rock covers band, HMV, playing drums. He was thrown in at the deep end with little or no preparation, as he turned up to his first gig believing he was going along to watch the previous drummer perform! He availed himself admirably and was therefore a logical choice when drums were required for Virtual Queen.

Steve currently has three other projects besides his involvement in Virtual Queen, including one with members of recently signed metal band Newbreed and another rock/metal band with Simon Mann on bass.


Inma Villarrubia


Inma works in the Madrid Conservatory as a pianist. She has performed as a soloist and as a member of chamber orchestras all over Spain and internationally. She has also played keyboards in a folk band. Her first contribution to Virtual Queen is the piano of the haunting Mercury composition, You Take My Breath Away.

Hopefully there will be many more such contributions.


Powered by Free Website Templates