Brian May ‘highly emotional’ announcing special edition of album with Van Halen | Music | Entertainment

Following the Gold Series re-releases of his two solo albums Back to the Light and Another World, Sir Brian May has followed up with a new version of his mini one that he recorded on a whim with Eddie Van Halen and more.

The Queen legend promised fans: “It’s all here. ALL of it !

“Every note we played on those two unforgettable, exhilarating days is right here, on show for the first time.

“Hearing these sessions, especially through the new restoration and mixes we’ve now produced, still sends shivers up my spine.”

Brian May and Friends: Star Fleet Project came together spontaneously back in 1983 when Queen were on a break.

READ MORE: Brian May praises ‘astounding’ 11-year-old guitarist playing Back to the Future

Brian was in Los Angeles and decided to phone up a few friends, including Van Halen to collaborate together on some tracks at California’s Record Plant studies. The result of their work over two days that April was the Star Fleet Project, named after the record’s hard rock reimagining of the theme from the Japanese kids sci-fi programme of the same name.

The Queen guitarist recalled: “We did a little preparation, on the phone and at home with tiny Rockman amps and earphones. Then we went in. The tapes rolled. My LA neighbour Alan Gratzer beat the Hell out of his kit with the fattest, heaviest drumsticks I had ever seen. Phil Chen, a friend I had met when he played with Rod Stewart, brought his unusual style of funk-orientated rock playing to the party, along with his sunny Caribbean energy and humour. And Fred Mandel, one of the classiest keyboard players I have ever met, tickled both the ivories and some very technical synth patches to bring the spacey riffs to life.

“Ed (I can still never call him ‘Eddie Van Halen’ because he more than once told me he found it annoying!) played the guitar as if it were a piano … tapping and snapping, and sliding and skipping around the fingerboard like an electric sprite – always with a cheeky smile. If anything he did was difficult for him, he never showed it. A total original. Pure joy. What an everlasting privilege to play with him.”

The original three-track record has now been remastered and expanded into a 40th anniversary edition with multiple takes, mixes, live recordings (including Queen songs) for fans to enjoy across 136 minutes. Check out the titular single above. Sir Brian shared: “It’s been very exciting to open up the vault to find these tapes where, in the blink of an eye, I’m trading licks with my friends, including the fantastic Ed Van Halen. It’s highly emotional, especially since Ed is sadly no longer around. We have since also lost Phil – so the rest of us cherish these fleeting moments together.”

Van Halen fans should take note as the Star Fleet Sessions included eight guitar solos by the late star. The Queen rocker added: “Ed was a wonderful soul. Listening to him and me, I feel completely outclassed by him in the studio. But in a very pleasant way – what a joy for me to be around a guy who could do all that. Such a privilege.”

Brian May + Friends: Star Fleet Sessions 2-CD, Vinyl Single & LP Deluxe Box Set Gold Series Release is out on July 14, 2023 and can be pre-ordered here.

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