Brian May says he’s working on an extended version of his 1983 collaboration with Eddie Van Halen. The Star Fleet Project box set would include “every take of every song” along with conversations, outtakes and musical experimentation recorded during the sessions.
The Queen guitarist has said it was a “moment of great joy” to gather in the studio with Van Halen, REO Speedwagon drummer Alan Gratzer and the late Rod Stewart bassist Phil Chen, saying they all “smiled and smiled” as they worked.
The expanded Star Fleet box set will be “No. 3 in the Brian May Gold Series, and probably to be released halfway into next year,” May tells Variety in a new interview, “and I’m very excited about it as I’ve opened up these tapes where I’m jamming with Eddie Van Halen and Phil Chen. It is highly emotional, again, as Ed’s not around. Neither is Phil.”
May confirms he was “never fond” of the mix on the “Star Fleet” single, so he took the opportunity to have it cleaned up. “Now, EVH’s sound is larger than life,” he enthused. “You’ll hear the development of Eddie’s solo, which I always thought was one of the greatest things he did – a real immortal classic of Ed Van Halen pieces. And we are going to give you everything, every take of every song – the things gone wrong, the laughing, the finding new things to do.”
He says he marveled at Van Halen’s artistry while reviewing the old sessions, and also admits that he regrets they didn’t do more together. “I’ve been talking to Alex [Van Halen] and started thinking about how I wish I had stayed closer to Ed,” May says. “I have a huge regret about that. He was a wonderful soul – a Peter Pan who never grew up, never wanted to grow up and never should have grown up. He should still be with us.
“Listening to him and me, I felt completely outclassed by him in the studio,” May added, “but in a very pleasant way. What joy for me to be around a guy who could do all that. Such a privilege.”
Watch Brian May & Friends’ ‘Star Fleet’ Video
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