Brian May Introduces Star Fleet Project’s Lineup
via Brian May Official / Youtube
In the second episode of a new video series about the Star Fleet Project package, Queen guitarist Brian May introduces the band members behind his 1983 EP ahead of its expanded 40th-anniversary reissue next month.
Originally released as the 3-track mini-album under the group name Brian May + Friends which includes Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alan Gratzer, bassist Phil Chen, and keyboardist Fred Mandel. Together they recorded over two days at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA. May explained:
“Ed Van Halen was a phenomenon and I guess that hardly needs saying.”
While he referred to Chen as “a great character. He’s Jamaican extraction. I think he was born in Britain – full of sunshine – full of life. And as a bass player full of kind of tautness, and humour. He played with a great kind of panache.”
May then recalls REO Speedwagon drummer Gratzer, as hitting the drums “pretty much harder than anyone I’ve ever known. He hits them with big, fat oak sticks. I think they’re oak, turned the wrong way around, so he’s hitting this… drums with a big part of the stick, as opposed to holding the fat part.”
Then he described Mandel as “a character. Fred is a one-off stand-up comedian who just happens to be a virtuoso keyboard player. You know, he’s never switched off. It’s kind of like the life and soul of a recording session – and he was.”
The title track was inspired by May’s idea of reimagining the signature tune from the Japanese kid’s science fiction series of the same name which he watches regularly with his four-year-old son Jimmy every Saturday morning.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the EP, May will release a reissue box dubbed Star Fleet Sessions. The expanded box set edition will include 2023 remixes of the original three songs and a new single version of the title track alongside interviews and live recordings from the era – plus 23 tracks of previously-unreleased material.
Watch the new episode of the Star Fleet Project sessions series below.