Brian May Press Release

May 12th 1998 – The Press Release
BRIAN MAY”Another World”
New Solo Album due 1st June, 1998

With a musical career spanning almost three decades, Queen founding member Brian May has earned himself a place in rock history as one of the most accomplished and talented contemporary guitarists. Respected and admired by fans and fellow musicians alike, his influence on a new generation of musicians – from Guns N’ Roses’ Slash to the Foo Fighters – is a tribute to his unique style and musicianship.

He is also one of the most successful songwriters of his generation, providing Queen with many of their finest musical moments, among them the authentic “We Will Rock You”, the driving “Keep Yourself Alive”, and one of their finest ballads, “Who Wants To Live Forever.” Brian May has penned 22 top 20 hits worldwide.

Brian’s second solo studio album, “Another World”, again demonstrates his versatility as a writer, covering a wide terrain of styles – from the monster rock track “Business” to the subtlety of the albums closer, “Another World”. The album also contains personal tributes from May to some of those musicians and writers who came before and shaped his own distinct style – Hendrix, Larry Williams, and John Lennon.

Born in Hampton, Middlesex in July 1947, May showed his outstanding academic qualities at an emly age, winning a scholarship at the age of 11 to the top school in his district. Throughout his teenage years he was fascinated by astronomy and for a while looked set to follow a career path which would lead him to be a professional in this field.

But Brian also harboured a passion for music, first learning to play the ukulele-banjo and later studying the piano before taking up the guitar – which he found to be a more expressive and flexible instrument.

“My first guitar was my 7th birthday present. I still remember the excitement – the smell of the new varnish, and it’s apparent bigness for little fingers. I made a pickup for it, and played through my dad’s home-made gramophone amplifier. From there we took the plunge – to make an electric guitar from scratch, by hand. It took us two years, my Dad and I”.

The result was the world’s most famous home-made guitar, Brian’s trademark ‘Red Special’.

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, Brian was surrounded by the influences of an era dominated by artists such as The Shadows and Elvis Presley, but his own taste covered a wider spectrum – from blues and country, rock to classical. His favourites were artists such as Buddy Holly, Lonnie Donegan, Hank Marvin and Rick Nelson, artists whose records featured guitar solos, a musical evolution which both captivated and inspired him.

It was inevitable that he would form his own band, and this he did while in secondary school – a 5 piece instrumental group 1984, named after George Orwell’s futuristic novel. The music was less futuristic, lodged somewhere between the Shadows and the blues. Throughout the year that followed, 1984 played a number of small gigs in and around London including a less than auspicious appearance at the Olympia Theatre in 1967 appearing after Jimi Hendrix, Traffic, Pink Floyd, the Herd and Tyrannosaurus Rex.

At the same time Brian was enrolled at Imperial College reading physics and infra-red astronomy. The pressures of his studies, together with increasing musical differences took their toll on the band and in the spring of 1968, Brian left.

Through an ad Brian pinned on a college notice-board he met Roger Taylor; and together with another 1984 former member, Tim Staffell, formed the group, Smile,

Brian in the meantime had graduated with a Bsc Honours degree in Physics and Maths. His immediate plan was to embark on a doctorate on the movements of dust on the Solar System which would take him one step closer to becoming a professional Astronomer. But 4 years later the thesis was still incomplete, and instead his commitment to music had taken its place.

Smile signed to Mercury Records in 1969 and cut their first single “Earth”. After recording a few more tracks Staffell decided to leave the band. Determined to continue, May and Roger Taylor reformed Smile to take in Freddie Mercury and John Deacon, and Queen was born.

The band signed with EMI and Elektra in 1973 and a year later were given
their first major break, touring as the support for Mott The Hoople. The impact that had on Brian is reflected in his new solo album, paying tribute to those days with a blistering version of Ian Hunter’s “All The Way To Memphis”.

From the beginning, May contributed both vocals and guitar to Queen’s unique sound and played a major role in the band’s writing and production, He experimented with multi-track guitar harmonies, a skill which was to become one of his – and Queen’s – trademarks.

As songwriter Brian provided Queen with a string of classic hits including ‘Keep Yourself Alive’, ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘Tie Your Mother Down, ‘I Want It All’, and “The Show Must Go On.” He developed an interest in film scoring when Queen became the first rock group to score a major film, ‘Flash Gordon’, subsequently followed by the score for “Highlander”, an interest May has continued to pursue, most recently providing original music for director Steve Baron’s 1996 screen version of “Pinocchio”.

He has also worked in the theatrical world, writing and recording the soundtrack for the Red and Gold Theatre Company’s production of ‘Macbeth’ which was staged at London’s Riverside Theatre.

May’s solo career as a recording artist began in 1991 when he was asked to write the music for a Ford commercial. Out of this came “Driven By You” which was released as a single in November of that year and reached number 6 in the UK charts and won him his first solo Ivor Novello Award, for “Best Theme From a TV/Radio Commercial”

The album “Back to the Light” followed, providing him with two further hit singles, the title track, and “Too Much Love Will Kill You” – a song he had previously performed live at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert as his gift to Freddie. When the song was later recorded by Queen on their final album it won May his second Ivor Novello. “Back To The Light” achieved double gold status in the UK and sold more than 1,000,000 world-wide.

The album’s success brought about Brian’s first solo tour. The Brian May Band was formed featuring old friends Cozy Powell on drums, Neil Murray on bass, and Spike Edney on keyboards with new friends Jamie Moses on guitar and Shelley Preston and Cathy Porter on backing vocals.

Having warmed up in Chile, Argentina and Brazil in November 1992, the hand went on to play the USA and Europe as special guests to Guns N’ Roses, going on to headline their own sell-out tour of North America, Japan and Europe, finishing in Portugal in December 1993. A live recording of their performance at Brixton Academy was released on album and video in February 1994.

The new solo album, “Another World” has been three years in the making and sees Brian eager to return to live performance. A UK and European tour again featuring original Brian May Band members Cozy Powell, Neil Murray, Spike Edney and Jamie Moses was planned for Autumn this year. At the moment when plans were finalised came the tragic news of Cozy Powell’s death in a car crash. Brian and the group were devastated by the loss of Cozy, a brilliant and inspiring musician, crucial contributor to the Brian May album and irreplaceable friend. Plans for the tour are proceeding, but there is as yet no decision on who could replace Powell.

Brian’s songs meantime, continue to provide a rich source of material for other vocalists and bands, with versions recorded by such a diverse group of artists as Def Leppard, Metallica, George Michael, Ted Nugent, Dragon Attack, Elaine Paige and Shirley Bassey. “Another World” will no doubt provide further rich pickings for many of today’s established and emergent artists.

Brian also retains his keen interest in astronomy – venturing off to distant parts of the world whenever an eclipse is imminent – and is currently working on a book on T.R. Williams, a prominent stereo photographer of the 1850’s.

Brian May – “Another World”. Released on Parlophone, 1st June, 1998. CD/12″ LP/tape Cassette.


— —- Track by Track Guide SPACE The album starts with a fragment of a
Brian May song which may appear in full on a later album. This piece sets
up the territory of ANOTHER WORLD as Inner Space.

A monster track of epic proportions, featuring the whole range of intensity from the opening Godzilla-Meets-Queen-Guitarist massive crunching chord section overlaid with tearing vocals, to tender passages of a haunting quality. Huge drums and pounding bass, huge guitar orchestras and raw guitar solos. The song is perhaps an overview of a life journey, ultimately alone.

An out-and-out rocker, with a humorous lyric relating to a certain Lady of some notoriety, unusually in the Asian continent, rather than somewhere on Route 66. The song pokes fun at the classic male view of the impossibilities of relations between the sexes – “She’s a Little bit of Heaven and a Whole lotta Hell”. The Eastern overtones woven into the deceptively 50’s-sounding former heighten the effect of some consciously incongruous lyrics.

In total contrast, this track turns the page to a quiet moment of contemplation in the wreckage of a lost relationship. A wistful reaching out to a lost friend, the song expresses the feeling, known to most of us, when great sadness suddenly makes it impossible to pursue the course we have decided to follow. The delicate vocal performance from Brian reaches a new place for him – as poignant and gentle as the previous track is terse and tough.

A switch to a more optimistic mood. “On My Way Up” features a gathering up of determination to reach a New Place. The song sounds fresh and airy, and includes a colourful change of atmosphere in the middle eight, leading into a classic Brian May solo reminiscent of “Killer Queen” in style, Vocally the piece features ironic interchanges between May and his two female backing singers from the 1993 B.M. Tour – perhaps the last time these will feature together on a record, since they now have separate successful solo careers.

On the face of it, a song sung by a robot about his inner frustrations – fairly unusual in itself, but beneath the surface, perhaps something different……

The format of the track is off-the-wall in every way, threading together the voice of the Cyborg, the voice of the Computer’s controller, a varying repetitive tapped guitar figure which morphs in and out of a corresponding synth line, and interjections of an Eastern flavour, in tune with much of the soloing on this album. Features manic drum track by brilliant young Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.

A rip-roaring and rude eulogy to “The Guvnor”, who in this case, on one level at least, appears to be Master guitarist Jeff Beck, a friend of Brian’s, held in great esteem, A heavy, uncompromising riff over a shuffle beat is home to a cheeky vocal narrative peppered with interjections from Brian’s guitar, the legendary drums of Mr. Powell, various wacky effects, and the untamed gymnastics of the legendary Beck guitar. Wild, complex, and essential listening for inexhaustible sanguine rockers.

Again in total contrast, this is a slow hypnotic rock acoustic piece with a surreal lyric, painting a picture of a bleak landscape traversed by lost souls. The song is violently turned around in the centre section, featuring Harmonies and Hope, setting up a passionately liquid electric guitar solo and a return to the opening mood, once again stark and unresolved.

An apparently largely spontaneous re-take of the Larry Williams classic, also covered by John Lennon. This gives the nucleus of the Brian May Band a chance to pound out one of the great riffs of all time. The simple lyric neatly compliments the messages in this collection of May’s own songs, and provides an opportunity for an uninhibited throat work-out from May.

An innovative working of a mysterious and little-known Jimi Hendrix tune which has probably never before been covered by anyone. In the hands of Brian May the song’s two contrasting moods are made more extreme, and much of the hastily constructed asides of the original recording are lovingly recreated and extended. Hendrix producer Eddie Kramer co-produced here, and a different mix of this track appears on “In From The Storm”, a recent album of tributes to Jimi.

Brian May has transformed this Ian Hunter classic rock anthem into a sonic movie of a whole blistering live show compressed into one song, including arrival at the gig, bursting on to the stage, whipping the audience into a frenzy, and hurling goodbyes before “doing the runner” into a waiting bus, and steaming off to the next town. In the middle is an amusing quote, from the Mott show, which was an important part of Queen’s touring history, Mott the Hoople being the only band Queen ever supported. Brian has recently contributed an introduction to the forthcoming anthology of the story of Mott the Hoople. This track is a powerful tribute.

Finally a calmly adult story of love in a parallel universe. A refreshing new direction for sure, unexpected, and perhaps what the Search of the album was all about. A ballad which would probably work for anyone from Axl Rose to Celine Dion, but very effective, sung straight from the heart by its author.

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