STAR FLEET SESSIONS
Brian May, Edward Van Halen, Alan Gratzer, Phil Chen, Fred Mandel
2-CD, Vinyl Single & LP
DELUXE BOX SET
Gold Series Release July 14, 2023
When Queen took a break for the first part of 1983, Brian May put his time to good use. Waking up one morning in Los Angeles, he decided to phone a few friends and invite them to collaborate on some tracks in California’s famous Record Plant studios. The resulting collaboration was a great success, and Brian would later mould the recordings into a unique mini-album, Brian May + Friends: Star Fleet Project.
This third release in the “Brian May Gold Series” offers an extensively revisited and expanded box set edition of these now legendary sessions. The set is a complete document of the two days, April 21 and 22, 1983 that May spent in the Record Plant, Los Angeles accompanied by top rock music luminaries Edward Van Halen (guitar), Alan Gratzer (drums), Phil Chen (bass) and Fred Mandel (keyboards). The box set includes a spectacular 23-track CD filled with previously unreleased material.
Containing 2 CDs, 1 vinyl LP, and a vinyl single, as well as other collectors items, Brian May + Friends: Star Fleet Sessions will be launched as a Deluxe Edition box set, worldwide on July 14th.
The July 14 box set release is ushered in with a special stand alone digital single, “Star Fleet (Edited Single Version)” which becomes available to coincide with today’s, June 1, box set announcement. The single digital track is available immediately for digital download and streaming.
As May writes in his introductory sleeve notes in the box set: “We are going to give you everything. Every take of every song. The things that went wrong, the laughing, the finding new things to do. But it won’t be just a remaster – we’ve rescued everything from the original multitracks, every detail magnificently remixed, and more! You’ll hear every take from the historic 1983 sessions plus fragments of conversations, out-takes and musical experimentation.”
The original 3-track mini album, released October 31,1983, featured a full-length take of “Star Fleet”, May’s hard rock re-imagining of the signature tune from the Japanese-made kids science fiction series of the same name. The programme was compulsive regular viewing for Brian and his 4-year-old son Jimmy on Saturday morning TV, inspiring Brian’s attachment to its title song, written by English musician Paul Bliss. The album also featured “Let Me Out”, including extensive opportunities for May and Van Halen to solo, and “Blues Breaker” a 13-minute piece of completely spontaneous improvisation from all members of this ‘supergroup’ of musicians.
Across two CDs, a 12” vinyl LP, a 7” vinyl single, the ‘Star Fleet Sessions’ box set houses the proof. Presented in 180g transparent red vinyl, the original LP issue has been treated to a full new mix, executed by Queen sound engineers Justin Shirley-Smith and Kris Fredriksson under Brian’s direction at his Surrey studio from the original multitrack tapes and, says Brian, “cut at half-speed for maximum fidelity”. The single features two tracks. The A-side is an edited version of “Star Fleet”, with brand-new intro guitar harmonies from Brian. The B-side mirrors the original B-side “Son of Star Fleet” which Brian explains “was a way of including the rest of the original long version of the recording on a 7” record; effectively the whole recording is split between the two sides.” A badge and a booklet featuring extensive liner notes complete the box set.
Complete with a digital recreation of the original 1983 source material’s artwork, Star Fleet Sessions doesn’t just gleam anew. Across 136 minutes of audio, the box set takes you behind the curtain, highlighting the electricity that made the project such a special chapter in Brian’s life and career.