Brian May targets summer 2023 for box set re-release of the Star Fleet Project EP he recorded with Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen and Brian May, in 1980
(Image credit: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Queen guitarist Brian May has identified summer 2023 as his target for the release of a Gold Series reissue box set of his 1983 solo EP Star Fleet Project, featuring the late Eddie Van Halen.

Originally released on October 31, 1983, the three-track EP was the product of two spring days recording at the Record Plant in Los Angeles, with May and Van Halen joined by bassist Phil Chen, drummer Alan Gratzer and Queen keyboard player Fred Mandel.

Credited to Brian May + Friends, the original record features just three tracks, Star Fleet, May’s hard rock re-imagining of English musician Paul Bliss’ theme to Japanese sci-fi anime series Star Fleet, May original Let Me Out, and Blues Breaker (Dedicated To E.C.) a 12 minute blues jam inspired by May and Van Halen’s mutual love of 'The Beano Album', 1966’s Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton, recorded by John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers.

"Star Fleet was a Japanese animated series for children, which used to be on Saturday morning TV," May explained to EVH biographer Paul Brannigan (opens in new tab) in 2013. ‘I used to watch it with my little boy Jimmy, we’d get up early on Saturday mornings to watch it, and the recording was originally Jimmy’s idea, because he said, “You should play that dad.'

"I was living in Los Angeles at the time, Jimmy was attending nursery school there, and one day I found myself with some time off, which was rare, and I thought, 'What an interesting idea it would be to do this.' And so I made some phone calls to friends in LA – Ed, who I’d met through my friend Tony Iommi, Alan Gratzer, who was a neighbour, and Phil Chen, a great bass player from Rod Stewart’s outfit at the time. We had a little bit of discussion in advance, but basically we just bowled into the studio and laid into it."

"It was exhilarating, I must say," May continued, "like flying by the seat of your pants. They were all excellent musicians, so everyone could keep up, and it just evolved as we were going. I love being challenged in different scenarios, and I think Ed relished that too. That record is a document of one afternoon of pure, spontaneous, empathetic musicianship."

Talking to Total Guitar in 2020, May recalled,"[Eddie] said to me, 'I’m glad we’re doing this, because you’re making me go back to my roots. I love playing blues, and I love not doing the Eddie Van Halen stuff, I love not tapping and doing all the fireworks. It’s great to get back to just playing from the soul'."

In a post of Instagram this week, May says he is "hard at work on it for the next GOLD SERIES reissue box set."

He promises: "It won’t be just a remaster- we’re remixing everything from highest definition transfers from the original multitracks . You’ll still be able to hear the old mixes, but I’m excited about what we’re cooking up now. All the original material - every detail rescued - magnificently remixed - and much more !!! And lots of moments of EVH in his prime that nobody ever heard before. Wish I could unleash it all now - ut such is the state of record production now it will take until meet Summer to turn it around. It WILL Be worth the wait - I promise !!!"

The box set is to include rough takes and jams which informed the final recordings.

“So, you’ll hear us in the studio, trading licks,” May told Variety earlier this year. “I was never fond of the original mix of Star Fleet, the single, so we cleaned that up. Now, EVH’s sound is larger than life. 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… we are going to give you everything. Every take of every song. The things gone wrong, the laughing, the finding new things to do.”

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