Brian May – Another World: Back To The Tree
Brian May’s ‘Another World’ is available on April 22nd and can be pre-ordered HERE.
In a brand new interview Brian recounts the story behind his trip in 1998 to photograph the extraordinary tree that comprises the striking album cover image, and shares exclusive footage of his emotional journey to revisit it in March 2022.
Queen guitar hero Brian May has returned to one of the landmark locations associated with his solo work for a new interview feature to mark the re-release of his second studio album Another World. The album will be available in a newly-augmented and remastered edition from April 22.
The series debuts on YouTube Tuesday, April 12 running weekly through to mid-May and is produced by Simon Lupton, creator of the recent 50-part series Queen The Greatest.
In the Back To The Tree video feature, Brian talks about revisiting the island of El Hierro, the second smallest of the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa. This was where the memorable front cover image for Another World was captured, depicting the famous, symbolic and historic tree, in El Sabinar, in La Dehesa.
Brian recounts the story of his original 1998 trip to photograph the extraordinary tree and his subsequent emotional return to El Hierro in March 2022. “I call it ‘My tree,’” he says. “It’s actually El Hierro’s kind of national emblem if you like.”
He remembers that his first awareness of the magnificent tree had a significant effect on his mindset.
“I first saw the tree in a newspaper article, in black and white, and I thought, ‘what an amazing thing.’ Because I was always…I’m always going through hard times, like emotionally, whatever. And this was a difficult time. And I thought, ‘If I don’t change, I’m going to kind of die in this situation,’ so I have to find ways through.
“This tree [was] living in very adverse circumstances. It’s trying to grow in a place where there’s constantly a driving wind off the oceans, saltwater wind, and it’s still managing to survive. How’s it survived? By adapting. I thought I want to visit that tree. So I found it in a travel magazine. There it was, [in] Sabinosa in El Hierro. On an impulse – I mean, you have to live life on impulses sometimes, don’t you? – I thought, ‘OK, we have to go there.’”
May says of the photo session: “We took stills of me and the tree, and I was trying to find ways of me doing what the tree did. I was trying these poses like to imitate the pose of the tree. And eventually, we came up with this thing, which I think did almost by accident. It was just sort of bending over and adapting that way. So you see me next to the tree.”
This was all in the days before Photoshop, of course.
“You couldn’t fiddle anything, so it’s real, what you’re looking at, and unfortunately or fortunately, the tree is actually really big,” he reveals.
“It’s almost twice the size of me. So to get the effect we wanted, we used perspective. [And] the tree is a great symbol for Another World for me.”
Returning to the tree some 24 years on was poignant for May. “Now there’s a rope around it and it says, ‘Please do not enter,’” he notes, “and I didn’t. It was so tempting to rush up to it and hug that tree and touch it and make contact with all those years ago. But I didn’t do it because I thought, ‘I have to set an example.’ I have to be the same as everyone else, and I shouldn’t be trespassing in there. I should respect that tree, not touch it, just enjoy being near it, and hopefully, it’ll be there for another 300 years.”
1998’s Another World, the follow-to May’s 1992 solo debut Back to the Light, is being reissued alongside its original single ‘On My Way Up’ as the second release in his Gold Series. The album contains Brian’s trademark, searing guitar alongside unforgettable melodies, some striking cover versions and, on the new 2CD and box set editions, a generous selection of previously unreleased remixes, rarities and live tracks.