Check out TRANSCRIPT below of Brian May’s conversation with, Johnnie Walker – on a speical ‘This Week In Rock’ with focus on Brian’s “Another World” album, recently re-issued.
Brian May & Johnnie Walker talk “Another World” 23 Apr 2022 BBCR2
JOHNNIE WALKER: We’re gonna focus though on this week in 2022.Brian May is re-issuing his solo album, “Another World”, which originally came out in 1998. Featuring Cozy Powell on drums, Jeff Beck on guitar, and a host of other guest artists, it wasBrian’s second foray into a world without Queen. I spoke to Brian about the project earlier on this week.
BRIAN MAY: “Another World” feels like a new album to me completely. I’ve immersed myself in it for the past few weeks and I feel like I’m there really and I feel like, if I was making a completely new album right now, it would be very much this one, because it all seems still relevant to me. Yeah, I wasn’t tempted to remix it. I just remastered it and re-polished it. But I was tempted to go back and make that second CD, which we are daringly calling “Another CD” – well all the sort of outtakes and bits and pieces which didn’t make it onto the album, plus a few other little nuggets from that period. So I’m excited – very excited. Yeah, this is a new project for me.
JOHNNIE: The thing that hits me straight away, when I listen to the album, is the enormous amount of energy.
BRIAN: There is an amazing, amazing amount of energy, yeah. Comes from various sources, I think. That’s part of me. Part of it comes from me, because I’m struggling to get out of what is still a difficult place, having lost Freddie and kind of lost my sense of reality, but I had Cozy Powell in the studio for the first part of the album with his enormous input of energy and optimism and belief in me. Sadly, I didn’t have him for the whole album because he died in a terrible crash on the motorway halfway through, which was devastating.
JOHNNIE: I’ve heard you talk about Cozy, and more than just an amazing drummer, as an individual he was quite special, wasn’t he?
BRIAN: He really was. He had an incredible optimism about him, which is just what I need, because I’m basically a pessimist, I think, but Cozy would always come into the studio if I was like uncertain of anything, I said look: “Do you want to try this?” “Oh yeah, I’ll do it but that’ll be amazing”, you know. “I’ll give it ‘hooligan’. It’ll be brilliant,” you know. “We could do this, Bri.” He is just always giving me energy – giving me confidence. So – love that guy and it was awful to lose him. I dedicated the album to him, as you probably know.
Ironically in the light of what’s happening now – what’s just happening, Taylor Hawkins stepped in to do a track, the ‘Cyborg’ track and also gave me wonderful injection of energy, friendship, joy and light and he’s gone just recently, which is awful, you know. God, I wish I could have been there to get him through that, whatever it was. Yeah so, a lot of sadness mixed with the joy in this album.
JOHNNIE: Taylor Hawkins, him doing that session for you was one of his first, wasn’t it doing a session?
BRIAN: It was, yeah. He’d only just joined the Foo Fighters. He’s just a boy really and he was the biggest Queen fan in the world, which took me by surprise. I think Taylor, actually, made Queen very cool to lots of people to whom we otherwise wouldn’t have been cool, bless him.
And he was encyclopaedic about Queen. Absolutely incredible – knew everything that we’d ever done – was very, again, supportive, and he became like a brother. He really did. He was his family, to us, was Taylor, bless him. He will be very, very sadly missed.
JOHNNIE: Another big name – fortunately still with us is Ian Hunter.
BRIAN: Mmm mmm.
JOHNNIE: Now they were good. They were pretty good to Queen in the early days were they not, Mott The Hoople?
BRIAN: They really were. Yeah, we supported them. It was our only support slot on a major tour and it took us right out into the world in a way we hadn’t even imagined before really, and we went on stage every night opening up for Mott The Hoople.
Can be a tough spot if there’s a very popular band, you know. But the audiences were very kind to us. So, it propelled us to a new place and Mott themselves were very kind. They actually gave us sound checks, and gave us enough time to do stuff, which not everybody does. People are not always considerate to people who support them on tour and, by example, they kind of made us rock stars. We absorbed their kind of living and breathing rock and roll.
JOHNNIE: So what was Ian’s contribution on your album? You say “guest raconteur” on ‘All The Way From Memphis’.
BRIAN: Well basically, I just stole a little piece of his live album with his voice on, that’s what. But I phoned him up and said: “Do you mind if I do this?”, sent him the track and he loved it, which is great.
The track is a sort of… it’s a little story in itself. It’s like a little film. It was inspired by the fact that one of those dates that we did with them in the States was in Memphis in an arena in Memphis, which was a riot, I’ve got to tell you, both on stage and off stage. I’ve got fond memories of the Holiday Inn with all sorts of insane capers going on. They were very rock and roll, I got to tell you. But on stage I wanted to see this thing, of Mott The Hoople playing ‘All The Way From Memphis’, in Memphis.
I thought there’s got to be special chemistry there and there was. It was extraordinary.
It’s probably worth noting that the original recorded version of ‘All The Way From Memphis’ doesn’t really do that. It’s piano-based and quite light – fairly tame, compared with the avalanche that took place when they played that song live. So, my version is a version of that. It’s depicting that story of Mott The Hoople arriving at the gig, playing this song and then driving away in the truck afterwards. And Ian’s there –borrowed – making a comment before they leave the stage. So yeah, I had a lot of fun with that. And I know Ian enjoyed it and I wanted to pay tribute to him and to the band.
JOHNNIE: It’s a great version of the song and again, coming back, it’s got great energy too. Really, really powerful.
JOHNNIE: In the show last week we played something from The Freddie Mercury Tribute show at Wembley and we played you guesting with Def Leppard, and Joe Elliott introduced you as the man with the curly hair and the curly guitar lead, and just a sort of silly little guitar technical question. Do you prefer a proper plug-in lead rather than a radio box thing on your guitar strap?
BRIAN: Yeah, I mean, it was hard to convert from the curly lead to analogue radio link but we made it sound right and then, just recently, we’ve had to convert to digital, which is a bit traumatic and I wasn’t keen – again. But I have this wonderful guy, called Nigel Knight, in my team, and he’s managed to make this digital system sound, I think, even better than the analogue link” and probably better than the curly lead, because I can turn it up a bit. I can turn it up to about 11 and a half [Laughter] and it gives me a little bit more sustain. So, I’m a convert. I probably couldn’t go back to the curly lead now, no.
JOHNNIE: Plus you’ve got the freedom that it gives.
BRIAN; Oh yeah – enormously, yeah. So different.
JOHNNIE; Well, congratulations on “Another World” revisited. It’s a great album. And…
BRIAN: Thank you, Johnnie.
JOHNNIE: … we’re gonna thank you for your time, Brian. We’re gonna play ‘On The [My] Way Up’. Anything you’d like to say by way of introduction?
BRIAN: Yeah. T his is the last thing you would expect Brian May to be playing because it’s uncharacteristically optimistic, but I love it. It makes me smile. It was written for a TV series about a character, who was an eternal optimist and I like to think that this is the way Brian May can be. [Laughter]
JOHNNIE: Glass half full in future, Brian, if you don’t mind?
BRIAN: Yes definitely, yeah, and it’s great to talk to you Johnnie, always.
JOHNNIE: Thank you Brian, all the best to you.
<PLAYS OUT: ‘On My Way Up’.>