The house where Brian May is currently living is part of his living history.
Tucked away in Surrey, England, the house served as his sanctuary, a place he bought in the early 1980s for his family as he provided “adventures” for his young children to frolic in the nearby woods.
It also became a place of hibernation for the legendary Queen guitarist after he divorced in 1988 and started working on his first solo album, “Back to the Light”.
“I’ve had some really dark times here because it’s a big house in the country and when there’s nobody in it it shakes,” May said recently from her “Zoom Room” in the Surrey home. . “So when I started making this album, that’s when the house started to come to life. And when I started to come back to life, really, that’s what the album is about.
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Released in September 1992, “Back to the Light” filled with melodies and riffs flourished in England, where the songs “Too Much Love Will Kill You” and “Driven by You” were in the Top 10.
Its success in the United States was fleeting – an uninspiring peak at No. 159 on the Billboard Albums chart. But the August 6 reissue of May’s defining work, which has long been unavailable on CD, vinyl and streaming, will reintroduce the dozen original tracks. It will also feature a bonus lineup of 11 songs in live, guitar-only versions.
May, 74, who dutifully posts social media updates about her health – including her recovery from a heart attack in May 2020 and, more recently, eye surgery – has realized that fans aren’t couldn’t use her music with Instagram Stories. This prompted him to remaster and reissue “Back to the Light” (1998’s “Another World” is next to refresh) /
A warm and caring conversationalist, May spoke to USA TODAY about the confidence building he received from Freddie Mercury, the status of new music with Queen + Adam Lambert, and what he thinks is his “gravestone song. “.
Q: You wrote and recorded this album during a time of upheaval with your divorce and the death of Freddie Mercury (in 1991). Were you afraid to go back there to see it again?
Brian May: I went into it with an open mind, but felt like I was going to revisit a younger version of myself. That I would feel older and wiser and all the passion and pain and everything that was in that album, maybe I would look on with a smile and think, “I’m done with this now.” The funny thing is, that didn’t happen. All of this stuff in this album represents the fact that I haven’t really grown up (laughs). Some of them are good because I still have the passion. I’m still hungry. But I still have the pain and the desire and the feeling that I am not doing things right, the feeling that there are some unresolved issues. And that’s what it’s all about in this album. So I now offer it to a new generation.
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Q: You said “Too Much Love Will Kill You” is one of your most important songs. Do you still feel this way?
May: Yeah, I think it’s a gravestone song. It is a theme of my life; I never quite understood. I probably liked too much and I live too much in my head. My perception of the world is, on the one hand, vast, and I know this because I am an astronomer. But on the other hand, I live in this very small emotional world.
Q: You wrote “Driven by You” specifically for a UK car advertisement. Have there ever been any reviews of “selling yourself”?
May: I don’t think anyone thought of it as a sale because I’m still writing for myself. (The song) meant “driven by you” because the car is driven by you, physically, but it also meant to be “driven by you” in a relationship sense and that can be good and bad, heaven and hell. It gave me confidence because it was a job (outside of Queen).
Q: And Freddie gave you his blessing?
May: I had a moment with Freddie because I was a little worried, is it tasteful for me to do this solo without knowing how long Freddie would be with us? I just said, “Do you want to listen?” and he said, “Love it, it’s awesome. Nice job.” And I said, “Do you want to sing it? Do you think it should be a Queen song?” and he said, “You sing it beautifully, honey, and you should go.” We had this little conversation that I wasn’t expecting and he said, “You should do this. I don’t know how long I’ll be here, and Brian, you should prepare yourself and get into what will be. your solo career “Freddie is very generous and incredibly philosophical about the end of his life. I never heard him complain.
Q: The European tour with Queen + Adam Lambert shouldn’t start until May, but you were all in the studio a few months ago. New music coming up?
May: He really didn’t go anywhere. We had fun – lots of fun. But we didn’t feel that anything was good enough to pursue. It should be awesome and something that stopped you in your tracks. We are very aware that people, if they have a recorded work by Queen, they expect to hear from Freddie. Live, I think everyone has gotten used to the fact that Adam does more than just deliver. Some people don’t like it and that’s good. They can stay at home and listen to the records! but mostly people like it. I’m very proud of what we’re doing there as Queen + Adam Lambert.