The 5150 vaults aren’t the only place rare Eddie Van Halen recordings can be found. Brian May has reached into his own treasure trove of recordings and is currently working on an extended version of 1983’s The Star Fleet Project featuring Eddie.
Here’s what May had to say about the project during a recent interview with Variety‘s A.D. Amorosi:
OK, so the three of you are not making a Queen album. Is there another Brian May solo album on the horizon?
I’m working on the “Star Fleet” box set, which is No. 3 in the Brian May Gold Series [the first two being “Back to the Light” and the “Another World’ box sets], and probably to be released halfway into next year.
Do you mean the tracks from 1983 that you did for the science fiction puppet series “Star Fleet?”
Yes. And I’m very excited about it as I’ve opened up these tapes where I’m jamming with Eddie Van Halen and Phil Chen. It is highly emotional, again, as Ed’s not around. Neither is Phil. And I’ve been talking to Alex (Van Halen) and started thinking about how I wish I had stayed closer to Ed. I have a huge regret about that. He was a wonderful soul – a Peter Pan who never grew up, never wanted to grow up and never should have grown up. He should still be with us. Listening to him and me, I felt completely outclassed by him in the studio. But in a very pleasant way – what joy for me to be around a guy who could do all that. Such a privilege. So, you’ll hear us in the studio, trading licks. 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. And, even more than “The Miracle,” we are going to give you everything. Every take of every song. The things gone wrong, the laughing, the finding new things to do.
Star Fleet Project was recorded April 21st and 22nd of 1983 at The Record Plant in Los Angeles and officially released on October 31st, 1983. It all started when May’s son hooked his dad onto the Japanese television series X Bomber, which was renamed Star Fleet in the U.K. This inspired the elder May to re-record the show’s theme song with some friends.
The three-song mini-album, billed as Brian May + Friends, featured May, Eddie, drummer Alan Gratzer (of REO Speedwagon), Phil Chen (session bassist who played with Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart), and Fred Mandel (session keyboard player who also played as additional keyboard player on Queen’s Hot Space World Tour and The Works). Roger Taylor, Queen’s drummer, provided backing vocals for the title song.