Gotta Talk About Brian May for a Moment

So, there is this guy named Brian May. He happens to be the guitarist and a singer for the rock band Queen. He’s also an amazing soloist. Those alone make me swoon, but there are facets of Bri (as he is often called) that must be mentioned beyond what one sees in the news and rock ezines or YouTube videos.

Yes, Yes, He Has a PhD in Astrophysics…

… which proves he is incredibly brilliant in his brain. It took him over 30 years to get that amazing degree. His PhD thesis was A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud. I doubt I would understand the first line of Dr. Brian May’s book, but good on him.

Yes, He is an Animal Rights Activist

And Goddess, do I love him for that!

Mental Health Advocate Starting with Himself

I’ve already blogged about Brian’s experiences with depression and ongoing healing and how profound that is to know I am not alone. Bri shares this with the world, so none of us are alone.

He is Single-Handedly Bringing Back Stereoscopy

If you don’t know what stereoscopes are, it is time to learn! It took me a few times to be able to see the images in 3D, but I can see them now and they are incredible!

Yes, He is an Amazing Musician, Singer, and Songwriter

Bri plays several instruments and sings with a gentle lilt that soothes so many who listen. With Queen, it is easy to pick which songs were written by him. Roger Taylor’s are also easy to distinguish. Freddie’s are fairly obvious, but John Deacon is a dark horse and wrote most of the hits Queen had over the years.

Brian May Wears His Heart on His Sleeve

Many of the songs he has written for his solo albums tear open his chest so he can share his heart with the listener.

“Too Much Love Will Kill You” is the best example of Brian’s tender and loving side that he holds out for the world to witness. A song written about an affair and his divorce; many of us know that exact pain.

The Part I Never See Written About…

…is how Brian May is a most giving teacher.

During the COVID years, Brian did Tutorials on Instagram, giving lessons to others about how to play Queen songs.

That morphed into challenges for artists to sing, dance, draw, whatever their art was, to his playing a Queen song.

Which became amazing videos like this one with Debby Holiday, Jeff Scott Soto, Justin Murphy, Cameron Brown, Ron Bumblefoot Thal, Alex Skolnick, James LoMenzo, Stu Hamm, Kenny “Play-Along” Aronoff, Marco Minnemann and Jay Hannon:

Which then came Isolation Jams like this magnificent one with the cello player Luka Šulić .

Along with this isolation jam came a magnificent piece from Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde,  Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi as well as Brian May himself, all playing a guitar version of Bohemian Rhapsody. 

The socially distant performance took place as part of Bettencourt’s AXS TV special, At Home and Social With Nuno Bettencourt & Friends…”

Turning COVID Isolation Into Magic!

I know many people did a plethora of similar reaching out to their fans and friends (I see a book from someone called Isolation Connection somewhere down the road), but these specific jams that came from Brian May made him accessible. Sure, he is still an icon, but he sits around in his shorts not worrying if his hair is perfect… just like the rest of us did when we were on camera a couple of years ago.

Even though the jams were as far reaching as Brian’s thesis, I watched dozens of them. Brian’s smile was always kind and encouraging. When he brought Roger Taylor in for “We Are the Champions,” more magic materialized. (Roger has more tattoos than I have! Awesome!)

These two are definitely the coolest grandpas in the world!

If I Could…

I would thank Brian for being such an amazing man… in so many ways, but mostly for being a fantastic teacher and a man who shares his feelings and experiences with everyone. As freakin’ brilliant as this man is, he never talks down to anyone. He speaks on everyone’s level and that is a beautiful thing. He has every reason to be annoyingly arrogant, but he is humble and gentle and kind.

Thank you, Dr. Brian May, for all you are and all you give. You bless the world with your heart.

“On My Way Up!”

Not so long ago, I was in a very sad and depressed state. When I started watching videos on YouTube, I thought it was a distraction and worried I was sinking deeper.

Instead, what I found was a way out of depression.

Damn Hallucinations

However, I am having hallucinations that are annoying and need more help with. Ants crawling on me… visual and tactile. Annoying for sure.


Having hallucinations reminds me my brain doesn’t usually work like it’s supposed to. Even when I feel good. That bugs me (so to speak). I am not in a manic state. I’m getting enough sleep. My meds haven’t changed. I am pretty sure I am going to have my Risperdal upped and that really makes me cranky because that shit makes me gain weight and I am on a losing streak, 60 pounds so far. (That’s a story for another day.)

Clearly, I have been writing more. Not just here, but also in my book. I feel so good, which makes the hallucinations especially annoying as fuck.

Brian May to the Rescue

Brian May is the guitarist for Queen and a soloist as well.

This is part of the transcript from a podcast “Brian May – How Do You Cope? Elis and John” found HERE. The entire transcript delves into Brian’s ongoing life as a “depressive” (his word) and how he works through it, including the time he went to a treatment center. I highly encourage reading the entire piece because there are 1000 nuggets of understanding and inspiration there.

And hope.

Some of it was actually incredibly difficult to get through to even get in a studio because it made me massively depressed, and when you’re really depressed you’re not writing songs or you’re not writing the Blues. You can’t write anything. You can’t even get up in the morning. So I went through a lot of trials and I remember sitting in the studio feeling so incredibly bleak and wondering if I had anything to say. All I could feel was pain.”

“Yeah, I kind of felt life was over and I just wanted to try to get to the point where I could put it into music, and again this idea of sharing it with other people. I thought, if I can get through this then maybe I can help other people get through it.”

Again… and hope.

(Besides Bri helping me, his matter-of-fact speaking about having off and on depression has de-mystified and normalized mental illness, especially depression. I can’t thank him enough for his gift of speaking out loud about his struggles and triumphs.)

Watching Myself Fall Downward

I was stagnant for so long, for well over a year. A friend with whom I’d been sharing my work and getting lots of great feedback and encouragement from to keep going ghosted me. Crushed, I stopped writing. It took a few months before I realized why. I missed him and our interactions about my writing. It didn’t seem worth doing if no one was going to read it. I couldn’t find the inspiration to pick up the pen again and get any words on the page. Honestly, I thought the words in my mind had vanished.

I tried reading, but that gave me very little pleasure and no inspiration. I did read War and Peace and Anna Karenina , both by Leo Tolstoy, and loved them, but still they did not nudge me to write in the way I had hoped. Anything less intense was a bore.

I’m “On My Way Up”… and Out!

It is through music I have found my way out of depression and the immobility with writing.

I did not know that would be my path and am still a bit amused this is the territory I’m traversing. How could old rock music get my creative blood pumping and have me waking at 5:00am eager to tap, tap, tap on the computer? I keep going until I feel the words begin to slow, winding up, and then working much of the day. But, even my work writing is going so much better.

Dr. Brian May wrote a song called “On My Way Up” that has become my anthem.

“I’m on a roll
Gonna have it all
It’s gonna be fine so fine, baby all the time
I’m in control (on my way up)
I’m mighty bold (I’m telling myself)
I’m looking good (I’m totally sussed)
I’m quitting the neighbourhood
On my way up (yes I am)
(On my way up) Gonna get right with them
Got all of my life left for living”

I listen to this first thing in the morning, even before Track 13. I feel strong and powerful.

I am going to make it.

And with books to show for it.