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From Rocker to Doctor

Queen guitarist Brian May visits TC

Rick Coates - June 3rd, 2013  


Legendary Queen guitarist Brian May is coming to Traverse City this weekend. Unfortunately he will be leaving his guitars behind.

“I will be in town to speak at the National Stereoscopic Association (3-D photography),” said May. “It has been a passion of mine for years.”

May, who is now known as Dr. Brian May after obtaining his Ph.D in Astrophysics in 2006, will speak about his new book he coauthored “Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell.” May also coauthored “Bang! The Complete History of the Universe.”

“Before I started Queen I had planned to get my Ph.D in astrophysics, but I was a little busy,” said May. “I have always had a curiosity about the universe and space.”

QUEEN & BEYOND

May grew up in England and would form Queen with Freddie Mercury, drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon. The band would go on to sell 300 million albums worldwide, becoming one of the top-grossing stadium acts of the ‘80s and members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. May is considered one of the greatest guitarists in rock and roll history with the readers of Guitar World Magazine voting him the second best during a readers poll last year.

When Freddie Mercury died in 1991 May pursued various solo projects and reformed Queen for a few years with Taylor and Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers.

“It was tough on us when Freddie died, we were all close,” said May. “I think one of the reasons we were successful was because we were close. Plus we all contributed to the songwriting process.”

May isn’t sure if he, Taylor and Rodgers will tour again.

“I have been very busy focused on other interests. Writing books, and for the past five years I served as the Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University.”

He also has been busy as an animal rights activist and most recently being vocally opposed to the British government’s proposal to kill off 100,000 badgers.

3D ENTHUSIAST

May has been a regular at the National Stereoscopic Association 3D-Con as both an attendee and speaker.

“We all know he is a major rock star, but to us he is Dr. May an astrophysicist and 3D photography enthusiast,” said John Bueche convention organizer. “I know this sounds crazy, but we ask Dr. May to check his guitar at the door. He is so down to earth and humble.”

The National Stereoscopic Association 3D- Con takes place this week at the Grand Traverse Resort. It will attract more than 1,000 3D enthusiasts and experts from around the world. May will give his presentation on Saturday night, and while the conference is for association members, there will be an opportunity for the general public to participate.

“On Sunday June 9 we are going to open up the trade show, 3D viewing room and art gallery to the general public,” said Bueche. “It is a great opportunity to learn about and experience this fascinating art form.”

Of course the next question is, will Brian May be accessible to the general public?

“Maybe,” said Bueche. “He is very approachable, but I don’t know his Sunday schedule. But the organization he is affiliated with, the London Stereoscopic Company, will have a booth at the trade show.”

Bueche pointed out there will be a lot of interesting people at the conference.

“There are so many experts coming in,” said Beuche. “Typically you need glasses or a viewer but we have a gentleman coming who teaches people to see in 3D without using a viewer.”

As for May, despite his other interests he still is keeping music in the mix. When time allows, May still writes songs.

“I am one of those writers who can’t sit down and force myself to write and compose music,” said May. “I am more of writer and composer when the spirit moves me.”

May always chuckles when people ask him what his favorite Queen song is or the one he likes to play the most.

“I don’t have one favorite; we were fortunate to have a lot of hits,” said May. “My favorite riff to play is from “Tie Your Mother Down,” it always gets people up and moving. I always loved playing ‘We Will Rock You,’ live as well.”

May will turn 66 this summer and has no plans to slow down or retire.

“I am not one of those people who can retire and sit on the beach all day,” said May. “There is a lot I still want to do and feel very fortunate to have multiple careers.”

To learn more about Dr. Brian May, the National Stereoscopic Society and the 3D-Con at the Grand Traverse Resort check out 3d-con. com. The convention will be open to the public on Sunday June 9 at no charge to visit the trade show, art gallery and the 3D viewing room. Brian May’s organization the London Stereoscopic Company will have a booth at the trade show and May is expected to sign copies of his books.

 
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