Music To Your Ears

Brian May Is An Astrophysicist

Laura Marrich
3 min read
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It shocks the rock and scientific communities to no end, but it’s true. Besides originating the butter-smooth guitar licks that were as central to Queen’s success as Freddie Mercury’s vocal cords and unitards, Brian May is an astrophysicist. He had graduated with a bachelor of science (with honors) in physics at Imperial College London and was halfway through a PhD program (area of concentration: the velocity of space dust) when Queen blasted into a solar system all its own. May put down his thesis in favor of a guitar and didn’t return to science for another three decades. He finally picked up that doctorate in May 2008. Wikipedia says an asteroid was promptly named after him: 52665 Brianmay.

That little bit of history goes a long way in explaining the title of Queen’s new album,
The Cosmos Rocks. Think what you will of Mercury stand-in Paul Rodgers (formally of Free and Bad Company), but May is just as electrifying as ever. Queen’s Sept. 12 concert from Ukraine in Kharkov’s Freedom Square (350,000 people strong) will air Thursday, Nov. 6, in movie theaters. Century Downtown 14 and Starport at Cottonwood Mall represent Albuquerque with 7:30 p.m. screenings. Tickets are $15.

Music To Your Ears Sxsw: The Final Countdown

Apply now or forever hold your peace. Or just wait a year. Friday, Nov. 7, is the application deadline for bands seeking a slot in the 2009 South by Southwest showcase, held March 18 to 22 in Austin, Texas. There are two options for submitting your application, both of them online: Sign up for an account at or let Sonicbids steer you through ( is giving out free, three-month site access to bands applying to the showcase).

To throw your band’s collective hat in the ring, you’ll need $35 (payable by credit card), an uploadable MP3 of your music, a band photo, a biography and a press kit. Confused? There’s a full a FAQ on the site. Good luck, New Mexicans. Show those Texans what fer!

Music To Your Ears Atomic Blast

Doctor Atomic is an opera about the atom bomb and its birth. The World War II drama, strung up by the enormous tensions of Manhattan Project scientists during the Trinity test, is delivered in sheets of contemporary music composed by minimalist American composer John Adams ( Nixon in China ). Not that into opera? The fact that it’s the sole piece of operatic composition that’s set in Los Alamos, N.M., might turn you. And, it may go without saying, the reviews are "glowing."

Baritone Gerald Finley plays the title character, J. Robert Oppenheimer. The Met’s premiere of
Doctor Atomic will broadcast this Saturday, Nov. 8, at a movie theater near you: Century Downtown 14 and Starport at Cottonwood Mall. Showtime is at 11 a.m. at both venues, and tickets are $24. (Tickets to the actual Met performance are significantly steeper: $295 for the best seats in the house.)

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