BRIAN MAY and KERRY ELLIS announce new stress-busting track “PANIC ATTACK 2021”
“’Panic Attack 2021’ is the antidote to Covid Anxiety !! The smiles are part of the package. The louder you turn it up the better it works!" – Brian May
Weekend Sensation! At tea-time on Sunday, Queen’s Brian May and singer Kerry Ellis created a storm by announcing, live on their Instagram feeds the digital release of their new track, “PANIC ATTACK 2021” along with a brand new music video created using the two artists’ personal iPhone footage. The event spread like wildfire across social media as May and Ellis revealed this was being offered exclusively as a FREE gift for their followers.
Brian and Kerry’s new “Panic Attack 2021” track is officially released today, now available to download and stream.
The release of this relentlessly positive new track comes also after Brian and Kerry performed a stripped-down version of the song as part of their performance in this past weekend’s Rise Up With The Arts Global Charity Livestream ‘Variety’ show featuring many of the biggest names from Broadway and the West End and staged to support those working in performing arts and entertainment.
“PANIC ATTACK 2021” is a bold reimagining of 2017’s Ellis/May classic “It's Gonna Be All Right (The Panic Attack Song)” written from a personal standpoint by Brian May long before the world buckled under the heel of the Covid-19, and originally featured on the duo’s Golden Days album.
Sharing how the new version came about, Brian said: “At the close of 2020 there was a feeling that perhaps saying goodbye to that year would bring relief from the pandemic, and a new era of hope would now begin. Sadly, following a very muted and restricted celebration of Christmas, the New Year dawned with the realisation that mankind’s struggle was probably going to get worse before it got better. Kerry and I realised that The Panic Attack song now potentially had a whole new meaning to literally millions of people around the world who felt a growing sense of panic. In the UK, there was definitely a feeling that we had all been cheated of our Happy New Year. So we wanted to mark the occasion in a completely real and transparent way.”
With Brian hurriedly rewriting the lyrics with a new inspiration, a work-in-progress version of Panic Attack 21 was first aired via the pair’s ambitious live link-up on Instagram for New Year’s Eve. “We knew it had to be a train wreck because the delays in this link situation make it impossible for two players at opposite ends of it to be synchronised. Nevertheless, we went for it - out of sheer stubbornness really - because we wanted to mark the occasion in a completely real and transparent way.”
Of course, with Britain now headed back into another lockdown, getting back into the studio to remake the track was impossible for many weeks. Brian finished the new lyrics and Kerry stepped up to create a new vocal performance recording on the only equipment she had – a microphone hooked up to Garage Band on her laptop in her home kitchen!
By e-mailed updates and Zoom discussions, the pair created a new Panic Attack vocal track, while assembling ideas for a new mix and groundbreaking video. Driving the whole project was a desire to create something that would actually rekindle some hope, reminding listeners that in spite of endless wrong turns – and in the words of the song - things WERE, somehow going to be ALL RIGHT !!!
Finally, after wrestling further with home recording, restrictions were relaxed to the point where Brian and Kerry were able to meet for a couple of days socially distanced work in Brian’s studio. Long-time Queen and BM engineer and co-producer Justin Shirley Smith - himself newly recovered from Covid - worked alongside Brian on extensive new guitar work, including a wild new solo, and a dynamic mix. In a few days, again swapping ideas with Kerry through digital media, the new track was finished.
A video? Essential to get the poignancy of the new lyrics across. Once again, the pair took a DIY approach - this time self-taping in their separate homes using iPhones. The job of assembling the footage and producing the video fell to Queen’s staunch friend and prolific video producer Simon Lupton who is currently producing FIFTY episodes of “Queen - The Greatest” - a series of video podcasts highlighting Queen’s defining moments through the years.
“Brian and Kerry’s self-filmed videos were amazing, and the perfect material for this video,” says Simon, “but ultimately it's the brilliance of their respective performances that shine through and make this so compelling to watch. We were fortunate enough to have Jake McBride from Animind Studios work his magic to help highlight the energy and joy that's bursting out of this song.”
“I am beyond excited to kick off this year with a song full of hope,” says Kerry. “Putting Panic Attack 2021 together during a lockdown has had its challenges, but that has also been the beauty of it. Music is so powerful and it’s amazing what you can still create with so many restrictions. I hope this song and video give people as much hope and joy as it did for me and Brian making it. We have all had quite a tough year but remember: ‘it’s gonna be all right!’”
“We’ve all come through some dark times,” says Brian May. “Now we want to give hope for brighter days to come.”
“PANIC ATTACK 2021” is available to download and stream now.