Brian May on overcoming his ‘shyness’ to jam with Eddie Van Halen ‘I was in awe of him’

Back in 1983, Brian May was on a break from Queen and on a whim decided to call up Eddie Van Halen about recording what would become their mini-album known as Star Fleet Sessions.

As the guitar legend gears up to release a 40th anniversary remastered version of the record, he shared in a new interview how he had to overcome his tendency to shyness to get the late rocker on board.

Speaking in this final video of his Star Fleet mini-series, Sir Brian described the journey from picking up the phone on a sunny California day and making the call to some ‘friends’.

The 75-year-old said: “People who are like us, who are on the road almost constantly, you have friends, but you don’t see them very often because it’s not very often that your paths cross. So you have to make a bit of an effort if you’re going to spend any kind of friendship time.

“So that was one of the reasons for making this call. I thought, I hardly ever see Ed. And wouldn’t it be great to have some time together, and not only that, but actually play and look into each other’s eyes and play off each other, see what happens? So that was an immense, a big kind of step for me.”

Sir Brian continued: “I’m a bit of a shy person, to be honest, and if I hadn’t been in that particularly ebullient kind of ‘I want to be free’ mood in Los Angeles, it never would have happened.

“That was a moment where I actually had the courage to phone these people up and say, ‘Come and play with me’. I haven’t done that very often in my life.” The Queen star went on to describe the effect working with Van Halen in the studio had on him.

He said: “Me being in the studio with Ed, yeah, I was in awe. I mean, I’ve got to be honest. I was in awe. I just thought ‘What an amazing thing’. And it would easily, it would be easy to kind of go down the road of being jealous and being, you know, resenting someone who can do something that you can’t do.”

Sir Brian added: “But for some reason that doesn’t really happen with guitar players. I’ve never seen that because we all do different stuff and we all enjoy each other’s stuff. So although I felt like ‘I’m in the presence of a God here’, there was also this feeling of pure joy, pure joy, just being in the room with that guy and being able to play stuff to him and hear him respond.

“You can hear us doing it. And what a treat, what an absolutely unrepeatable, unique experience that was. What a moment in time.”

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