Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS - Neville Marten, Editor [email protected]­turenet.com

Nev re­calls his first meet­ing with Brian May.

I’D BEEN AT Gui­tarist mag just months when my boss bumped into Brian May at an event and asked if he’d be willing to talk to us. He agreed and it was ar­ranged for me to visit Queen’s of­fice in Not­ting Hill. Brian’s one stip­u­la­tion was, “Don’t be late, as I have to be else­where later that day.” I’ve al­ways had an is­sue with poor punc­tu­al­ity so no prob­lem there. How wrong could I be?

I lived in north Es­sex so gave my­self 90 min­utes ex­tra just in case. The of­fice was the other side of Lon­don, it was pre sat-nav and mo­bile phone but I was con­fi­dent I’d get there on time. I would have done, too, had it not been for an ac­ci­dent that shut the A12 for two hours. I was stranded, I daren’t aban­don the car and was in blind panic with my blood pres­sure peaking off the scale.

I ar­rived 45 min­utes late, parked on the pave­ment, dashed in and squeaked my apolo­gies. Brian was as nice as pie: “Bet­ter move your car or you’ll be clamped,” he said. I duly did so and re­turned. He was at a fil­ing cabi­net choos­ing cover shots, pulled out a few nice ones and ush­ered me to fol­low him up­stairs to where our chat would take place.

Only then did I no­tice he was wear­ing white clogs. Now, no one wore white clogs in 1985. Ex­cept Brian. Oh, and me! How fool­ish I felt as we clomped up the un­car­peted wooden stairs in our match­ing white clogs. I had no idea of Brian’s taste in footwear and was con­vinced he’d think I was some idiot fan who aped ev­ery­thing he did.

We sat down, I switched on my recorder and Brian opened a huge flight­case to re­veal the Red Spe­cial: “Here’s the bat­tered relic,” he said, hand­ing it to me. I made var­i­ous com­ments about its build, playa­bil­ity and fin­ish and we talked for a fur­ther hour, all the while me clutch­ing the iconic gui­tar.

The in­ter­view went great. We bade our farewells and I dashed back to the car, itch­ing to put the tape into my cas­sette player and lis­ten back. Hor­ror of hor­rors! I’d noo­dled through it from start to fin­ish, but hon­estly had no idea I’d played a note! I nearly died, and I cringe even now as I re­call it, but Brian didn’t say a thing.

Do en­joy Jon Bishop’s fea­ture on the play­ing of this unique gui­tarist and, as you can see, one of rock’s real gents.

And I’ll see you soon.

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