Speaking to Total Guitar, May recalled the time he and Van Halen recorded the ‘Star Fleet Project’ EP in 1983.
“A couple of days after I heard the news about Eddie, I went back to ‘Star Fleet’,” May said. “I started revisiting all the feelings I had when we were in the studio doing that, and it sort of healed my soul a bit. I thought, ‘Yeah, this is what I should be doing at this time.'”
The three-song project, which was released under the ‘Brian May + Friends’ moniker, favoured a heavy blues rock sound. It also featured REO Speedwagon drummer Alan Gratzer, as well as session musicians Phil Chen and Fred Mandel.
“That was one of the great moments of my life, I’ve got to say – because we did it once and we got it right,” May added. “That’s a tiny little moment but a moment of great joy, playing with this guy. I was awestruck by his playing.”
During the recording sessions for the ‘Star Fleet Project’ EP, May and Van Halen switched guitars, but as May explained, “It’s basically all in the fingers at the end of the day. No matter what guitar Eddie picked up, it sounded like him.”
The project’s lead track was a rearranged cover of the theme song to the children’s TV show Star Fleet. The other two songs on the EP were the originals ‘Blues Breaker’ and ‘Let Me Out’.
Elsewhere during the interview, May recalled the first time meeting Van Halen.
“I think of him as a boy back then. He was quite a bit younger than me,” he said. “It was backstage in Munich when Van Halen were supporting Black Sabbath. I knew a little bit about Van Halen and luckily I got there to see them, because I was there to see [Black Sabbath guitarist] Tony [Iommi].”
He continued: “But I got there in time to see Van Halen and I was utterly blown away by Eddie. I just thought, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.’ It was almost too much to take in. I remember thinking, ‘I don’t want to believe this.’ It was similar to watching Jimi Hendrix for the first time.”
“He was the greatest,” he added. “There was no one who could match him, no one who could come close. There will never be another one of him.”