*Brian’s interview with NOS Niews – AUDIO – unavailable at this time [OSNieuws-BrianMay_Interview_EddyChristianiAwards_23042011.mp3]
BRIAN MAY INTERVIEW WITH NOS NIEWS AT THE EDDY CHRISTIANI AWARDS, 23 APRIL 2011
(Rough transcript by BRIANMAY.COM)
QUESTION: Have you ever heard of Eddy Christiani?
BRIAN MAY: I have now. (Both laugh) No – to be truthful I had because he’s the first electric guitarist in Europe, I think; not just in Holland. So he’s a real trail blazer and it’s an honour. I wish he was here. I know he’s not very well tonight, but his partner is here, so I was very happy to meet her, but I sent him my respects and my love, yeah.
Q: How have you heard of his name? Did you Google or youtube some of his songs?
BM: In the beginning, but it was a while ago – yeah – a few months ago. I’m still trying to get over the fact that Jan Akkerman is here, who’s a real, you know, totally a hero of mine, and I’m really looking forward to seeing him play. There’s some people in life that you, no matter how old you are, you feel nervous if you meet someone. He’s one of ours – he’s a real, you know, a role model.
Q: And did you try some licks when you were young, listening to Jan Akkerman.
BM: Yeah, because Hocus Pocus was huge hit when I was a kid, you know, when I was just starting, and, yeah, I tried to play it and I’m sure I failed (laughs) ‘cos he’s very, a wonderful technical player, you know – one of the first real, technical rock players in the Universe. (laughs)
Q: What’s the secret about your sound?
BM: The sound? The sound is very important, I think because the guitar is like a voice, really – the kind of guitar that we play, and sort of post-Eric Clapton, post-Jimi Hendrix, if you like. The guitar really speaks and that’s what the electric does. It’s a sort of monophonic in the same way as your voice is. You know, you’re playing one note at a time, and it’s very important what the sound of that note is, because if it’s harsh or if it’s dull, you know, people don’t wanna listen. It’s just like me speaking to you (mumbles… )Wahgggh!! The tone has to be beautiful, or else why bother. So, how you do it? I don’t know. I think it’s just experiment and it’s very noticeable it depends on who picks up the guitar, as to what the guitar sounds like. I think that’s the great thing about the electric guitar. You need a certain amount of technical ability to play it, but not very much, if the truth’s told. There’s people like Kurt Cobain, who was really not very technically adept, but was still able to communicate something incredibly strong, so I think that’s the great thing about the electric guitar. It somehow channels people’s emotions, their passions, their anger or their sadness or their joy. And I think the electric guitar is here to stay, you know.
Q: Is it something to do with the fingers?
BM: Yeah, I think everything’s in the fingers. There is a communication between the brain and body and fingers, and spirit and emotion, which I think is largely unconscious. I think that’s the truth. I think everybody searches for their sound. You know, you plug it in and you try and you don’t like it, so you try something else, and eventually you just fin something. I was very lucky to find it early on. I just plugged my original guitar – this is copy. This is one of the ones, we manufacture these things. I plugged my original in, which I made with my Dad, and I plugged it through a treble booster, because I’d seen Rory Gallagher do that, and into an AC30, and the sound that came out was just what was in my head. You have to know what you’re looking for – you need the warmth and you need the articulation – as I say, like a voice. You look for a voice.
Q: And are you, the award – are you honoured?
BM: I’m very honoured. I’m very honoured. See, deep down I don’t think I’m that clever, you know. There are plenty people who can play much more technically and certainly much faster than me, you know, and who are very innovative. I just play what I feel if I can. That’s my aim and I’m just happy to be in the company. You know I don’t feel like I’m better than anybody else. I’m just happy that people wanna hear what I do. This is a great sign of that, you know. People have been very kind to me today, saying that they listened to me and they were influenced by me and, you know, in the same way as I was influenced by my heroes, so it’s a nice river to be part of.
(Brian plays a few bars on red special copy) (Laughs)