Steve Vai Recalls The Time He Joined Queen’s Rehearsal And Tried Brian May’s Red Special

David Lee Roth and Whitesnake’s touring guitarist Steve Vai talked about the time he got the chance to hang out with Queen guitarist Brian May during a recent interview and revealed that he even got to join the iconic band’s rehearsal.

Steve Vai is one of the most well-known musicians of the rock scene and he’s famous for his career as a singer, guitarist, composer, and producer. He started his career in a pretty cool way in the ’70s, as the transcriptionist of Frank Zappa and was eventually hired as a band member.

Following that, Vai went on to record and tour with David Lee Roth, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, and Alcatraz. He has won three Grammy Awards to this day and has had the chance to meet numerous influential musicians including the members of Queen. During his recent interview with Classic Rock Magazine, Steve detailed his unforgettable experience.

When he was still young, Steve had a friend who introduced him to Queen when Vai thought that ‘Led Zeppelin was the only music in the world.’ After listening to ‘Queen II’ Brian May became Vai’s biggest influence and some years later he bumped into the guitar icon. Vai couldn’t believe how kind and engaging May was and was shocked when he got invited to a Queen rehearsal the next day.

Steve Via looked back on that day and said that ‘it was so surreal‘ because he also got to see Brian May’s famous ‘Red Special.’ In fact, Brian offered him to try it out and Steve recalled that although he played using the icon’s signature guitar, he still ‘did not sound like Brian May at all.’

Steve Vai recalled the day that he met Brian May during his recent interview:

“There was a kid called John who lived a few houses from me and he introduced me to Queen at a point where I believed that Led Zeppelin was the only music in the world.

After I heard ‘Queen II,’ Brian May became my god, and I studied everything about his playing. A few years later, when I was playing with Frank Zappa, I walked into the Rainbow bar in Los Angeles and he was standing at the bar. He was so kind and engaging, and he invited me to a Queen rehearsal the next day.

It was so surreal. I looked at his guitar, and I was like, ‘Is that the actual Red Special?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, wanna try it?’ So I picked up that guitar and played through his rig, and to my chagrin, I did not sound like Brian May at all! What Queen did can never and will never be replicated because together those four musicians were a unique force of nature.”

It is clear that Queen had a huge impact on Steve Vai’s career, and the fact that he got a chance to actually attend their rehearsal and play with Brian May’s guitar must have been an amazing experience. Vai’s praising words about the band and the ‘unique force of nature‘ that the four members created together must have been a nice compliment for the remaining members.