Brian May pays tribute to his friend Eddie Van Halen: “I miss his presence in the world“

Eddie Van Halen and Brian May
(Image credit: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

“He was the greatest,” Brian May says. “There was no one who could match him, no one who could come close. There will never be another one of him.” It is just a few days after the death of Eddie Van Halen that Brian is speaking to Total Guitar, and as he admits: “I haven’t really processed it at all. When I think about it, I get this kind of physical shock. It’s punched a big hole in my heart.” 

The pair had known each other a long time, first meeting in the late '70s, when Brian was already a major star with Queen, and Eddie was the new kid on the block, his explosive displays on the first Van Halen album marking him as the most revolutionary figure in guitar playing since Hendrix. 

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Chris Bird

Chris has been the Editor of Total Guitar magazine since 2020. Prior to that, he was at the helm of Total Guitar's world-class tab and tuition section for 12 years. He's a former guitar teacher with 35 years playing experience and he holds a degree in Philosophy & Popular Music. Chris has interviewed Brian May three times, Jimmy Page once, and Mark Knopfler zero times – something he desperately hopes to rectify as soon as possible.