Michael and I watched the cult blues movie Crossroads last night, and the classic guitar duel scene got me thinking it was time to focus the ol’ GuitarPr0n squee radar on “Little Stevie Vai”, since he’s such a nice boy…
Here’s a little piece about Steve from his entry on Wikipedia
When growing up, the young Vai became interested in rock giants such as Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper, Queen, Cream and Led Zeppelin, which influenced his early guitar career. He first picked up a guitar when he was invited by a friend to join him for a lesson, thus splitting the $10 fee. Vai went out and bought a cheap acoustic guitar and took it to the lesson with his friend’s teacher (Joe Satriani). Prior to attending Berklee College of Music, Steve frequently jammed with his teacher Joe Satriani and played in numerous local bands. He has acknowledged the influence of many guitarists, including Jeff Beck and fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth.
Squee for Steve
Steve Vai takes guitar playing beyond mere musicianship and turns it into a magical form of performance art. Sometimes it’s hard to squee over the man, because you’re too busy staring agog at the way he plays his signature Ibanez JEM. But, he’s got everything he needs to qualify as a squee-worthy Man With Guitar, so let us squee…
Passion and Warfare… that’s where Steve’s at his best in my opinion. Specifically, on the classic track For The Love of God, an epic masterpiece of an instrumental which closes with the line “Walking the fine line between Pagan and Christian”. For that track alone he deserves his place on the Rock Walk of fame – he was inducted into the Rock Walk in 1999.
To truly appreciate Steve at his best, you need to see him play. I haven’t seen him play live, but I have seen some of his best gigs on DVD. Check these two out to see the virtuoso do his thing:
Steve Vai Live at the Astoria
Steve’s solo performance from 2001, which features the classic “For The Love of God”, a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” and the utterly mind-bending “Bad Horsie”.
G3 Live in Denver
Steve joins his former tutor Joe Satriani and the incomparable Yngwie Malmsteen for this amazing performance. Joe, Steve and Yngwie all have solo performances at the start – during which Steve demonstrates his prowess on a triple-neck – followed by a magnificent 3-way jam session… now that’s guitarpr0n!
Find out more about Steve at these fine sites: