STEVE VAI (original version)



On the occasion of the master class he did in Turin last June /June the 19th, we had the oppotunity to ask 6-string legend Steve Vai some questions, about his career and his life. (Lucia Rossi)

R&MimB: What would you say about the particular sound of the new album?
STEVE VAI: The music is very diverse without being genre specific. It has some of my most tasteful guitar playing. I focused very much on phrasing and finding delicate ways of playing that I have never touched before. There are some very beautiful compositional intensities such as Velorum and "The Story of Light" and "Weeping China Doll" Where I used the 7 string to create mountains and walls of dense sound.
I took great care in the recording and mixing process and tested all the newest and oldest gear on the market in an attempt to get the best sound I could.

R&MimB: How would you describe The Story of Light in three words?
STEVE VAI: Very Steve Vai

R&MimB: According to me, one of the most beautiful tracks in The Story of Light is No More Amsterdam. How is the song connected to the concept of the album
STEVE VAI: In the story there is a character who is a restless soul of sorts. He moves around a lot in life and is constantly trying to find himself. Although he sets out to achieve certain things and accomplishes them, they never make him happy for very long. At some point He looks deeply into a reflecting pond. He eventually sees the reflection of his guardian angel, his higher self or the voice that has been with him, guiding him his whole life. Through it he learns that wherever you may go in life you take who you are with you.

R&MimB: How did you get the idea of collaborating with the Evolution Tempo Orchestra?
STEVE VAI: I had always been interested n composing since I was a little boy and I started studying it when I was 9 years old. Through the years I have composed various orchestra pieces but never had much of a chance to have them performed.
In early 2000's a friend of mine in Holland, Co De Kloet, put together a concert with "The Metropole Orkest". It was a special Steve Vai festival where they played many of my compositions. They were recorded and release on my "Sound Theories Record and "Visual Sound Theories DVD". They were very successful so other orchestra's started approaching me. The Evolution orchestra is the name that my team has given to any orchestra that I put together that specifically plays my orchestra music. In this case we had found a wonderful group of Romanian musicians that were eager to play this music. 2 years ago we did two concerts and they went very well so we decided to try some more concerts this year with the Romanian musicians.
As I write this I am flying home from the last show with the Evolution orchestra. It was quite breathtaking and I'm happy to say that I captured the last performance in Romania on video.
It was a gorgeous outdoor arena and in the middle of the concert the sky cracked open and it started to downpour. I have it all on film and will look to include it all.

R&MimB: How inspirational was Frank Zappa to you?
STEVE VAI: Frank was a cornerstone in y musical career and education.
The thing I learned most from Frank was that whenever he wanted to do something he just did it. He would get an exciting idea and he would just execute it without any excuses and without expecting anyone to do it for him. That had a huge impact on me. I worked for him for 6 years starting when I was 18 years old so I was very impressionable. I just figured that's the way you do things. You get an idea and you just do it.

R&MimB: How do you feel about playing with your maestro Joe Satriani in G3?
STEVE VAI: It's always a thrill and an honour to play with Joe either on G3 or just standing around and playing. He was my greatest mentor as a child ad through the years we have had a very special relationship. He has always been great. The thing I learned most from Joe was that whenever you put your fingers on the guitar you need to respect it and whatever comes out should sound like music.

R&MimB: Do you have any particular memories of playing and recording with DLR band?
STEVE VAI: Yes, many. My favorite memories are of climbing mountains with Dave. He was really into this and him and I would get up early on show days and he would hire a climbing guide and we would go to whatever a great local climbing mountain was and climb. It was not kids stuff. These were giant cliffs and we had harnesses and all the appropriate special equipment.

R&MimB: Last year an Italian label released the video for Whitesnake's Live at Donington, have you ever seen it?
STEVE VAI: Oh yes, David Coverdale sent it to me. It was so great to see that show. I remember it fondly. We were such hot shit back then.

R&MimB: What do you think of Devin Townsend's artistic development? Would you like to work with him again?
STEVE VAI: There's few people in this business that I truly consider to be musical geniuses and he is one of them. He is inspired and tremendously talented with an unshakable vision. His music can be brutally intense or very tender but there is a golden melodic string that runs through it all. I believe he's one of those artists that won't truly be discovered until he's dead because he's way too talented for the average metal head to appreciate. He is "The One, Alone"

R&MimB: You recorded and toured with so many artists! Are there any new talents you are focusing on now and who impress you in a positive way?
STEVE VAI: I find things I can enjoy in many of the new artists but I'm still waiting to be blown away.

R&MimB: What do you think about working in the movies, would you do it again?
STEVE VAI: Under an extraordinary condition I would do it again but I'm not looking for anything at this time. Acting in a movie is an art and although I really enjoy great actors, when I'm acting it feels fake and I'm uncomfortable making believe. Plus, it's a lot of waiting around. I much prefer the stage.

R&MimB: You released some of your songs on the web - on, iTunes and What do you think about New Technology versus the traditional ways of recording?
STEVE VAI: I think that the way we record, produce, distribute and listen to music has been changing and will continue to change and I enjoy embracing each new technology as it appears. We are always looking for convenience and immediacy and technology is our best friend. I believe that it will eventually aid us in getting back to nature in a very organic wholesome way. But first we will have to virtually destroy ourselves and the planet with it.

R&MimB: I heard you are a beekeeper, what can you tell me about this particular hobby?
STEVE VAI: It's really a wonderful, fascinating and simple hobby and I highly recommend it to anyone. It gives you an opportunity to be closer to nature. The bees are easy to take care of. You don't really take care of them, they do it all themselves. You just help to keep them free of disease at times. You help them grow and produce tons of honey. The honey you take is surplus honey that the bees would normally not use.

R&MimB: How do you feel about playing in Italy, since you have Italian origins?
STEVE VAI: I always look forward to playing in Italy. Much of it has to do with the fact that my heritage is Italian and I grew up in a household that retained much of it's Italian culture and heritage. So when I'm in Italy and hear the language, taste the food, meet the people, see the architecture etc. I oddly feel very much at home.

R&MimB: How about saying hello to the readers of Rock & Metal in My Blood?
STEVE VAI: Hey Reader of Rock and Metal in My Blood. You may be I my blood but I'm crawling up your ass.