Steve Vai is an extraordinary American guitarist who has sold over 15 million albums worldwide. The man started his career in the early 80’s in Frank Zappa’s band with whom he recorded and toured for two years. Vai began a solo career in 1983 and to this date he has released eight studio albums, several live releases and played with several other bands including David Lee Roth and Whitesnake. Steve Vai has often been called a man who set the standard for guitar virtuosity in the 80’s and he has won three Grammy awards. The latest album STORY OF LIGHT was released through Vai’s own Favored Nations Records earlier this year and the following tour now finally bring the man back to Finland after seven year break. Read the rest of this entry »
In a new interview with Examiner.com, legendary guitarist STEVE VAI discussed his new album The Story Of Light as well as working with DAVID LEE ROTH for the Eat ‘Em And Smile album and tour. An excerpt is available below:
Examiner: Regarding the song ‘Yankee Rose’, were there actually any words ever considered or written for that guitar conversation you had with Dave for that?
Vai: “Yeah, there were some words I was thinking in my mind, but I can’t remember what they were. Something silly, you know (laughs).”
Examiner: It’s a great way to start a cut.
Vai: “Yeah. When I joined the band—I have a very quirky, esoteric guitar nature, but I’m also a big fan of rock and metal. So when I joined that band, or any band that I join, I assess the situation and I come to grips with what I think the appropriate contribution would be, but I also have to be myself at some point. So in opening up the record and doing ‘Yankee Rose’, I thought, What can I do here that’s completely preposterous that’s very me but still has rock and roll integrity and people will get a kick out of it? And I always have the talking guitar thing in my arsenal, so it was the perfect opportunity to pull it.”
Examiner: People are always analyzing whether the original Eat ’Em and Smile band was better musically than the original lineup of VAN HALEN. What are your thoughts about this?
Vai: “‘Better’ is such a subjective term, you know? I just don’t respond to these competitive comparisons. They’re useless and meaningless, because if it’s better for one person and not for another, then they’re both right. Your opinion is the important thing. You can never deny the immense talent, rock credibility and iconic historical contribution that Van Halen made. And Edward Van Halen is a guitar god of the highest order. I have immense respect and love for Edward, you know? I would probably be playing the guitar very differently if he never came along. He’s a totally inspired person.
When we started Eat ’Em and Smile, Dave got the best musicians he could, who he thought was the best. And I thought it was a hell of a band. It was one of my favorite times in my whole musical career, because we were rock stars, you know? And touring with somebody like Dave, you can’t even imagine what it was like. It was just glorious, man. And I knew it was fleeting, and I knew it was something that I wasn’t going to be doing my whole life, because my brand of music in my own head is very different. So, if you like Van Halen better than the Eat ’Em and Smile band, then you’re right. And if I like Eat ’Em and Smile better than Van Halen, then I’m right. But I don’t like one better than the other. The Eat ’Em and Smile band was fierce. And that’s it.”
David Lee Roth, lead singer of VAN HALEN, used to be known as the only musical one in the Roth family. His sister, Lisa Roth, never really considered herself musically inclined. Ballet was as musical as shot got, until about three years ago.
She was shopping for a baby gift, and couldn’t find anything she thought would be the perfect gift for her friend. She thought, “What if there was a gift that would benefit the parents and the child?”
“But most of the lullabyes out there, I wouldn’t think parents could relate to or enjoy hearing them over and over again. But their favorites songs, I figured they would.”
So, she approached her boss at CMH Records David Haerle about creating lullabyes based on a parent’s favorite singers and bands. Rock-A-Bye Baby features recognizable music from nearly 30 artists, from METALLICA to THE ROLLING STONES.
Roth adds, “When I knew I’d really hit something right was when I saw an interview of Kirk Hammett of Metallica talking about playing it for his child, and he said that it works.”
Read the entire interview and check out a video interview here.
Brooklyn born James Lomenzo started his musician career in the late 70’s. His first bands included such names as Empty Sky, Clockwork and Rondinelli but it wasn’t until 1984 before he found big success after joining hard rock band White Lion. PRIDE was released in 1987 and with the help of hit singles “Wait” and “When Children Cry” it sold over two million copies in U.S alone. That band did huge tours opening for names like Aerosmith, Ozzy and AC/DC and they were on the top of their game. Ironically named BIG GAME came out two years later but although it failed to reach its predecessor sales, it still went to gold. The last White Lion album MAIN ATTRACTION was released in 1991 but its sales figures stayed proportionally low. James and drummer Greg D’Angelo left the soon to be disbanded group in 1991. James’s following years included touring with former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley and forming a brand new band called Pride and Glory together with Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde and drummer Brian Tichy. Unfortunately, that band didn’t last too long and they split up after just one album which was released in 1994. James and Brian Tichy continued working together and joined Slash’s Snakepit -touring in 1995. Few years later James joined David Lee Roth’s band and recorded the album DIAMOND DAVE with him. In 2004 Zakk Wylde asked James to join his Black Label Society and James agreed. HANGOVER MUSIC VOL 4 came out soon and although James briefly split again with Zakk, he soon returned and another album MAFIA came out in 2005. Later, on the same year, James decided to leave Black Label Society for the last time and try to find some new challenges. It wasn’t too long before it was announced that James was chosen as new bassist for legendary thrash metal band Megadeth. James played his first show with the band in March 2006 in Dubai. UNITED ABOMINATIONS was released in May of 2007 and since its release band has been more or a less constantly on tour across the world. Band started their European leg of the tour on last February from Helsinki and then we were able to sit down with James and talk about various topics including the current state of Megadeth, James’s work with some of his former bands as well as about many other interesting things…