STEVE VAI Looks Back On DAVID LEE ROTH’s Eat ‘Em And Smile – “It Was One Of My Favorite Times In My Whole Musical Career; It Was Just Glorious”

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In a new interview with, 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.”

Go to this location for the complete interview.




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