How come Vai isn't as popular as The Edge

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wholetone
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How come Vai isn't as popular as The Edge

#1 Post by wholetone » Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:00 am

OK...I saw U2 last night at MSG (NYC). It was a great show but I personally didn't find "The Edge" that technically amusing, although he does have great feel at the slide approach as well as his song-writing abilities. The only tune that really grabbed me was Bullet The Blue Sky, which seemed to showcase some nice slide techniques as well as good pentatonic riff playing.
It's interesting because Vai could play with anyone and pretty much cop any style for the gig itself, while embellishing his own riffs and style of course. But if the Edge started playing "outside" the pocket of U2's distinctive sound it would then get criticized.
How come listeners on a broad scale don't aquaint themselves with Vai's Tasmanian guitar sound vs. U2 or the Edge ? Is it radio's fault or merely Vai hasn't become interested enough on a certain level to position himself in an iconic rock band like U2 or Van Halen. Or, does anyone know why he hasn't looked for a great singer/songwriter to collaborate with to seek large scale success ? I know since his debut, with Zappa, put him on the map, then with Roth, but do you think he's satasfied with this ?

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#2 Post by Leviathan_Serpent » Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:40 am

I think that it's all depending on the kind of music the particular artist is writing and performing that determines what kind of an audience will listen to it or go to see them live in person. Me personally I think that the sort of music Vai performs is what he has learned to do, and do extremely well. Look at Prince as an artist. I don't think there's many people who have played guitar and become as well known as him recently. I think the songs he's written are what have made him famous, also I think he's quite a stylish guitarist as he's turned it into his own brand of entertainment since the 80's especially. I think he's got a good talent for guitar but he just ain't technical live Vai. To me Steve is one of the most technical players going. EVH is another example of somebody who's made himself very famous on guitar because he was just simply that good also with him inventing the finger tapping technique, he's quite an influence to many people because of that, to which I think Steve again has mastered in his own style.

I think because U2 write the kind of songs they do it appeals to a certain audience, different kinds of music suits different people and it just happens to be a popular choice with U2. I've always thought that The Edge is a very good musician, he's been regarded as the master of using digital delay. But also on the level that Steve performs makes him a master of using effects live on stage too, it's just because they do different things they have different ways and gadgetry to get different sounds etc.. I like it how you said Vai's Tasmanian guitar :lol: I've seen it many times, once he gets going at a concert he can play very fast! To me that is the ultimate in fast guitar. Like with Yngwie Malmsteen he can play fast too, in that classical style he has. His hands just fly up and down the fretboard and you can hardly see his fingers move he's that quick. I always believe that whatever style or type of music you write and perform is what makes you what you are and then attracts the certain crowd who like it. I think he should be very satisfied with what he's achieved so far, if I were Steve Vai then I think I'd wanna carry on doing what I was doing and also to keep the memory of Mr Zappa himself alive as he was just one of the greatest people you could have ever worked with.

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#3 Post by Rakuku » Sat Oct 15, 2005 10:12 am

In case you haven't noticed, the general public is not exposed to good music much, and when they are they negate it.

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#4 Post by knarfzednem » Sat Oct 15, 2005 10:20 am

i really don't understand why Steve isn't that famous. it kinda' mekes me mad that such genius isn't appreciated today. but that's because Steve isn't a pop star. it reminds me of a friend who insisted Steve was a pop star. but this also came from a guy that said all of Vais' music was just 80's stuff and that Vai was a fusion guitarist. (ANGOR. shaking fist).

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#5 Post by wholetone » Sat Oct 15, 2005 10:31 am

I know why he's not as famous as U2, although my question remains to why he hasn't hooked up with a good songwriter so he (they) can put some ideas to brew up another POP phenomenon. I personally think he prefers to write his own music with an occasional vocal thrown in, thus without the catchy hook that makes radio today yearn for more.

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#6 Post by RAI » Sat Oct 15, 2005 10:44 am

Steve has no interest in trying to be (or create) the next great Pop phenomenon. He has no interest in trying to write music that is catchy, and has great "potential" to make its mark on the charts. Steve likes to express himself. The music is what it is. All Steve. Which is also why he doesn't use a singer. A singer cannot express how or what Steve feels. They certainly can sing the words, but it's just so much easier for Steve to do it himself. That way he gets the "message" out, just the way he wants it.

If the market ever changes to fit someone like Steve on the charts, he won't change to stay away. He'll just continue to be himself.

When "UZ" was about to come out, alot of people on the Message board thought that it sounded like a bit of a sell-out. Unfortunately, they were basing their opinions on some short song samples that appeared on a Japanese site. I told Steve about what people on the board were saying, to which he replied "if I were selling out, THIS is not the album I would be making..."

So, Steve is who he is, and seems to be quite content with his position in the Music World. Screw the charts. Screw popularity.
Long Live Expression!

OK, rant's over......

:lol:

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#7 Post by wholetone » Sat Oct 15, 2005 11:01 am

so to be clear, he took on the Roth project for a new approach and thought this type sound can explode, otherwise "Damn Good" wouldn't placed on the charts ? I truely think Steve saw an avenue here to display HIS song writing for a new plateau, along with Dave's voice as the counterpart.

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#8 Post by RAI » Sat Oct 15, 2005 11:27 am

Certain projects are too good to turn down.
For various reasons...
I truly doubt that Steve signed on with DLR because that would place him on the charts. It was a great opportunity to gain some experience completely different from Zappa, and it was a paying job. It gave him exposure to a wide audience. And when he joined Whitesnake he got even more exposure.
These things had a purpose for Steve. To get himself out there.
He didn't necessarily have to join a band. He could have just sat down and written some Pop tunes, but he chose a quicker route.
Hook up with someone well-known, and follow them on their ride.
I think Steve has always had the plan to be his own man, and everything before that was just for the experience and the steady, paying job. And the chance to be catapulted into the publics eye...
But that's just what I think.

:)

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#9 Post by I ZoSo I » Sat Oct 15, 2005 11:48 am

The general public doesn't know what good music is. Just look at what all these kids listen to now, emo, rap... It's pathetic if you ask me (I like to call them the "3-chord-kids", lol). But, if I wasn't a guitarist or a musician of any kind, I don't think I would appreciate Vai's music at all - but seeing as I am, to me, he's a genious. The Edge is ok I guess, I don't like his music that much, but atleast U2's still playing decent music that's being recognized to the public.

I remember, was about a week ago, I was flipping through the channels and stumbled upon the Howard Stern show on E. There was this guy on it who wanted to get a record contract (he was an instrumentalist, guitar player), Howard was going to give him a record contract but the guy had to do something really disqusting first (which I will not list, because it'll make me throw up) to get it. Howard then listens to some of his songs, and says "What the hell is this, there's no vocals." The guy then says "Well, it's all instrumental, there are no vocals." Howard then mockingly laughs at him, the guy then says "Well, haven't you ever heard of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani..." Howard says (still laughing in a cocky way) "Yes, I've heard of them, but I've never bought any of their fruity records."

I remember a quote once, but forgot who said it - "When playing live I don't play to the audience, I play for the musicians." And I think this is what Steve does.

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#10 Post by wholetone » Sun Oct 16, 2005 11:34 am

It's really a shame when the general public puts an expectation on an artist these days. I truely blame our commercially driven society for this, where hit songs sound like McDonalds commercials. The last time I heard a hit longer than three minutes was Guns & Roses "November Rain". I say a few big record companies get together and form an allience, where they can concentrate on releasing only quality sounding music for quality listeners. I am sure there are just as many artists that get turned down because it's just not "commercial enough". That's the music I want to hear.

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#11 Post by morgan243 » Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:17 pm

Well Vai's Label "Favored Nations" is pretty cool, anybody whos doing something different he signs it seems. I really appreciate that.

I totally agree that Vai is just expressing himself, wether it makes the charts or not, and I hopee it stays that way becuase I love his music.


This is what I've been hoping for for a really long time, and 20 Minute interview with Steve Vai once he releases his sequel to Real Illusions on 60 Minutes. It would be so cool to watch him get exposed to the world. He would get some recognition as well. Would be sweet. 60 Minutes has a tendency to interview up and coming Jems (pun intended) or hidden ones.

That Story of Howard Stern Kinda infuriates me.

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#12 Post by Vaiper » Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:36 am

Personally I reckin its because the majority of the population isnt intelligent enough to even begin to appreciate the music of mr vai and the other top guitarists out there. They'd rather be ripped off by endless amounts of stadium tours, farewell tours, come back tours, dvds, clothes, hats, special edition media players (im lookin at you Apple), etc etc etc. No one appreciates music that actually requires 5 brain cells to listen to.

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#13 Post by Ibanman » Tue Oct 18, 2005 12:45 pm

i doub't no singer on earth could keep up with vai...

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#14 Post by burnt out » Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:49 pm

There's nothing wrong with three chord songs in my opinion,and if you look down your nose at three chord songs then you're just a snobby fuck,also in my opinion.

Vai rocks for sure.I think these instrumental guitar dudes like Satch and Vai and Yngwie could reach a much broader audience without compromising the music.I think it's all a matter of how you present it to people.

Bands like Steely Dan,Rush and Kansas managed to appeal to lots of people while still staying true to the music.

But if you can't make it work out that well with a band as those greats did then maybe instrumentals are best.I mean I would rather hear instrumentals than yet another lousy metal vocalist who's a metal cliche.Take Yngwie's music for example.I love his instrumentals but the songs with vocals kind of kill it for me more often than not.Yngiwe needs to stick with the instrumentals in my opinion and give us more of that electric chamber music.It would also be really nice to hear him do more acoustic pieces.I always enjoyed his original band.For what they were Yngwie's vocalists have had some talent,but it's just not my cup of tea and not really as pleasing to my ear as Steve Walsh's vocals for instance.
I prefer vocals to be pleasing to the ear rather than simply to be conforming to 'metal'...

Call me crazy but Kansas sounds better than any metal band that has ever been.Same with The Beatles and many others.

I'm not very fond of metal for that reason.Music should be pleasing to the ear.
Vocals and lyrics should be closer to the heart. :wink:

peace

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#15 Post by burnt out » Wed Oct 19, 2005 2:02 pm

Oh and one more thing on the topic of three chord songs.

If you can't see that three chord songs have given us tons of great songs and produced much great music over the decades then you are just musically immature,if not musically retarded.

If you can't see beauty in simplicity then I truly feel sorry for you.

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