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Jazz Voyeur Mallorca Interview

September 26, 2013

 

Entrevista Steve Vai- Diario Última Hora

Have you been before in Mallorca?

S- Yes, I played a rock festival some years ago.

 

Why do you choose our island to play?

S- I have been on tour in support of “The Story of Light” for over a year and have already done a run through Europe. But I feel the band and myself are in top form. The reviews from the tour are so overwhelmingly good, and I feel that I’m playing and performing better than ever  so I wanted to do another sweep of the world and go to places that I have not been to or have not been to for a long time. At this point every show is an opportunity to get closer to the notes and closer to the audience.

 

How is going the tour of The Story of Light?

S- It’s perhaps my most favorite tour I have ever been on.

It’s going very well.

 

Are you happy with the results?

S- I’m grateful for all the people that come to the shows

 

Can you describe me how is The Story of Light?

S- The Story of Light is the second installment of songs in a quadrilogy I am working on. The first record was my last studio record and it’s called “Real Illusions: Reflections”. The new record is actually called “The Story of Light, Real Illusions: of A”… 

In the last scene of the story the main character, Captain Drake Mason, presents a book that he wrote to the townspeople. The name of the book is “Under it All” and the first chapter is called, “The Story of Light”. The Light that is referred to is the light of consciousness. The title just came to me. 

The story does not unfold in the proper order through the first three records and at this time you can only get elements of the story by reading the liner notes and listening to the lyrics. The 4th and final installment will be the first three records with the songs in the proper order and many of the melody songs will have lyrics and vocals and there will be another CD of material that has narrative and glue music so those who are interested can follow the story in a cohesive, accessible linear experience. 

 

Basically it’s the story of a man who came from what seems to be a normal town. The man undergoes an experience where he does something that causes him great guilt and pain and he eventually goes mad. He goes back to his town and is seen as an outcast. We see much of the story unravel through his eyes and he’s virtually insane.

A very inspired prophet of sorts comes to the town and builds this giant Church like structure. All the townspeople come to it.

The place is called “Under it All” and inside of it is a reflecting pond that the people from the town look into. When they look into the pond the first thing they see is their reflection. As they continue to look they start to see their identity and they realize that who they think they are was created by themselves through the way they saw various things that happened to them in their life.

 

The deeper they look the deeper they see into themselves. They start to see past lives and their own deeply ingrained thought patterns that are still stuck in their minds. Eventually they start to see underneath all the mind noise until they are able to perceive that who they really are at their core is pure consciousness without any identity and that there is only one great intelligence that expresses itself in the infinite forms that appear and dissolve in the physical and mental realms.

 

When Captain Drake looks into the pond… well, you’ll have to wait until I finish to know that. You don’t want me to spoil it now.

 

 

Do you prefer compose solo or with a band?

S- I like it all. It all comes from the same place.

 

What means for you the guitar?

S- Freedom, beauty, expression, and sometimes a little battling.

 

What things have helped you along your career?

S- Reading and studying esoteric and spiritual literature and spiritually inspiring people such as Eckhart Tolle, Abraham Hicks, Krishnamurti, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, etc.  the support of my wife, my independent nature, all the great musicians and people I have worked with and learned from in the past, listening to killer music, and my ability to visualize. But I think the most important and vital thing that has helped me in my career is a unique idea now and then.

 

Which is your point of view about the industry of music right now? Do you still believe in the phyiscal format of the CD? Or you prefer the digital one?

S- I like the convenience of the digital format but I like the tactile nature of the physical format. I think that now, more than any other time in history, is the best time for an independent artist to make the music they want to and get it into the world. The most important tool for an artist is a good attitude.

The way we write, record, manufacture, duplicate and distribute, and listen to music has been changing and will continue to change. But the one thing that will never change is the need for people who can find the music in themselves.

 

You have played with legends of music like Frank Zappa. I suppose that helped you for know how was the world of music…How do you remember that period?

S- I was very young and impressionable and Frank was very confident and present in his work. I learned from Frank that if you have an exciting idea about something you just do it without any excuses or expecting someone else to do it for you.

Back in the 80’s the music scene was obviously different than it is now but the thing that has not changed is my passion for creating music and playing the guitar.

 

In the early 80’s while I was with Frank he was creating his own music but things like punk, new wave and disco were popular. I was not a part of those scenes very much at all. In the mid 80’s I was with bands like David Lee Roth and Whitesnake and the music scene changed a lot. It was basically labeled hair metal but was a great time in music history. We could wear anything we wanted, act crazy on stage with huge light shows, have big rock star back stage parties and play our asses off on our instruments on stage.

The 90’s were very different from that.

 

Do you feel like a legend after all that time selling albums and winning prices?

S- It’s always an honor to be recognized for your contribution and I am very grateful to have had all the wonderful success and world recognition that I have but I don’t use it to create an identity for myself.

There are people who do not have this kind of success but would like it, and many think that if they did have it they would feel complete and it would fulfill all their dreams and desires and make them happy. But if you talk to or look at most people who have achieved what the world considers success you may notice that they can still be unfulfilled, unhappy people who are still searching for something in their life to fulfill them .

 

Sometimes worldly success can make things much more difficult for a person too because it substantiates their egos and gives them a false sense of identity that will eventually collapse under its own weight. The ego can never be fulfilled. You will never sell enough records, make enough money, be on the cover of enough magazines or have enough sex to fulfill the desires of the ego. Or a person can become so famous that they cannot even walk in public without being followed or chased or having their life being an open book in the tabloids.

 

I believe all the happiness, contentment and fulfillment is already within a person at their core but just needs to be discovered. It can only come from within a person and a person will attract various situations into their individual lives that can eventually lead them to this discovery, but the events and situations are just the catalysts, they are not the end result. The end result is the realization that the fulfillment we are seeking cannot be found in the things in the world but are within us and we have always had everything we ever needed to discover the peace that is at the core of who we really are.

 

I don’t claim to fully embrace this peace or be an authority on these things but at times I have caught great glimpses of it and it opens up to me more and more everyday. Hmmm, perhaps it’s just age.

 

 

What is the feeling after win a Grammy? The price motivates you to still making music or you don’t really care about that?

S- It’s obviously very nice to win a Grammy but it’s OK if I didn’t. It’s not the reason why I or many other artists do their work and it does not necessarily add to our motivation. For some people not winning a Grammy can add to their motivation.

But for passionate artists the motivation to make music is something that is part of their compelling nature.

But as mentioned, it’s always an honor to be recognized for your contribution and I don’t take it for granted.

 

Which is the objective of Steve Vai in music?

S- To do my best to reproduce in the world my musical intuition and contribute something creative that gives some people a sense of enjoyment.

 

There are lots of good guitarists in the world, but only a few are still remembered. Are you gonna be one of these league?

S- No, Nobody will be remembered in time. Even the music of Mozart, Bach and the Beatles will be ethereal dust someday. But every person’s actions and contributions go into making up the changes that happen through time that contribute to what is the now, and there will always only be the now, so anything that I or anyone does is not for nothing.

Every action that takes place in the universe is part of the whole no matter how insignificant it may seem.

 

In time not even Christ or Buddah will be remembered but their message will remain the same through the eons as it was before they came along and in a nutshell message is that life is right now and being aware of and living in the now is where one will find liberation and eternity. It’s consciousness itself and we all have that and it all comes from the same place and is actually one, (tada!).

 

Lots of comments in Internet define you like a genius. How do you fight with fame? Have you ever got fear of something?

S- I used to think a lot about it, but I discovered that thinking too much is the problem. Fear is only a result of thinking. It doesn’t really exist. I’m lucky that I’m not so famous that I can’t live a normal life. My life is actually very pleasant and simple because it’s simple to me in my head. But there was a time in my life when I fought with almost everything. That only produces great suffering and fear.

 

In regards to being considered a genius, you would have to define what a genius is. My belief is that genius is the ability to identify with pure and unique inspiration and then manifest that inspiration into the physical world with a natural and confident awareness and graceful actions.

 

We all have the potential to display the genius within us and most of us do. I believe that everyone has something in their life that they do that is very natural and exciting to them. Something they see clearly without any obstacles. These could be very simple things, simple insights such as cooking, or organizing, or planning, or writing or playing music or art or any simple little thing that may not necessarily make a huge impact in the world but is still a unique contribution.

 

The thing that gets in the way of most people’s ability to manifest their own genius is their mind. A mind that is not in control can run-a-muck and obscure true inspiration with thoughts of insecurity, egotism, inferiority, pride, anger, greed, attachment, lust, etc. They all boil down to fear but under it all, residing beyond the noise of the mind, is where all our true inspiration comes from and it’s there in everyone but is just masked in different degrees in each individual. But it all comes from one source that expresses itself in an infinite amount of ways.

 

Some people are naturally connected with this pure inspiration and may not even feel that what they are doing is fresh, new and brilliant. It just flows from them effortlessly. You can only truly reach your own genius by being completely present and in the moment when the mind noise is quiet. Then there is an opening for inspiration to arise. Then it’s the job of the mind and the body to manifest these inspirations in the world and that’s why we have minds and bodies. Humanity is just in the process of evolving its awareness of this.

 

On a scale of 1-100 I would say that I touch my own genius perhaps 3% of the time. But I can do a lot with that 3% and it can certainly keep me busy.

 

 

Guillermo Esteban

 



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