Mailbag 1998

MAILBAG ARCHIVES:

1998

1999

2000

October 22, 1998:

>Here is a picture I did for Steve. I hope you like it. I had many variations of it, but this is the final of it. I am 21 years old, and play the guitar. I live in Turkey Istanbul, I wish that Steve will come here someday. I currently attend a guitar course, but we need some support for music education. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thanks,

Okan


>This is some artwork I did in school. The pictures (one above & two below) are from a scanner and then Adobe Photoshop. I also added a picture that I took at G3 here in San Antonio.

Satch69


>Hi Steve,

I was reading one of your journal entrails, er, ‘scuse me – entries – yesterday, on your web page. Good looking page, by the way. I think you wrote something about one of your friends, how he was having a really low time in his life, and then, almost suddenly, a really high or euphoric time. It made me think of something I just read in the book I’m currently reading, “The Tenth Insight”. You strike me as the kind of person who would like this book as well as the first part, “The Celestine Prophecy”, both by James Redfield. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have already read them. Anyway, in the book, he’s referring to souls who won’t or can’t yet allow themselves to accept the help or love they need to pull them out of a very tough or anxious place, why they won’t ‘wake up’ or ‘accept the love’ they so badly need. I don’t know if this applied to your friend or not. The one guy asks “Why can’t they accept the love”?, and the other replies ” Because when they feel the energy (love) and it raises their consciousness a degree, their preoccupation lifts somewhat and doesn’t fend off the anxiety of their aloneness. Coming into awareness and breaking free of a control drama always feels anxious at first, because the compulsion has to lift before the inward solution to the lostness can be found. That’s why a ‘dark night of the soul’ sometimes precedes increased awareness and spiritual euphoria”. I dunno, I thought it was a pretty good one, and what you wrote about your friend going from in the dumps to a state of euphoria made me think of that. It also reminded me of times in my life that were that way, and I think it’s true. Always darkest before the dawn kinda thing. So that’s all, thought you might dig that. You’ll like the books if you’re into reading. Also, check out “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior”. Great story.

Peace,
Glenn


>One overcast day, a stainless steel tour bigger than it appeared to be from the outside. The insibus without any windows pulled in front of my house. As I walked toward the bus the doors opened. Inside, I discovered that the bus seemed MUCH de walls of the bus were lined with electronics from the floor to the ceilings. It looked similar to a space craft. Next to every row of electronics was what looked to be giant speaker mounted into the walls of the bus. There were 4 of them. In front of every speaker, on the floor, was a small meditation platform. On the center platform…there was Steve Vai kneeling in a meditation position. As I knelt on the platform next to his, the electronics throughout the vehicle came alive with process. As I/we began to meditate, the bus began to drive. There was no driver, no windshield or any operating mechanisms. As the bus drove we began to levitate. We hovered 3 feet off the floor. The lights turned dark blue. The electronic devices processed our energy, which was being drawn by the the speaker like dishes, into the electronics and processed into MUSIC! The music was powering the bus and was also being projected through an enormously loud speaker system on top of the bus. As the bus drove… everyone stopped what they were doing and ran to see where the glorious sound was coming from. People listened as they watched the bus drive by slowly. It made everyone who listened love one another and forget hate. As the bus drove the earth, wars stopped, violence seized and there was peace in the world….then I woke up!

joe sozzi


>Steve,

Thought you might find this funny. My ten year old son believes you are the second coming of Christ. He absolutely hates today’s bands (I raised him right). Anyway, it is the last day of school in his fourth grade school year and the teacher throws a home room party, and lets the kids bring their CD’s (each kid gets to play one song each during the party.) Naturally, the kids bring Spice Girls and other top 40 groups. What does my kid bring? Mine brings “Passion and Warfare.” His teacher asks “Who is Steve Vai?” My son shouts to the class, “the best guitarist that is and ever will be!!”

My kid is the first to play his selection and of course plays “The Audience is Listening” (in the spirit of school). A small bit of laughter arose when the teacher begins coaching “little Stevie” and when Steve’s teacher shouts “turn it down,” my kid reaches over and cranks up the volume on the jam box. It was straight out of a movie – hilarious!

Next year, my son (he is the apple of my eye) plans on entering the school talent show, playing of course – the guitar (I bought him a little Washburn). Watch it Steve, he’s gonna kick your ass 10 years from now!

Alan Atwood


>This is just a collage of some guitar magazine scans and other pictures of Vai. I think it looks pretty cool with the soft edges and stuff… doesn’t really fit the theme of the artwork that made it on the site but it would be cool to be on there anyway! It’s actually what I use for my wallpaper, it’s 1024×768 and not bright and not cluttered with any words, so it works perfectly!

Matt


>Newfound Hope:

I was about 13 when I first heard an album that floored me. Up until that age I was convinced that all good guitar music was already created with the likes of Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, and Yngwie Malmsteen. My friend had this funky pink jacketed CD with this nutball on the cover with a multicolored guitar. That was the beginning of the rest of the fascination of guitar playing for me, and then of course my obsession with the man’s music, none other than Steve Vai. I told myself years ago that I would play just like that. Well, I am not even close to being there (though with my Jems and Eventide I sure as hell sound like him!!). I have always thought that it would be ideal to tell him how I really felt about his music and how it has influenced me so, but on a more important note, how it helped my brother smile.

My brother was born with a rare disease, Hyperammonemia, a blood condition that affects about 1% of the population in the US. He was diagnosed since day one with the condition and was always given grim prognosis by the medical community. My brothers and I ignored them all, knowing that he will live long and healthy because we willed it so. The doctor’s said early on that he would not make it to the age of eighteen and if he did, he would slowly mentally deteriorate because of his abnormal ammonia level in the bloodstream that was hard to control. He had always looked up to me and followed my steps, ultimately he wanted to be nothing more and nothing less than a rock star. A cute kid’s dream that I never frowned upon.

When he turned 16 I gave him the ultimate gift for a teenager, his first real guitar. It was an Ibanez-RG550 that was hot-rodded from the pickups on down. It was my first real guitar, and I wanted it to be his. He loved it and never put it down. Everyday I gave him a lesson, a book, or a new trick that he practiced til he had it down nailed better than I sometimes! He had an unbelievable determination to master his newfound skill. I introduced him to the Steve Vai in my collection and I could see it in his eyes that that was what he wanted to acheive with the guitar. He had an ambition, and desire that matched only mine, and then some. He went to numerous rock concerts, shows, venues, you name it, but he lived the last 4 years in Guatemala, Central America, and of course there aren’t too many rockers parading through there these days. He was hoping that he could come to the US with me and see Vai in action. Well the first time I saw Vai was on December 7, 1996 at the House of Blues in Chicago. It ranks as the number one show I have ever seen in my life. I saw Vai again on the G3 Tour at the Riv in Chicago in June I believe a year later. I finally met him, but unfortunately was too starstruck and barely keeping the tears back to tell him how much he means to me and how much he meant to my brother. My brother died in March of 1997.

I never thought of music or a musician that can have a profound impact on one’s personal life. I never stepped back to see what I really saw in music until months after my brother passed away. I heard “Tender Surrender” carefully, and intently, and felt the aspirations, emotions, and mindset that Vai might have felt while playing that song. I began to really feel the emotions that I longed to play, every nuance of every note gushed romanticism, feeling, and power. And that is why I adore the music so, and why I have been committed to preaching the wonders of Vai…..and then some.

I wanted to take this oppurtunity to thank Steve Vai, for the inspiration, the hope, and the smiles your music put on my brother’s face. I have not become jaded, cynical, or depressed after his death for too long. I also found hope through the mellifluous notes I hear in “Sisters” which to me represents any family.

Thank You Steve Vai….both in mind, heart, body, and spirit.

Paolo Urizar
For my brother Hector Urizar {January 17, 1980-March 31, 1997}

 

April 26, 1998:

>Well, here I am!

My name is Maria Paola, I’m 22 and I study philosophy in Bologna and I really love Steve’s music and visions and his positive energy. I hope Steve will not see my photo (that’s a big lie, but I’m shy in some way or I am something else I couldn’t say, because I gotta keep it clean…) and I hope also that he will never want to listen to me playin’ his “Bangkok” or “The Crying Machine” with my soprano sax (another lie).

About the photo: It shows 3 different dimensions through mirrors, left to right; PAST (when I was not yet born), PRESENT (where I am now, even if I don’t realize why…), and FUTURE (what I will be, maybe, and if my face does not appear in the future it’s because I’m not strong enough to face my future…but I’m still growing and I will use my inner strength to find the answer, one of these days…)

Are you still there?


>Hi! My name is Denis Hebert from Stratford (Quebec). I’m pretty happy to have talked with you at the aftershow at Montral (Centre Molson) last summer. The G3 show was so cool!!! I hope you will come again soon. Take care, peace :)

Denis Hebert


>Here is photo of my band…Liquid Numb. Steve is the inspiration for the guitar player, Scott Sill.

BubaMeat


>Hello, Steve!

This is about something weird that happened in 1995: I was in the audience in Brazil looking at you playing incessantly – I can’t remember which song of ‘Alien Love Secrets’ – and I felt completely alone, I couldn’t see anybody around me (it’s not a case of drugs, oh, no!!!). I only felt my vision increasing – as I was very near the stage. Well, at that moment I saw you shining… a beautiful and warm aura around your body.

A bluish silver aura….

Just try to believe and never stop to play, “Starshining” !

Much peace and love for you and your family,

Paula Pedroso, Brazil


>Hi Steve, My name is Jeremy Krull, I am 12 years old and have been playing guitar for 6 years. I use Ibanez Guitars. I am attending the national guitar summer workshop at which Mike Keneally is supposed to be teaching this year! I have family in CA, so next time I’m there, I’ll look for your house. Steve, you are the most amazing thing in music since the invention of the guitar.

P.S. I’ve met and jammed with Jon Finn and Les Paul!

Jeremy Krull


>Dear Mr. Vai,

I just wanted to write and explain myself. My name is Anthony Vincent, I am 16 years old and I have been playing guitar seriously for about 6 but have been close friends with the instrument and a few others all my life. I have been closely studying you and your beautiful music for a while now, but you know wanna something that I had never expected? I never expected you to seem like a nice guy, or to seem like a good father. I thought you would just be some self-absorbed star who knew that he was good, and I find myself now wanting to be like you in many ways. I am studying chord structures, theory, and composition and I intend to make beautiful music just like you when I get older. I have already decided that I will attend college to learn as much as I possibly can about the machine, I have taught myself “The Crying Machine” and most of “The Attitude Song” by ear and have a thorough repertoire of all the techniques you use. I am having a slight bit of trouble with two hand tapping on more than one string but I am confident that I will succeed. So here’s to you and your wonderful family, I wish nothing but the absolute best to you and your amazing gift. Keep up the great work and keep inspiring others to get good.

Warm Regards,
Anthony Vincent


>It was a warm afternoon. We had just driven 6 hours to see G3 in Portland. We got lost, but finally arrived. We walked in, got our ‘meet & greet’ stickers, and we were in. It was the usual atmosphere of a rock concert and I loved it! As we turned the corner and saw the stage, my body filled with adrenaline. I could’ve jumped to the moon, but being at a Vai concert, I was much higher. For the whole drive over to Portland, my friend had been talking about what he called “the Vai experience”. He tried to explain how when Mr. Vai walks out on stage, everyone has this unexplainable feeling of excitement. But we couldn’t understand until it really happened. Kenny Wayne Shepherd finished his set in which he played the most incredible version of the old Hendrix tune “Voodoo Chile”. And a few minutes later we heard the air raid sirens. And out came Vai. My friends and I started doing the old “we’re not worthy” thing and Mr. Steve Vai laughed at us. It was amazing! He was actually REAL. Until this point he was a mythical figure that my friends and I would talk about and listen to his music constantly. He played awesome! I don’t remember hearing even one mistake. The best part was when he played ‘Tender Surrender’, at the end he played a little bit of “The Sound of Music”‘s ‘These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things’. It was so cool. At the end jam with the other G’s, everyone rushed the stage, and my friend and I were the leaders. I can only imagine how funny it must have looked to see three idiots simultaneously jumping above the crowd making ugly faces. Mr. Vai and KWS were both laughing at us. Thanks for inspiring young musicians like me to actually learn the guitar past the power chord lesson. By the way, that suit with the Japanese writing on the sleeve kicked some serious ass!

Jake Terry,
Eric and Shane Wintch


> People,

Excellent website! It made me realize that I am not the only one with messed up musical dreams and alien ideas. I guess the thing that struck me most was how much Steve’s passion for music/guitar comes across. It makes me feel like a freaking cop out for not persuing music and instead becoming a, gulp, TELECOMMUNICATIONS & NETWORKING engineer! How blah… how boring… how pathetic… how TYPICAL! Playing music is so much better than designing the roads on the information highway. Well, at least “breeyark” is a cool name, even though it does sound like a Martian projectile vomiting a wet roll of toilet paper.

Anyways, the reason I was writing was to relate my Vai story. Well, it really doesn’t involve Steve (directly), and I haven’t met him either, and well, I’ve only seen him once in concert (G3, Montreal). Man, I was HOPING to see a jam with Michel Cusson’s Wild Unit. Steve, Joe and Michel jamming with a funky HORN section. THAT would have been something to see….)…so, what is this email about??

Well, it’s really about my mother, who I lost last year to cancer. She was the sweetest thing. I have her on an old cassette tape singing Greek songs from the 50′s, when they had these big bands backing the singers. My mom used to love singing acapella, because she had problems finding the key with other instruments! But, I can remember her soft vibrato, her controlled tone, and the songs she sang about the crazy kind of love people fall into (mom, I STILL don’t think it exists!!)….

While I was in university, studying engineering, I used to NEVER STUDY. I would instead play guitar for 8-10 hours a day. How I passed, I will never know. The amp would be in my room, and I would have this long cord that would snake out to my brothers room, who had the stereo. There, I would jam along to various guys, Steve being one of them, sometimes playing along, most times improvising my own stuff. The levels were perfect between the rooms when I had the amp cranked just right, it would sound like I was in the band.

No matter how much I played, not matter how long, my mother never complained. Not even once. She would be downstairs, fighting with the after-effects of another chemo session, while I was upstairs playing along with “For the Love of God”, or “Always with Me, Always with You”, or “Giant Steps”, or “Sofa”. It never crossed my mind whether I was playing like crap or like genius… I just played. I cherish that time I spent playing THAT freely…

A few years later, after finishing school and deciding to do the engineering thing, I was out on one of my first business trips, and when I came back, my mom had this wicked gleam in her eye, like she always had just before she was going to laugh at you. She started to recount this story about her walking past my room and her hearing crying coming from it. She had such a serious look on her face, I was like so INTO her story at that point. She had me hooked… I was wondering to myself who was crying in my room while I was away??

So, while she’s telling me about the crying, we’re walking toward my room, and she opens the door. She ends up with, “I heard your WIFE crying for you!!”, and she grabs the headstock of my beaten, cigarette burned, chipped, yellowed, white Universe. She breaks out into this HYSTERICAL laughter, all the while saying that she had me fooled (I must’ve had this concerned look on my face…), that I had NO idea WHO she was refering to as my wife (me?? MARRIED??)…etc… I hadn’t seen her laugh so hard in years. Chemo tends to quell one’s sense of humor.

Then, she told me something I will never forget. She asked me to put on the guitar and just play. Turn on the stereo and play, honey, she told me. After all those years of hearing me every day, she missed hearing the sounds coming from my bedroom. My brother would later tell me that my mom would tell him while I was playing, “your brother is really good, isn’t he?”. THAT compliment was the BEST compliment I had ever gotten…. you can bring back ANY of the heavies I admire (Miles, Frank, Trane, Bird, Jimi…) to compliment my playing, but it wouldn’t even come close to what my mom said.

And I just wanted to thank Steve. Thanks man, for being one of the reasons for me to pick up the guitar. Thanks for providing the inspiration; so that my mom could hear me play and feel a little better. When I lost her last year, I lost my biggest hero, but I know she’s better where she is. In fact, I’m pretty sure she’s somewhere right now, pulling the same stunt she pulled on me to Frank. But, Frank is lucky. He gets to hear her laugh.

Sincerely,

Dennis “breeyark” Sarlis


>How are you? I’m sending a Steve cartoon and a picture of him that I took in Brazil when he came here. I hope you enjoy it.. :-)
Peace,

Ricardo Bello


>Hey there! Just calling in from the UK… Man, the G3 tour rocked… well, come back to the UK soon, from all the guitar lovers here!!
Thanks

Craig Phillips


> Hi, my name is Alberto Palomo, and I am part of the Greasy Kid’s Stuff fan club. This photo was obtained in the Radio Station WFM when Steve was going to his hotel, and I stopped the car and said please one more photo. And Steve smiled and stopped the car for us.

Thank You, Steve, for giving to the world the best of you!!!
Your disciple,

Alberto Palomo

 

March 30, 1998:

>Hi

I once sent Steve a mail entitled “3 thank you’s from England” to which he sent me a reply (which for a guy as busy as Steve, is a cool thing to have done). I’d just like him to know that I scraped the money together back in October ’96 and came over to see him on the G3 tour in New York and the following night in Boston. They were great gigs and I had a great time.

A couple of guys called Thanos & Tom put me up over the few days I was there, and they both came to the gigs… Without their help I couldn’t have afforded to do it. Vai fans are the greatest.

Cheers Steve…keep it going.
God Bless

Ric Lovett


>Hello Steve Vai & Co.,

I was on your very interesting homepage. It gave a very in-depth insight of you, your music and your life. To be honest, I don’t like all of your stuff even though I have all your ‘Vai’ records. Some of it I only listened to once or twice.

On the other hand there is a lot to learn from your music. I have bought myself the ‘Passion and Warfare’ songbook and it is one of my best investment in music scores. Not that I want to imitate you (I probably couldn’t do that, even if I wanted to, hehehehe), but to learn from you and your music. Your way of seeing things in this world of caos and translating them to your music is just insane and beautiful at the same time. I have been playing the guitar for about 14 years and am still having problems focusing on what kind of music I really want to play. One day it is jazz, the next blues, etc. But in your music I saw that it is possible to connect these together to make something you can’t describe.

The song that wants to make me cry and is is still my favorite instrumental is ‘For the Love of God’. The first time I listened to that song I had a shiver go up my spine and I almost peed in my pants (just kidding, hehehehe). This still happens (the shiver, not the peeing)! I hope you continue to be you and don’t let yourself be influenced by those stupid record companies who ruin good music.

Best regards to you and your family

David Forbes, Germany


>Excellent job, guys! I’m a friend of Mark Weinstein’s (the original vai.com webmaster), and I do have to thank Mark for one of the best nights of my life. I attended the May ’96 Z-Rock show in Detroit, the one Mark broadcast over the Net, after which Mark, my friend & I all hooked up. He was able to get us passes for the “meet & greet” thing after the show, which was nice, but I was really hoping (with Mark’s connections) to just sit and hang out with Steve. But, I took what I could get, right? We were going to grab a bite, so we followed Mark back to the Doubletree Hotel where they were all staying. My friend & I waited in the lounge while Mark went to change.

Sitting in the lounge was Chris Frazier (Steve’s drummer at the time). We struck up a conversation until Mark arrived. Soon afterward, a couple of the other guys from the band joined us, and finally Mr. Vai entered the room. Now, I have been awestruck by this man for the last 13 years – I’ve read every article about him, played as many of his tunes as possible in high school bands (even the Alcatrazz stuff), plastered my room with photos – you know, the whole neurotic fan thing – and here he was standing right next to me! Mark introduced us, and I did my best NOT to act like the “neurotic fan”. The left side of my brain was saying “Don’t bug him, he just got off stage, let him unwind and hang with his friends, he has heard a million times before how awesome he is, he’s just another guy, don’t embarrass yourself.” But, the right side of my brain was racing “OH MY GOD, I’M SITTING HERE WITH STEVE VAI, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, I HAVE TO PEE”. As he does onstage, offstage he commands attention. He’s just got this way about him that makes you feel comfortable and long for the next word that escapes his mouth. He broke into stories about the last time he drank a certain brand of whiskey, and how he and David Lee Roth were projectile vomiting all over the back of a limousine. We were in stitches. Then he asks who’s going out to eat. Of course we responded. A big group of us went over to Greek Town in downtown Detroit. I live in northern Michigan, and try not to go downtown (because I’m afraid of bullets), but Steve just walked confidently down the street. That always stuck out in my mind, like “wow, this guy is untouchable”.

Anyway, we get to the restaurant, and I was playing musical chairs in my head. Willing to use physical force if needed, I was going to sit right across from Steve. As it turned out, I didn’t need to hurt anyone. I sat there for about 2 hours, right across the table from my idol, while he told tour stories in a very animated manner. Now, there have been many article written about Steve, suggesting he is “out there” or “lager than life” – sort of inaccessible like a Michael Jackson figure – but I found him to be one of the nicest, most generous, down to earth people I’ve met. Heck, he paid for my dinner. I kept pretty quiet through out dinner and let him talk, until he started talking about the Alcatrazz days. He was talking about how none of the fans knew that Yngwie had been replaced. So, while he was waiting at the side of the stage at the first gig, the whole crowd is chanting “Yngwie, Yngwie!”. He said “So, I walk out (this little twig) and nobody clapped, but nobody left”. That’s when I spoke up and said – “Well, that was probably the first time anyone saw somebody tap out arpeggios” – Steve got this confused look on his face, and said “How did you know about that?”. That’s when I divulged how big of a fan I was. I told him that I saw it in the live Alcatrazz video. He said “No kidding, you have that!”. I said “Oh yeah! And I’ve got this, and this….” It was so cool. After dinner, we all walked back to the hotel. Steve and I talked about gear the whole way back. We walked by a parked car, and the alarm went off – Steve looks at me and starts waving his hand over his butt (like he cut one and it set the alarm off). (You had to be there!) We got back to the hotel and said our goodbyes.

If you’re reading this Steve – I want to thank you so much for that night. You probably don’t realize what that night meant to me, but if you remember how you felt the first time you met Frank – that is the same gift you gave to me that night. Thank you. You are not only an amazing guitarist, but an amazing man as well. Keep up with the inner journey.

PS: How much do I owe you for dinner?

Jim Roosa


>I don’t now how to start. I have been online reading this site for the past hour (maybe more) and the more I read the more I’m stunned. I really can’t put into words what I think of this site as it is right now, it’s so good, really really WONDERFUL you have done an amazing job! The site has everything! Please do keep up the good work, I intend to mail you my story of how I first got to know Mr. Vai’s music, but not today. I just had to write to you complimenting the wonderful work you are doing. It really made me want to take my guitar and play for hours in a row (but I don’t have any of my guitars here with me.)

From a huge fan from Portugal (how about a concert here? I would be first in line!)

Luis Oliveira


>Hey Vai site people! This is my Vai story , it’s a sad one.

You could say that it all began about two summers ago… I was in a local music store looking for a Pearl Jam CD for my older brother. I found the disc I was looking for and noticed that I had about 15 extra bucks in my wallet. At that very moment I caught a familiar sight out of the corner of my eye. It was the cover of a CD I had seen before at a guitar buddy’s house. It was the sweetest looking artwork I had ever gazed upon; a man dressed in black armed with a 7-stringed “bow” and a quiver of arrows, stood with gardens above, fires below, heavens to one side and a empire in ruin to the other. As I looked closer, a brown ribbon was noticed wrapping around the mysterious man. At an even closer look the immortal words came into focus, “Passion and Warfare”. My heart jumped with excitement as I held the long forgotten jewel in my hand. I ended up buying that disc that day and after listening to it over and over that night, I was, you might say, hooked. It didn’t take long to find the rest of Mr. Vai’s CD’s, and with each listening I grew deeper and deeper in my respect, admiration, and amazement of a such a guitarist.

In the middle of February of ’97 my dreams sailed to a new height with the purchase of three tickets to go see a “guitar festival” at a local venue. My dreams were soon to come true by seeing my guitar god live playing his heart out for all of his addoring fans including myself. I patiently awaited for that night and it did come. As I got ready I was eyeing the tickets just as I had done so many times before, looking at my box “A” seat number and thinking of being two feet away from him as he flows through such compositions as “Tender Surrender” and “For the Love of God”. The car ride to the local venue was a good one. My dad, older brother and myself were listening to Satriani and Vai in anticipation of the night. As we pulled into the parking lot of the Hollywood Bowl, I could see the rear of the bowl towering over a half car-filled lot. I was almost out of control with excitement. We were actually here!!!!!!! I couldn’t believe that I was going to see Mr. Vai play live! We parked the car, got out and made our way to the entrance. We were three among a throng of fellow long-haired guitar junkies and I felt in place. We made it to the entrance and it was a funny thing, no one there to take the tickets?? “Oh, well,” my dad spoke up,” let’s go find the seats.” As we were about to turn the corner into the seating area, images of an amp filled stage, with drums taking the middle and mics dancing upon the fringes filled my mind. In my head I could almost hear the soundchecks cutting through the chatter of an eager audience awating the star of the show. And as I turned the corner and passed into the isle way, I looked up and saw… nothing .

I couldn’t believe it, the show had been cancelled two days before with no hope of a reschedule. I wasn’t going to see Mr. Steve Vai play his guitar and those hopes and dreams were shattered faster then a sweep of his pick. It was a very quiet and lonesome ride home that night. I got home and just slipped into bed. The next day it came to my attention that they had played San Diego that Oct. 4th instead of L.A.. why? I will never know.

A dreamer of shattered dreams,
Brian D.

[Rich's note: The Hollywood and San Diego dates were switched several weeks prior to the concert. Anyone going to a show is advised to keep eyes and ears peeled for any news of a change, as they do happen, and calling the box office on the day before a show is a good idea too. We'll also be posting any changes to Steve's tour dates as they are announced, on the Tour Dates page.]


>Greetings and salutations…

Just spent way too much time checking out the “new & improved” Official Vai Web Page for the first time [Rich's note: she refers to vai.com version 2.0, now gone], and I’m practically speechless!!! It’s so thorough that’s it’s going to take a buzzillion more visits to get through it all!

Besides all the other cool goodies (way too many to list here), the addition of the fan input section, Steve’s notes, general comments by vai.com’s author, etc. adds a nice warm feel to the page that I haven’t quite experienced on other music-related pages. It’s just really nice having access to information that reveals a little more about the man behind the music, and also about those around the world who have made his music their own…

As for the fan art section: some fans are very talented artists in your own right! I quite enjoyed their contributions as well…

Cheers!
Catherine Z.

P.S. To the page designers: I quite appreciate the fact that the page is *not* loaded with ultra-fancy “wallpaper” & a bunch of other “pretty” but cumbersome things that make it frustrating for the slow-modem owner. Ease & speed of viewing are often the number one factors in deciding whether I stay on a page or just give up out of impatience… no matter how visually enticing that page is. The white text on subdued black-on-black patterned background for the larger text blocks makes for easy reading, but still retains a classy professional feel. In the opinion of at least one graphic artist: great work, folks!

March 17, 1998:

>Greetings Mr. Vai, and salutations to your blessed family. I’ve been a fan of yours for about 8 years (being 25), and “discovered” you with the “Eat ‘Em and Smile” album. Through your work I’ve come to appreciate not the flashy guitar style, but the total abandonment to the instrument, and to music in a larger sense.

Your music led me to Frank Zappa’s treasure trove of inspiration, a world of invention I never dreamed existed. I’m studying classical guitar, piano, ear training and transcribing all I can find to achieve my goal in life (for I believe this is what I was meant to do), which is to communicate music to others, whether it be my own or not.

I”ll never be as proficient as you on the guitar, and to be quite frank, I don’t care to be. It’s not who I am. But I do hope to achieve a decent level of musical knowledge.

I won’t take any more of your time, thanx for the music.

daviault

p.s. the new site is great. There’s everything anybody could want to know about you. It must be a little intimidating, though, to have your entire life on a hard drive. Peace.


>Dear Steve,

The first time I heard you was through a friend of mine named Tom (who by the way is a brilliant jazz pianist of the calibre of Chick Corea and Co). I was 15 and was listening to Satriani really heavily (as I still do), and I thought that your playing was really strange and I didn’t get into it at all!! BUT, then I listened to P&W again and as my musical awarness grew, so too did my appreciation of your unparalled ability to express yourself on this six stringed beast. And so, Now I’m 21, and I love every single piece of music you compose or cover (in the case of the Christmas song). Thanks for giving me years of pleasure Steve, and I’m counting on you to give me years more. Oh yeah, please come back to Perth, and when you do, give me a call and I’ll show you around, its a really great place!!

Regards, Joe Colgan
Perth WA, Australia


>My First Meeting With Vai’s Music.

Well, I guess the first Vai song I heard was ‘Juice’ from his ‘Alien Love Secrets’ album. I didn’t hear the CD version, I actually heard some other guy play a homemade version of it with a band backing up. (I recall that the drummer used a lot of emotion when he so steady played that shuffle groove, ‘man it was awesome!!) Well, right after the show I took the bus home and I kinda had made my mind up that I have to either play some songs of Vai, or at least purchase some albums (y’know, I play the guitar myself). I chose choice B and went to a record shop and bought the only Vai album they had there, ‘Sex & Religion.’ I kinda had a clue that this was goin’ to be quite different from what I heard at the concert so I was very open-minded. And what a wow-xperince I got!!! To begin with, Devin’s vocals on the record were a little…hmm…”unexpected?!” and lotsa songs had like a hit-sound-thingy goin’ on, but I soon got used to it and I started to pick up some guitar stuff too. I had a transcription to the intro of ‘Rescue Me Or Bury Me’ and nailed that one pretty fast. So I ordered the ‘Alien Love Secrets’ CD and bought the note-book some months later. Well, a year has gone since I saw that guy play ‘Juice,’ and in February ’98 I played that same song on the same stage, one year later. But I played it just like the original, but only a little bit faster (bpm=230), and with a midi-file drums/bass as backing band (sequenced it myself). So I gotta say that Vai, you’ve changed me. Without your music I wouldn’t be the guitarist I am today!! My progress on the guitar has really increased since I started playing the tunes on the ‘Alien Love Secrets’ album, and it has developed my own music too. So I strongly recommend every guitarist to take a peak into the ‘Alien Love Secrets’ guitar techniques and music, it’s just like havin’ a well tempered clavier book for the guitar.

Keep up the good work!!!

Frode A. K. Thorkildsen

PS: I’ve never even seen Vai play live!!! And I haven’t heard other albums than “Sex & Religion”, “Alien Love Secrets” and “G3″!! I still have lots to discover!!!


>I just had to write in after reading Steve’s words about the making of “Passion And Warfare”. I had always thought and even had heard that Steve put himsef into PAW but now I know for sure.

I have seen Steve live numerous times now and I have always considered a Vai show to be something of a religious experience, however one show in particular will forever stand out in my mind. After Steve finished the first G3 tour he started touring for ‘Fire Garden’. About two months after he played the G3 show in Minnepolis he returned to a small club in Minneapolis called First Avenue (Prince filmed parts of “Purple Rain” at First Ave.)

Mike Keneally & Beer for Dolphins opened the show after a long technical delay. I didn’t mind however, since Mike spent about 20 minutes talking with me in the audience before he went on, it always amazes me how no one realizes who he is. BFD kicked ass!

But, But! Nothing could have prepared me for Steve, not up close. I stood at the edge of the stage for 3 hours just to make sure I’d have a great vantage point, I wasn’t disappointed. I have to say now that any Vai fan who has never experienced Steve up close while he is playing is missing a whole different dimension of Steve… I could talk for hours about that show but I’ll mention just one song, my personal favorite… “For The Love Of God”.

I know this song like the back of my hand, every little squeak and nuance. While Steve was playing FTLOG I was euphoric. Steve looks people directly in the eyes while he plays, he makes these truly wild and intense faces… I noticed that many people other than myself were getting into this song just as deeply as I was… I also noticed that when Steve would make eye contact with me it seemed like the more I got off the more he got off. For all you guitar players out there you’ll understand the next part: You know that part in FTLOG about 4/5ths of the way through, just before he brings it down, where he is playing those otherworldly apreggios? I was going nuts… I’d say close to having a cosmic orgasm… He looked right at me making this intense face and he saw me totally freaking out, with him on every note… and he didn’t look away…he just shook his head as if to say “yes… you know why I’m up here” and he was smiling from ear to ear… It was truly intense…

Maybe I’m just a nut but I don’t think so… I think the Zappa in me was just waiting for Steve to come along and free my musical soul…. Thank you Steve, your music has moved me.

On a closing note, it was a red letter night at that show for a tried and true Vai fan. Thanks to the help of a friend (you know who you are) I became the receipient of the guitar pick Steve threw after smashing the white RG550 at the end of “Kill the Guy With the Ball”… Also Steve kindly autographed a tour poster where he wished a merry xmas to a woman who is very dear to me, she was thrilled and still cherishs it. Oh yeah… she’s as much of a Vai freak as I am…. One other point of interest, I gave my kind friend (who secured aftershow passes for me) a Pignose amp in gratitude… When I next heard from him I was told Steve was using the Pignose to warm up before shows! There’s only one dream left, Steve… when can we jam??? (hint hint)

One hell of a night wasn’t it? :)

Peace!

Gary Hancq


>Dear Steve

I’ve just been checking out your web site, WOW!! What can I say, I really enjoyed the photos of you when you were younger, they’re great — reminds me of my teenagey photos (think we were born around the same era, yes I recognise the flares!!)

Lots of good friendly feelings,
Chris Jauncey


>It was quite a few years ago when I first found out who Steve Vai was! About 9 years ago I started playing guitar, and before long I rented a movie called “Crossroads”. When I first saw the end of that movie I couldn’t believe it. I never knew anyone could play guitar so well! Since then I researched (so to speak) into Steve and his music, and once I looked into his music you know Joe Satriani comes into the picture. To make a long story short, both Steve and Joe are excellent guitar players. Each has their own sound and I like what I’m hearing from both. Steve Vai has been an inspiration for years and if I didn’t discover his music, I probably wouldn’t be playing guitar today! Thank you so much for the inspiration and the music.

Jamie Zavatsky


>It all started about ten years ago me when i found that Whitesnake was coming to Minneapolis on tour. At this time the only music I knew was the music my dad would play around my brothers and I including, Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Zappa, and Pink Floyd just to name a few. I had no idea who Steve Vai was and really didn’t know what I was getting into when I went to my first concert at age thirteen.

I can remember it like it was last night….my father and I had to settle for nosebleed seats, but I didn’t care! I was going to my first rock concert and my body and head were filled with a rush of hot blood the whole time Vai was on stage. He had started this solo like no other person with a stage presence that I have yet to see another touch in my whole life of concert going and music appreciation. It was with this amazing chrome sequined Ibanez. It glittered like stars in the darkness when the spotlight hit every shining facet. I will never forget….

It is now nearly 10 years later and I have become more than just a fan of his creations. When I hear of anything recorded by him or even anything even touched by him I feel as though I must have it immediatly. Then I go and buy it as soon as I can find it.

At times I fell as if I am like Pavlov’s Dog; drooling at the mouth when his name is even mentioned. Awaiting his next work of passion. I also think of myself as in his debt for his influence in the music that I listen to. He was able to open my mind with “Passion and Warfare”, and make me realize that there is more than just a steady beat and few melodies to music. There are a lot of parts to a peice of music that matter more than I had even begun to dream of. He is the one responsible for making me realize this.

So I say, thank you Steve Vai…thank you from every part of me…

Rh8675


>In late 1990 after being a Steve Vai fan for only about a year. I heard on the radio that Steve was going to be signing autograghs at a Haunted Hay Ride in Fairborn OH, not far from where I live. This was just after Whitesnake. We got there early but still had a very long line. After about two hours of standing in the cold I was next in line. I had my guitar out and was ready to meet the MAN. At that moment some guys said Steve we have to go…..I’m sure it was not Steve’s fault. The next chance I got was in Cincinnati when Steve opened up for Bon Jovi. That’s where I got my “Alien Love Secrets” video. I didn’t get to meet Steve but did get to meet his keybaord player. After viewing my new Vai video I subscribed to Greasy Kid’s Stuff…..Then the call came!!! It was Richard Pike. To make a long story short, he got me aftershow passes for the G3 show in Columbus. The six year wait was over. Thanks Richard & Steve. See you next tour.

Shawn Gillespie


>The first time I saw Steve was in the movie “Crossroads”. I kept thinking he was the guitar player in the band Black & Blue, don’t ask me why. I even bought a ticket to one of their shows just to watch Steve play! Imagine my disappointment. I finally got to see him play, although it was years later when he was with Whitesnake. Steve was worth the wait. His music is at once beautiful and twisted, with just a touch of comedy. Thanks Steve for the many hours of listening enjoyment you’ve given to us.

ROYAL98


>I have been a huge fan of yours since the Zappa days! I own the vinyl albums of PIL and ‘Disturbing The Peace’, and even took a chance on a record by an unknown guitarist based on your (pre-Roth) recommendation of his work (FYI – it was “Not Of This Earth” by Satch, the vinyl version).

I want to thank you for the immense enjoyment you have given me over the years, and am looking forward to your new boxed set.

I am including for your reading pleasure a review of the 10/26/1996 G3 concert. Please feel free to share it with other Vai-fanatics. Thank you!

Mark J. Rabuffo

—–

G3 – Live in NYC

Saturday night, October 26, 1996. The biggest happening in New York City was not Game 6 of the World Series. The main event, at least for fans of guitar virtuosity, was occurring at The Beacon Theatre. The Big Three of instrumental guitar music were in town putting on a showcase not to be missed.

Steve Vai. Eric Johnson. Joe Satriani. The names conjure up images of high volume, fleet-fingered picking, mind-boggling two-handed tapping, and extreme whammy damage! And Saturday night’s show certainly lived up to its billing.

The opening of the show, however, was a solo acoustic set performed by Adrian Legg. He was a wonderful contrast to the electrified bands he preceded. Indeed, Mr. Leggs’ virtuosity was apparent immediately as he performed a number of compositions which thrilled the crowd. But, there was no doubt who we were there to see when the lights went out and the opening of Steve Vai’s “There’s a Fire in the House” began.

Steve Vai began this night of ruptured eardrums with a number of cuts from his recently released CD “Fire Garden”. It was obvious why he was chosen to start the show – his enthusiasm was infectious as he really worked the crowd into a frenzy. The highlight of Steve’s set was arguably his rendition of “For the Love of God”, which he opened by explaining how he first “heard” the song as a young man listening to headphones. Steve also sang “Little Alligator”, which sounded surprisingly good for a man not known for his vocal ability.

Steve’s band was hot! Especially Mike Keneally, on keyboards and second guitar. Just to hear my favorite Vai tune, “The Attitude Song”, performed by Vai and Keneally made my night! It was also quite humorous since they played the song while both wearing “Cat in the Hat” hats and running crazily across the stage. An excellent start to the evening. The only glitch was that Vai’s guitar was often too low in the mix, and was occasionally drowned out by the rhythm section.

After a quick set change (I was impressed by the speed of the changes between sets – each was about 10 minutes and went off like clockwork!), Eric Johnson came on and promptly had to stand up on stage to wait for the soundman to return and shut off the intermission music!

Eric was in stark contrast to Steve Vai as he was quite reserved onstage, sometimes even playing with his back to the audience. But if his stage demeanor was shy, his music stood tall. He played only one vocal tune, “Rock my Plimsoul”; the rest were instrumental offerings from his three CDs. I was happy about this since, as much as I love his voice, I agree with the late Frank Zappa’s immortal line “Shut up and play your guitar!”. This also stayed true to the spirit of the tour and allowed us to hear Eric really let loose. This was especially evident on his signature tune, “Cliffs of Dover”. He began all alone with very loose, sparse playing, eyes closed, occasionally teasing us with a few bars of the introduction, then eventually reaching a crescendo of 32nd notes amid thunderous applause.

After another quick set change, Satch came on. By this time, there was no one left in their seats. We were all standing, bopping with Joe. He looked very cool on stage, dressed in dark sunglasses and shaved head. He was obviously enjoying himself immensely as he did not look this loose when I last saw him perform. He also performed a stunning set of blistering instrumentals, at one point leaving the stage for Stu Hamm to showcase his bass vistuosity. And when Joe’s set ended, neither he nor his band left the stage.

The highlight of the show was the jamming at then end! Joe introduced Steve Vai, then Eric Johnson, then promptly went into Jeff Becks’ “Going Down”. WOW! This was followed up by Steve Vai and Mike Keneally singing Zappa’s “My Guitar Wants to Kill Yer Mama”. More cool jamming! Then, a rousing version of Hendrix’s “Red House”. It was almost too much to bear!

Mark J. Rabuffo


> My name is César, a Spanish Steve admirer and amateur guitar player that loves Steve’s music and ideas. When I first listened to his music I was tuning Radio Nacional de España 3, and I only listened a little piece of music which wasn´t played entirely, but was as a kind of presentation of a radio program. It was “The Boy from Seattle” and it struck me for its strange and dreamy melody. I had already heard about him from my friend of that time David P.T. , but stupid prejudices that blocked my mind prevented me from discovering his music long before. The first album I heard entirely was “Sex & Religion” and it really got me although I must confess that at the beginning I didn´t like it so much as when I had heard it twenty times. The thing is that when I listened (and listen) his music I start to fancy and dream :”Hey! How the heck has he done that thing? And that other? That sounds beautiful!” It caused on me an effect of spurring my imagination to distant places where I hadn’t ever been. I had taken the guitar already, and I must confess that it was my aforementioned friend playing and Joe Satriani’s music what aroused in me that unknown love for music, but when I discovered Steve’s music it really pushed me forward to be a better guitar player.

I have to say also that I have been through hard times in my life, and it has not been just one time when I’ve been cheered up by Steve’s music. It helped me a lot in some occasion, especially “Liberty” and “Erotic Nightmares”, this last song having one of the rhythm guitar parts that I like most. This is true. The purpose of this letter is a kind of giving thanks to you, Steve, for being as you are (although I suppose you can’t help it, and that’s fine in my opinion) and for making that music that I like so much. Thanks a lot, and warm regards.

C.E.S.R., from LOGROÑO, SPAIN