December 27, 1999:
Somehow, when the celestial bodies are aligned just right, and you’re tapped into the collective consciousness, and you’re mojo is really workin’, you find your dreams may come true. Mine did at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta on 11/30/99 when I found myself cutting heads with my all-time favorite guitar hero. It just doesn’t get any better than that! Thanks go to Steve and Guitar Center for holding the contest. Is any other rock star quite as cool? I think not!
Hi to all, or “Vai” to all,
Even though it’s all been read before, I just HAD to throw in a word or two briefly. I was fortunate enough to see my very first Vai solo show recently. Although I do not play guitar, it’s impossible to not notice the talent, enthusiasm, and overall love of the instrument and music this man has when he is performing. And the music itself can be appreciated by all, as the crowd loved his Anaheim show at the Sun Theatre last week.
Even more impressive to me than his musicianship was his kind regard to all his fans. Afterwards he did not miss one individual who waited so patiently inside, as well as the crowd that awaited him outside. He was kind, personable, patient, caring, and extremely involved in each person and the words they spoke. I found it very unusual for a man of such stature to take the time like he did, especially since he was still not yet over his recent illness. He thoroughly enjoyed all his fans and it was quite obvious, as I watched him greet and chat with each person from a distance before leaving myself. Such a wonderful musician, and above all this, it’s so amazing that within such talent lies a very friendly and down-to-earth guy! Mr. Vai, if you do happen to read this, please know how grateful we fans are that you take the time to meet us and sign autographs afterwards. And, I personally want to thank you as well for taking those wilted flowers I had held throughout the night – with of course, another trademark item that you so graciously accepted as well. And even though the gifts I’m sure left little image in your own mind, please know that my mind is very happy to finally meet just a “nice” guy who’s also the most talented musician of our time.
Your kindness (and of course, your artistic brilliance) is appreciated!
Here is a piece I started to work on while listening to “The Ultra Zone”. I always wondered where Steve got his guitars, and now that I see his new space suit and remember the little green men, I think I’ve figured it out. I’m no artist, but I do like music! Tell Steve I said, “Thanks”.
Mr. Vai & crew:
We had the privilege of seeing you live at the Barrymore in Madison,WI recently and were awed by your show and wonderful attitude. It is a breath of fresh air to see musicians of your caliber playing in a small venue such as the Barrymore. Further, the attitude conveyed by you and the band seemed to be one of sheer enjoyment of simply playing your music and being there performing for the fans.
We were also impressed by the fact that you invited a local radio station contest winner to jam with you on stage and to also invite Mr. Sardinas back to play with you during your encore. What a wonderful experience for those people to have the honor of actually jamming with you live.
The web site is wonderful. I look forward to seeing the interactive lessons up and running when you get the time. It is very cool that you are willing to share your vast talents with the world.
Thanks for the years of music, inspiration and your take on life.
Very truly yours,
Mike & Laurie
Steve & Company,
The show, as expected was great… I managed to squirm my way up to the front of the stage with my digital camera. Included are a couple of color, B&W and a few that I used a couple of the funky settings to get some different effects for the pix. I was so close, that several times I grabbed one of Steves’ extra guitar picks right off of his guitar. Several times (while playing) Steve gave that me that look and shook his index finger as if to say, “now, now, now… you’ve already got some, leave some for the others”. Total laughs!
What’s cool about the Vai camp… is that they are genuinely nice. Hanging out after the show, taking pix with the fans (there is one of Philip and myself), signing autographs, etc. Having selected fans (who won a radio contest) jam on stage with Steve and the band (the guy in New Haven was pretty good). There are not many camps that embrace their supporters in such a way, so thanks again!
Thanks for the inspiration!
Steve’s music has been a source of great joy for me for many years – I have to say thank you for that, also thank you very much for a beautiful, generous website. I downloaded the FTLOG video (took two hours!), and it blew me away. Thanks for keeping my love for music intact through hundreds of shitty pub gigs, playing covers to drunks – there’s still something beautiful in music to me, thanks yet again for bringing it home to me time and time again.
All the best, and much love.
Rodolphe Wery created this cool animated gif!
The only words I have to say to you are “we love you!” I’m a big ARGENTINA FAN of you since 80’s, I heard all your albums and am amazed how you can make people feel hearing your music. I have to tell you that my wife and I saw you performing here in Buenos Aires and I told my wife “you will see one of the most wonderfull guitar players on Earth”, and I have to tell you that we need to see you again here in Argentina. “We miss you a lot!” My little daughter loves to hear “For The Love of God”. I’m proud that my family can understand the “meaning of your music” so, from Argentina I have to say: Steve!!! We need you to come here soon!!! We miss you!!! Peace and love to you and your family!!
Abraira Juan Manuel
Buenos Aires , Argentina
Guillermo Vazquez Lopez
Just wanted you to know that a few of the boys of Carle Place High School were at the Fu Bar in Florida and screaming our heads off for you!! When you mentioned that you were taking photos for your website, I wanted to check it out and decided to write you a letter! You ,Vicky Garguzzi and I would always have our smoke break right before Miss Fagan’s English class! I can also remember you playing “Stairway to Heaven” better than Jimmy Page in High School 1980!
I have followed your career from the start and went to all the concerts when you were with David Lee Roth & Whitesnake!
Other attendees @ your show that night were Mark Cotugno, Nick Just, Rob Skudder…
Take care Steve. “You are our Hero of Rock & Roll and you put Carle Place on the Map!!”
Bobby Brois, Class of 1980.
Hello to Captain Vai and whoever happens to read this,
I was investigating your site and saw all of the other people sharing their thoughts and praise, and felt left out. So here is MY wonderful letter.
I don’t know what the appropriate word or phrase would be to describe what I know of Steve Vai. Wowser comes to mind, but doesn’t capture anything. You(Steve) really amaze me, you play so much, and even overplay a lot, but never lose anything from the songs. You always manage to keep the whole emotional aspects of your music in mind. That is really neat. Many people work really hard to play like you, but end up just being another person who does nothing but show off in guitar stores. The key problem I find is that people aren’t playing for their hearts, but for their egos. It doesn’t matter what or how many notes you play but how you play them and what they mean to you. I think that on many of your songs, like “For the Love of God” and a plethora of others. That’s all I have to say about that, for now. So, in conculsion, you rock! What was the point of all this? I hope it was enjoyable if anything. Au revoir, Chief. Keep it bassy!
My name is Mike and I used to live in Manila (the Philippines). One evening in early ’97 I was watching MTV and they announced the Fire Garden Tour in Asia. I absolutely flipped out for a minute, but then came down pretty hard since the dates did not include a show in the Philippines. Thanks to my wonderful parents, who know how much Vai means to me… (they found out when I insisted for like 3 years that I had to have a Jem and not just any plain Ibanez guitar, which means a price difference of about 500 dollars – they got it for me though!), my father decided to take me over to Singapore to watch the Vai concert there!!! I got myself excused from school for a day or two and early Monday morning, of Feb. 2nd, we took off together to see Steve! The whole trip went well and as soon as we had checked into the hotel I went down to the Hard Rock Cafe to stand in line. Unfortunately the cue was about a block long and they said that they were about to stop letting people into the Cafe. I went up front and told this young lady that I had flown all the way from Manila to see the concert and that I could not live with not getting in… I doubt that she bought my story, since it must have sounded pretty absurd. God thank her though for saving me and letting me cut! My father never got in, but it didn’t bother him all that much, since he only wanted to see the concert because I hadn’t shut up about Steve since I first heard “Passion and Warfare”. Before the show the cool staff of the Cafe even gave a tour poster. It’s now framed in my bedroom.
The show was amazing! I was in the front row and even got to touch Evo at one point. Thanks Steve, I’ll never forget that!
The only thing that was bad about that concert was that the crowd was a bit rough and these guys decided to jump down on us from the second floor. You should have seen the police beat them up, it was scary! Unfortunately I lost my dad’s camrea then and got my ass kicked for that. It was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life!!!
I was a freshman in high school then and my teachers wrote on one of my report cards that I had been a quiet guy before the trip, that they would have liked me to participate a bit more, but that after I had seen Vai I wouldn’t shut up about it! (Of course they knew about Vai, because they were either followers of Zappa or Whitesnake when they were younger, or because they were tortured by me in lectures on him!) Anyway, now I live in Barcelona and today I found out that there is going to be a European Tour coming through here in early 2000. I am really happy about that and already got two tickets for the show. I am also planning on taking a train up to France the weekend after the Barcelona show to see Steve play again. Who knows… maybe I’ll meet him! These two shows are the last great thing that is going to happen to me in high school life (I graduate in June and am off to Berklee) and I am glad to be able to say that I began and ended high school with Vai concerts. They made it all a better experience and gave me something amazing to look forward to… In any case, I just wanted to send this letter to let you all know how happy and excited I am about the two Vai concerts that I’ll be going to see one week apart in a couple of months! I don’t know if this will ever get posted on the site, but that would sure be cool!?!
Mike Simsch from Barcelona, Spain
Dearest Mr. Vai:
I hope this letter reaches you and the people who love you. I am one of those people who love you, and I don’t mean that I’m a fan, I respect your music, or that I think you are cute. That is all true, but that’s not what I mean when I say that. Let me TRY to explain…
When I was a teenager (yuck!) I had no positive adult mentors anywhere in the vicinity of my lonely soul. And just as God intended, your music found it’s way to me. Your guitar playing reached right into my heart and made it beat differently, happily. So I read everything that I could find about you. I quickly learned that there was a reason why you made me feel so good. It was because you were put on this planet to help people, among other great things.
I had always believed in God and all that stuff, but I hadn’t found the right place for God in my heart. You taught me everything I ever felt I needed to know about spirituality. All of what you said made so much sense to me. You changed the way I perceive EVERYTHING and I find positive things and incredible joy everywhere I go. I would not have that if it weren’t for you. You took me to my destiny, Steve. I will be eternally in your debt for that and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I had the honor (huge understatement) of meeting you on 11/18/99 for the first time (and I loved it so much I went to your show on the 21st and met your band!). I thought I was going to be so awestruck that I would pass out! But you have a calming effect about you. I suppose that makes sense. I finally got to tell you how much you have meant to me for the past 11 years. Thank you for giving me the chance to do that. You are so kind to your fans. What a huge heart you have! And what a huge fan you will have in me until the end of time and beyond!
With the deepest kind of love,
It’s been just about 20 years since I’ve seen Steve Vai, the first time being with Frank Zappa at Indiana University (if I recall correctly) in about 1980. On Saturday night at Birch Hill in Old Bridge, NJ, I was able to see again why I was so amazed 20 years ago. Although no one would mistake Steve Vai for Frank Zappa, it’s great to see all the influence Frank has had on Steve Vai’s musical and professional development.
Saturday’s performance was one of unworldly talent, and I’m talking about Steve of course, but also of the entire band; of amazing stamina, after over 2 hours of 120% intensity I was convinced that Steve could have continued all night long given half a chance and an audience as energetic as himself; and LOUDER than anything I’ve been too, for… well, ever! So during the show, Steve named his band members but I’ll be damed if I could make it out. So being a drummer myself, I’ve got to know… who the hell is that guy? And what planet or galaxy does he come from? I haven’t seen a one-handed drum roll since Buddy Rich, and even then I’m sure Buddy didn’t hold out as long as this marshmallow man did!! So what is this guy’s name and does he also have a website?
Thanks for your help and tell Steve that Frank must be pleased.
I’m 15 years old and have been playing the guitar seriously for about 4 years. Until I saw you on the G3 tour in 1997, I was unknown to quality guitar playing, and did not explore your area of guitar technique. After that night in Nottingham (England), I have been inspired by that performance and all of your albums (including David Lee Roth) to PRACTICE harder than ever to play like you and Joe Satriani. So thank you Steve, without you, I probably would not be considering a career as a guitarist! I hope you come to England soon.
I first got into Vai by listening to the “Sex & Religion” record. Yes, I admit that I bought it because of Devin Townsend (there’s a true genius), but that album has been very influential on me and has opened my horizons. Not very many people mention that album because it is so different from Steve’s other works. It showed that Steve can write a complete album with a very progressive style. The lyrics are great and the other musicians (Townsend, Bozzio, Stevens) show incredible ability, but Steve is the mastermind who put it together. I now also own “The Ultra Zone” and “Passion and Warfare”. Steve has also shown me the light of Zappa, which is becoming a costly yet rewarding path. Steve’s work helped show me that there is good music besides heavy metal. I just regret that the “Sex & Religion” tour was a little before my time. I’ve heard stories of Steve and Devin onstage and would love to have seen that for myself. I’m a very new fan and I guess you can thank Devin for bringing my interest to Steve’s music. I’m going to see Steve for the first time in two weeks in Phoenix and I can’t wait…
Yo! All the way from England. I just visited your new site at it total blew me away. I thought the old site was one of the best I’d seen, but this… whoa! I’m still recovering from the shock. Those Flash animations are so cool. The content is also stunning. I look forward to fully exploring the site in the future.
Andy Gleeson, LONDON
PS. Steve is the best ……EVER!
got to see Steve in Boulder Colorado last week… it was the best show I’ve ever seen. It was a very intimate concert. He was close enough to touch. I never thought I’d ever get the chance to see him perform… let alone be so close to him. The show was one of the highlights of my short life… I can go to sleep a very happy girl now….
November 11, 1999:
Here’s a pic of me and my son Brendan when we met Steve in Detroit on September 11th. It’s amazing to me the way his music is spanning generations. All morning prior to meeting Steve, my son was bouncing off the walls singing “Ya Yo Gakk!”
When we finally got in to see Steve, we were planted in front of one of the speakers, I tried to cover my son’s ears, but he said he couldn’t see Steve “By” (he has a hard time saying Vai!)
We finally got to meet Steve, and he signed my Universe and my son’s Les Paul Pee Wee. We were going to have the picture taken, and Steve grabbed ahold of Brendan and set him right on his lap! Too cool! I waited a long time for this moment, and all I could spit out was “great show, I can’t wait for you to come back!” (picture me as the kid in “A Christmas Story” saying to Santa that I wanted a football instead of the Red Rider BB Gun!)
Anyhow, Steve’s performance was amazing, and I can’t wait for the show in Detroit!
First of all, I want to compliment the people who got this site to what it is now, it really looks super. Now I take the opportunity to write something at the fan forum. I went just like Harold Kip, who has post a picture here, to the G3 concert in Holland in 1997. We met Steve before the concert and he was really so cool, he was just relaxed, took time to talk and sign a lot of stuff for me – my Alien Love Secrets, my cap, and my jacket. During the concert I got his pick, so the night was for me unbelievable. After the concert I got to talk to Mike Keneally, he also signed my jacket, it was really super. Last but not least, we were informed by a roadie that Satriani had left the Ahoy (venue) from the “backdoor” so we got as quick as we could to the other side and there he was. We also talked a little, and of course he signed also.
After the concert I received photos from Harold, great looking pics. I contacted Ruta Sepetys (Steve’s manager) to see if it was possible to get them signed also by Steve, so I could have something else really special. They told me it was no problem and so I sent those pics to the States. They did tell me that it could take some time because Steve is out touring and stuff, but I expected something like that, because he isn’t , like me, a guy who is often at home…hahaha. It took a really long time, 2 years to be exact, when I finally contacted Sepetys again. I didn’t have an e-mail address so with the help of Mike Keneally and a lot of others I reached Ruta. She told me that they had lost the photos during a tour, when I heard this I was really disappointed, but she promised me to make it up. So in a week a received a large packet from the States, with all kinds of Steve Vai stuff – it was really super. Ruta kept her word, and I really think that is awesome, knowing Steve has thousands of fans all over the world. This is really something I won’t forget easily. I really think this is a great display of loyalty to the fans. Again, thank you very much.
It’s 2:00am on 9/6/99, the day before your appearance at the Hicksville mall. I can’t sleep.
Around 3 am or so, I finally fall asleep and get up around 7:00, packing all my old vinyl and CD covers, hoping you would sign everything. I don’t know what to expect from your visit, I am hoping for the best. It’s now 8:30 am and I am at the mall, picked up your new CD, talked to some of the cats at the record store, got a cup of joe and sat and waited. I watched the SIR people come around 12 pm to set up the stage and I was already on my 5th round of ULTRA ZONE at the time.
It’s now 5:30pm. I’ve met a few fans from waiting 9 or so hours and we’re in the starting position, ready to claim perfect viewing of the performance. I DID IT. I got front row center, just 3 feet between me and you. The anticipation was killing me – for 15 long years I have waited for this moment. You are my mentor, Steve Vai, and this was something big, this was to be the apex of my life. Your performance was nothing less than perfect. As I saw close up how much control over the instrument you have and how you can feel the heart in every single note, my GOD it was like I was at Sunday Mass, amazing!!!
Now it was time for the raffle, as God is my witness I wanted that axe so bad. Of course, I didn’t win, but I didn’t care, I got GREAT pics, you handed me a pic and a pack of Blue Steel guitar strings (which I will never use because now of sentimental value). Ok, the moment of truth. I am number 34, however there were these 2 very nice guys in front of me that had 2 extra numbers, so now I was number 30. Yeah baby, I was told that due to limited time you would be only able to sign two things and to have them ready. I was wanting so so much to have you sign my 3 vinyls of WESTERN VACATION, FLEX-ABLE and FLEX-ABLE LEFTOVERS. While I was waiting, I showed these guys a calling card I had that had your name on it (you know what I mean), they laughed and said I should definitely show Steve that. So I got up there, and I’m so nervous to finally meet you after 15 years, and BAM there you are, I shook your hand & told you how much you’ve meant to me and that without you I would not be the musician and person I am today. You have inspired me beyond belief and I owe you a lot. You smiled seriously, very sympathetic to my little 30-second speech and were very appreciative. Anyhoo- I whipped out the calling calling and you immediately laughed and shook your head, then you said “I remember you, I don’t forget a face”. I was in shock, then you said “you were the person waiting since like 8:30 huh?” I was amazed. You asked me about the new CD “Ultra Zone” and I told you that it was the best work you’ve ever done, the CD encompasses all the styles and flavors of FLEX-ABLE to FIRE GARDEN — simply amazing. The tributes to Frank and SRV are wonderfully composed. And, to my amazement, you signed all of my 3 vinyls. If I may quote Eric Cartman of South Park, I was feeling “SWEEEEEET”. Next time I will try to have all my other CDs signed by you. As I said goodbye, I yelled out with joy that I finally met you. I had the biggest smile at the place that night for sure. I must of spent like 5 minutes with you, tee hee — that was awesome.
You made my life Steve, I thank you for this memory that will last forever in my mind. You have made one of your biggest fans so very very happy because of this. I know this a very long letter, but at least everyone can read this on the site to know what a big fan was thinking when going to the show in Hicksville. Attached (above) is a pic of me and you, sorry about the quality but the lady taking the pic didn’t hit flash, oh well!! Thank you and please visit my website when you get a chance.
Some photos by Adam Baker, from the Detroit “Ultra Zone” in-store in October:
I’m a new fan, I guess. I first heard you play about 3 years ago when a friend of mine handed me a copy of “Slip of the Tounge”. I thought “wow,” but when i purchased “G3” and “Ultra Zone”, well…”WOW! I just love the wierdness. It’s such a departure from the rest of the guitar world. Your technique is both the best and the worst that I have ever seen. You break just the right rules. A friend of mine thinks you should tone it down a bit. I think not. I love Joe’s playing too. He is so smooth and elegant. Keep playing that strange beautiful music. God only knows whats in store for Mr. Vai & his music, and he ain’t talkin’.
Your Fan, Friend and Student,
We hope that you are fine. We are seven friends from Argentine. Our names are Liliana, Graciela, Jorge, Carlos, Sergio, Fernando and a baby called Nicole. We are very impatient, because we want to see you very soon and we want to know when you’ll come back to Argentine. You are the best and the GUITAR’S GOD!!! We love you and we miss you.
The Flexables Friends
I’ve been listening to what I call guitar rock since the late sixties, early seventies and have heard quite a few of the best guitarists that have set foot on this planet. I have seen them receive acclaim and awards, sell millions of records and make a lot of money. My personal favorites are the ones that sound more original and try to do something more extreme and off the normal path. Steve Vai is one of these people. I appreciate his music, his knowledge of music, his playing (more than you know), and his real love of family as well as other human beings. But I feel that he has received his just due to some degree and has made a name for himself. My point is that there is a guitarist out there that Steve had mentioned in an article that I read somewhere he has great respect for and it just so happens that I saw him last night. With all due respect to Steve — who I think is at the very top of his art form and I listen to his recordings over and over again — there is a guitarist that us fellow guitarists need to show more appreciation for. We need to hold a tribute to his untouchable style and major contributions to the world of “guitar music”. He has paid his dues many times over and has said recently in an interview that if this last go around doesn’t prove successful that he might give it up, and we can’t have that. He is someone that is so far ahead of the rest of us mortals the we need to tell him how much we appreciate his being. JEFF BECK!! I know I’ve said enough but need I say more?
Since you must get a TON of email, I just want to make a quick comment…
My favorite so far has been “Passion And Warfare”, but I just bought “The Ultra Zone” and I must say that once again you have proven yourself to be incredibly unique, innovative, and original. It is simply AMAZING and I like it better than anything you’ve done since P&W. Please continue to let your spirituality and individuality guide your hands!!!
I’m glad the old Steve is back and better!! Your music and playing style is an inspiration, and a true gift to all of us, THANK YOU
Just wanted to give my feedback on both the new CD and the new website.
In a word, ‘brilliant’!
The opening track (The Blood and Tears) is outstandingly meaningful – and quite beautiful. Overall, an outstanding contribution to sonic knowledge. I look forward to hearing this stuff live!
The site is great also. If it gets any better, none of us will ever get any work done!
Jimmy (England, UK).
Dear Mr. Vai,
I hope you don’t mind me writing you at your email address, but I would like to express my many thanks for the poster you personalized to me while I was severely ill when I was 13. (I am now 23.) The inspiration I found in that gesture, as well as your music, was a primary factor in my full and unforseen recovery; calling it uplifting would be an understatement.
My father, believing that your contribution to my recovery was quite substantial, bought me a green Ibanez Jem (#221) once I was well enough to go with him to the store. I played that guitar so much that the fretboard is worn considerably and the signature wore off. Ibanez sent it back to you and you were kind enough to resign it once again. Unfortunately, that one wore off, too.
Ibanez, in their apparent annoyance with me, told me something quite ridiculous when I told them the second signature wore off: that I shouldn’t play the guitar since it is a collector’s item and that I couldn’t have it resigned again. (That was quite a while ago, and I seldom play it since I have a different Jem and have been more in the bebop vein for the past 4 years.) I apologize for the tangent.
My point is to sincerely express my appreciation for the things you did for me. While in my adolescent idol phase, you were my hero. I have since grown out of that, realizing that we’re made of the same molecular structure. Joking aside, I am thankful to have been touched by your music at such an early age and continue to enjoy it… I wish you the very best and look forward to hearing the new album!
Seth ‘Speedy’ Greenberg
Hi. My name is Darcy Farris. I live in St. Louis, MO and have been a fan of Steve’s since “Passion And Warfare” was released. I saw the video for “The Audience Is Listening” on MTV and had to have the album. When I got it I was so amazed at this guy. He was the most awesome axeman I’d ever heard! To this day I admire and respect him for all the great music he has written. He plays with so much emotion. I was lucky enough to see him live for the first time on the Fire Garden tour when he made a stop in St. Louis at Mississippi Nights. I love the way he has the rockstar vibe onstage, yet maintains a very spiritual mood. It’s like his guitar is just another part of his body. At the end of the show a bunch of people were out back meeting him and getting his autograph. Well, it got down to my friend Julian and I. We were the last two standing waiting to meet him when one of the bouncers in the club started pushing Steve saying he had to go. I cannot explain to you how disturbing this was to me. I was waiting for this moment for like 7 years. It was almost like a pilgrimage of sorts for me going to see Steve play and then getting to meet him after the show. Steve looked right at me as I sighed, being rejected because of the evil Mississippi Nights bouncer. At this time I felt a connection with Steve and knew for sure that I would get the chance to meet him again someday. I still know that I will, and cannot wait for that experience. Until then I will be listening…
I saw Steve Vai for the first time in his video “The Audience is Listening”. I was very impressed and swore to myself that I would see Steve, if he ever comes to Germany. I found out that he was member of Whitesnake at that time. Not much later I heard about an upcoming Whitesnake tour in Germany. “THAT IS MY CHANCE”, I thought happy! I instantly ordered the tickets. I’ve seen Steve in August 1990 and only had eyes & ears for Steve and waited for his solo. I fortunately caught some pics from the balcony. Steve’s appearance in Whitesnake was the only reason for me to visit the show.
I made the pencil drawing 1990 from the the “Passion And Warfare” CD. Now I’d like to share my artwork with other Steve Vai fans. I’d love it if Steve could see it… I wonder if he likes it.
The other photo is one of my tour pix.
September 18, 1999:
(This letter originally posted to the unofficial Steve Vai mailing list)
I want to comment from my personal experience regarding “exposure”… I am a nurse… my man is a professional musician… I had always lived in the music… I gave a myriad of exposure of all music to my children… as my parents had given to me…
…last week I was driving Frank’s car, taking my 84 year old patient to an appointment… we had to pull over to the side of the road to wait out a torrential rain… Lenore says “why don’t you play your music for me while we wait?”…ummmm… she had sat on P&W tape… well… i think… grinning… what the hell… so I did put it in… and Lenore was stuck down… (my wording)… she was transfixed… no kidding… I played “For the Love of God”… she listened… she did not simply indulge me… she was into it… she said…”this is so abstract…so beautiful, Jane. Where does his music come from? I can hear classical influences… he layers his emotions with how many instruments?”… tears brimming my eyes even now in recollection…
…nothing happens randomly in my crazy littleworld… and this was another “miraculous event”…
I hope that Rich will tell Steve about his music touching an elderly woman… and that all of you will share your world with others… please take that risk…
You know, there’s probably a million things I’d like to say, besides that my cat is named Vai after a guitar player that I started liking after seeing “Crossroads”, but never realized who he was until David Lee Roth made his name known to me. What can I say except that I’m a “failed” guitar player who turned to sound as a way of staying in the local music business…
Anyway, to the subject of this message, the undergarment quilt that Steve mentioned somewhere here wondering where it ever ended up, it’s on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Atlantic City, NJ.
Maybe Steve already knows this, but maybe if he doesn’t, I can receive some sort of gratification that I was able to convey this knowledge to the virtuoso. I’m 33 years old, and I have an Ibanez poster on my wall by my computer of a guy that I’d love to be able to play like, and he’s wearing and displaying some hideous colors… heh heh… but the beach chair looks nice, and the poster was a gift to me from my older brother who has since passed, and that poster holds a lot of emotion for me…. Thank you.
I don’t think I’ve ever written a “fan” letter in my entire life…
Hey. I took the pictures of Jems from the Ibanez site, pasted them together and did some editing and this was the outcome… To me, the pictures look like erotic nightmares… at least that’s what my erotic nightmares look like.
J.E, Brookline, MA
Hello world, hello Steve,
This year I did an audition for Audio Design (4-year academy in Holland). I played ‘Sisters’ on my beloved JEM10th (#825). It worked, and I owe you a big THANK YOU.
Bart Van Oort
Steve and Co.,
Well, a few my co-workers(who are also musicans) & I went up to Boston last night to see Steve’s “Ultra Zone” promo at Tower Records. It was killer! Steve ripped and we snapped some pretty good pics of him in mid-stroke! Awesome!! There is also a pic of Steve & I.
An inspiring experience to say the least! When I got home I practiced my guitar for a solid three hours.
Thanks Steve and best of luck with the “Ultra Zone” tour! I will look forward to the tour coming through the Boston area!
PS – One more… there was this half-naked old man riding around on a scooter where the line was outside of Tower Records… too *$#&’n funny! So I snapped a pic of him as well…”Scooter-Dude!”
Hey guys…my name is Bill and I’m from San Diego CA. I was just mailing to say that since my guitar teacher let me borrow ‘Passion and Warfare’, I couldn’t turn it off. I knew who you were when I saw ‘Crossroads’ but when I heard your stuff I said “man, I bet he could play that piece with his eyes closed and with his tongue!” I’ve been playing guitar for about 2 years and still have yet to have a day where I dont play… I think you’re the greatest musician (not just guitar player) ever… your mind just seems to work in these outstanding creative ways… also, if you plan to tour, don’t forget SAN DIEGO!!! I really really really want to see one of your shows. Anyway, keep up the great music and hope to see ya in SAN DIEGO!
San Diego, CA
One of my most valued possessions is a videotape of an FZ concert, Samhain night 1981, featuring a very young but still brilliant Steve Vai. In the Steve’s Journals section, there was nary a word about the show/tour, FZ, or anything relating to that year. Hope the reason is not an unhappy one. Having read bits and pieces in “The Real Frank Zappa Book” I would look forward to hearing more from Steve’s perspective.
“Passion and Warfare” is an inspiration; have had this CD since it was a new release, and lately I’ve been itching to play again after a 22-year hiatus. Listening to this CD really intensifies the urge to go ahead and get callouses again, not to mention the investment of several bottles of chloroseptic (to deaden the pain in the fingers!).
Enjoyed the hell out of the G3 tour – thought I’d be the only old fart in line, but it didn’t turn out that way. Looking forward to future performances. Thanks for all the fun.
I would ordinarily write how Steve’s speed and choice of notes, and how to play them, is a passion of mine like watching a Scorsese film. However, it’s mid-summer and changes are obviously going to happen for me — for everybody. The September 7th release of Steve’s new CD “The Ultra Zone” is perfect timing and has inspired me even before hearing it. The art world has many treats and talents, from Hunter S. Thompson to Uma Thurman, but this release should be the greatest release of the millenium’s end. Thank you!
What does sound brings within? When I’m listening to Steve’s music, I get a feeling that I want to explain, but it seems quite indescribable with words. I get infinite and one at the same, there’s this whole beauty, this suffocating awareness and feelings, feelings, feelings. I think, after all, it’s all about sensitivity. Making your senses be God.
I get images, I get sensations, I interact, it feels like a dive and it’s deep. But it comes back… and it goes… and it swallows. And I shine, all shines and floats and colors, oh yes the beautiful colors ,they are infinite and they shine just like I’ve seen in dreams… their own light.
It’s a firm feeling, after all. It’s smooth but it wants to take over and to tear out. To break through… It’s almost obvious when you read this. I like words even though they’re always full of rancor.
hey mr. steve (and i say mr. not only out of my great respect and admiration for you as a man but mostly as an arteeeest… mmmm)… as long as we be on the subject… here is another piece that is a direct result of “The Riddle”. I listened to it over ond over until the colors came together. that album you did… damn… it’s the best thing since Jeff Beck’s “Blow by Blow” and “Wired”… it is a part of my daily musical ritual… right along with Jimi and Mozart and Bach… how is it that you shred so well and yet so it with so much delicacy?? Beautiful bro… so very beautiful.these pieces i e-mailed to you are my humble gift to you… hope you like ’em… say hi to joe. be well
Really, thanks for the show and posted photos from Chile! I am glad to see the photo with the Chilean flag on your guitar neck , this is amazing!! I hope see you again very soon in Chile, me and all your fans here. The new flash web page is incredible. ”Ultra Zone” is one more GREAT page for the Guitar Bible.
THANK YOU MAN FOR ALL
Nos Vemos Amigo
I first found out about the in-store appearances when I was home sick from work. I decided right then and there that I would not miss the Detroit appearance no matter what! (Detroit is only an hour away). Well, when I got to work the next day and went to write the date on my planner, I noticed that I would be out of town on that Saturday in Chicago!!! I was absolutely crushed! But there was nothing I could do to change either date… so I decided that I would make the trip to Chicago a day early and see Steve there. My Friday started at 2:30 am. We arrived in Chicago EXACTLY at noon!
The show was spectacular! Steve is the most emotional player I have ever heard, and just listening certainly doesn’t do him justice. He poured his heart out to us for the three song set. I can’t imagine how drained he must be after such a show!
The highlight of the trip was, of course, meeting Steve after the set. I had a whole list of things planned to say but when I got to the front of the line, I was so starstruck I couldn’t speak! Steve was kind enough to make sure that everyone who wanted autographs that day left satisfied, despite his feeling under the weather. Steve, I hope you’re reading this, because I would really like to thank you. You give so much to us through your music and your generous spirit. I hope you know how talented you really are.
Amanda J. Pennington
What an excellent product demonstration, as well as the show itself! Steve sounded great at the Detroit in-store Sept 11! It was a great experience to hear and see his playing up close. I am really glad I showed up. What type of signal processor was he using with the Carvin Legacy? It was awesome to say the least.
I have some wonderful pictures from Steve’s recent trip to the Motor City on Sept 11, 1999! Here the first of many. I’ll send you more when I can.
Adam Baker 😉
August 27, 1999 :
This is (in my humble opinion) the best picture ever taken from Steve. I took this one in Rotterdam during the G3 tour (May 23, 1997).
Greetings… Harold Kip
Greetings from Australia! Unfortunately Steve Vai is not known as the huge guitarist that he should be down here. As you can imagine, that can be very annoying to a big fan! I have never seen Vai live — when he last played here it was 18+. I wasted $32 on that ticket and wasn’t allowed in. Oh well. To make up for it, I have smothered myself in collectables!
Steve has recorded one of the greatest musical literatures ever, “Passion and Warfare”. From the opening track to the ending track, this CD has sent me numerous times into unaccountable frenzies! The only remedy I have found is to learn how to play all of Vai’s songs. However this is a lot easier said than done!
Keep up the good work,
P.S. Please publish this letter so Steve can read it!
Back in 1990, Guitar School magazine held a drawing for which the grand prize was an Ibanez Universe UV7 guitar and a lesson with Steve Vai. I sent in ONE entry on the exact date of the deadline and basically forgot about it ( no one actually wins these things – especially guys like me, right? ). I was just hoping to win one of the 2nd or 3rd prizes: a copy of “Passion and Warfare” or a tab book of the same. Well, you guessed it, a month or so later the magazine called to inform me that my name had been drawn and I was the grand-prize winner. It took them a few minutes to convince me that it was legit and not one of my friends just messing with me. It ended up taking several months for Ibanez to deliver the guitar to me – something about having problems with the Lo-Pro. The lesson with Vai happened about a year later due to conflicts with Vai’s schedule and due to the fact that I had moved twice and they had trouble finding me. But one day I got a call from Steve’s sister and she invited me down to Steve’s house for the lesson.
My wife and I arrived at his house at 10 am on a Saturday morning. Steve himself answered the door and invited us in. I thought I would be extremely nervous and intimidated by him but he was very “normal” and down to earth and made us feel comfortable and welcome to be there. We ended up spending about two hours in his studio listening to tapes (mine and his) going over areas such as theory, technique, and creativity. The most amazing part of the lesson was when he talked about pushing oneself beyond playing one’s basic repetoire of licks and riffs to come up with something new. He said to do this you need to take an entire day and do nothing but play without any outside distractions. He briefly demonstrated by standing about 10 feet in front of me and improvised riff after riff after riff for a good ten or fifteen minutes. Needless to say I was absolutely AMAZED. I wasn’t sure if I should start practicing 12 hours per day or just give up.
Anyway, that’s my Vai story. Hope you enjoyed it.
YOU SAVED MY LIFE FROM HOLLYWOOD HELL –
I was very depressed. I had been attending Musicians Institute of Technology in Hollywood and had very little self esteem from all the challenges of the city life, and things were starting to overwhelm me. I was losing weight fast from not having enough money to buy food and the $5 coffeehouse gigs were taking a toll on my will to live. I thought I was a good player but I became lost in a sea of speedpickers willing to lose their souls just to gain notoriety.
One day you came to my school and you spent time talking and I listened. You spoke about being shy once before, and having spent time finding out who you were inside. I made a recording of this day but have never needed to replay it because I can still hear your words, “Get in touch with your inner being then you will be ready for anything”.
Well, maybe I took it farther than you might have meant. I went back to my hometown and obtained a degree in Clinical Psychology and plan to obtain a PHD in several years. I have gained a style of my own and many people can hear me playing on any recording and they know it is me playing.
I have not followed your career but always know your playing when I hear it and now have the pleasure of helping others like you helped me. I thank you so much for helping me get though that rough time in Hollywood and have created a website to help other musicians. It is called Musicians, Inc (www.thestage.tv) and I hope you can visit someday. That would mean a lot to me.
Thank you again warmest wishes,
Hi Steve, I’ve just been at your website, and I must say it’s been time well spent. Your personal comments about the tunes, musicians, and just plain life are very insightful and honest. I’ve been with you since “Flex-Able” and I’m looking forward to your upcoming music, best to you Steve Vai.
I just read the Journals…WOW! Obviously a great addition to a great page. My mind is racing with emotion as I write this note. The greatest memories for Steve and myself! The real meat looks to be the Diamond Dave tour, and I must say, it really was. As I was reading his journal, my mind took me on a journey of a time most fond in my own heart. As Steve went through a day by day account of that tour, so many fond memories came into my minds eye. I am so glad to have lived those times as I did not really know what or who I was sharing them with! I look upon it now and can only agree with Steve, that karma and the gods had brought us to this stage in our colorful lives.
I was on that tour with Dave, Billy, Greg & Steve 10 years ago. So many other names pop into my mind, on that tour, good times-bad times. So lucky to have traveled with such great people, great minds, very great times. I remembered (most) of what I was doing on each of the days listed. Unlike Steve though, names like Wheatly, Angelis, Stranger, Bad Bob, A.J.,Wilbur, Wolfman and The Tittyman come to my mind, we were all in the same places, we just had different realities!
Thank you very much for adding this in here, you not only took me down memory lane with Steve, but took me to places that I had’nt been in a decade!
Boy just like Steve, I could write a book, but I’d probobly be sued too!
Thanks for the memories,
Truck driver, lighting gear
1986 “Eat ‘Em and Smile” Tour
You and Satriani both have the power to create that which moves the soul. If it weren’t for the two of you, who knows where rock would be now. I believe that the music that you and Satriani, create moves the soul, and lifts the spirit. Thanks for being that which drives the souls of those that believe in real rock.
Hi, I’ll try to be as brief as I can, but I’m dying to share with you what happened to me in 1993…
We went to Mulhouse (a town on the North-East of France) in November 1993 to see Steve Vai performing during the ‘Sex & Religion’ tour. The musicians were Steve, Scott Thunes on bass, Devin Townsend on vocals AND guitar (and I mean Guitar), along with a keyboard player and a drummer whose name I didn’t catch. The show was absolutely fantastic and astonishing.
After the show we waited near the tour buses for about 2 hours, when Steve came to us, quite simply I must say, and he was absolutely kind, warm and friendly. I couldn’t believe that this was the same man as the crazy maniac we’ve just saw on stage 2 hours before! As a welcome message to Steve I started to sing ‘Stevie’s in town…’ (an adaptation of ‘Frankie’s in town’, a song about Zappa I heard on a bootleg). Steve immediatly recognized this one and asked: ‘Where did you get that?’ I was embarassed when I mumbled the word ‘bootleg’. We discussed a little about further projects, I told him it was me who shouted ‘Salamanders in the Sun’ between two songs during the show, and I made him sign on my score of ‘Answers’ along with my personal copy of ‘Flex-able Leftovers’ (the original small vinyl record – how proud was I to handle it to him!). We did more chatting and then he said goodbye and we let him go… Unfortunately, nobody had taken any photograph, so the only links I have to this moment is my memory (and the autographs, of course).
Needless to say I was feeling very, very happy the next days…
I have to say that I love reading Steve’s personal journals. I have been a fan of Steve’s since the DLR days (saw him at the Nassau Coliseum on the Skyscraper tour) but I had no idea how interesting and funny he is. Not only are his personal stories hysterical, but they are really well written. Steve really knows how to tell a story. I read the entire journal and personal post cards in one day at work. I couldn’t stop reading. His teenage years were hilarious and his entries from the Asian tour were insightful. He seems really down to earth. When he tells a story he not only writes what happens but he has the ability to make you feel like he is talking to you. I laughed out loud at work. I think he should write a full length book of funny stories. His bee hobby is also interesting. Who would ever think that Steve Vai keeps bees?
Growing up in Jericho NY (two towns from Carle Place and Westbury) I always identified with Steve and Joe. Like Steve, I went to parties at Old Westbury mansions (though I never stole floodlights) and waited on line for midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Take care and keep up the good work.
Vai, for you, Fabiana Zimerman Yuko
My name is Andreia and I’m your fans. I live in Indonesia, I really like your music you’ve been playing. You are my number one guitarist, so when are you going to perform in Indonesia again?
I missed your show in Indonesia several years ago (at the Hard Rock Cafe )and I would like to come to your show if you do it again in Indonesia.
That’s for today. Bye,
Steve & Company,
No particular question here, I just wanted to thank you for developing the DiMarzio Evolution pickups. I bought a set and they are the best sounding ones I have ever heard!
Avid instrumental loving music lover turned entrapenuer, that’s me. Just got “G3” and it has this website on it. I come in and I realize what I’ve been missing all these years. I’m on my 3rd career and I’m not 30 yet, working so much I don’t go out looking for music as much as I’d like and all the music buddies I had are all “responsible” with kids now. I’m going shopping tomorrow to get some of this stuff. I love finding discographies, gives me something to listen to for a month or two. Steve, if you actually see this, thanks for making such maniacal music. It’s these Picasso-like portraits that you paint that got me through schooling and continue keeping me sane throughout life itself.
(no name given)
To whomever this may make smile:
I’ve been listening to Steve for years, but apparently my (very conservative, by the way) wife is just now opening her ears.
Steve’s performance of “The Attitude Song” on the “G3 Live” video was on the TV. At the start of the song, she starts by tapping her foot, smiling, then getting up and starting to dance.
And I quote: “*That* song I like. THAT’s cool. That song has ATTITUDE”. (She did not know the name of the tune at the time.)
*At this point she’s flailing around the room…having a blast…*
Continuing quote: “If I was going to be a stripper, then *that’s* the song I’d dance to!”
I think you can definitely say “Mission Accomplished”.
I have been a huge fan of Steve Vai since I was very young. The first time I saw Steve play was in a movie with Ralph Macchio and I have to say that I have probably watched that part about 1 MILLION times and it still inspires me. I own every album I believe he has ever released, and I just wanted to thank him for the inspiration he has given me. And one other thing. This is the first website I’ve ever visited, as I just got online and this was my first priority.
P.S. Cool web site!
I attached my work… I was thinking about modifying that work because the guitar isn’t looking good. But I’m sending it anyway. Hope to see it in your homepage soon.
Vai’s great fan,
Arnold W. Shim
Howdy, I’ve always wondered how many songs Steve works on before he finds one he feels is good for mastering? And how long does it take to get there? After playing in bands a couple of years I bought a 4-track and started writing stuff but sometimes get stuck by not having a melody to fit the other parts. Is there a way or method Steve uses to move on when stuck on something thats going nowhere fast?
I saw Steve in Seattle when he played a small club during the ‘Sex & Religion’ tour. I was probably less than 4 feet from the stage, and probably had the shortest hair in the place besides Devin. I couldn’t have been happier with the show and afterwards my friends and I got to have somethings signed. I only had a ‘Passion and Warfare’ CD for him to sign, but my friend Jim got his ’88 floral pattern Jem signed. The most touching thing was that Jim’s sister was engaged to a huge Steve Vai fan who was tragically killed by a drunk driver. Warren had purchased a killer multicolor Universe before he was killed. Steve didn’t just sign the guitar after hearing about Warren’s death, he wrote quite a bit more. Steve was compassionate and caring as he thought out what he was going to write, I was very impressed by his character. Warren’s mother keeps the guitar locked in the closet where it can be preserved. I asked her about taking pictures but she’s not ready for that quite yet. She is watching Steve though, wondering about him as a role model. I have pictures of my friends and I watching Steve sign the guitar.
Thanks, Steve, for not only standing out as an artist but also being standing out as a human being in a world filled with negative people.
Hi there all…
just a little bit of computer artwork that i created…
erm..just to explain things a little…
the blurred out universe head belongs to a friend of mine…and when this friend saw the picture (which i designed for graphical purposes) he analysed it in a way that i hadn’t seen it…
going clockwise from the top….
he triangle is the door.
the fire on the right, which merges into coloured stars, shows how out of the most negative emotions can come the most beautiful results.
the blurred guitar shows that music is bigger than the instrument (which is why its called an…ahem…instrument).
the ying yang sign…i just like that (heh) but i also believe that balance is everything.
“we’re still animals” is a quote from passion & warfare, it indicates that some things will never change about his fans.
my friend saw the bubbles as how high playing the guitar makes him feel.
and the number 7 is my spiritual number and one i hear steve treasures as well…
the hard to see musical notes shows how understated things can be beautiful…to look between the lines…
evo, his fave geetar, i think, has a star behind it as well as the word “passion” between the bottom horn and the neck, which is where the high notes and vai’s fingers go a lot…
it is turned to the left as if he would be playing left handed because even if he was forced to, his passion would still come thru. (he also played with his left hand when he was playing with dave lee roth, i think).
the wooden block has my initials “np” carved in it and its wooden looking because sex and religion is my fave album…
and lastly, vai, the audience is listening means that he and his fans are the center of everything.
i think i’m too wordy a person..heh
Hi there –
I don’t know if Steve will remember this gig or not, but here’s my story:
Back in November of 1993, my best friend John Bruno’s band got the call to open for Steve at Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT. While we were both HUGE fans, we were absolutely thrilled with the prospect of actually talking to him backstage and seeing the show from behind the scenes. A day or so before the show, we got a call from Roger (Steve’s guitar tech on the tour) who asked us to bring ALL of our Ibanez guitars to the show as there had been some sort of mix up and Steve’s gear was not all there. We agreed and brought all of our axes to the show that night. We are both Ibanez players, so we had quite a few there. We had the distinct pleasure of watching Steve try all of our guitars out (I never knew mine could sound so good). He took a strong liking to my Loch Ness Green RG550 with a snake inlay on the neck. In any case, it was prepped a la Vai and sat in the rack with the 3 white/gold JEMs that actually made it to the show. I never thought he’d go to it because he had 3 JEM’s there, but in a stroke of luck, he broke the strings on one, the strap broke on one, and when he needed a fresh guitar to play on, Roger handed him my guitar on which he played a couple of songs on. Of course, it was the end of the show and I had NO FILM LEFT!! I also don’t know of anyone who took pictures that night who actually got a photo of him playing the mysterious green guitar, but I had him sign it at the end of the night. He was thankful and took a group photo with all of us. He is a really great guy and if anyone reads this who was at the show and has pics of him playing it, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!! I had the guitar tattooed on my calf so I will always remember that night and how special it was for me.
Chuck Czajkowski (cczajkowski@WestportBenefits.com)
New Haven, CT
Photomontage submitted by Ricardo Bello (various other photographers).
March 16, 1999 :
Here are some pics of Steve on the ’97 G3 tour. I’m not sure where this is, but the guy’s a moose! I saw G3 at Jones Beach in New York on June 20, 1997, and it was by far the best show I have ever seen. I hope you enjoy these pics as much as I enjoyed watching Vai perform!
I would like to share my most precious moment with Steve and the rest of all you fans. On May 15 1998 at 2:35 am, my son Phoenix Vai Regan was born. Not only was he named after Mr. Vai but he was born to the song “For The Love Of God”. My girlfriend and I ended up going to the hospital that morning due to her blood pressure being so high and Phoenix’s the same, so they induced labor. Phoenix was not due till Mr. Vai’s Birthday, June 6 and we were so excited because Steve has been a big influence in our lives. When Phoenix was born he had jaundice really bad and had to be under heat lights for the first 3 weeks of his life, only to be taken out to feed him. Listening to “Passion and Warfare” helped Phoenix relax and helped my girlfriend and I relax and settle down and worry less, all night and day we listened to Steve and his music, without him I would have gone nuts.
I had just recently introduced Steve Vai to my girlfriend in October and she loves him, I myself have been listening to him for 12 years or so. He is why I became a guitarist and am doing very well with my own record label. If I ever had the chance to meet Mr. Vai I would thank him for making this world a better place, he may not think it, but his music makes miracles happen. I can feel everything when he plays. My girlfriend feels the same, and when I pop in one of Mr. Vai’s cd’s Phoenix either gets all excited or it puts him to sleep, especially when “For the Love of God” is playing. Phoenix is only 8 months old but he already has the feel for the guitar, drums and keyboards. I only hope someday he will be as great as Steve Vai. A father can only wish that upon his most precious gift. Thank you Steve for all you have given all of us, forever you will have friends.
C.C. Regan, October Larson & Phoenix Vai Regan
All begins Nov.16-1995 at 17:40 (Curitiba – Brazil – at the AeroAnta ShowHouse). Me (Rony), Luca and Mirian meeting with Sergio Buss (Lucas´s old Friend since the Musician’s Institute days). I’ve been a fan for a long time ago, but after almost 5 hours before the concert with this guy, man… Steve is really the best guitarist and composer flying through the Universe. You can feel his energy and soul jumping under the stage each time he plays….it was wonderfully amazing…. I just hope someday Steve come back to Brazil to share his feelings with all of us again…God keep walking beside him. The best ever song for me: “For the Love of God”. Here is a beautiful picture of us (Luca, Miriam, Steve, Me).
One of the best moments in my life. Bye…
Hello All! My name is David LoVecchio and as you might guess I love Steve Vai’s music. I’m from Concord, MA in case anyone wants to know and I thought I might throw this Photoshop piece I did your way.
Enjoy and take care. Hugs and kisses,
These 5 photos (above) are from 24 November 1995 in THE OPERA THEATRE – ARGENTINE and March 1997.
PABLO SEBASTIAN FREGEIRO GIL
Steve, my name is Agustin R De La Gala and I hope you enjoy my artwork (2 pics above).
Thanks Steve, your friend & fan forever.
I just wanted to write a thank you letter of sorts. I will have to start by telling you that when I was in high school I was a big fan of a lot of 80’s glam rock/pop bands. I thought they had the best musicans in the world. One day a guy in my shop class and I had a debate about how much talent they really had. He said “Gina, since you live on the way to my house I will drop you off at your house and we will listen to someone with some real talent”. I said “oh yeah and who is that?” He said “Steve Vai!” I said “whoever”. He played ‘Passion and Warfare’ and by the time I got out of his car (it was probably only 10 minutes later) I said “now where is it that I could get a STEVE VAI tape?” He just laughed and said “Gotcha hooked now” I said “yes you did” and bought ‘Passion and Warfare’ that night.
I do want to thank you for not only gracing us with your talent but also because of you I went on a search for more talented musicans and discovered Joe Satch, Eric Johnson, Steve Morse, Alan Holdsworth, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dixie Dregs, Brent Mason, Mark O’Conner, etc etc.
I also wear a Steve Vai shirt to every concert I go to and or even when I go to a night club with a band. I have been stopped many times by bands and had long conversations with their guitar players mainly about you and how great you are, we have actually became friends because they noticed I was wearing your t-shirt.
You have opened my eyes to all sorts of music I would have never even considered listening too if it hadn’t been for you. I have also made quite a few friends who pass through town from time to time and I just want to say thank you. It’s been a great experience being a fan of yours.
Excuse me, but stuff happens that causes other stuff to happen, and it makes your day. At the risk of sounding like a starstruck groupie, I offer this.
I was sitting at my computer earlier this evening when the phone rang. Before I tell you who was on the other end of the line, let me skip back in time and preface things by relating to you a few of my actions that resulted in this particular phone call. A couple of days ago, Monday, Jan. 18th, 1999, I decided that I needed to update my ever growing inventory of everything VAI. So I headed out to the WWW site that also happens to be everything VAI. Saw the new “Alien Love Secrets” DVD was on sale… hmmmm. I have the CD already… I don’t own a DVD player… still gotta have it though, don’t I? Of course I do. So I order the DVD and a subscription to GKS as well, something else I’ve been meaning to do for some time. I’m golden!
So I’m buying a DVD player just for this. Can you think of a better reason? Me neither.
Now it’s Wednesday, and I’m really impatient when it comes to stuff like this, so I got to thinking about how long it would take for the DVD to get here… my first issue of GKS… oh… I can’t stand not knowing! So I fire off an email asking about the shipping status of orders cause I’m an impatient maroon. Just the thought of knowing I’d asked the question seemed to ease the anxiety somewhat, but not totally. There was still something else that needed to be done. So, I went back to Steve’s site and ordered the Vai Signature Licks Book/CD as an afterthought to my first order. I got this brilliant idea that if I start now ordering things every few days, I’ll have a steady stream of incoming Vai goodies for a little while… sweeet! And I scoped another item to order in another couple of days to help bring my brilliant idea to fruition.
Anyhow, this really helped satisfy the inner demon crying for more Vai stuff. I felt better. So, I went on about my business. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t thinking anything in particular at the time the phone rang. I answered it. But as I always answer my phone I simultaneously looked at the caller ID message on the phone.
A sudden rush of amazement came over me as I read the name. No it wasn’t Steve… but the name was of someone very close to him. RUTA SEPETYS. Wooaahh! Being the Vai fan that I am, I instantly recognized the name. If you don’t know, you should. As I’m saying hello, I’m trying to figure out why she or someone from Light Without Heat, as she didn’t give her name, was calling, and also at the same time realizing that whoever this was, was probably someone that has some direct communication with Steve. What would I like to say to Steve if I had the chance and it might actually make it to him? Man, lots of possibilities on this one. As it turns out she was calling to confirm my order information and let me know that they would be going out tomorrow. I must admit I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t a call to be his second guitarist on the next tour. I guess that Keneally guy wins again! He deserves it – we think you’re cute too Mike!
I’m also thinking as this very brief conversation is taking place how cool it is that someone from LWH was actually taking the time to call me. In today’s world, it just doesn’t happen. I’ve ordered many things from many places, and never received a confirmation phone call from any individual/company/whatever, even when there was a problem. Now, I can only guess as to whether the e-mail I sent off only a couple of hours earlier had triggered this call. Regardless of that, I was just totally impressed and it only furthers my belief that everything that is VAI, is in fact VAI. Steve’s obvious love and passion for what he does, as well as that for his fans and fellow human beings, shows through in everything he does. From the amazing music he releases to us, to the actual machine behind the scenes that makes it all come together. A total 100% class act. It just doesn’t get any better than this, kids. Steve, you should know that the people working for you are the best on the planet I’m sure. Of course, how could they be anything less. Anyhow, when all was confirmed and the conversation was about to end, I quickly scanned my memory banks for that one quick message I could politely ask her to relay to Steve… fearing I’d miss my chance I said the only thing that made sense.
I said… Thank you.
Michael Timothy Biondolillo
I have a question as someone really into life and the universe etc. Based on quantum mechanical theory, all universes are possible, so having released an album called ‘Alien Love Secrets’ does it bother you that some totally excellent musical alien has released an album called “Steve Vai’s Love Secrets”?
And keep playing as you are my greatest source of inspiration, and if you can tour the UK it would be nice…
I’m Yuko Kiriyama, a Japanese girl. I looked at your home page, & am sending my photo. I bought your new CD “Flex-Able Leftovers”. I’m playing the guitar, and I respect you. I’m looking foward to your next concert in Japan. Good luck your music life!!
I was trying to send to you a picture I took of Steve on a Music Messe in Frankfurt in 1996.
Do you have any plans for touring europe? Please, please, please try to include a very nice little country called Denmark, the next time you go on the road it would mean a lot to my friends and I.
Heino P. Gullichsen
P.S: Thank you very much for inspiring me to pick up my guitar.
Steve has been a part of my musical life since 1987, the year I graduated. I went to Street Beat in Chillicothe OH and on impulse got a copy of ‘Flex-Able’, on cassette. That was it. I now have 11 or 12 hours of recorded material, which I did using SoundEdit 16 (PMac 8500av), my guitar & amp (Westone/Crate), and ‘captured’ drum beats out of my cd collection. I say Steve has been 1 of 2, of my MAJOR influences – his music is like a fast forward library, as well as a collection of tasteful, psychadelic, passionate, deep, and of course, off the wall MUSIC!!!!
I dare you to hum some…..
I first off wanna let you know that I am your biggest spiritual fan there is aside from God. You have given strength in believing in myself when times on the guitar were hard. When in my first couple years of playing, I would sometimes sit and cry when I thought my playing would get no better. Through all of your interviews, lessons in magazines, videos, I have realized that the fault of all this was myself. You showed my the way to Zen and guitar Utopia. I really appreciate all of what you have done for me. Playing for 14 years now, I can say that I am more in tune with myself and God and the relationship I have with my music. I thank God for stopping and thinking while creating you, you are my spiritual guide at times and I will never ever forget that. Some people laugh at me because I still have this “idol/mentor” thing with you. I am 28, I will always show my appreciation towards you and your spiritual energy that is endeuced (my new word of the day, not sure if it really means anything but sounds cool huh?) through your music.
Thank you, I will meet you one day if God is willing.
My question is: When are you and Joe Satch going to do anything? I had a DJ around 1989, 1990 ask you about that at the NAMM show and I told him to ask you if it would be called “Sea Of Emotions”? Secondly, I saw Niacin play in New York a few weeks back at the Bottom Line, and talking with Billy Sheehan I asked when you and him are gonna play again? Since, in my opinion – you work the best within regards to the best guitar and bass duo. You both have that same mentality of just being nuts! Thank you for your time. My web site is: http://members.aol.com/stevievai1/index1.html
Hey, just checkin’ how Vai is coming along with his new project, hope good… because all the rest turned out great… I know you’ve got a creative mind… but sometimes you take it to the limit… Vai you are great..so keep in mind you have fans like me to back you up… I always looked up to you… so keep going to the edge with your Jem… and keep rockin…
your friend, Ryan
Special thanks to Steve Vai, my inspiration, without whom this guitar would just be just another mass of wood and tangled wires. This one’s for you, Steve. If you behave yourself, someday I’ll let you play it. 😉
Kirk A Slossar, Jemfest ’99 Organizer
Here are two photos of Steve during a seminar in Rome, in June 1991.
There’s something about the word “Individual.” That word is one that everyone wishes for but many just cannot attain. You are one of the few ‘persons’, let alone ‘musicians’ that have clearly defined yourself in such a way. To be quite honest, I love ya more as a person that a guitarist because you’re such a humble guy, much like myself. Your guitar playing is awe-inspiring. I remember the first time I saw you–it was on “Crossroads.” Jack Butler was a role made totally for Steve Vai. You hold a charisma and entertaining aspect about yourself when you’re playing that I wish I had. I’ve only been playing guitar for a year and a half, but listening to certain players tend to “influence” us all. I guess you could say that my style, which tends to coincide with the very likes of yourself, Jimmy Page, Satriani, Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix, consists of a feeling and aspiration for perfection. Which is how I feel about each one of you guys as musicians. Those individuals we look at and say, “Man, I’ll never be that good.” It’s not that we ‘hold ourselves back’, but we feel that it is something so sacred and dear to our souls that we leave it for what it is and just don’t touch it, like a signed guitar by your favorite player.
Needless to say, I’m a total fan of yours. As I said earlier, “I love ya for the person you are.” You do it for the love of the music and you are one of the few people that haven’t been influenced by ‘them.’ Them, I guess you can say, is pressure, commercialism and egotistical jackasses. I enjoy that you’re being your own musician and a total disciple of yourself. That’s what we all as musicians, especially the young bloomers like myself, say about each other–“I care more about challenging myself than dueling with others.”
I recently saw you on the G3 video and you were awesome! “For The Love Of God” is a creation that is ‘divine and grandiose’. When I play with others in a jam session, I watch everything; their hands, body language and most importantly, their face. Steve, let say this for myself — in “For the Love of God”, you were there, man. I saw it in your eyes — the total drive of feeling and freedom. Like an eagle almost, soaring and being proud of what you’re doing for yourself, your loved ones and your fans. That look is one that I’ll never forget. I was almost as if you were thanking God for giving you what you had and there are so many others that want that same feeling — to be loved and doing what you do best.
I’ll close this letter by saying that I play guitar because I love the instrument. I play because it’s fun and I express myself. I guess you could say that guitar is my “Stairway To Heaven” or moreover, my “Liberty.” Continue to lavish us fans with music that takes our pain away, that soothe our souls and captivates our imagination to live life a little better each day. Songs to me that you’ve made that I hold dear are: “Hand On Heart,” “Die To Live,” “Brother,” “Liberty,” “For the Love of God,” “Sisters,” “Bad Horsie,” “Tender Surrender,” and “Fire Garden Suite.” Steve, thank you so much for your time, your guitar playing, your incredible sense of feeling with music, your creativity and your desire — desire to be the best (not to mention you’re succeeding with that!)
Keep this great website and thank you so much!!!
January 30, 1999:
Hi everyone… Something I whipped up a year ago with some images of Steve both from the net and magazines. Hope you all like it!
The first time I heard your playing was when I was in college. I’m a guitar player myself, and when I started attending a college in the Los Angeles area in 1986 – I knew that I’d bump into some smokin’ players. Sure ’nuff when I was walking down the halls of my dorm for the first time I heard some amazing guitar playing. I assumed it was a someone listening to the radio, but I just wanted to know who was playing the guitar on the song. I walked into a room with one guy playing guitar and two onlookers. I asked if I could sit in and listen. The guy playing guitar went on to start playing “Far Beyond the Sun” by Yngwie Malmsteen note for note with the tape. I was astounded! I’d never heard such fast playing, and to see an eighteen year old guy play it was even worse on my ego.
A few days later I went to see this guy and he was practicing something on the guitar. It was “Shyboy” from “Eat ‘Em and Smile”. I was blown away by the way you and Billy Sheehan played together on that song. I’ve come to the conclusion since listening to that album that it is one of the top ten greatest rock albums of all time. Your playing on “Tobacco Road” is some of the best playing I’ve heard on any album. By the way, that guy who played Yngwie became my roommate the next year and we had a ball!
Thanks Steve for all the wonderful music and I wish you great things for the future.
Dear Steve Vai,
You have been my inspiration since you designed the Jem. Actually it was because of you that I really fell in love with the guitar. My bedroom is a shrine with posters of you and Ibanez guitars which I also like a lot. I think they are the electric guitar of the century.
Anyway besides that I saw you play live in Melbourne at the Palace. You were awesome. I came extra early and snuck around the back to hear you practice and that was even better than the concert, because it was all you, no one in there to impress. After the most amazing night of my life I went backstage and I only spoke a few words to you because I was awestruck by your presence, but you signed my T-shirt which by the way, I made myself with a scanner, and it is now an original signed Vai T-shirt that’s all mine. We shook hands and that was that. Thanks.
By the way, that hand sign that you do, like Mr Spock from Star Trek, is actually an ancient sign of the Jewish high priest. It’s a sign that initiates blessings of people from God. Just thought you might like to know.
All the best to you and your family,
I once thought I saw a knot on a tree that was shaped like your head. Rather it was shaped like a profile of your face. Not your whole head. Anyway, your mouth was open so wide (rather the image of your mouth on the knot, not your real mouth) that I could have fit my whole left hand in had it been a real mouth. Not that you really would want to fit my whole left hand in you mouth. Now that I think about it, you probably wouldn’t want to fit my right hand in your mouth either. My feet are definitely out of the question. Anyway, your nose had a strange candy cane shape to it. The knot’s nose, that is. I swear if you had stuck your tongue out you could have licked your nose. I mean if the knot that vaguely resembled a profile of you face had stuck it’s tongue out…well if the knot had a tongue to stick out (it is a knot afterall), it could have licked it’s candy cane shaped nose if it had tried. Now that I think about it, it didn’t look like you at all. It looked more like Phyllis Diller. Do you happen to know her website location?
Hi, I’m from Costa Rica, and three weeks ago I went to see Joe Satriani at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, and to my surprise and everybody’s surprise, Steve was invited by Joe to play the last two songs of the show with him and Steve Lukather; you can’t imagine how nuts me and my friend (also from Costa Rica) went when we saw Vai play, cause we’ve been fans for about 10 years of Steve’s music. And for us in Costa Rica it’s impossible to see these fantastic musicians playing in our country, so I think it was the best of lucks we got choosing that exact concert with Steve playing too. And the best part of all, is that me and my friend waited for an hour and a half outside the backstage waiting for a chance to at least see Steve or Satch, the thing is that Steve did come out and we met him, he even let us take a picture of him with us, and he was always very nice. To be honest, I never thought he would be that nice. So Steve, if you ever read this, remember the two guys from Costa Rica who asked for your autograph, well I’m one of those two and I’m very grateful that I met you, and that you took time to talk with us…thanks for everything, and by the way that last version of “Rubina” you three guys played was completely incredible..thanks!
Massimo, from San Jose, Costa Rica
I just wanted to let you know that the stories of your teen years brought back some much needed innocence.
I took up the guitar at a late age (24) and I am now getting over the “I have to be able to play really fast” mode, and well on my way to feeling really comfortable playing what feels good (now at the age of 31).
I did want to ask you a question. What do you think separates the musician who makes it and the one who doesn’t? I love playing the guitar, but at my age I have too many responsibilities to chase that dream (job, mortgage, ect.). Having started at an age when such problems didn’t exist, do you think that helped make your path more clear? On the same note, I am sure you know people who started at an early age and are perhaps great guitarists, that didn’t make it. Of those people, did they have a good feel for the music or were they just technically good? Or is it just luck??
The only music of yours that I have heard is the David Lee Roth and “Crossroads” stuff, so I can’t suck up to you and say that I am a huge fan. I have however read a lot about you, and I am impressed with your intelligence and humility. I try very hard to stay away from the speedy guitar players, because I feel myself trying to emulate the speed while loosing the emotion.
Thank you and keep filling in that journal, it is very entertaining!
Here’s a sort of cute one for ya.
I’m sure you hear a lot of people claiming to be Vai’s BIGGEST fan. Heck, I’ve been known to make that claim myself.Well, my five month old daughter, Miranda Raye Bachiu, has got to be, without a doubt, Vai’s LITTLEST fan. She really seems to adore Steve’s music. It would appear that “Passion and Warfare” is her favorite album. She dances (lying on her back, of course) to many of the songs, smiling the entire time. Some songs REALLY help me out being a single dad, because they entirely calm her down. I thought for a long time that almost any music would have these effects on her, because she reacts favorably to most music, but she really seems taken with Steve’s licks. So you can let Steve know that he’s got the BIGGEST and LITTLEST fans in all of, well, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan anyway, anxiously awaiting the release of the box set! I may even buy Miranda her own copy, as a keepsake. Anyway, catch you later!
Peace, love, and good happiness stuff,,
My name is Reuben and I live in Singapore. I am 21 and have been playing guitar now for 9 years. I have been a fan all my guitar playing life. In fact, you influenced me to pick up the darn thing. I was a drummer before and never knew what I was missing :). The first time I saw you was in the Grammy Awards. You were nominated for “Passion and Warfare” and they played a snippet of “I Would Love To” (my all time favorite song). I was hooked and the next day I went out and got myself a cheap electric guitar (the delusions of grandeur came free). I stopped off at the record store and got my first Vai CD. You are the ultimate inspiration for me musically and I am sure millions of other guitar players feel the same. Now 9 years on, my life has taken many different paths but your music has always been with me. I have never left my house without my Vai CDs. I am presently trying to compose my first instrumental album and you have taught me a lot about inspiration. I have learned to face my personal demons through my music and that would never have happened if I hadn’t been gripped by the throat by your virtuoso playing. Listening to your music and trying to understand the facets of your songs have taught me so much about emotion and letting go when you play. I know so many guitarists who have amazing technique but have no soul. Your music helped me take my first step towards being true to myself. I met you once…well actually you signed my Les Paul when you came to Singapore in Tower Records. I don’t expect you to remember but it is an honour having your signature on my guitar. I was at the show in Hard Rock Cafe and I can safely say it was the best!! The security was a problem but then it always is over here. Can’t fart without getting hit upside the head but it was still worth it. I got home that day and played for 2 days straight without stopping. I had to stop ’cause I couldn’t feel my fingers..hell…I couldn’t feel anything :). You gotta come back man…I got a Universe a few months back and all that’s missing is your autograph on it. That would make it complete. Seriously though, do you intend to do a tour in Asia? And if you do, would you come over to Singapore again? Well…I have taken up enough of your time. Thanks for all the inspiration, the music, and the autograph. A Les Paul never looked so beautiful :). I have always dreamed of jamming with you…well a kid’s gotta have goals :).
Dear Steve, family and friends,
Thank you, that’s all. Just thank you, for:
– the website (finally I am satiated with information, I had been looking for such as this for a while, and now I’m up past my bedtime reading and absorbing and enjoying and grinning). [“please, I beg you, no more Steve Vai…”]
– the ongoing story of Vaiosity, replete with warmth, good Karma, and all that good happiness stuff – long may you wave and please, be careful while messin’ with the bees!
Yours truly with warmest regards,
I’d like to introduce myself… I’m Alexander Brandon, a composer who does game soundtracks (recently the soundtrack from “Unreal”, if you’ve heard of it) and coming soon, commercially released music. I’m mainly saying what my field is because I consider myself a little more than just someone who listens since I’m also someone who writes and plays. On to the compliment…
First of all I’d like to thank you for a very informative web page. It’s absolutely packed with goodies unlike many others I’ve seen, which say absolutely nothing. Seeing the gear, the life story, the Foundation work, and the complete sides of Steve’s harmonious and revolutionary life is what you’ve put forward and more… great job!
If you speak with Steve and could relay any of this to him, I’m not only a fan but a colleage whose life he has had a serious impact on. I had no idea Steve Vai existed until 1994 when I heard “Passion and Warfare” for the first time. I listened and loved it but the real connection came at one of his “Sex & Religion” concerts at the Cleveland Agora soon afterwards.
Devin walked out onto the stage and began screaming his head off. I winced a bit because I feared his vocal chords would come right out of his mouth. While Devin danced, stomped, and raged like a monkey on crack, a shape emerged from the rear of the theatre…. it was Steve, dressed in long rags and robes, with a very calm, very genuine smile on his face. The exact opposite of Devin, but the excitement was still there in his eyes. Then he started playing.
I’ve been to many concerts and I watch carefully. I watch faces, fingers, and every aspect of the performace. This was real… the playing was real, and the compositions were perfectly portrayed. This was no Steve Vai bouncing towards the camera on “Just Like Paradise”, and it wasn’t another longhaired pop star trying to get attention. This was a consumate musician, a virtuoso among virtuosos. The playing seemed as effortless as the bliss he seemed to feel while hearing his creation.
From that point on, Steve redefined my approach to music. The way I write, the intensity with which I enjoy my songs, and of course a new found respect for the guitar. Since then my writing has been more reflective, more heartfelt, and more evocative. Our personalities are different in that I’m far less extreme on the outside (wearing polo shirts, jeans, and Reebok boots as opposed to silk shirts or leather pants) but the musical emotion seems close.
To make a long story short, I’m on the verge of a possibly very satisfying musical career. With ‘Unreal’ selling hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide, I’ve invested in a music workstation, a library of sample CDs, and my first electric guitar: an Ibanez JEM90. Since 1996 I’ve been playing furiously on an accoustic electric JBP artist and a Zoom 505 fx pedal and feeling a rush when my rough attempts at following Steve’s lead on “Liberty” or “The Crying Machine” click and I can follow with precision.
So thank you. Thank you Richard for a site that I can read and read and never read enough. Thank you Steve for your enthusiasm, your skill, and most of all your passion in that which I hold dearest: the music at the end of it all….
Juni Digital Music Group