Video Vault


Official Videos


Tender Surrender – Official Video

Story of Light, Now Available

Beverly McClellan – Behind The Scenes

Gravity Storm – Story of Light Preview

Live Performances


Tender Surrender – TEC Awards 2012

Whispering a Prayer – Live at the Astoria

Now We Run – Where The Wild Things Are

Interviews


Interviewed by Justin Sandercoe

Vai.com updates


Vai.com Update – September 2011

Misc


4 little asses…

Ibanez Jemini demo

on iTunes


VAIdeos With the monumental leaps in digital technology we are now able to make available select videos from Steve’s catalog. The first batch of releases consist of previously released videos including all the individual songs from Alien Love Secrets, all of the promotional videos from the ‘80s and ‘90s, a handful of pieces from 2005’s Live At The Astoria London and a new little ditty that is an extended jam of “K’m-Pee-Du-Wee” with the Breed. While traveling from a gig in Vilnius, Lithuania to a gig in Zabrze, Poland on the Real Illusions tour, the band ended up with a day off in Katowice Poland. They decided to set up some gear across the street form the hotel, unannounced, and just start jamin’ and filming.“I have films and video in the vault dating back to when I first moved out to California up to the String Theories tour last year. Some of it, especially from the Alien Love Secrets days while on tour opening for Bon Jovi, is beautifully eclectic” says Steve.

“In the past it didn’t make much sense to release any of these one off performances because there was no outlet for them. It would take to much time to compile them into full length DVDs and even then the continuity would be unbalanced. It didn’t make sense to do them for promotional reasons because there were no stations that would play them, but now there is an outlet and once they go up online, they will be there indefinitely.”

Steve is expecting to be adding to this video library with one off performances culled from his 30 year career.

Click these links to get to the Vaideo collections to see snippets of the vids and links to download the full performances.

 

Promotional Videos

The promotional videos for the songs on Passion and Warfare were done at a time when they might have actually been played on a music video show. As a matter of fact, “The Audience is Listening” was top 10 for 6 weeks on MTV when it was released in 1990. It was very helpful for the exposure to that record.

 

  • Written by: Steve Vai
  • Original album track appears on: Passion and Warfare
  • Director: Steve Vai
  • Shoot location: Mt. Shasta, CA/Tahoe, NV
  • Shoot date: 1990 sometime
  • Editor: Steve
  • Producer: Steve
  • Executive Producers: guess
  • Production Company: High Insight
  • iTunes Release Date: August 2008
  • Original Release Date: (1990 sometime)
  • Mostly shot by Pia Vai
  • Owned and controlled by © SyVy Music 1994. All rights reserved.

“For The Love Of God”

Some of the performance footage of this video was shot by Pia (my wife) in the mountains of Lake Tahoe, but most of it was shot in the foothills and about midway up Mt. Shasta in Redding, California.

Mt. Shasta has always held a mystique for esoteric New Age types. It’s rumored to house a secret gathering place of the Illuminati. As a mater of fact… oh never mind.

At the base of the mountain on the outskirts of the town of Shasta is a Buddhist Monastery called “Shasta Abby”. On several occasions I spent extended periods of time in this Zen retreat meditating, not speaking, doing some physical labor on the property and making stuffed pillows for the monks to sell for the Abby. Those were truly blissful times in my life.

On one occasion, after one of these Shasta Abby retreats, I scaled to the top of the lower peak of Mt. Shasta through a foot of snow. When I got to the top I strategically placed one of my earrings, (I wear the other matched one to this day) under a flat rock that was at the highest position of the pinnacle. This was around 1988. I’ll give you a dollar if you can find it.

The video was intended to create a dynamic and emotional visual that depicts fundamental moral extremes that human beings are capable of expressing – from the Passion for the Love of God to the Warfare of our lowest common animal denominator of War. What is it that we are all so desperately seeking in this lost and found of bewildered souls? Perhaps that’s something that we all have to discover within ourselves.

Video coming soon…

  • Written by: Steve Vai
  • Original album track appears on: Passion and Warfare
  • Director: Steve Vai
  • Shoot location: Burbank, CA
  • Edited at: Propaganda
  • Shoot date: 1990 sometime
  • Editors: Steve
  • Producers: Steve
  • Executive producers: guess
  • Production company: High Insight
  • iTunes Release date: July 2008
  • Original release date: 1990 sometime
  • Controlled by Sony Records: Licensed by Steve Vai

“I Would Love To”

At the time this video was made it was not uncommon for videos to be silly but this is probably one of the silliest. This is one of those where you look back and ponder “What was I thinking?” But eh… Here it is. Maybe someone will get the laugh out of it that it was intended for.

Available on iTunes!

  • Written by: Steve Vai
  • Original album track appears on: Passion and Warfare
  • Director: Ralph (find last name I think it’s Zinc)
  • Shoot location: Burbank, CA
  • Shoot date: 1990 sometime
  • Editors: Steve Vai and Ralph Zinc
  • Producers: Steve Vai and Ralph Zinc
  • Executive producers: Steve Vai
  • Production company: High Insite
  • iTunes Release date: August 2008
  • Original release date: (1990 sometime)
  • Controlled by Sony Records: Licensed by Steve Vai

“The Audience Is Listening”

Another one of those silly moments – but it was a hoot to film it and edit it as it was my first real solo video project.

Back then you would first do offline video editing with VHS tapes and a load of VHS machines. To today’s digital video editing standards this process of tape editing is severely archaic and excruciating. While on tour with Whitesnake I ended up lugging around several dozen VHS tapes. Whenever I would get to a town I would grab the yellow pages, (remember those) and try and find some kind of VHS editing bay. I usually discovered them in the basement of people’s homes.

On one such occasion, on a gig day, I found this guy that had a little set up in his basement right near the venue we were performing at. I remember going into his house, through the kitchen as his wife was cooking an aromatic dinner, and into the basement to work. We worked for hours. He was a very nice guy and invited me to stay for dinner with his family before I had to flee back to the venue. I accepted his gracious offer.

After we finished the work and were about to go up for dinner I saw the shadow of his 15 year old son bolt past the basement door at the top of the stairs. His father yelled, “Hey Ronnie, where are you going”, for which he replied, “I’m going to the Whitesnake concert to see Steve Vai and I ain’t gonna miss one note!”

His father went to the top of stairs and yelled to him, “You don’t have to go to the concert to see him, he’s right here and he’s going to have dinner with us”. Before the front door slammed you could hear Ronnie exclaim, “Yeah, in my dreams, I’m outa here!” BOOM!

It was a nice quiet dinner.

Available on iTunes!

  • Written by: Steve Vai
  • Original album track appears on: Sex & Religion
  • Director: Jonathan Reiss
  • Shoot location: A burnt out army dump field, East Los Angeles, CA
  • Shoot date: 1993 sometime
  • Editors: Jonathan Reiss
  • Producers: Jonathan Reiss
  • Executive producers: Steve Vai
  • iTunes Release date: August 2008
  • Original release date: 1993
  • Controlled by Sony Records: Licensed by Steve Vai

“Down Deep Into The Pain”

There was a time when I started to get very much into body piercing and was hanging out at places like The Gauntlet on Sunset Blvd.. I was interested in getting a unique piercing that I had never seen before. I also wanted it to look somewhat compelling and fascinating. I ended up putting two loop piercings through the skin on my neck right above the clavicle. Whatever.

Then I had both nipples pierced at the same time (on the count of three) with extra large gauge stainless steel posts. POW!!! Your nipples are a nerve center for your whole body. When I could finally feel my toes again and the stars that were circling my better judgment started to melt, the endorphin rush was so great it surged a mini orgasm out of me as I turned white and passed out.

You know why people usually get only one nipple pierced? Because it hurts! IT REALLY HURTS!!! Did I say it hurts?

Man, I was hanging out with a colorful crowd back then.

I was studying the writings of these modern day Fauquiers and adepts and how they used pain to enter into various states of consciousness. I was developing this theory that pain held great importance in our ability to grow on various levels. I have come to the understanding that self inflicted physical pain is somewhat of an unhealthy perversion and that although life can have it’s joys, it also offers up many different kinds of pain, not the least of which is mental anguish. All are important to our spiritual growth although we may not necessarily realize it at the time we are going through it.

I don’t hang out at the Gauntlet anymore and I’m not fascinated with body pricings and self-inflicted physical agony anymore.

The video was shot in an old military dump zone. This was perhaps the only gathering of the VAI band with its original intended line up: SV, Devin Townsend on vocals, T.M Stevens on bass and Terry Bozzio on drums.

The original video had gratuitous and graphic childbirth scenes that I decided to take out.

Available on iTunes!

  • Written by: Roger Greenawalt, Steve Vai, Desmond Child
  • Original album track appears on: Sex & Religion
  • Director: (I can’t remember this guy’s name.)
  • Shoot location: A video studio somewhere in L.A.
  • Shoot date: 1993 sometime
  • Editors: ??? (the director edited this)
  • Producers: direcdtor
  • Executive producers: Steve Vai
  • iTunes Release date: August 2008
  • Original release date: 1993
  • Controlled by Sony Records: Licensed by Steve Vai

“In My Dreams With You”

When I was attending Berklee College of Music in Boston I knew this tremendously creative and cool guy named Roger Greenawalt. He had a band called The Dark that I adored. He wrote this song called “Judy 2” that I thought was great. Eventually I got together with Desmond Child and worked it up a bit to become “In My Dreams with You”.

The idea for the video was to have the whole thing shot while we lip-synced to the song while it was being played backward. We had to learn how to play and sing the song backward. This was a challenge but in the end the plan was to edit the film backward thus making it look like we are all in reverse motion but performing forward.

The video features SV, Devin Townsend on vocals, along with Scott Thunes on bass and Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums.

I had some interesting ideas to incorporate into this concept but unfortunately we did not have the time to explore them.

One day perhaps I will be able to realize some of these backward film ideas but first I will have to get the concept to work with a clock and a calendar.

Available on iTunes!
  • Written by: Steve Vai
  • Original album tracks appears on Alien Love Secrets
  • Director: Devin Meadows
  • Shoot location: Towards 2000 Inc., Hollywood, CA
  • Shoot date: 1995 sometime
  • Editors: Steve Vai and Tommy Tannenbaum
  • Producers: Margo Romero
  • Executive producers: Steve Vai
  • iTunes Release date: July 2008
  • Original DVD release date: 1998
  • Controlled by Steve Vai (© SYVY music 1995 All rights reserved)

The Alien Love Secrets Videos

I usually get inspired when I’m jogging and one day after returning home from the Sex & Religion tour I was contemplating my next project and decided to go for a jog up Bronson Ave and into the Hollywood Hills.

Following is what came to me on one brisk jaunt past the Hollywood sign: Passion and Warfare and Sex & Religion were relatively complex records and although I had conceptualized what would become Fire Garden, I knew it would be a massive undertaking and felt it would be nice to take a breath and do something quick and simple. A record of just guitar, bass and drums and some sporadic keyboard pads was the instrumentation I set up in my head. The goal was to create a simplistic, accessible and melodic record that handed you the guitar on a silver platter, all wrapped up in a relatively short EP format.

Alien Love Secrets took a month to write and record. On a subsequent jog the idea of creating a VHS of the performances of ALS was born, but the idea of putting a band together and learning the music, etc. did not make sense on a time and financial basis so I thought, Let’s just play to the tracks. And there you have it, Alien Love Secrets: The Video.

Along with me, the video performers were Chris Frazier on drums, Robbie Harrington on bass, and Julian and Fire on vocals for “Ya-Yo Gakk”.

The entire thing was shot in one day at a vigorous pace at Towards 2000 Inc. in Hollywood. The only reason I was able to do it was because the guys that owned the facility were fans and gave me the place dirt cheap with all the lights and FX. If not for them this video would not have been made.

The moment that films started appearing in the DVD format I wanted to transfer the ALS video onto DVD. I approached the record company I was signed to at the time and told them that I thought DVD was going to be the new format of the day and that music DVDs were going to become very popular and would they like to put it out. They said no because they really didn’t think DVDs were going to catch on.

Oh well. I decided to do it myself and boy am I glad about that!

At the time this DVD came out there was actually very few music DVDs available. It would have literally been the 2nd one ever released if negotiations didn’t take so long. It also was the first DVD to offer unique elements such as motion menus, shuffle modes, discographies and a bunch of other things I can’t remember.

Now through the evolutionary magic of history, you can download these tracks individually right online, and here they are, Yay! Soon, doing it this way will be obsolete too. Don’t blink.

 

“Bad Horsie”

When I first read the script for Crossroads and it said that the guitar should sound like a train, I immediately heard the opening riff to Bad Horsie in my head. But it wasn’t until I had a frenzied dream where I was riding this giant metal stallion, that was half horse and half locomotive, that I came up with the rest of the song.

I felt the silver paint would add to the metallic overtone of the piece. It took 6 days to get the oil based paint completely off my body and out of my hair, and still I would find remnants in various hiding places on my body weeks later.

Available on iTunes!

“Juice”

Written in response to the need for an up-tempo instrumental type boogie that guitar players could relate to.

At first it was difficult to convince myself to play something so clichéd but after getting it under my fingers it started to feel really nice. Sort of like that feeling you get when you’re on a rollercoaster and it just starts its decent from the highest point on the track. There are also certainly some loop-de-loops along the way too. It started to become addictive to play. Imagine how content some of you would be if I convinced myself to play this cliché more often.

Available on iTunes!

“Die To Live”

Sometime in 1985 I was backstage warming up before a David Lee Roth Show and I just played this riff and put it down on my trusty cassette player. I’d have dozens of cassettes by the end of each tour filled with little ideas that I felt had a spark to them. Between Christmas and New Year every year I would sit and document these little nuggets. They would get sorted and copied to a DAT library, (now hard drive) and when I’m looking for something with a spark I just pull one of these tapes and take a listen. That’s where I found the first two chord changes of “Die To Live” (as a matter of fact, all the songs on this DVD, with the exception of Bad Horise, came from that DAT library of ideas).

It immediately spoke to me and touched something deep inside. I’m thrilled with the way it came out.

I have 53 or so, 90 minute DATs filled with such stuff that seemed to miraculously appear on my shelf in the period of 12 years in the late ‘80s-‘90s, maybe a thousand ideas and only the rest of this life to make them real. One of the greatest sources of discontent in my life is when I listen to these ideas and come to the realization that I will never ever be able to fulfill their potential and satiate this aching hunger for these little creative euphorias.

I got the idea that I should bury them in a secret place and right before I die I should focus on where they are so when I come back for another life, perhaps I could find them and pick up where I left off.

But not too long ago it dawned on me that that’s exactly what has been happening. That secret place that I bury those unfinished musings is the subconscious that goes with me into the abyss, and my desire to make them real is one of the reasons I have to keep coming back here. It was clear to me that so many of us do the same thing although the circumstances may be different.

I guess it’s time to focus on letting go so I can Die To Live.

I’m glad I got this one out.

Available on iTunes!

“The Boy From Seattle”

When I was younger and learning how to play chords I was pretty bored with just memorizing them and playing through songs in the conventional way. But the technique Jimi Hendrix used when he would go from chord to chord and make little melodies in between was fascinating to me. It always sounded musical. I cut my chord teeth on songs like “Axis: Bold as Love”, “Little Wing”, “Wait Till Tomorrow”, “Electric Ladyland” etc. This song is sort of a tribute to Jimi’s chordal-type playing.

I remember I wanted to buy an old strat for this song because I thought I should own one. I had never really spent a lot on a guitar as I’m not really interested in collecting vintage instruments, so I saved up and had like $20 grand to lay down on an old Strat. I had every music store on Sunset Blvd. bring me their best Strats and I settled on a $500 Japanese made Strat because it sounded and played the best. That’s what was used on this track. Go figure. But on the video I used a gold hardwared EVO.

I also got a kick picking out the clothes for all of these video performances. It was part of the creative process to find clothes that speak the song. I wonder what ever happened to the tie-dyed shirt in this video.

Available on iTunes!

“Ya-Yo Gakk”

When my son Julian was between the ages of 2-3 he used to say this phrase, “Ya-Yo Gakk”. He said it a lot, a REAL lot, and he said it a multitude of ways. It was pretty hilarious so I recorded about a years worth. You do those kinds of things when you’re a father. I then decided to cull through this myriad of “gakkdom” and try to construct a track that sounded like what a rock band fronted by a 3 year old rock star would sound like. It took 3 eighteen hour days to get the lead vocal to work. I had to first go through the voluminous stacks of DAT recordings and pick the “Ya-Yo-Gakks” that might work, edit them, stretch them, pitch them etc. but eventually it fell into place kind of nicely. I then echoed the vocal meanderings with a guitar. The result is totally preposterous.

I had to come up with an idea for a video for the song so I called Pia, my wife, and asked her to bring the boys down to where we were shooting the video. I let them just run amok on the stage and then I edited it together and Voila! Ya-Yo-muck!

I left my face out of the video as much as possible for the mystique of it all.

Available on iTunes!

“Kill The Guy With The Ball/The God Eaters”

The guys that were kind enough to let us use the facility to film this video were pretty pissed off at us by the time we were done. There were splotches of greasy silver body paint all over the place, on door knobs, toilet seats, refrigerators. Uggg. Sorry guys.

When I was young we used to play a game in my neighborhood where you get a bunch of guys together and you get a ball. Someone throws the ball in the air and whoever catches it has to run like hell as fast as they can because everyone else is going to try and catch them and beat the shit out them. I never quite understood who the winner was or why. The game was called “Kill the Guy With The Ball”. When you had that ball in your hand your heart was pumpin’ just like it is when you have a guitar in your hand and your playing this song.

It’s the only song on the record with a doubled overdubbed guitar part. The drum performance on this track is a magnificent feat of patience, determination, talent and tears on the part of Deen Castrinova. It took three solid days and a myriad of emotional dynamic expressions, but he got it.

One of my favorite moments on this record is “The God Eaters”. The idea was to create a wall of tremendously dense, 10 note chords (with no doublings in the voicing) and float a haunted lullabyesque melody forbiddingly hovering on top of it. Mellifluously flowing dimensional audio terror with a cool overcoat.

Available on iTunes!

“Tender Surrender”

I was sitting in the studio recording something and the melody to this song just hit me over the head. At first it reminded me of “Call It Sleep” from Flex-Able, then it reminded me of “Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile)” by Carlos Santana. Then it reminded me of “Villanova Junction” by Jimi Hendrix, Then it reminded me of (fill in the blank)… Wherever it came from, here it is. It’s really just a blues with a touch of dark rich purple.

It’s such a joy to play this one. When you own a song and can play it effortlessly and with confidence, it allows your inner expressional being to throw a party. In the heat of the moment you may discover that the song actually owns you.

Available on iTunes!
  • Artist: Steve Vai and the Breed
  • Tracks written by: Steve Vai
  • Performers in video: SV, Billy Sheehan: bass, Tony MacAlpine: guitar and keyboards, Dave Weiner: guitar, Virgil Donati: drums
  • Director: Steve Vai
  • Shoot location: The Astoria – London, UK
  • Shoot date: December 8 & 9, 2001
  • Editors: Steve Vai, Brandon Sanders
  • Producers: Steve Vai
  • Executive producers: Steve Vai
  • iTunes Release date: July 2008
  • Original release date: 2003
  • Owned and controlled by (© SyVy Music 2003 All rights reserved)

Live At The Astoria London Videos

This is the first full-length concert DVD of my career and it was a blast to make it. My biggest regret is that I did not take the time to have a proper production meeting with the camera operators and designate what each camera would be covering. It was only a 4 camera shoot which is not much and although I thought we captured some nice moments, for me there never seemed to be enough long clear shots on my hands.

I thought it would be nice to make some of the performances on this DVD available separately as to perhaps inspire someone who might enjoy them to check out the whole DVD.

 

“Whispering A Prayer”

This song was originally written as a tribute to Ireland and released on the Alive In An Ultra World album.

The headspace you’re in when performing this piece is exquisite and enchanting really. In order to make the notes speak the way they do in this song, you have to become the note. It’s a very thin air to breath up there and the fall from such heights could mean a collapse of the grand staff itself. Good thing I had on my heavy boots with deep traction, and some wings out my ears, or is that just the fan blowing my hair back?

Available on iTunes!

“Bad Horsie”

This is more of a performance art piece than anything else.

I set out to create an enigmatically dynamic visual of a mating ritual dance between an industrial medieval sorcerer and his six-string phallic wand. The product of the copulation is the audio’s howling moans in 5.1 surround sound.

Available on iTunes!

“Erotic Nightmares”

Originally released on Passion And Warfare, this piece takes as much concentration on remembering which pedals to stomp on at the right time as it takes to actually execute the harrowing riffs.

Available on iTunes!

“Blue Powder”

This one is a joy to play. The goal was to create some kind of blues that had unexpected changes and unconventional melodies but sounded very accessible and charming. Sometimes it’s easier to paint a mental picture of how you want the song to make you feel. That can be more effective as a compositional tool than actually sitting and trying to write with your instrument. When you plant mental visuals, the seeds of such can sprout on their own.

Available on iTunes!

  • Artist: Steve Vai and the Breed
  • Track written by: Steve Vai
  • Performers: SV; Billy Sheehan: bass; Jeremy Colson: drums
  • Shot by: Michael “Mikey” Mesker
  • Shoot location: The streets of Katowice Poland
  • Shoot date: October 15, 2005
  • Edited, Produced and Directed by Steve Vai
  • Producer: Steve Vai
  • Executive producers: Steve Vai
  • iTunes Release date: August 2008
  • Original release date: 2008
  • Owned and controlled by (© SYVY music 2005 All rights reserved)

“K’m-Pee-Du-Wee”

Performing in countries through Eastern Europe is an adventure. We usually travel over night to the next city after the previous gig. In this situation we were coming from a gig in Vilnius, Lithuania and driving overnight for a day off in Katowice Poland. The day after that we had a show scheduled for Zabrze, Poland.

The video goals on the Real Illusions tour (among some other colorful celluloid exploits) was to capture a unique kind of performance for each song on the Real Illusions CD. Since K’m-Pee-Du-Wee was already released on a G3 DVD from Japan, I wanted to offer a different type of performance video other than a live concert setting for that song. Never having been to Katowice Poland (oddly enough), I thought it would be a cool idea to just show up and set up a little trio combo somewhere outside of the hotel in the street, unannounced, and just jam on K’m-Pee.

The band and crew were real sports about it. Mikey Mesker shot some entertaining footage and although the equipment we used to perform with looked a little anemic, it was mic’ed properly and heavily EQ-ed so the sound we captured is actually pretty good.

We just jammed through the song a few times and I cut it together.
I think it turned out charming with some striking moments. The citizens of downtown Katowice took very little interest in what we were doing.

DIDN’T THEY KNOW WHO WE WERE????
Maybe not.

Available on iTunes!