In June of 1980 I had just turned 20 years old and the next day moved to Los Angeles from New York, I found myself in the Zappa’s studio surrounded by these musical giants I had studied for some years. It all felt surreal. Every member of the crew seemed godlike. But there was one crew guy I met that seemed to stand out. He had a thick Austrian accent, quirky, funny mannerisms, seemed to know his shit bullet proof, and was favored by Frank. His name was Thomas Nordegg, the Austrian tech that supported Frank’s backline. He was kind, funny, and tolerant of my naiveté. He was always doing something that made Frank, and all of us laugh and his dedication to Frank and his work was supreme. Through the 3 years I spent touring with Frank, Thomas was always there. He was also documenting virtually every day on those Frank tours with whatever the most up to date piece of technology was available. Through the next 10 years or so I would see Thomas from time to time until one day the stars aligned, and he was available to tech for me on one of my early tours. That was perhaps 25 years ago and he’s been with me since.
I’ve had the privilege of working with some pretty outstanding guitar techs, but when Thomas hit my scene, there was a paradigm shift in the infrastructure of my technology accessibility. Thomas was, and still is, fiercely interested in new technology. His apartment is a marvel in and of itself. Even in the 80’s he had a system that would turn various things on and off just by clapping. Through the years he has built, and continues to add onto, what I would call the most comprehensive and mind-blowing guitar rig on the planet. He calls it “Sonica.” To experience Sonica is to feel as though you have dipped your fingers into the abyss of automatic thought sound manipulation. Honestly, to see and experience it would be the only way to understand the magnificent depth of it. It also takes up virtually his whole living room.
One way I hear about new gear is through Thomas. He brings me some new device at least once a week and forces me to try it. And then he somehow incorporates it into my studio rig. I have never known anyone in this business as detail oriented and hard working as Thomas. He loves his work with a wild-eyed passion. He is the kingpin on raising the enjoyment bar of any touring atmosphere he is part of. He rides a scooter and can transport virtually my entire rig on it. Almost everything he does or says makes us laugh. And as far as being a good guitar tech, he is THE guitar tech.
There is nothing more important to me than to know that when I hit the stage my back is covered, and Thomas is the absolute “high-priest” of guitar teching. He usually claims to be “the oldest guy in the building”, and usually is, but is also the hardest working. Somehow his strength and stamina dwarfs those half his age. He is absolutely the first guy there and the last to leave. He can go for days without sleeping and NEVER misses a beat nor complains. His work is his life and joy. He is an inspired guitar lover and has seen me perform more than anyone on the planet, and is also frighteningly honest with his critique, which is helpful for me. I can’t imagine how I would function on tour without him. But what I have discovered being of the greatest value is the friendship we have created over the years.
Father Thomas, you are extraordinary, and we are grateful. Happy birthday my brother.
With all the appreciation in my soul.
Hey Folks, Steve Vai here. One of my favorite things about being a musician in this grand industry is all the amazing artistic people I have met along the way. I’m constantly being exposed to super talents and some of them completely strike a golden nerve in my soul, and Richard Peikoff is one of them. From the first time I heard his mellifluous acoustic guitar playing, I had that feeling that I had uncovered a treasure. His playing is soulful, inspired and a very warm place to park your heart for a while. And another great pleasure I derive out of this music business is having the opportunity to share these fine finds with others that I feel may resonate within the same heart strings as myself, and Richards music is just that. Please check out this link to his new website and his music, and enjoy!
Extraordinary Families has changed the lives of more than 2,000 children in foster care. Together, for 25 years, we’ve written powerful success stories like this…
Chris and Jordan started their journey to parenthood after 11 years of marriage. Agreeing to foster one child, the universe had other plans for them. After receiving a call about two young boys, Joey and Jonathan, they knew they had enough love to welcome both brothers into their home. While preparing for their adoption a year later, they learned that the boys had a baby sister, Samantha, who also needed care. Surprising even themselves, they immediately said yes to keeping the siblings together. All three now share their “gotcha” day on December 5 when they became a forever family!
“Having children opened up a chamber of our hearts that we never knew existed. We couldn’t imagine our family any other way.”
Chris and Jordan did more than they thought they could when they opened their lives to provide a home for three children in need. Consider doing something unexpected too, and give the gift of home to children like Joey, Jonathan, and Samantha by making a donation to Extraordinary Families.
Our Year-End Campaign goal is simple. We want to provide homes for 200 children and youth in foster care in 2020. To reach this ambitious goal, we ask you to join us and make a contribution today.
Thanks to the generosity of two separate donors who have given a matching gift of $25,000, we have a unique opportunity to have your gift of $25, $50, $100 or more doubled if you give now!
Thank you, and best wishes for joyous holiday season,
Barnaby Muff, Interim CEO
PS – Make your gift by December 31 and it will be matched by two generous donors!
PPS – To make a year-round impact, register Extraordinary Families as your charity of choice when shopping at smile.Amazon.com. It’s quick and easy and makes a huge difference!
Very excited to announce “STEVE VAI: An Earth Dweller’s Return” – A solo exhibition of my artwork and custom painted guitars at Fathom in Los Angeles! On view Dec 7 – Jan 4 with a special Artist’s Reception taking place on December 14! http://bit.ly/stevevaigalleryshow
Today we are releasing the blu-ray version of Stillness in Motion, which has the concert in Blu-Ray, the “Space Between The Notes” tour documentary and the Audio CDs.
The bundle package includes Stillness in Motion Hot Sauce (and there will be a different Hot Sauce for each re-release, so collect them all!), T-Shirt, and pick.
Get them through our Webstore!
I’ve written a comprehensive music theory book for guitar players. It’s called “Vaideology: Basic Music Theory for Guitar Players” and it contains all the basic, and some very advanced, music theory that can stand as a powerful foundation for a lifetime of understanding the language of music. You can purchase it at SteveVaiStore.com.