February 19, 2007:

Today I finished editing the track for the CD version of “Answers.”
I think it may be a little too bright because when the horns kick in it’s pretty piercing. I need to check this out. Also, the bass is not translating clear enough. The room that the last two shows were recorded in was very live and the stage reverberated wildly. Gotta figure out a way to make the low end distinct. It’s like a rubik’s cube with frequencies.

I then was able to move onto “I’m Becoming” and “Salamanders in the Sun.”

“I’m Becoming” is an ethereal piece of music. It’s a clean solo guitar piece that I use the sustainer for. I remember when I wrote this song. I was sitting in the studio recording something and I felt a wave of inspiration come over me and knew that something was about to happen. I just hit record on my little DAT player and wrote this song.

I started to perform it on the Real Illusions tour and although I thought it was very sparse and perhaps boring for the audience, the band convinced me that it was one of the most beautiful pieces they have ever heard from me. When we were in Japan for G3 we opened the first show with this piece. I don’t know if the audience got it. I decided not to play it anymore on the Japanese tour as I felt it was a personal piece of music that would play better in a full-on Vai show.

This piece of music, although simple, touches me very deeply. It’s called “I’m Becoming” because in order for it to sound the way I want it to, and for the dynamics and articulation to speak deeply, I need to become the notes that are being played. There are moments during this piece when I forget everything and time stands still. But in order for this to happen the focus needs to be on the music coming out of the amp and I need to separate myself from the person who is playing the piece, and be the person listening to it and being moved by it. When this happens the emotional content of the song is more in my control from my subconscious. I don’t know if this makes sense but it’s the best explanation I can give.

The guitar starts to do what I’m feeling as opposed to what I’m thinking. At this point my body language becomes attached to the sound and merging body language, with state of mind as the goal. It becomes a performance.

When this frame of mind is achieved it is quite liberating.

This may seem like an odd approach but after playing the instrument for 37 years, you need to evolve your overview of the instrument and this is a direction I feel a pull towards. My goal is to become every note that I play on stage.

Jeez – this could take many more lifetimes, but I guess I got the time.

Hope you like it when it’s done.