Mailbag 27

>My First Meeting With Vai’s Music.

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

Keep up the good work!!!

Frode A. K. Thorkildsen

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