Mailbag 57

Dear Steve,

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.

God Bless,

Dave Lovallo