Flex-Able 36th Anniversary Edition (2022)

Steve’s first album was originally available on vinyl and cassette through mail order, but was later re-released on CD in 1988 with some bonus tracks* from Flex-Able Leftovers added. The current version on iTuens does not include these bonus tracks. Three versions of artwork and four slightly different versions of the album exist worldwide.

1. Little Green Men 5:37
2. Viv Woman 3:08
3. Lovers Are Crazy 5:38
4. Salamanders In The Sun 2:25
5. The Boy/Girl Song 4:00
6. The Attitude Song 3:22
7. Call It Sleep 5:09
8. Junkie 7:23
9. Bill’s Private Parts 0:16
10. Next Stop Earth 0:34
11. There Is Something Dead In Here 3:55
12. So Happy (Bonus Track)* 2:44
13. Bledsoe Bluvd (Bonus Track)* 4:21
14. Burnin’ Down The Mountain (Bonus Track)* 4:20
15. Chronic Insomnia (Bonus Track)* 2:03

Little Green Men
Lyrics by Steve Vai

This tune started out as a song called “Garbage Wrapped In Skin”, but then I started heading for a lighter concept, AND THERE IT IS. Dedicated to Nina Hagen, I actually believe that there are people on this planet right now, whether they know it or not, who are part of an investigative commitee (let’s say) for a higher intelligence. Some call them the Illuminati. Some call them crazy. Some don’t call them at all. A ha ha ha ha, Oh no, A ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. But more of this later… 

We know ya came a long way
We hope that your ship is O.K.
We hope you’re gonna stick around
Maybe to save the day

Liw, Liw, Liw, Liw, Liw Liw, Liw

You look – a real keen
Even though you are green
With those big large heads
Something off of the movie screen

Liw, Liw, Liw, Liw, Liw Liw, Liw

Little Green Men, they look so funny
Funny green men
I want one to have and to hold and to
Silly green men
Where do they come from?
Should we run away, should we start to pray
Or is it a movie that they’re filmin’?

Are the people on your planet
Usually in a frantic panic like they are here most of the time?
(Bla… I’m freakin’ out…)
Wait a minute you, is it true
About Einstein’s theory and Darwin’s too?
What about war, the soul, the mind
Love, Death, God, Divine?

Little, little, little, little, little, little, little

Ladies and gentlemen of the world, it is my utmost privilege to announce to you that these Little Green Men actually do exist, for they are part of the eternal past and venture from all regions of our galaxy to find homage in our earth’s center. Governments of the world have been very good at concealing these little visitors and preparing the public with loving movies and pleasant melodies (ya see, like that one — did ya hear that? — yes). Controlled media has to cushion the impact of the arrival of our little friends. You see, throughout history many people have claimed to see strange lights in the sky.

(Oh No)

Well, the truth of the matter is that these lights, and beings, will only reveal themselves to those who are pure of heart, for these enlightened aliens leave permanent imprinted information on the psyche of those chosen humans only to be revealed to our deteriorating planet at the point in which our civilization shall enter the new age of Light Without Heat.

Little Green Men about four foot one
Maybe they want to have some fun
Little Green Men about four foot two
Maybe he wants to mate with you
(Ooh, Ah, Eee, Etc…) [Simulated alien sex sequence]
Little Green Men about four foot three
Maybe they want to be set free

We’re hoping that the human race will become part of endless time. We love you all and want you to know that in your heart and in your soul there is power bigger than the world.

Little Green Men about four foot
Maybe they wanna kick some butt

(Chorus repeats)

E.T.I.O.U. E.T.I.O.U.

Ba-v-ni-ni na-ni-new
Ba-nu-ni-ni-na-ni-new Bda-da
Ba-nu-ni-ni-na-ni-new, Bra-da-di-dat


Lovers Are Crazy
Lyrics by Steve Vai

He looks a lot like Blondie Bumstead
When he lies in bed
He cries a lot like Shirley Temple
When he’s lost his head
He sings a lot like Greta Garbo
When he’s drunk instead
He died a lot like Marilyn Monroe
When he ate those reds

He’s giving it all to her
He asks for nothing back
He died for the love of her
And many people think that’s sad

Lovers are crazy (Lovers are crazy)
I’m tellin’ you
Say I’m your baby (Say I’m your baby)
I’m beggin’ you
You can’t say maybe (You can’t say maybe)
Or I’m leavin’ you
Are we just crazy (Are we just crazy)
Am I hurting you?

She looks a lot like John Belushi
When she needs a fix
She cries a lot like Ronald Reagan
When she gets a zit
She sings a lot like Elvis Presley
When she gets the clap
She died a lot like Jimi Hendrix
And that’s too bad

She’s trying to love him back
But it doesn’t seem to work
She’s striving to make it last
But it’s tearing up her heart and soul

Lovers are crazy (Lovers are crazy)
I’m tellin’ you
Say I’m your baby (Say I’m your baby)
I’m beggin’ you
You can’t say maybe (You can’t say maybe)
Or I’m leavin’ you
Are we just crazy (Are we just crazy)
Am I hurting you?

Sometimes you feel like you’re alone
Maybe you feel better again
Don’t get so strung out
You’re not even near the end

They look a lot like Astaire and Rogers
When they dance a lot
They cry a lot like Tony and Maria
When they’re out of luck
They sing a lot like Martin & Lewis
When they run amok
They died a lot like no one I know
When their love dried up

No one can fantasize
What life without love’s like
You can just pantomime
Someone else’s silent night

Lovers are crazy (Lovers are crazy)
I’m tellin’ you
Say I’m your baby (Say I’m your baby)
I’m beggin’ you
You can’t say maybe (You can’t say maybe)
Or I’m leavin’ you
Are we just crazy (Are we just crazy)
Am I hurting you?

The Boy/Girl Song
Lyrics by Steve Vai

Corny but cute, you should hear the version I have that’s sped up a whole step. (Munchkin love again)

What am I gonna do with that girl
What am I gonna do with that girl
What am I gonna do with that girl
You know she drives me wild

That girl she’s makin’ me crazy
But you know that I love her so
And that girl she don’t mean maybe
Even though she might tell ya so and
That girl she gets so lazy
I gotta give her all my dough
But that girl is my baby
And you know that I can’t let her go


Lyrics by Steve Vai

I need some junk
To shoot in my vein
Would you give me some
To relieve the pain?

These city streets
Are drivin’ me insane
I tried laundry detergent
But it’s not the same

I need some food
To stuff in my face
But the garbage man
He took the trash away

These city streets
Are makin’ me crazy
I tried to eat rocks
But they have no taste

My face is a wreck
My brain’s decayed
I need a fix ‘n I’ll be OK
These city streets
Are makin’ me crazy
I’m chewing on glass but I
Don’t even bleed
I don’t even bleed
I don’t even bleed
I don’t even bleed

I’ll pray tonight
To the king of kings
Won’t you pull me out
I’d rehabilitate those city streets
You know I can’t keep straight
Will I murder somebody?
Well ya can’t fool fate
Ya can’t fool fate
Ya can’t fool fate
No, you can’t fool fate

I need some help, I need some help,
I’m falling apart
Will I die in my sleep
Or will I live in the streets
In agony?

This was my first real solo album. I saved up all the money I earned working for Frank ($14,000) and put a down payment on a house on Fellows Avenue in Sylmar, California. The house was perfectly situated on a quiet cul-de-sac on a corner lot. The previous owner, (Ol’ man Ray Kawal, a cool guy whose ghost still lingers in limbo about the place) had built this tool shed out in the back. It was two separate rooms about 24′ by 17′ each. Perfect.

The time there in Sylmar was one of the best. There was never less than 5 people living in the house on a given day and we were all as close as friends could be. Having all those people live there allowed me to play the guitar and build the studio while they paid the mortgage.

Some of the people that passed through there were… Pia (we lived together here for the duration), Marty Schwartz, Mike O’Brien, Scotty Matthews, Chris Frazier, Stu Hamm, Bob & Suzannah Harris (Suzannah has written a book called Under The Same Moon which includes stories from the time), Di, Pam and her family John, Robert, and Theresa, and a countless host of wayward refugee musicians.

I bought this book called The Audio Cyclopedia. It’s a bible for anything that has to do with audio and studios. I studied this book and rebuilt the tool shed into a 2 room recording haven completely by myself. It took 8 months and cost $3,000. In the meantime I gave guitar lessons so I could buy food. I christened the place “Stucco Blue Studio” and commenced with all the nonsense.

Purchasing a Fostex 1/4-inch 8-track machine gave the studio the multitrack credibility it needed. Carvin Manufacturing donated a console and an X-100B guitar amplifier and Frank Zappa, God bless him, loaned tons of gear to make the recordings a reality.

Everything and anybody was recorded if they got too close. There is a vault full of tapes from that period. I took a handful of this stuff and put it together for release on an Evatone Flexi-disk. After It was completed it sounded like it could make a quirky yet entertaining record. I thought… “Who’s it gonna hurt?”

No record company in their right mind would want to release this stuff, it was too eclectic. So I industriously got to work with my then manager at the time and dear friend, Laurel Fishman. We started a label called Akashic Records that was later changed to Light Without Heat Records. It was quite easy to start the label. It cost $10.00.

The next step was to get the records printed up so we called some artists for the art work, and packaging and got a list of all the vinyl makers in LA… Here’s a synopsis on the making of the record.

a. Built the studio
b. Got all the necessary equipment together
c. Wrote, recorded and mastered the music
d. Completed the art work and wrote insert page.
e. Researched a pressing plant and oversaw the manufacturing of the LPs and tapes.
f. Printed up about 1,000 pieces (records and cassettes)
g. Shopped for a distributor

When the record was finished and in my hands, it was a great thrill, but now what? You have to get your butt out there and sell the thing. I called many distributors and not one returned my call. If you’re a struggling musician and are trying to get your product or your band going, you know that there is nothing as frustrating as someone not returning your phone calls. For this reason I always return every call I get no matter how insignificant (but I also never give my phone number out.)

Finally, there was a call back from Cliff Cultreri at Important Record distributors. He knew of me from the records I did with Frank and was interested in buying 1000 records. This was an incredible event, being that they were selling for $4.10 each and they only cost about $0.79 each to make. This generated enough funds to promote Flex-Able and keep recording. Soon Cliff called again and said that all 1000 sold and he wanted another 1000.

In the beginning I would change the color of the label and the inscription that was carved into the mother stamper on each batch of 1000 disks.

There was a good reaction from European distributors too. It really started to come together due to the loyal fan base of Frank Zappa. Initially it was his fans that bought the records and made it possible for me to continue. By the way, there are 4 different versions of Flex-Able released in Europe. The only difference is a slight edit I made to each of the mother masters. I did this for all the hard core neurotic collectors. Anybody have them all?

This reordering was pretty consistent until “The Attitude Song” was published in Guitar Player Magazine on a Evatone floppy disk (not the computer kind, the actual floppy kind). That’s when the reorders went up to three and four thousand. Soon after that CDs became popular and Flex-Able was fetching $7.50 for one CD. When I joined the David Lee Roth band and the Eat ‘Em and Smile CD came out, sales of Flex-Able took off and when Passion And Warfare came out, Flex-Able took another leap in sales. Today I still own that funny little record and I’ve probably sold 400,000 to date. I thank you for that.

This story is outlined not to show off how much money Flex-Able generated, but to inspire artistic, would-be music moguls that they can do it too. But don’t forget, it takes nonstop vision and effort. It helps to be fiercely committed and have a lot of good karma too.

Oh, and you have to want to rule the world…

May 2022
Light Without Heat