This post is intended to be a completely personal point of view. Steve Vai was (and still is) a big influence as I was a kid trying to put some beautiful noise through my guitar.
Time has passed and I still enjoy listening to his music. He is a complete musician with a priviliged ear and fingers. Of course, he was a guitar freak since his early years, practicing and practicing every time, but either way he became an endless source of creativity and talent.
Chit-chat is done. The thing is that here I present my 7 (magic number) favorite songs of Steve Vai, just for you to know and (in a desired case) also respond with your favorite ones from him. Tan ta ra raaaaaaa!!:
Scuttle Buttin’ is on Cocaine or something, because Steve revives that masterpiece from SRV to give a “virtuoso” and technically challenging sound. This is the kind of song that makes me take my guitar and try some pull-offs until my fingers bleed and I throw my guitar, but in the meantime I had some fun hitting the strings. A fast sequence of explosions to your ears: Jibboom, yo!
Vai likes to kick hives and run around them while throwing some Molotov cocktails at the haystacks and shouting non-sense. Or at least I visualize him like that as he plays “Juice”. Technique? Impossible. Rhythm? Frenzied. Sound? Fantastic!
5. The crying machine.
For me the most eclectic song of Vai. Has all of his most used techniques. Pulls, tapping, slides, bends, etc. and etc. The things are not only ending there; as it is a very hard work to put all these in a song, but guess what! Vai did it and moving ourselves from an accelerated sound to a ballad (even romantic), to finally put us back to ride that Mustang in the wildest version of an unfeeling machine that cries notes and phrases. What did I just write? I don’t know, but is senseless as a Crying Machine.
I’ve always had a weakness for acoustic pieces. I don’t know, I don’t know, my early “bolero” beginnings give me the nicest memories, besides my increasing love for classical music. Chopin for guitar, Paganini, Sor and even Villa-Lobos complete my repertories. What does it has to do with “Sisters”? Nothing! Or at least that they are not close to the electrical sound of a Floyd Rose distorting up and down the screams of the vibrating set of strings, as Steve use to do it. “Sisters” gets closer to the raw sound of a hollow wooden body. One may think that Vai’s Passion is made for the Humbuckers and vibrato arms. Wrong idea, and this is how he shows it.
Unfortunately not video of the original acoustic piece, but the cover of the kid up there sounds good (doesn’t matter, look for the original).
3. For the Love of God.
The classic of classics from Vai. The song is not made for any one. It is a great masterpiece with the most beautiful technique that I’ve ever seen. the first time I heard it was because of its live performance in the 3G DVD. I had an eargasm and fell in love with the sound. Everyone covers it, everyone loves it. A true musical experience that only few people in the world can even dare to repeat. No matter your religion, no matter your God’s name, no matter if you have any. “For the love of God” is unrivaled and extremely passionate, as if Steve truly makes love to his guitar. Cry, baby, cry! The end of times is here, but Vai is still with us.
2. Bad Horsie.
“Crossroads“, the movie with Ralph Maccio comes to my mind everytime I hear the first notes of Bad Horsie. Yeah yeah, supposed to be the sounds of a horse, but still recall the sounds of “Lighting” trying to imitate the southern locomotives. Perhaps I also remember it because it was the film where I happened to know about the existence of that guy, Mr. Vai. He played Jack Butler (the “Beheader”). Saw him when I was 12 and since when my eyes and ears have a warm feeling of empathy to his guitar. In the second place, just because I knew about Vai with it and because has the strong heavy accent of a powerful C-drop ass-kicking bitch.
1. Tender Surrender.
Do I wanna cry? Damn! I don’t know, but this sound is A-MA-ZING! No no no, no words to describe what I feel everytime that I hear this. Part of it was adapted and formed what is actually the main theme of the videogame “Halo”. The instrumental version of it is simply breathtaking and transports me to the inner dimensions of my head. Huh huh huh! I wish I could make love as Steve does it to his guitar. I really wish it! The maximum expression of a dazzling movement of notes and sounds that literally run across a variable rhythm, changing, giving colors, tearing everything into pieces, completing each other, eating theirselves, kissing the fingers of the soft hand that touches the body of the guitar. Everything! Everything is here, let me hear it and be part of it! Let me run with it! I’m there and I cannot stop it. I had it. It’s done. I’m yours. I surrendered to you.