STEVE VAI Interview! Vai on Satch, Finding Your Guitar Voice & "The Sea of Emotions"

Published on 01 April 2024

 

Guitarguitar is 20 years old this year! As part of our ongoing celebrations, I wanted to reach out to some of the amazing artists whom I’ve been lucky enough to interview in the past. I wanted to see if they’d be up for talking to me about the state of the electric guitar in 2024: how it’s being used, the ways in which we’ve hearing the guitar nowadays, that sort of thing.

Let’s face it: in reality, it’s an excuse to have a chinwag with some exceptional people.

The person at the top of my list was always going to be Steve Vai. A true maestro of the guitar, Steve is also a bold and singular composer, as well as an iconic performer. He’s got it all, and he’s also an amazingly gracious human being, as I’ve encountered for myself on various occasions. Since Steve and I have enjoyed two previous conversations (see my Steve Vai interview here and then the Vai Inviolate article if you’ve not read them already) and many emails in the past four or so years, I felt like he was the perfect person to reach out to.

Happily, as timing would have it, Steve was just setting out on tour with his friend, mentor and fellow guitar mastermind, Joe Satriani. Talk about a Clash of the Titans! With Steve on tour, it was actually possible to catch him during a post-soundcheck afternoon in Florida for a Zoom call.

As ever, Steve proved that he is as articulate and eloquent with words as he is on the fretboard. We discussed his tour, the new songs that he’s creating with Satch (for the first time ever!) and we touch on the forthcoming BEAT project with Adrian Belew, Tony Levin and Danny Carey.

Most significantly, I wanted to ask Steve for his thoughts on how a guitarist - any guitarist, so YOU, in other words - could sound more like their authentic selves, instead of just imitating the artists they love. I know Steve to be excellent at addressing these sorts of requests, and he didn’t let me down here: his answer is generous, multi-faceted and useful to players of all skill levels.

So, it was a great hour for me and I’m both happy and glad to pass it on to you to check out and enjoy. This one’s a video, so make yourself a cup of something nice and settle in for some in-depth revelations from one of the world’s true masters of the guitar. And Steve Vai.

 

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Ray

Features Editor, Warehouse

I'm a musician and artist originally from the South West coast of Scotland. I studied Visual Arts and Film Studies at...

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