VAI, Steve

May 22, 1990 - 2020: 30 years of: Passion And Warfare.

"Donington please welcome, his Royal darkness, the 7-string sorcerer, Mister Passion And Warfare: Steve Vai !!!" - David Coverdale

After space-rocking with Frank Zappa, outta ALCATRAZZ, to raising hell with Diamond Dave and then being fetishized in the legendary WHITESNAKE ensemble, the Italian stallion goes full solo. After an initial exhibition of string prowess on his independent 1984 debut LP solo-release Flex-Able, Vai would now deliver and forever encompassed the "electric-guitar album" on the map.

Written, arranged and produced by Steve at the barn, AKA The Mothership, Steve's private million-dollar studio in the Hollywood Hills, 1990's Passion And Warfare CD is the mother of all instru-metal electric-guitar albums.

The melo-dramatic intro "Liberty" rings aloud, like a rocknroll "Ode To Joy". Ethereal sights and sounds that thrust us into hardrock chaos on the following wet-dream. "Erotic Nightmares" is the one, the instrumental extravagant hardrock track that fuses pyromaniac leads, crunchy riffing and UFO-like effects and soundscapes ...a turning-point in modern electric-guitar exploration.

A crossroad of wild-wahs and dive-bombs is perfectly performed while "The Audience Is Listening". Attacking rhythms and talk-box-like riffing, this masterpiece remains one of Steve's top attraction. The accompanying MTV-favorite video, features a kid-like Steve, portrayed by 10 year-old up-coming guitar-star Thomas McRocklin.

But wait there's more, it's not just some random wankery as the classy "Ballerina 12/24" sets-in. Featuring the cutting-edge Eventide H3000 Ultra-Harmonizer digital guitar-processor, it's heavenly delays and chord progressions are beyond, beyond. Even more studio-technology is put to test on the intergalactic "Alien Water Kiss" literally is E.T. phoning home !

Loud arenarock is present of the massive bestial that is "The Animal". Tuned to C, this heavy piece must be handled with extreme caution, while "Greasy Kid's Stuff" and "I Would Love To" puts to shame an entire array of Sunset Strip players.

The spiritually awakening of "For The Love Of God" is your one-way ticket to Heaven. Vai himself confirmed that he fasted for 10 days straight, before getting into the right mindset. Emotions can be cut with a knife as "For The Love Of God" is one of these tracks where you can actually feel the player weeping while playing their instrument. One the most beautiful instrumental rock-powerballads. 5:03sec of pure cloud-hopping and tear-tasting experience, reminiscent of Hendrix's Red House.

After the initial 1960s guitar-heros Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix to the late-70s to early-80s players, namely Edward Van Halen, Randy Rhoads and Yngwie Malmsteen, the guitar-hero status was then overdriven in the mid-to-late-80s by Joe Satriani, Jason Becker and Marty Friedman and later beyond with Paul Gilbert and Michael Angelo Batio. Yet Vai remains the most eclectic virtuoso: the super-shredder's Super Shredder. His out-of-body out-of-mind musical expressions makes him a one-of-a-kind player along also being a studio engineer-guru and instrument crafting wizard.

Ever since the colorful Roth-era, Vai became an Ibanez Guitars endorsee and spokesman. Creating the super-Strat, the 33+ year popular JEM model and trailblazing the Universe 7-string model, later picked up by new-schoolers FEAR FACTORY, DREAM THEATER and eventually KORN.

Vai would continue his solo-adventure and come back with 1993's Sex & Religion CD, presenting to the world his new-found weapon of mass-destruction / mass-distraction ...a young Devin Townsend !!!

"This is my whammy-bar, and it's gonna be loud" - Little Stevie

PS: On a personal note, I've been an Ibanez player and enthusiast since 1990. I currently own 13 of their axes. This obsession also includes DiMarzio pick-ups and DiMarzio cliplock-straps, all because of Steve.

The Audience Is Listening - video
For The Love Of God - video
I Would Love To - video
Passion And Warfare - full CD
Interview in 1990
Hosting Headbanger's Ball in 1990
Live on Letterman in 1990
Live at Donington with WHITESNAKE in 1990
Passion And Warfare - 25th anniversary documentary
Erotic Nightmares guitar lesson by Steve
For The Love Of God explanation by Steve
some guy


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