Steve Vai: “Everything I play, in mind, I derive from the blues scale. It just might not sound that way when you hear it against all those weird chords”

Steve Vai
(Image credit: Larry DiMarzio)

It says a lot about Steve Vai that when he connects with Total Guitar to discuss his latest release – an album that remained unheard for 30 years until now – he’s just as interested in what we make of it as he is in regaling the fascinating story behind the music. “What you were thinking when you first heard it?” he asks. “You can be as brutally honest as you want...”

It’s certainly not the way interviews are usually conducted, but then Steve Vai has always been the antithesis of normality – a wildly charismatic player who early on chose to pursue paths less trodden, avoiding many of the typical conventions and clichés of the instrument in order to discover and develop his own unique voice.

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).