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DragonForce unleash their inner ‘80s glam in new video for Strangers, featuring Steve Vai’s Whitesnake guitar

Herman Li and Sam Totman
(Image credit: DragonForce/YouTube)

DragonForce have treated their 2019 Extreme Power Metal cut Strangers to an all-new music video, which sees the four-piece embrace a substantial amount of ‘80s glam cheese in a bid to “pay tribute to everything ‘80s”.

Aside from featuring some impressively hair-sprayed wigs and era-appropriate attire, the video also sees the band’s resident shred heroes Herman Li and Sam Totman pull out all the stops in the electric guitar department, and wield Steve Vai’s Whitesnake and David Lee Roth-era six-strings.

Fans of the track will no doubt be familiar with the otherworldly examples of fretboard navigation and mind-boggling shred runs that are on offer, though nothing can quite prepare you for the sheer level of ‘80s nostalgia and cheese-loaded visuals.

Wielding two individual Steve Vai Ibanez models – which Vai used during his tenures with Whitesnake and David Lee Roth, respectively – Li and Totman offer up a comedic “playthrough” of the track’s spell-binding six-string runs, utilizing some two-on-one guitar tapping action.

Of the video, Li explained, “This video takes place in the same ‘80s world as our last video (Troopers of the Stars), with the same cast and the same director. When Roboshobo [director] pitched the concept, I was immediately into it.

“I’m a huge fan of the glam rock-era of music – I love the showmanship, the guitar solos, and the endearing cheesiness,” he continued. “And the players of that time were amazing, like Steve Vai, Warren DeMartini and Reb Beach.

“I think sometimes the playing gets lost, and people just remember the crazy outfits. So, this video is a loving tribute to that era – while also being authentic.”

As for how Li and Totman came into possession of some of Vai’s most iconic axes, the shred virtuoso continued, “Roboshobo told us to get some cool-looking guitars to fit the theme of the video, and the night before the shoot, I was panicking because we still hadn’t found any.

“So, I texted Steve Vai and told him we were doing a glam rock video. He said, ‘Come on over,’ and when I got there, he had pulled out the guitars he used with Whitesnake and David Lee Roth.

“I remember seeing these guitars in magazines as a kid, so it was incredible to get to use them on set – I almost cried when he handed them to me.” 

Accompanying the video is the news that DragonForce will be embarking on a headline tour of North America next year, which will feature Battle Beast and Seven Spires as support.

Of the tour, which kicks off in March 2022, the band said in a statement, "We are so excited to be playing in the USA and Canada again. We've spent the last year-and-a-half waiting to get back on the road to finish the Extreme Power Metal World Tour. 

"We've also got some new surprises," they teased. "DragonForce always says more is more, so expect an even bigger, crazier show!"

For a full list of tour dates, head over to DragonForce's website.

Matt Owen

Matt is a News Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.