Steve Vai - Appreciation and Album thread *

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    The Southwest
    You know I have an enormous respect for Passion And Warfare, one of the truly great instrumental rock guitar albums. I also rate Surfing With The Alien as a premier album in that category. It was a game-changing album, and IIRC, the biggest selling rock instrumental album since Jeff Beck's Blow By Blow. I think Satriani has released a number of first-rate instrumental albums over the years, but Surfing really was a major creative and artistic statement, and inventive in its own right. The album is loaded with tremendous songwriting, brilliant execution, creative and inventive playing, and superb melody. It was a commercial success, which also helped usher in an era of instrumental guitar rock albums. Without Surfing, who knows if Relativity green lights Passion And Wafare.
  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    Erotic Nightmares
    After our overture we get a fairly standard instrumental, in the context of this album ....
    We start off with a chord and rhythm structure that could have been on an Alcatrazz or David Lee Roth album, and then move into a melodic, and actually vocal guitar. Notice how the way the notes are played sound as though they are trying to mimic a vocal.
    I don't think this is an accident. Steve is a pretty clever guy and knew that an instrumental album was going to be challenging for most of the folk who had come on board with the recent rock band projects, and this track really presents like a rock song.
    As the track moves along we get some great melodic ideas that are presented in a coherent manner, and the vocal styling of the guitar stays fairly high, until we move into the jaw dropping parts, where I don't know about anyone else at the time, but for me just affirmed this guys technical and musical prowess.
    We get backwards guitar that isn't just an effect, it sounds like it could have been written that way.
    We move into a mood sequence section that kind of melds some various styles and ideas, and also uses some vocal mimicking techniques, that lead us into an intriguing layer of sound effects and then again into some really interesting guitar parts that are superbly arranged for maximum musical impact and again use the idea of mimicking vocal type arrangements, but with broader and more engaging melodies than most mainstream vocalists are going to use.

    I seriously think this was an extremely thoughtful way to open the heart of this album. An overture followed by a very vocal styled rock tune, with a lot of interesting textures....

    Great track.

    Fonz and Miles1968 like this.
  3. Anthrax

    Anthrax Forum Resident

    So much packed into one song, it's impossible to take it all in on just the one listen. I could say that about 99% of the album, though.

    I love how it begins just like a hard rock song, but then the guitar calls your attention with a wolf whistle and as you turn to look you're grabbed by the collar and sent flying away in several unexpected directions. A feast for the ears - like 99% of the album!
  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    Steve Vai - a rough history
    The JEM guitar
    Talking about Zappa
    Some guitar techniques

    Stevie's Spanking with Zappa 1981

    May 1981 Zappa Tinseltown Rebellion
    Fine Girl
    Easy Meat
    For The Young Sophisticate
    Love Of My Life
    Ain't Got No Heart
    Panty rap, Tell me you love me, Now You See it now You don't, Dance Contest, Blue Light, Tinseltown Rebellion, Pick Me I'm clean
    Bamboozeld By Love, Brown Shoes Don't Make It, Peaches 3

    1981 - Shut Up And Play Yer guitar - Frank Zappa Guitar Book

    sept 1981 Zappa You Are What You Is

    Teenage Wind
    Harder Than Your Husband
    Doreen, Goblin Girl, Theme From the 3rd movement of sinister footwear
    Society Pages, I'm A beautiful Guy, Beauty Knows No Pain
    Charlies enormous mouth, Any Downers, Conehead, You Are What You Is
    You Are What You Is - video
    Mudd Club, The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing, Dumb All Over
    Heavenly Bank Account, Suicide Chump, Jumbo Go Away, If Only She Woulda, Drafted Again

    NYC Palladium 1981 - with Zappa

    May 1982 Zappa Ship Arriving Too Late to Save A Drowning Witch
    No Not Now
    Valley Girl
    I Come From Nowhere
    Drowning Witch
    Teenage Prostitute

    Mar 1983 Zappa Man From Utopia
    Cocaine Decisions
    The Dangerous Kitchen
    Tink Walks Amok
    The Radio Is Broken
    The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou
    Stick Together
    Jazz Discharge Party Hats
    We Are Not Alone

    Jan 1984 Zappa Flex-able + leftovers
    Little Green Men
    Viv Woman
    Lovers Are Crazy
    Salamanders In The Sun
    Boy/Girl Song
    The Attitude Song
    Call It Sleep
    Bill's Private Parts
    Next Stop Earth
    There's Something Dead In Here
    Flex-able Leftovers
    You Didn't Break it
    Bledsoe Blvd
    The Beast Of Love
    Burnin' Down The Mountain
    So Happy
    Details At 10
    Little Pieces Of Seaweed
    Chronic Insomnia

    Oct 1984 Alcatrazz - Power Live dvd

    Oct 1984 Zappa - Them Or Us

    The Closer You Are
    In France
    Ya Hozna
    Sinister Footwear II
    Truck Driver Divorce
    Stevie's Spanking - live Vai and Zappa jam
    Baby Take Your Teeth Out
    Marque-son's Chicken
    Planet Of My Dreams
    Be In My Video
    Them Or Us
    Frogs With Dirty Little Lips
    Whipping Post

    March 1985 Alcatrazz Disturbing The Peace
    God Blessed Video
    Mercy - actual song
    Will You Be Home Tonight
    Wire And Wood
    Desert Diamond
    Painted Lover
    A Lighter Shade Of Green
    Sons And Lovers
    Breaking The Heart Of The City - live

    Vai Live at the Spirit Club 1985

    Nov 1985 Frank Zappa - Meets The Mothers Of Prevention
    We're Turning Again
    Alien Orifice
    Yo Cats
    What's New In Baltimore
    Little Beige Samb
    Porn Wars
    Aerobics In Bondage
    I Don't Even Care
    One Man One Vote

    Jan 1986 Public Image Limited (PIL) - Album

    Western Vacation

    July 86 Eat Em And Smile
    Yankee Rose
    Shy Boy
    I'm Easy
    Ladies Night In Buffalo - correction
    Goin Crazy
    Tobacco road (Spanish)
    Big Trouble
    Elephant Gun
    Big Trouble
    Bump And Grind
    That's Life

    Live In Detroit 86
    Live In Montreal 86

    1986 The Crossroads dual

    1988 Skyscraper
    Just Like Paradise
    Bottom Line
    Damn Good
    Hot Dog And A Shake
    Stand Up
    Perfect Timing
    Two Fools Born A Minute

    Nov 1989 Whitesnake Slip Of The Tongue
    Slip Of The Tongue
    Cheap N Nasty
    Fool For Your Lovin'
    Now You're Gone
    Kittens Got Claws
    Wings Of The Storm
    Deeper The Love
    Judgement Day
    Slow Poke Music
    Sailing Ships
    b-side Sweet Lady Luck

    May 1990 Passion And Warfare
    Erotic Nightmares

    For The Love Of God -live with the Metropole Orchestra
    Bfunkthe1 likes this.
  5. Fonz

    Fonz Forum Resident


    Steve showing off his arranging an orchestration talents. I think i read that there were 30 tracks of guitar on this piece, with groups set to emulate woodwind, brass etc.
    I like it as an album opener, but really its an amuse bouche for...

    Erotic Nightmares

    I absolutely LOVE this one. I think you guys have described it perfectly above- the 'conventional rock tune' that hooks the listener before it goes crazy.
    When I got the record, first listen, I was a little worried after 'Liberty', because I was craving the mad rockier stuff. This track delivers that, and then some.
    mark winstanley and Miles1968 like this.
  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    The Animal
    It always struck me how odd sounding that dirty rhythm guitar groove sounded.
    This is a no mess, no fuss grinder of a track. We have the great rhythm grind opening us up and working in between pieces of really expressive lead guitar.
    You can here the layers of guitars that went into creating this great sounding track.
    About half way through we move into this cool bass and drum groove and get the lead break proper, which moves into a sort of wall of sound section full of some ripping guitar.
    To me this track is all about the dirty groove, and it, for me at least, manages to have enough personality to carry it off beautifully, and holds my attention into the album.

    Bfunkthe1, peymei4ever and Miles1968 like this.
  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    This starts off with a rhythm guitar track that is somewhat reminiscent of the Flex-able project.
    I love the way the opening section leads us in. We are based almost completely in a rhythmic structure and we get some great ringing tones, that are almost background effects.
    Then when we launch into the melody it is great. It is a wandering melody that has sections doubled and augmented by extra guitar tracks.
    The little repeat riff that modulates up and then back down a couple times is relatively simple, but works beautifully as a hook.
    Then we end with a tacet and an burst of sound that has ... a sort of preachers voice coming in.
    This is an excellent track, and the album just keeps pealing back the layers and opening itself up as we move along.

    peymei4ever and Miles1968 like this.
  8. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    The Southwest
    Answers is a fantastic track, one of my personal favorite pieces of music on the album. I think Vai did a great job fusing some of his Zappa/Flex-able influences with his mainstream rock sensibilities. Wonderful layers of guitar tracks and a repeated melodic drive throughout. I would argue this song is part of a larger suite with The Riddle.
    peymei4ever and mark winstanley like this.
  9. peymei4ever

    peymei4ever Forum Resident

    Awesome track, very Flex-Able (with the recurrent "Close Encounters theme" and the 2:00 mark-does it have a name?-recurrent quotes as well). I remember that I learned the Dutch intro sentence by heart as a "if you know, you know. If you don't know, well...." rite of passage one liner to break the ice with fellow music lovers and musicians who for sure would have heard that line before on the album a the time! Crazy kid I was:)) Anyway, well said Mark!
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  10. Fonz

    Fonz Forum Resident

    well, that answers a question I’ve had for a while!
    Who said it? Vandenberg, I’m guessing.
    mark winstanley likes this.
  11. Miles1968

    Miles1968 Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure it is Vandenbergh (its a long time ago :))
    mark winstanley likes this.
  12. peymei4ever

    peymei4ever Forum Resident

    Yep, it is indeed Adrian Vandenberg
    mark winstanley likes this.
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    The Riddle
    Interesting that we have "The animal answers the riddle"
    We have a nice reverb on the guitar, just adding a nice depth, without getting too splashy.
    We get this nice groove, with the guitar weaving lines that really could tiwe into the idea of a riddle. There are melodic passages, and there are flights of fancy. then we break down to a sort of mellow funky section with some choral sitar.
    We get a crescendo that leads to a reprise of ... well the track name is evading me at the moment ... I am sure someone can help me here. About 2:35 we move into a melody that is another piece of music, and I just can't pick it at the moment (tired and hungover lol) and I know it really well ... anyway
    We move into a nice mellow clean guitar and then head into some layering effects that drop into a sort of over the top section and into a lead break proper.

    This whole track is a journey. It covers so much musical territory it is quite remarkable in its scope, and we move into the US pledge of allegiance, and that in itself is quite interesting, and makes one wonder what the underlying thoughts were behind these themes.
    This is one of the kinds of things that makes this album so much different to most guitar player albums. We have all these interesting little things the colour in the picture, or colour outside the edges, if you prefer, but these things add to the story being told in music across the course of this record.

    Miles1968 likes this.
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    Ballerina 12/24
    I can only assume this is using the Eventide. We have a sensationally beautiful and interesting piece of music, that comes through at probably an octave higher than played. This is what I have always assumed anyhow. If anyone knows better please let me know.
    Anyhow, this is a very pretty short piece, that in its short time frame certainly offers a lot of musical interest, moving through a series of feels and through some deft layering creates a soundscape unlike anything heard prior to me.
    We end with Steve doing some breathing exercises.

  15. Miles1968

    Miles1968 Well-Known Member

    This track always fascinated me as I had no idea how it was done when I first heard it - the answer is that it is the Eventide :)
    mark winstanley likes this.
  16. Fonz

    Fonz Forum Resident

    I think the 12/24 refers to 1- and 2- octaves of pitch shift
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  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    I thought it might but wasn't sure.
  18. Anthrax

    Anthrax Forum Resident

    I've no idea if that's the case, but I agree with you that they work fantastically well together.
    mark winstanley and Miles1968 like this.
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    For The Love Of God

    wiki info
    "For the Love of God" is an instrumental guitar piece by Steve Vai. It is the seventh song on Vai's 1990 album, Passion and Warfare. The piece runs for six minutes and features a number of techniques including pitch bends, legato, and sweep picking. Vai recorded the track on the fourth day of a ten-day fast. During an interview, he explained, "I do try to push myself into relatively altered states of consciousness. Because in those states you can come up with things that are unique even for yourself".[1]

    David Coverdale of Whitesnake provides a spoken word at the end of the song. He speaks the phrase, "Walking the fine line between Pagan and Christian." Vai recorded the song on an early prototype of the Ibanez Universe 7-string guitar. He eventually gave the guitar to Prince in 1996. [2]

    Steve Vai debuted the song in Seville, Spain, during the "Leyendas de la Guitarra" (Guitar Legends) festival in 1991. [3] One of its most acclaimed performances was with the Metropole Orchestra in the Netherlands, which is featured on the Sound Theories album.[4]

    For the Love of God was voted #29 in a readers' poll of the 100 greatest guitar solos of all time for the magazine, Guitar World.[5] For the Love of God has also been featured on numerous video games such as, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and Rock Band.

    I was going to post the songfacts info, as it often has some interesting side points/info ... It had the same info as wiki plus two pretty big put downs - Should have been called an exercise in self indulgence, but Rush stole that title - The supposedly egocentric Ritchie Blackmore looks positively humble in comparison to Vai ... This kind of bs pisses me off to be honest, and is a large part of the reason I wanted to do the thread. For some reason, I can only imagine jealousy or some other negative, self indulgent emotion, folks just love to hate Vai, seemingly based only on his brilliance, rather than actually listening to anything he does with a musical ear .... It makes me want to punch things....


    As quite readily proven by the orchestral version posted on the first page of the thread, this is a melodic masterpiece, and also happens to be a series of beautiful and amazing sections of music that happen to have some incredible guitar playing.
    For anyone to doubt this is a written piece of music, look up any live version, including the Metropole Orchestra version, and you get essentially the same track with little variation, except a slight nuance here or there, and generally live there is an improvised outro, that is generally working in somewhat ambient minimalist terms.

    We come in with the guitar playing a beautiful and melancholy melody. Underneath we have a beautiful arpeggio. We have solid good sounding drums and bass. There is nothing here that is really an afterthought. It is all beautifully written, and the execution is stunning.
    Whether Steve's fast had any effect on this, I have no idea, but it shows a dedication to excellence that few people bother with. He wanted to try and do something beyond just a guitar tune. To me he achieved that in abundance. For me this is still one of the most stunning pieces of recorded music ever. Sure there is some flash guitar playing, why wouldn't there be? The guy is a monster guitar player. Is he supposed to dumb it down to save sensitive folks feelings? What a pile of bs.

    We get this somewhat slow steady feel, that meanders through a few sections, and frankly, from my perspective features some of the most amazingly emotive guitar ever recorded.

    It is futile to try and break this down, this is an emotional experience, so far beyond most songs/instrumentals released that is doesn't really bear comparison.

    Just give yourself six minutes, close your eyes and disappear into the amazing, beautiful, majestic piece of music.

  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    For close comparison, here is the Metropole version again

    Miles1968 likes this.
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    From Where The Wild Things Are

  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    The Iridium in New York City

  23. Anthrax

    Anthrax Forum Resident

    Some people listen and don't like it. Others will sooner listen to their own prejudice than the music.
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  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    For sure. I have no problem with someone stating they don't like something, it is just when it comes dressed in this self important "no soul", "machine" etc etc nonsense is kind of annoys me lol
    peymei4ever likes this.
  25. Anthrax

    Anthrax Forum Resident

    And my favourite live version of this masterpiece, 1991:


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