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On Steve Vai

As someone whoís been playing the bass for the past 14 years itís easy to believe that Iíve met many guitar players over the years. The thing about guitar players is that despite their varied backgrounds and such, they all share common personality traits; for instance I've found every capable guitarist I've met to be fairly clever, driven, and creative.

I've also found them to be the biggest egomaniacal assholes you'd ever hope to avoid. That's why hell for me would be a Steve Vai concert.

If guitar players are assholes then Steve Vai is the king of all assholes.
I had the distinct misprivilege (is that even a word?) of spending time with him the other night and came away with a new appreciation for every man woman and child that does not play that godforsaken instrument known as the guitar.

Not saying that I hate everyone who's a guitar player. I went to the show with my a few guitarists and they're some of the coolest guys I know- all I'm saying is that for those of you who do not play that fucking thing, I think very, VERY highly of you.

Anyways, let me back up here. If you're not familiar with Steve Vai here's the basics.

A) He's a genius.
B) He makes his guitar sound like a keyboard.
C) Nobody's quite sure why he didn't just go out and get a keyboard.
D) Some feel that his reluctance to do so only adds to his genius.
E) A friend of mine dated a girl that blew him when she was 15 or 16.
F) If a pile of shit could talk it would say "Play me some Steve Vai, maaan."

I'm getting carried away as I sometimes do. Let me start at the beginning of the list. The genius part. Yes, many believe him to be a genius. If you go further down the list you'll know why, he makes his guitar sound like a keyboard. Not easy to do. Do you have a guitar handy? Try making it sound like a keyboard; it's not easy to do. Or, beyond that, try playing it really, really fast. Once you and Al Einstein do that then you'll know what it's like to be a true genius.

In regards to his stage presence the first thing you notice is that he has a fan positioned right in front of him to blow his stringy little hair around.

It's as if he's standing on top of Mt Rockmore biting into a York peppermint patty.

Oh, but the vanity doesn't end there. The guy must have changed his clothes about 7 times. That's more then his entire audience had done in the past month!

The best part was when he was wearing this thing that made him look like someone from the Matrix. I was pretty close to a leather trench coat. Everyone around me started going "Dude, look! Steve Vai's wearing a dress."

Yes we have hicks in Connecticut too. They usually stay in the outskirts and out of Hartford until either a Steve Vai concert or a monster truck rally comes buy.

So anyways, you're probably wondering how I knew everybody there was a guitar player. Well, what tipped me off was after the concert was over, everyone there went to their pickup trucks and fetch their guitars and wait by his bus for Steve to sign.

Oh and how did everybody know it was Steve Vai's bus? Well not only did it say Steve Vai in huge letters but there's this big, dumb picture of the hero himself in case the words weren't provoking an image.

I hate to knock the guy too much because he did participate in a Public Image Ltd album that he did really good work on.

But 3 fucking hours (let me say that again, THREE FUCKING HOURS) of this guy going "rrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, rrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, rrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" will piss any rightminded individual off, especially a bass player.

Billy Shennan on the other hand, now THAT guy is a fucking a genius.


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