Steve Vai dreamed his career
Steve Vai believes the power of his own imagination helped him become a successful musician.
The guitar icon envisioned his career in his mind long before it got started – although he admits it’s taken more twists and turns than he ever anticipated.
Vai tells Music Radar: “When I was young I would listen to music in my sister’s room when she wasn’t around.
“I’d put headphones on and listen to Led Zeppelin and Hendrix, and I’d imagine myself performing. It was like meditation – I could see it.
“I created this picture of this character who would play the guitar effortlessly, who had no limitations, performing beautiful music. He moved around with great acrobatic skills, capturing the audience and being a great entertainer. He wielded the guitar like it was a magic sword.”
And because Vai saw it, he was able to make it a reality, he explains: “If you talk to scientists and spiritual leaders they’ll tell you that you create who you are by how you think.
“I came to understand that as one of the most fundamental truths of reality. So, to answer the question, ‘Did I ever envision this kind of journey?’ Yes – and no.”
The next instalment of the virtuoso’s career comes in the form of The Story of Light, his seventh full-length solo album, which is released on August 14.
And one of the key steps in his creative development was being taught how to record and edit by Frank Zappa.
“Man, he was so great,” says Vai. “He recorded something, then he recorded something else, and he cut the tape. I was like, ‘Oh my God, what’s he doing?’
“He glued the two pieces together and played me what he did. I was in shock. Just like that, I understood the whole process. I said, ‘Holy shit, that’s amazing!’ and he said, ‘Yeah, it makes every day like Christmas.’”