American guitarist, composer, songwriter & producer, Steve Vai, was recently interviewed by BBC Radio’s Raised On Radio this week and talked about DLR, Whitesnake, Crossroads movie, and more on the broadcast of the official YouTube channel of BBC.
As you may already know, Steve Vai has left his own band named Alcatrazz to join David Lee Roth’s self-titled band in 1988 and they had formed a supergroup as Steve being a line-up guitarist. Later on, he left the band in 1989 and recorded his second studio solo album named ‘Passion and Warfare’ at his home studio. Later on, he had an agreement with Capitol Records and Relativity Records for the release of the album.
In his latest interview with BBC Radio, Steve Vai talked about the days they have formed the David Lee Roth band and the creative process behind DLR Band’s debut. According to Steve, everything about the band was over the top and it was fun to perform with David Lee Roth.
Here is what he said:
When we were in it, we were just doing what felt really natural. We totally exaggerated things, we exaggerated the way we played, we exaggerated what we wore, we exaggerated the way we acted on stage, the show itself, the lighting…
Everything was just over the top and it was fun. It was really fun. We didn’t really know about the new ground. How do you break new ground? Because Van Halen was breaking new ground.
When the ‘Eat ‘Em and Smile’ thing came along, Dave was very wise to find musicians that he thought not just guitar player, but bass player and the drummer were pretty capable of their instruments.
And it allowed Billy [Sheehan] and I to just do things that I think were pretty unconventional at the time.
But that was an era where people were really playing the shit out of their instruments, and we just took great pleasure in just taking it as far as we can. And we were lucky that it was accepted.
There were hard, hard shoes to fill but we didn’t really think of it that way. It was just like, ‘Let’s do this. This will be great, they’ll love this!’ When I’d gotten into the band, it was the most coveted guitar position in the world at the time.
You were the guitar voice behind Dave Roth who people were used to hearing, and the chosen one himself – Edward. And I admired Edward so much. I love that old Van Halen stuff and he really revolutionized rock guitar.
So I couldn’t in my mind consider competing because it’s foolish! You can’t compete with Van Halen. So the way I looked at it was, ‘That was that, but now this is this, and I’m going to do my best to put my voice into it.’
“Because to try to sound like him would have been a terrible defeat. I didn’t feel any competition, I felt like he was an inspiration. Van Halen was Van Halen, and Dave Roth had different aspirations in a sense to some degree.
And I felt that with Billy and I, we had something that we could really contribute that was powerful. But I felt like my rock sensibilities were authentic because I grew up a rock musician.
I was a teenager in the ’70s, and listening to all those great bands – Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple, and Queen… And that really moved me and I wanted my guitar playing to have that energy.
But I always looked around the corner, I always wanted to kind of be outside of the circle in a sense, my own little part of the playground. And it wasn’t even something I necessarily felt like I wanted, it was just something that was natural. So we just did it.”
You can watch the whole interview below.
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