For more than two decades, Steve Vai's unique musical vision has remained largely unclassifiable. The three-time Grammy Award winner continues to summon up unbridled guitar virtuosity and soulful artistry to explore the spectrum of human emotion.
Vai first picked up the guitar in 1973 when he was 13. He took guitar lessons from fellow guitarist Joe Satriani beginning in 1974. As early influences, Vai names guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Brian May, Jimmy Page and jazz-fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth.
Vai played in several garage bands – including one called The Steve Vais – before attending the Berklee College of Music.
At age 20, Vai first stepped into the spotlight back in 1980 as a guitarist in Frank Zappa's band. He actually started his career with Zappa as a music transcriptionist. Vai ended up recording with Zappa and toured in Zappa's band between 1980 and 1982. Vai has also recorded and toured with Public Image Ltd., Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth and Whitesnake. He has been a regular touring member of the G3 Concert Tour, which began in 1996.
Starting with his self-released solo debut "Flex-Able" in 1984, Vai has traditionally created a sound all his own by striking a balance between technical ability and poetic phrasing.The new 12-song set continues a conceptual and cosmic narrative arc that began with the artist's most recent studio release, 2005's acclaimed Real Illusions: Reflections.
Although The Story of Light is largely instrumental, the album does feature guest vocalists including singer-songwriter Aimee Mann-dueting with Vai on "No More Amsterdam," which she also co-wrote. Beverly McClellan, a season one finalist on The Voice, appears on "John the Revelator," a track inspired by a vintage recording of blues singer Blind Willie Johnson, whose acid-soaked vocals are in the mix as well. Other highlights include the title track (which opens the album), "Gravity Storm," "The Moon and I," and "Velorum."
Tickets for Steve Vai plus Beverly McClellan at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on Friday, September 14th at 8PM are $45.00, $35.00, and $25.00 at Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, 413 586 8686 and online at IHEG.com.