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Passion & Warfare

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My ears would be filled with this ringing sound but not quite like a bell. It was more of a toning and it would draw me into it. The closer I let it pull me, the more resonant it became. I was frightened and never let it actually pull me in all the way because the closer I got, the more open my consciousness became and it was somewhat frightening. I was uneasy and unwilling to let myself go. There were visions too but… never mind. Rewind to 1991, when Vai was touring the genre-defining masterpiece Passion and Warfare, his second solo album released the year prior. Once described by its creator as “Jimi Hendrix meets Jesus Christ at a party that Ben Hur threw for Mel Blanc”, Passion and Warfare would become, virtually overnight, one of the quintessential instrumental guitar albums – full of melodic twists and turns that no-one else could have possibly conceived, let alone played. It was around this time Vai decided to write and record a spur-of-the-moment album with his new bikerfriend Johnny. Top Albums/CDs – Volume 52, No. 11, July 28 1990". RPM Magazine. Library and Archives Canada. 59 (11). 28 July 1990. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015 . Retrieved 13 May 2021. Which explains why the electric guitar acrobatics captured on singles like In the Wind and Busted are more pentatonic and blues-based than theLydian dreamscapes heard on modal favourites like The Riddle or the Aeolian thunder explored on greatest hit For the Love of God. This is the sound of Vai at his most direct. I had always kept journals, and built the songs around some of the events in these writings. One such event was this other-worldly state of mind I occasionally experienced as a very young child. Lying in a half sleep state, my perception would become very clear. That seems to be the best way to explain it. Sort of a super state of consciousness where everything was as clear as… well, like they say, there are no words.

Tolinski, Brad (July 1990). "Steve Vai's Field of Dreams". Guitar School. Archived from the original on 2004-06-12. Retrieved 2013-12-17.Vocals [Additional] – Adrian Vandenberg, Bob Harris, Corinne Larue, Corky Tanassy, Darla Albright, David Coverdale, Jamie Kornberg, Joel Kaith, Julian Angel Vai*, Laura Gross, Laurel Fishman, Lauren Kornberg, Lillian Vai, Pam Vai, Pascal Fillet, Pia Vai, Rudy Sarzo, Rupert Henry, Suzanna Harris* Guitar World Staff (2008-10-28). "100 Greatest Guitar Solos: No. 29 "For the Love of God" (Steve Vai). Guitar World. NewBay Media. Retrieved 2013-12-17. firsthand. As I understand it, he initially got noticed by Frank Zappa (no slouch on guitar himself) By 1990, Vai was a household name, and he wasn’t about to let the moment slip through his nimble fingers. Using his fame and his dazzling chops, he set out to make nothing less than the ultimate guitar album. forget that. Maybe Vai was inspired while playing to arenas filled with ten thousand people, and found a way to

Poison attitude); it did not aged as well as Eric Johnson or Satch records, but an amateur of challenging The independent album sold surprisingly well, and Vai gained a reputation as the thinking man’s guitar hero. It was an impression further solidified by his band, The Classified, a progressive, Zappa-esque unit that appealed to a small group of hipsters in Los Angeles who had little use for the growing Eighties hair metal scene. The only downside was, it seemed like Vai was headed for nothing more than cult status, when suddenly he shifted gears. Yeah, I was very interested in composition, hard things to play and quirkiness. A lot of that quirkiness followed me through my career, which I love. I had these beautiful Lydian chord changes, and I said, Okay, I'm going to do a solo, but I want to do something new. There’s something out there, I don’t know what it is, but it will come to me. Well, that’s a very interesting observation, and it’s true. Musically, I knew what I wanted to bring into the world, but on a personal level there was intense psychological drama going on in my head. In my early twenties I went through a very difficult period mentally. I was dealing with anxiety, confusion and depression.There was what sounded like a 1000 piece orchestra of unknown instrumentation, all out of tune but divinely perfect, audibly racing with me. Every note or sound that I played on the guitar would be engulfed by this celestial orchestra and re-harmonized hundreds of different ways creating these cascading kaleidoscopes of indescribable sounds and colors.

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