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Steve Vai Talks Inspiration, Composition, and How The Tuba Changed His Life



In this exclusive video podcast, Jazz Guitar Today’s Bob Bakert has a very enlightening conversation with the incomparable Steve Vai.

Above photo by Brad Jeter

Over the course of a more than 40-year career, Steve Vai has routinely transformed what would appear to be outrageously impossible into something very, very possible… and still also pretty outrageous. From his days as Frank Zappa’s “stunt guitar” player to his more recent expansive and exploratory solo work, Vai has continually challenged notions of traditional guitar playing and composition – and on more than one occasion even reimagined the very instrument itself. 

Which, he’ll admit, is not necessarily his intention. 

“I don’t sit around and say, ‘Okay, what can I do now that pushes the boundaries?” Vai explains his approach to the guitar. “What I do say to myself is, ‘Okay, Vai – what are you going to do now that’s going to interest you, that’s going to fascinate you, and that’s different than anything you’ve done before?”

Steve Vai in concert in Atlanta 2022 – photo by Brad Jeter

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