aught as a teenager by guitarist Joe Satriani because Joe was his neighbor, Steven Ciro Vai (born June 6, 1960) went on to join Frank Zappa's ever-changing band of musicians to play on some of Zappa's albums including Tinseltown Rebellion (1981) thru Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention (1986). During one of his terms with Zappa (there were many) Vai found time to issue his own album Flex-Able in 1984; while on the original indie label 'Akashic', the albums struggled but once he was taken up by 'Relativity' they sold like hotcakes.
Vai soon found himself in demand and got himself a part in Alcatrazz, briefly replacing Yngwie J. Malmsteen for a 1985 album, then took a spell in cinema by being the guitar playing devil in Walter Hill's Crossroads, while also taking the time to lay down the guitar work for Public Image Ltd's Album set.
When David Lee Roth came calling, Vai answered on two albums Eat 'Em And Smile (1986) and Skyscraper (1989). While still a member, Vai would release his solo follow-up Passion And Warfare (1990) with Dave Rosenthal (keyboards), Stu Hamm (bass) and Chris Frazier (drums); it was an album featuring refreshing guitar slinging hard rock, it's reviews and pedigree guaranteed it the 18 US/8 UK it received. Sex And Religion (1993), a collaboration between his band Vai featuring Tim Stevens (bass), Devin Townsend (vocals), Will Riley (keyboards), Scott Thunes (bass), Abe Laboriel Jr. (drums), and ex-Frank Zappa vocalist Terry Bozzio, followed to a 48US/17 UK placement. Then came Alien Love Secrets (1995) and Fire Garden (1996), both of which only charted in the UK. Not to down play his brilliant guitar playing, it had nonetheless become clear that his album popularity was slipping and the follow-ups, including his collaboration with Eric Johnson and Joe Satriana on the live set G3 Live In Concert (1997) and his own The Ultra Zone (1999), failed to improve his prospects; the former not even being released in the UK.
2001 saw the limited release of The Secret Jewel Box, a conceptual ten-CD box set containing unique material from various eras of Vai's career. Contained within were four compilation albums (The Elusive Light and Sound, Vol. 1; Mystery Tracks - Archives Vol. 3; Various Artists - Archives Vol. 4; and Vai: Piano Reductions, Vol. 1) included as part of the box set, were released to the public both in 2001 and the years following. Also in 2001, Vai's record label 'Favored Nations' released No Substitutions: Live in Osaka. The release, which Vai himself produced and engineered, won him his second Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental Album in February 2002.
While most widely recognized for his stature as a rock guitar player, Vai is also a musical composer fluent in the composition and arranging of orchestral music.
Real Illusions: Reflections (2005) would be the first installment in an ongoing three-part trilogy concept album. Each of the three installments to the series would contain material (songs, lyrics, and both spoken and written narration) with particular relationships to the story line, purposefully left out of order.
In 2006, Vai joined the Zappa Plays Zappa tour as a special guest, alongside additional Zappa band alumni Terry Bozzio and Napoleon Murphy Brock.
February 2010 saw Vai introduce "VaiTunes", a platform used to release digital-only singles via iTunes and other digital media outlets.
In March 2011, Vai, with the online education division of Berklee College of Music, set a Guinness World Record for the world's largest online guitar lesson.
The Story of Light (2012) would follow.
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|City||Carle Place, New York|
|RRCA File Code||UC000289|