Skrillex? Tom Waits? Stravinsky? It may surprise some fans, but these gentlemen are responsible for three of Steve Vai’s favorite albums of all time.
Vai listed his favorite 13 albums – and the reasons why – in an interview with The Quietus. Some Vai fans are well acquainted with his passion for West Side Story, Sly & the Family Stone and Captain Beefheart; others may be completely blindsided. But hey, Vai’s compositional flair has got to come from somewhere. You don’t just wake up one morning and blurt out the entirety of Passion & Warfare without absorbing more just a steady diet of fellow guitar gods.
Of course, Vai’s list includes quite a few guitar-heavy acts as well: Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Devin Townsend’s Strapping Young Lad and Led Zeppelin among them. Vai also takes time to explain the allure of the music of his mentor (and fellow compositionally minded guitarist) Frank Zappa: “When I heard Frank Zappa, it had something that nothing else had: it had comedy, it had these really long visceral solos, and the melodies were richer and more compositional than anything else that I was listening to. How could you compare ‘Inca Roads’ with anything else? So that record was one of those was one of those rare gifts in a person’s life that changes the quality of life forever.”
Vai’s newest album, the compositionally stunning and still very shredworthy The Story of Light, will be released on August 14.