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Baker's Dozen

A Baker's Dozen: Steve Vai's 13 Favourite Albums Revealed
Mark Eglinton , July 31st, 2012 11:23

Porridge powered super Scot Mark Eglinton talks to compositional guitar virtuoso about his favourite albums of all time

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Asking Steve Vai – a virtuoso artist with a deeply cerebral approach to the craft of making music – to narrow down his favorite thirteen albums is going to result in an interesting discussion. “This isn’t set in stone”, Vai is quick to tell me. “It’s difficult when you’re put on the spot to choose and it could probably be different tomorrow…but these are the records I would have on the list right now.”

In stylistic terms, Vai’s career could hardly be more eclectic – no surprise given his early involvement and occasional performances with Frank Zappa – himself one of music’s most experimental mavericks. While Vai’s initial forays into solo work would see him pigeon–holed (somewhat unjustly) as one of a rich crop of similarly gifted 80s guitar shredders, his trajectory since has flourished. He has had successful spells with David Lee Roth and Whitesnake and also branched out in solo terms, releasing several successful long players, which have pushed the envelope of guitar composition. (Passion and Warfare, released in 1990, is generally considered to be the zenith of these releases.)

Vai’s sixteenth solo record is a concept work entitled The Story Of Light (released in the UK on September 10 & in the US on August 14) and documents a man’s journey through a full spectrum of emotions while showcasing Vai's axe skills and compositional dexterity. Unique amongst his peers, Vai’s open–minded take on what music is and can be, is both enlightening and infectious in equal measure.

To find out Steve's favourite albums, click on the picture below

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lh
Jul 31, 2012 6:04pm

Not bad! And that SYL album is fucking awesome.

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lh
Jul 31, 2012 6:05pm

...and I posted that before I saw the Skrillex nod...

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Rasheed
Jul 31, 2012 11:19pm

In reply to lh:

...Lol

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aaron.
Aug 1, 2012 5:54pm

"I always like when I hear something that I think is trend-setting", Vai not-so-astutely surmises about Skrillex. I guess more proof - as if it was even needed - that the last time this guy was valid was sometime around 1990.

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Dangleberry
Aug 2, 2012 7:53pm

In reply to aaron.:

What do you mean by 'valid'? Do you just listen to 'valid' music?

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AB
Aug 3, 2012 3:58pm

In reply to Dangleberry:

One thing he isn't and that is Vailid to speak.

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Bart
Aug 3, 2012 4:06pm

In reply to aaron.:

@aaron Your just saying that because you want people to call you a dumbass, aint ye? Dumbass. So, having said that, I'm going to read about Steve's favourite albums and patiently await his new album in August. Steve, you rule!

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Bart
Aug 3, 2012 4:06pm

In reply to aaron.:

@aaron Your just saying that because you want people to call you a dumbass, aint ye? Dumbass. So, having said that, I'm going to read about Steve's favourite albums and patiently await his new album in August. Steve, you rule!

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Pants
Aug 3, 2012 4:26pm

Navigating around this site is painfully aggravating.

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Francine Mabillard
Aug 3, 2012 5:30pm

Very good!!! ;-)

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Ayako
Aug 3, 2012 5:30pm

Amazing, this is the most favourite Queen's album of mine, too !

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Gary Lee Johnson
Aug 3, 2012 6:16pm

Yes that is a great album never saw the movie or the musical but loved the music as you could see in your mind what was going on wow.......

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Aug 3, 2012 6:18pm

Oh yeah great times they were....wow

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Aug 3, 2012 6:23pm

Can't say I've heard this one but I love Deep Purple.....

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Aug 3, 2012 6:26pm

I haven't listened to the album but love his music a friend turned my onto his sound....

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Aug 3, 2012 6:31pm

I love Led Zeppelin but it wasn't until my son started playing quitar that I really listened to the music....he was so in tune with my music and he was only 13 at the time wow really woke me up as to what I had missed back in the day.....

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Aug 3, 2012 6:35pm

Never tire of Jimi's guitar wow

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Aug 3, 2012 6:51pm

no pink floyd??

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Chris
Aug 3, 2012 6:53pm

Great list Steve, I love the appreciation and diversity of this list. Now I feel like checking out some of the albums on this list. Great pick on SYL Alien and a lot of other albums. Thanks for the music!

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Isobel
Aug 3, 2012 7:18pm

Great list! The intro is equally good I would say. How to bullet point a fab career in one page without plunging into hyperbole or making glaring ommissions. Brilliant stuff Quietus!!!!

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slayerbill
Aug 3, 2012 7:29pm

Uh, Steve, you are either remembering incorrectly or you are lying. Mule Variations came out in '99. You were with Whitesnake from '89-'91. I love your music, and you seem cool, but I think you're a little goofed up. At least I hope it's that and not you making up a story for the sake of being interesting.

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Isobel
Aug 3, 2012 7:46pm

In reply to slayerbill:

utterly pointless comment and so typical of web posters. The point isn't the timing of the releases or at what point he first heard MV ; it's that he hadn't initially registered who Tom Waits was... How dare you accuse the guy of lying - really low grade comment

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MZ
Aug 3, 2012 8:01pm

could not agree more. That is the music I was listening to and when I 1st heard Zappa it was magic, the comedy in his music was amazing. Turned into a Zappa nut during high school and early 20's Saw him on Halloween 9 times

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Zac Ryden
Aug 3, 2012 8:46pm

Steve has been my hero since i was fifteen and its no shock that he has such a diverse taste in music like i do.

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slayerbill
Aug 4, 2012 9:28pm

In reply to Isobel:

Well, Issy, in that case, *I* was into Steve back in '58. I was the first fan he ever had. I remember it because I was hanging with Mickey Mantle, and he kept saying how awesome this guitarist was. I mean, it doesn't matter *who, where, or when* right? So I can say anything and get away with it. I mean, it's just the point that I appreciate his music, and nothing else matters, right? That's all that matters to "web posters", right? Like me...oh, and you, seeing as you post on the web.

Also, I mention lying as one possibility. People can & DO remember things incorrectly. I can abide by that. It just seems he was more interested in dropping Diamond Dave's and Whitesnake's names, which are irrelevant to him liking Tom.

Mule Variations is indeed great; I just can't understand how he didn't like the "warf rock" of Rain Dogs. Effing MASTERPIECE.

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slayerbill
Aug 4, 2012 9:39pm

In reply to Isobel:

Moreover, Issy, it's certainly appropriate to call somebody on when they state something that is both false and easily verifiable. It's only a lie if he didn't mean to do it. All he would have to say is something like, "Well, I got my dates mixed up, sorry about that. What I'm trying to get across is how something I ignored for years turned out to be something very important to me". I think we'd both be OK with that.

I'm a fan of Steve's, and I value his opinions, I'd just hate for someone who *isn't* a fan to get a hold of items like this and mount a campaign against his character. I simply pointed out an easily verifiable fact that the AUTHOR could have checked and then went back and asked Steve what the deal was, prior to publication. That would be crackerjack journalism.

How dare I? Because I care about the truth and I care about Steve. If I'm at fault for anything, well, maybe I should have tried to contact the author first before posting here. I reserve the right to apologize for that later if and when this story ever gets rectified.

And I dare say the grade of my comments is a far sight better than your ill-thought-out crap attack.

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Isobel
Aug 5, 2012 2:12am

In reply to slayerbill:

You've gone to a great length about something that is so inconsequential. If you READ the article, Steve just says that he went to the store and bought a load of albums, one of which was MV. It doesn't say - or imply - he did it ten minutes after seeing John Waite - he might have gone to the store ten YEARS later for all we know. The point isn't WHEN he did it, it's that he did it. Why would he need to name drop Whitesnake or DLR anyway? It's not like nobody knows he was in those two bands.

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slayerbill
Aug 5, 2012 6:07am

In reply to Isobel:

Bella, first you say I went to great length. My initial post was a little over 3 lines. Your retarded response to that was slightly longer. The only lengths I went to was to rip your ridiculous argument apart. I'll always expend the energy to lay bare both a falsehood and its sycophantic defender.

Secondly, I certainly did READ the article. In it, Steve is quoted as saying he bought the albums after a recommendation from someone in Bad English while he was on tour w/Whitesnake. That couldn't have been any later than sometime in '91. MV came out in '99. So the timeframe is a MINIMUM of 8 years. That's an awful long time in between to make some sort of tie-in between the story and the discovery. He's either mistaken in memory or he is lying. Period. Nothing you have said takes away from that FACT.

Thirdly, I very much agree with you in that the lesson he implies is that it's never too late to find the value in something you previously ignored. But important as that is, it does nothing to change the FACT that he is quoted as saying something that is patently impossible.

Fourth, I can't speak as to his motivation, if any, in recounting this story.

And lastly, you seem very defensive on Mr. Vai's behalf. Hey, I like him, too. But anything worth high praise, admiration, and devotion, must also be able to stand up to scrutiny. And I'm not OK with someone I admire stating a falsehood. Why are you?

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Brien Comerford
Aug 5, 2012 4:10pm

No Jeff Beck. Satriani and Vai are indebted to him. Beck's the greatest instrumental guitarist ever. I was happy to read Steve's comments about Brian May. Jeff Beck and Brian May are the two guitarists who rock my world.

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roger
Aug 6, 2012 3:24am

excellent selection so many omissions but what the !

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slayerbill
Aug 6, 2012 4:22pm

In reply to slayerbill:

Aaaaaaanndd, "crickets"...of course.

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Paul Smith
Aug 12, 2012 6:35pm

YES - I've been a big fan of Steve Vai in all the different bands he's improved with his great chops and taste. What amazed me is his great list I could listen to on a drive down the coast. Including some of my all time faves too - Capt. Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, Zeppelin 2, Sly & the Family Stone's Greatest Hits - already in my car. BTW I was lucky enough to see Leonard Bernstein at Hollywood Bowl playing Rhapsody in Blue on the piano, so yeah West Side Story is good too. I haven't checked out Skrillex but will now. And even having met Tom Waites I haven't been that big a fan of his music but, will definitely give mule Variations a listen. Great comments about Zappa here - my Zappa fave is Uncle Meat and King Kong Variations (jamming on the black keys).

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cae
Sep 26, 2014 3:55am

Such a predictable list! So much innovative music has come out in the last 20 years and he pics, Led Zepplin, Hendrix, deep purple?? Skrillex at least he has that on the list..

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