When someone requests a Steve Vai song you try to do your best
September 14, 2017 10:19 AM   Subscribe

"I am a musician from Europe living in United Sates. I do music full time, that includes solo and band performances. This video is from a gig I did on August 16th of 2017. It was a Tuesday night at Motorworks Brewing in Bradenton, Florida. August is off season in that part of Florida so attendance for live entertainment is low everywhere. The first hour was empty, I played for myself, took some video, made up music. [...] Second hour was when a party of three people showed up and that was my first audience of that slow Tuesday night. I greeted them and began interacting in between songs. And after building up a rapport one lady felt comfortable enough to through [sic] out a request. The rest you can see in the video."

More info:

David Smash is a Lithuanian-born blues musician who lives Florida and works in the US. The quote in the FPP is taken from his first (pinned) comment the above video, in which he gives more information about himself, his music, and his thoughts on this performance.

Guitar player extraordinaire Steve Vai's 2008 live video performance of "Tender Surrender" - the song requested in the above David Smash video - has garnered a respectable 24M views in the nine years the video has been posted YouTube. If you've never seen the video or are unfamiliar with Stave Vai's music and skill as a guitarist, let this this reaction video to the "Tender Surrender" video serve as an introduction.

Steve Vai previously on MetaFilter.
posted by mosk (21 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
"lives [in] Florida and works in the US" ftw
posted by gottabefunky at 10:26 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]


I got motion sickness from the herky-jerky camera. Kinda cool how he builds all the layers of the song though. And he plays well.
posted by From Bklyn at 10:47 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Dude has a seven string guitar.

The only reason anyone owns a seven string guitar is because they spent their teenage years in their bedrooms learning Steve Vai note-for-note.
posted by bondcliff at 10:57 AM on September 14 [56 favorites]


The only reason anyone owns a seven string guitar is because they spent their teenage years in their bedrooms learning Steve Vai note-for-note.

To be fair, someone could be a John Petrucci nerd instead. But there's usually overlap between the two in the Venn diagram of shred.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:34 AM on September 14 [11 favorites]


Yes yes yes, but can he do the worm while playing it
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:45 AM on September 14


I love this kind of music. I could listen to this stuff for hours on end.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:17 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


The only reason anyone owns a seven string guitar is because they spent their teenage years in their bedrooms learning Steve Vai note-for-note.

WELL ACTUALLY they have been around since the 1930s , and were used by jazz players like George Van Eps.
posted by thelonius at 12:36 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


I saw this 2 days ago, so I assumed I linked to it from here (which is where I get most of my links), but according to my browser history, I randomly got to it after watching an ancient clip of the James Gang playing Funk#49.
I agree about the [2-cam] dizziness, but close your eyes.
I had to watch a few times to see what he did with his pick during some high-speed tapping.
That's awfully good for 'something like that', off the cuff.
posted by MtDewd at 12:48 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


WELL ACTUALLY they have been around since the 1930s , and were used by jazz players like George Van Eps.
posted by thelonius at 12:36 PM on September 14 [+] [!] No other comments.


eponyharmonic
posted by tclark at 12:59 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


Nile Rodgers always credits van Eps with being a big influence, by the way. Many rooms in the guitar nerd mansion!
posted by thelonius at 1:06 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


I find his story about being taken unaware by this request somewhat dubious. His performance is impressive regardless. I hadn't heard this particular Steve Vai song before so I also watched his clip. Man. He can really play. And there's no way not to respect the level of dedication he's given to his guitar playing to get it to where he can toss that stuff off seemingly effortlessly. But in that video, as in many other appearances, he does things that just make him look like a douche and it almost ruins the whole thing. Like doing a dive-bomb on the whammy bar and vainly running his left hand through his hair as he does it. And the smarmy guitar-face. Dude. The playing is enough. It's more than enough. Why ruin it with bullshit histrionics?
posted by wabbittwax at 1:18 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


he does things that just make him look like a douche

He does things
posted by dmh at 1:26 PM on September 14


he does things that just make him look like a douche

Meh.

In Crossroads, Steve Vai gives a master class in how to REALLY be a douche with the whammy bar.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:40 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


Here is an article in which Steve Vai, explains advice, Frank Zappa gave to him, that saved Steve Vai millions of dollars. Maybe everyone knows this now, but it was interesting to read.
posted by Oyéah at 1:56 PM on September 14 [8 favorites]


A lot of seven string (and eight string) guitars are being used in metal these days, for those lower registers. They're awfully fun to play.
posted by gucci mane at 4:29 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


"bullshit histrionics"

I don't disagree that he looks like a douche, but for a lot of musicians that isn't bullshit. Histrionic maybe, but its a natural thing. Part of the whole package. Like grunting in tennis or whatever. In order to play 100% they have to commit 100%, and to commit 100% they have to commit their whole body, but really they are focusing on the playing so whatever lame dorky faces they make are just part of the process. Rinse and repeat for 20-30 years, looking at videos and pictures of yourself the whole time, and the natural movements morph into a weird douchey uncanny valley. We'll see how Este Haim (Haim's bass player) comes across in 2040. Another part of it is that getting into the music physically helps performers to trick themselves and the audience that they are really feeling it, when really its just another show and you have one again the next night.
posted by kittensofthenight at 5:27 PM on September 14 [5 favorites]


If ever a video needed a "... shreds" version, this was the one.
posted by awfurby at 5:36 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


In Crossroads, Steve Vai gives a master class in how to REALLY be a douche with the whammy bar.

some context for this clip, as anyone who cares knows: Steve Vai is also playing the classical riffing that Ralph mimes, in a sort of existential guitar battle with himself. Which is pretty funny.
posted by ovvl at 6:10 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


some context for this clip, as anyone who cares knows: Steve Vai is also playing the classical riffing that Ralph mimes, in a sort of existential guitar battle with himself. Which is pretty funny.

And then there's this incredibly well made and way too in-depth look at that scene...
posted by pseudocode at 5:04 AM on September 15 [6 favorites]


ITT: Mefites who want their music performed by motionless automatons. Sheesh...
posted by kuanes at 8:53 AM on September 15


At this link Steve Vai says that his body language and facial expressions just come naturally.

“With me, the ham is cooking, as you can tell,” Vai joked about his showmanship.

“I’m very animated, and it was something that I kind of fought through the years, because at one point it was kind of odd when people would see it, they’d be like, ‘What is that?’ And I used to feel 'I’ve got to do less,'" Vai said. "But then I just surrendered to what felt really natural to me and the body language, and the face when it’s connected the note, it’s entertaining, it’s interesting, it’s engaged.”


"Dance like nobody is watching" is all well and good, but if you do, know that there will always be that one guy who says "what a douche".
posted by scivola at 12:22 PM on September 15 [8 favorites]


« Older "We see your dragons and have escaped in this...   |   [ger. Raubdruckerin: pirate printer / feminine... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments