Steve Vai: For the Love of God


For the Love of God


Steve Vai (guitar, keyboards)


Passion and Warfare (Epic 68030)

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Steve Vai (guitar, keyboards),

Stu Hamm (bass) , Tris Imboden (drums)


Composed by Steve Vai


Recorded: No info given (CD released in 1990)


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

What a life story. Little Steve Vai starts out playing the much-maligned accordion, then advances to a high-profile role as tuba player in his high school band. But soon his love of the guitar comes to the fore, and he develops an almost legendary ability to transcribe the music from records onto staff paper. He comes to the attention of a great man with imposing facial hair, when he transcribes the daunting Black Page, and sends it to his idol along with a tape of his playing. Vai serves as an acolyte in the cult of Zappa, but soon develops a cult following of his own. And the boy—now grown to manhood—can play the bejesus out of the guitar.

But don't wait for the made-for-TV movie. Track down the CDs, especially Passion and Warfare, described by Vai as "Jimi Hendrix meets Jesus Christ at a party that Ben Hur threw for Mel Blanc." This track, recorded in the midst of a 10-day fast, is the ultimate guitar power ballad. There is so much electricity throbbing through those six strings that my lights flicker every time I play this song. The band hints at a tango-ish rhythm, and Vai is channeling something otherworldly through his improvised lines.

And just think what Vai might have done if he had stuck with accordion . . .

Reviewer: Ted Gioia


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