Steve Vai: Yep! Yep! Yep!
Steve Vai: Oh, the "Bad Squad". You know, I designed this wah-wah pedal called "The Bad Horsie" for Morley, and as a bonus for it we sent out this demonstration of the wah-wah. It's a song called "Bad Squad." It's nine minutes of indulgent guitar playing.
Steve Vai: What it is is the vamp of the track without the guitar for would-be guitar virtuosos who just want to sit and jam over it. It's really cool if you're a guitar player!
Steve Vai: Well, it's a pretty cool pedal, and it's brand new. I had done it with Morley, and we thought what is a good way to let people know what it sounds like or display it without being over the top. So we figured that if somebody buys the pedal, you get one of these discs. The marketing department put it all together and I recorded it. That's how we come up with these crazy ideas!
Steve Vai: Well, they're not really clinics. We start in New York on the release date of the record, and I'm appearing at a record store. I wanted to play a little bit of music from the new disc "ULtra Zone", but don't have the room to have a full band in a music store. So I made a DAT of the backing tracks and I'm just going to jam along with it. It's not really a performance or a clinic. I'm doing New York, Boston, L.A., Chicago, and finish up in Detroit.
Steve Vai: Yeah! Yeah!
Steve Vai: In each city. They're also giving away some strings and some extremely cool Bolays sun glasses. Very important to the performance!
Steve Vai: Yeah, well...um...it's sort of a bonus that the companies put together. It's a promotional thing.
Steve Vai: Yeah, I know. (laughs) That happens some times.
Steve Vai: It is, it is. The same thing with all my music.
Steve Vai: Oh, thanks. Some of it is. It's sort of a culmination of everything I've done up to this point. It's got stuff on there that could have fit on any one of my records.
Steve Vai: Up to this point. I make records a certain way, and this is in the same vein. After this I'll probably do something radically different, if I can get even more different then what this is.
Steve Vai: Ha! Ha! Watch me! It's like this. I'm not a pop star, so I have the freedom to do as a lot of off-center things. I say off-center, but the music isn't inaccessible. It is completely accessible. There's an audience, small but loyal for this kind of a thing. They know that you can't get this type of music anywhere else.
Steve Vai: Boy, that would be nice, huh?
Steve Vai: As a matter of fact I was talking to Joe (Satriani) just the other day, and you know, we'd like to. With something like a G3 it's all up to logistics. Everybody's schedule has to fall into place. If it does, boy, off we go.
Steve Vai: Neither do I!
Steve Vai: Yeah, Favored Nations is my new independent record company. It's something I knew I was going to do. I knew I was destined to do a record company eventually. It's a great concept and I found a great partner, Ray Sheer. We had similar concepts on how we would like to construct a label. I've been in the business for a long time, and I understand the infrastructure of how a label works and how they promote and market. So we put together this concept, sort of a musicians label. We are looking for people with a lot of talent, savant-ish type talent. Not whacked out inaccessible stuff. Since the word got out, I've gotten a lot of great players, established players who want to work with us. The deals we're structuring are very different than your conventional record deals. They're more like co-ventures, so it's looking good.
Steve Vai: Well, yeah. That's how you get the best things out of musicians. There's guys out there that know what they want to do, and they know how they are going to go about doing it. Then there are guys who need a little help here and there. But if somebody has no direction, then they are right for another label.
Steve Vai: Actually the first release is coming in January, the 15th. We have two releases. The first one is Frank Gambale, who is a great jazz/rock/fusion guitar player. Another one is an event that we put together. Actually it was before I was involved with my partner, Ray. He put this event together. The concept was to take four great guitar players from various backgournds and put them in a room with a wall full of guitars. It turned out to be me, Jeff "Skunk Baxter (ex-Doobie Bros.), Albert Lee and Larry Carlton. We just jammed, man. It's a very pleasurable listening experience.
Steve Vai: It's called "Dinner At Ray's".
Steve Vai: I started this organization and made it legal/nonprofit about six months ago. It's called the Make A Noise Foundation. What it is basically is we collect funds and instruments to distribute. We're working with other organizations whose main goal is to provide educational systems in schools that have dilapidated education in America. Education systems in America in public schools are dropping music like flies. There are organizations dedicated to creating curriculums to implement in these schools. I know that when I was growing up, the most important part of my day was my music class in school. I had this great teacher and I learned a whole lot and it has a lot to do with what I am today as a musician.
Steve Vai: (laughs) They don't teach guitar in school, those crazy people. They know better.
Steve Vai: Are you sitting down?
Steve Vai: No. Tuba. Tuba baby! In the marching band I played the sousaphone. All my friends used it as a bong! My favorite instrument to play in high school was cheerleaders!