Steve Vai Biography
Steve Vai (Full name- Steven Siro Vai) is an American guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter, and producer who was born on June 6, 1960, Carle Place, New York, U.S.
He started his music career at the age of eighteen, in 1978, as a transcriptionist for Frank Zappa. He later joined Zappa’s band from 1980 to 1983. Vai is a fifteen-time Grammy Award nominee and a three-time winner.
Vai has released eight solo albums to date since embarking on a solo career in 1983. He has recorded with artists such as Mary J. Blige, Spinal Tap, and Ozzy Osbourne and has also recorded and toured with Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth and Whitesnake.
Vai has headlined international tours and toured with live-only acts G3, Zappa Plays Zappa, the Experience Hendrix tour too.
Vai has been described as a part of a generation of “heavy rock and metal virtuosi who came to the fore in the 1980s” and as a “highly individualistic player”.
In 1984, he released his first solo album Flex-Able but his most successful release was the 1990 Passion and Warfare which was described as “the richest and best hard rock guitar-virtuoso album of the ’80s”. Vai has sold over 15 million records and was voted the “10th Greatest Guitarist” by Guitar World magazine.
Steve Vai Family
He was born in Carle Place, New York on June 6, 1960 as the fourth son of John and Theresa Vai. He is of Italian descent where his family immigrated from Italy.
Vai was influenced by the music his parents had listened to as a young child.
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Steve Vai Wife | Children
Vai is married to former bassist of the band Vixen, Pia Maiocco. His wife also appeared in the 1984 film, Hardbodies. Vai and his wife have two children, Julian and Fire Vai.
He is a vegetarian and a beekeeper who regularly tends to his beehives on his Encino property. He has resided in Encino, Los Angeles with his family, since the late 1990s.
He was born on June 6, 1960, Carle Place, New York, U.S. He is a Grammy Award winning Bass guitarist who played in local bands throughout his high School days. Vai is 62 years old as of 2022.
Steve Vai Career
He began taking guitar lessons from fellow New York native Joe Satriani in 1973. Steve attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1978, to further pursue his interest in music composition and theory.
He began working for Frank Zappa as a transcriptionist while at Berklee, and in the middle of his fourth semester, moved to California to start his career as a session and touring artist for Zappa.
Vai auditioned for and became a full-time member of Zappa’s band, after leaving Berklee College of Music and moving to California and went on his first tour with Zappa in late 1980.
Steve Vai joined David Lee Roth’s post-Van Halen band as lead guitarist, together with former Talas Bassist Billy Sheehan on bass; and former Maynard Ferguson drummer Gregg Bissonette on drums in 1985.
The band released their debut album Eat ‘Em and Smile, on July 7, 1986 which was both a critical and commercial success, reaching number four on the Billboard 200 albums chart and sold over two million copies.
Brad Tolinski, Guitar World magazine editor, commented on Vai’s playing at the time, saying that; “Steve Vai’s guitar wizardry is so profound that in earlier times he would have been burned as a witch.”
Eat ‘Em and Smile is frequently evaluated as one of the greatest rock albums of the 1980s albeit retrospectively.
The group’s Eat ‘Em and Smile Tour began in August 1986 until February 1987.
Steve Vai independently released a performance footage DVD of Alien Love Secrets in 1998.
In the same year, 1998, he started the Make a Noise Foundation with his then-manager Ruta Sepetys. Steve Vai recorded two performances at The Astoria in London, with his band The Breed, in December 2001.
Steve Vai joined the Zappa Plays Zappa tour as a special guest, in 2006, alongside Dweezil Zappa and additional Zappa band alumni Terry Bozzio and Napoleon Murphy Brock.
Vai announced the introduction of “VaiTunes”, a platform used to release digital-only singles via iTunes and other digital media outlets in February 2010.
Vai performed with Mary J. Blige, Orianthi, Randy Jackson, and Travis Barker for a rendition of the Led Zeppelin classic “Stairway to Heaven”, in April 2010, on the hit television show American Idol.
Steve Vai played an uncredited guitar solo on the track “Go!,” from the album “Junk” by French electronic band M83 in 2016.
Vai took part in the Generation Axe tour, in April and May of the same year, alongside Tosin Abasi, Nuno Bettencourt, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Zakk Wylde. He embarked on the Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary World Tour, starting in June, where he played the album in its entirety for the first time.
Steve Vai Jem
After joining Roth’s band in 1985, Vai designed the JEM guitar, a unique instrument that incorporated a series of groundbreaking designs.
This designs have become staples in feature throughout the guitar industry. In 1986, Vai began working with Ibanez to develop the guitar, and the first production Ibanez JEM 777 guitars were released in 1987.
Steve Vai Passion And Warfare
He recorded Passion and Warfare, his second studio solo album, at his home studio from 1985-90 . Vai bought out of his Capitol Records contract and signed on with Relativity Records for the release of Passion and Warfare in 1989 after leaving Roth’s band.
The album was written based on a series of dream sequences that Vai had when he was younger and has been certified Gold by the RIAA. Vai sums it up as; “Jimi Hendrix meets Jesus Christ at a party that Ben Hur threw for Mel Blanc”, in the guitar music book of the album.
Steve Vai Band
Steve Vai put together a new band for a five-month world tour of the United States, Europe, South America, and Australia in support of Sound Theories Vol. I & II and Visual Sound Theories.
He started auditioning violin players to complement the new lineup while evaluating unique options for the band.
Steve Vai Guitar | Ibanez
Steve Vai prides of a staggering private collection of guitars. Most if his guitars are Ibanez, each of which is accompanied by a revealing tidbit courtesy of Vai. Top among his most celebrated guitars are:
- Ibanez JEM777 SP (Shocking Pink)
- Ibanez UV77 7-string with burnt finish
- Ibanez UV77SVR Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Limited Edition
- “Bones”—custom built by Performance Guitar
- “Flo”—modified Ibanez JEM77 with true-temperament neck
- “Woody”—custom Ibanez JEM
- Ibanez Jem77 7-string baritone
- Ibanez JEM77 Floral Pattern
- Fender Stratocaster “Sticker Strat”
- “Cherry Blossom”—Strat-style Ibanez with custom paint job and doodles by Steve Vai
Steve Vai Net Worth
With a career spanning four decades, he has been able to make a descent fortune from his endeavors.
His income streams from his exploits as a bassist, touring solo or with bands and from his solo music sales. Vai is estimated to have a net worth of $14 million.
Steve Vai Tour
Steve Vai began touring in European and Asian countries, such as Russia and China, as well as South America in the 1990s.
Vai performed on a program broadcast to over two billion viewers on the Chinese television station BTV’s Spring Festival Global Gala in 2014.
Following the broadcasting of this event on January 26, 2014, Vai became the first rock artist ever broadcast on a Chinese television program.
- Flex-Able (1984)
- Passion and Warfare (1990)
- Sex & Religion (1993)
- Fire Garden (1996)
- Flex-Able Leftovers (1998)
- The Ultra Zone (1999)
- Real Illusions: Reflections (2005)
- The Story of Light (2012)
- Modern Primitive (2016)
Steve Vai Awards
- 1993: Steve Vai – Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “Sofa” from Zappa’s Universe
- 2002: Steve Vai et al – Best Pop Instrumental Album for No Substitutions: Live in Osaka
- 2008: Steve Vai et al – Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “Peaches en Regalia” single from a Zappa Plays Zappa tour