Yea - I know what you mean. I remember reading an old article right after passion and warfare came out that he once starved himself for 3 days so he could get the right feel for a certain solo. WTF man? That just reminds me of the old story where a young Dustin Hoffman had stayed awake for 2 days to be in the right state of mind for his role in Marathon Man. When Hoffman told Lawrence Olivier about this, Olivier just laughed and said, "Did you ever just try acting?" Don't get me wrong - I think Vai is one of the best ever, but...c'mon! LOLO.K. - I’m gonna try to do this in a way that does not roll out the ‘Flame’ red carpet. I am as big a Vai fan as anyone. I was mesmerized by his performance in Crossroads and then proceeded to literally wear out my copies of Eat ‘Em and Skyscraper. I lived with his Whitesnake album in the deck for about a year. I loved the fact that from Carvin X-100Bs to now famous Jose heads, to Bogners to Signature amps, he always managed to sound just like ‘Vai.’ Killer player in every regard - massive contributions to the state of the art of electric guitar playing.
But.... ‘I held a chord for 20 minutes while I meditated on it...’ ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
I remember a very early magazine interview with Vai where he claimed to practice for something like 20 hours out of every day and one of the things he would do was ‘put his guitar on the floor and just walk around it in circles for an hour like a sensitive cat.’ (I paraphrase, but I swear to God I did not make that up)
It’s like he’s always had this huge fascination / fixation on weird super-human spiritual hype. It’s almost as if ‘I was blessed to go to Berkeley School of Music and I busted my ass to get as good as I could possibly be’ somehow wasn’t a ‘spiritual’ enough explanation for his musical ability. It’s as if ‘here I am in my late 50’s / early 60’s and I have played seriously every day of my life for over 40 years and my joints and connective tissues are finally starting to wear out’ is just to ‘normal’ an explanation for him. So he has to be the guy who - with the 40+ years of playing music - feels the need to ‘hold a chord for 20 minutes while meditating on it...’
Love ya Vai - always have, always will. But too much of that Yogi Tea and Incense will eventually go straight to your head.