HENRY ROLLINS Interviews STEVE VAI About Creating Music, Playing Technique, Lessons Learned In The Studio (Video)
September 2, 2020, 2 years ago
In the uDiscover Music clip below, punk icon and vinyl enthusiast Henry Rollins chats with guitar legend Steve Vai.
Rollins: What work do you have to do to maintain the intensity, the perfection, and the sonic integrity of what you do?
Vai: "It helps to be a little neurotic (laughs). But the way you maintain it, as you obviously know, is just by having a compelling idea. When somebody is entering that creative element in their being, a lot of times there's such a pull; everything else goes away, you become myopic because the idea becomes so compelling"
"Candle Power" is a new track Vai composed in celebration of his 60th birthday (on June 6th). He explains:
"I wanted to challenge myself for my 60th birthday and decided to record a simple trio track. I gave myself some parameters to work within. I told myself I would use a Strat style guitar (tougher for me to play then a Jem), use a very clean tone (not conventional for me), no whammy bar (that’s like losing a body part for me), and no pick, just fingers (way out of my comfort zone).
I also had this idea for a particular type of riff that can only really be played on a guitar with no whammy bar. It’s a technique that I call 'joint shifting'. This is where you bend a note while fretting another, but I wanted to do this technique with a combination of double and triple stop single note bends while fretting other notes and releasing bends. After considerable experimenting, I discovered it created a unique sounding passage. You can hear this technique on a few sections of the song. I certainly hope other ambitious guitar player see the potential in this technique and take it to the moon!
We shot this quick little video of me performing the track at my Harmony Hut studio.
During this period, the world is slowly starting to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people are still facing challenges and are eager to find entertainment on the internet. I have seen the best come out in many people during this challenging time. When people join together with a common positive intention, the power surge they create within the collective is the healing element that is most needed. Like many little candles coming together to burn as bright as a star.
I needed a title for the song, and with the above in mind, and the fact that it’s my 60th, I choose the title 'Candle Power'. We are even issuing a limited edition commemorative 'Candle Power' candle in the new vai.com merch store that also comes with a high-quality download of the song: