STEVE VAI On Writing "Teeth Of The Hydra" - "I Wanted To Create A Piece Of Music That Used All The Necks, All Of The Strings, And All The Effects"

September 28, 2022, a year ago

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STEVE VAI On Writing "Teeth Of The Hydra" - "I Wanted To Create A Piece Of Music That Used All The Necks, All Of The Strings, And All The Effects"

In a new interview with 98.7 Gator FM, guitar legend Steve Vai  talks about his upcoming shows, the making of the Hydra guitar, writing the song "Knappsack" with one hand, and more. Check out the interview below.

On the track "Teeth Of The Hydra"

Vai: "It was the idea of playing a multi-necked guitar where basically everything you hear in the track - with the exception of drums and some keyboards - is this guitar. I wanted to create a piece of music that used all the necks and all of the strings and all the effects.

The song came out and I started doing press on it and telling people, 'Yeah, I played this song on this guitar,' and nobody really quite understood. So I had some video of when I was learning it, and I would show it and they'd go, 'Oh my goodness!' So, then I thought 'I have to make a video performance of this track.' And that's when I made the 'Teeth of the Hydra' video."

Earlier this year, Savatage / Trans-Siberian Orchestra guitarist Chris Caffery weighed in on "Teeth Of The Hydra" via social media.

Caffery: "Ok...more reasons why I should have just been a singer! Can’t even start to reach the levels of the master on the guitar. When you try he moves to another level over and over again!

So entertaining and mindblowing at the same time. But then again that’s how Steve has been his whole career. Hard to define exactly what I just saw because I never saw it before at all! So, I guess in a way this is him competing with himself, because no one else even comes close! Bravo!"

Vai commented on the track upon release:

“The idea for this guitar and track came to me roughly seven years ago. I envisioned composing and performing a piece of music on a multi-neck instrument where all of the sound emanated from that one creation with the exception of some keyboards and drums. I sent my ideas to Ibanez, and their builders delivered this astonishing wooden creature. I was stunned. It was awesome. When I first laid eyes on it, I named it the Hydra, and instantly knew the name of the song would be 'Teeth of the Hydra.' A Hydra is a dragon-like creature from Greek mythology possessing various heads. For every head chopped off, two would grow in its place. I then set out to write a piece of music that utilized all the features of the Hydra, but could also stand on its own as an enjoyable composition with a sultry melody and heavy dynamics.

“When I finally sat with the Hydra and started to contemplate writing this piece and how I was to navigate the instrument in a seamless way, for a moment it seemed impossible. I just started slowly, and it all began to unfold very naturally. Things that can seem impossible don’t seem so impossible once you just start doing them. Every new discovery and accomplishment were treated as a joyous victory, even if it only involved figuring out one bar of music. The overall inner vision was the guide through the process, but with every accomplishment, the process became more and more addictive. I became immersed in the splendours of the Hydra. It was a meditative experience, and on the day that it all finally clicked, performing the song felt like stillness in motion - that’s when the performance becomes virtually effortless, and the freedom of present-moment expression has you feeling as if your feet are about a foot off the ground. The exhilaration can be overwhelming at times. I’m very happy with the way the video came out, and having BJ McDonnell as director, along with his amazing crew, was vital. Enjoy!”

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