Steve Vai: “I was lucky to play with Eddie”

STEVE VAI, as part of a recent interview, talked about the influence the late VAN HALEN leader had on him:

“I’m not like the average Edward fan in that he had any effect on me. For Edward fans who were really touched by him, it’s inexplicable, I guess; you can try to use words, but it won’t work. That’s what happens with a lot of things.

I have a different attitude; yes, you could say I’ve replaced the guitar with the voice, but to me it’s just academic. In terms of how I feel about Edward and mourn his loss, I’m just as much a fan as anyone else, and I feel the same way they do. But I know, as do many others, that everything in this world comes and goes, comes and goes, comes and goes. And if something doesn’t leave, it just means that you left before it did. And we just don’t know when it’s going to happen. So that’s what helps me get over the loss, because it’s bound to happen.

But it was a wonderful, wonderful, amazing career, and he did so much. He had a great life. It’s not like he died at 27. And we don’t want people like that [going away]; we want to squeeze every note out of them. [Laughs].

It was an honor to play his parts. If you’re a guitarist and a fan of this band, you know that these are some of the coolest guitar parts written in rock ‘n’ roll because they’re like perfect little arrangements; they lay down so well. They’re never going to sound like Edward, but they’re great songs to play on guitar because they’re complete. And you grow as a performer. Especially in the position I was in when I was playing his parts for his fans, so I had to have a deep respect for those parts, and in doing so I discovered really great performance because you have to focus; it has to improve your playing. So I’ve been very lucky with all of that.”

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