Steve Vai Names One Of The Biggest Mistakes In His Career
During a recent interview with Guitar World, Steve Vai was asked if he wants to be more prolific now that he’s in his 60s. The guitarist candidly stated that this desire affected him for a long time, which caused him to fill his schedule with dreams and fantasies. However, he has learned from his mistakes and stated that he now focuses on one thing on his plate.
Steve Vai started his music journey at the early age of 13 when he began to take guitar lessons from fellow New Yorker Joe Satriani. After that, the musician played in local bands during his high school years, but it wasn’t until 1978 that he took a leap of faith by sending a recording of his college band to Frank Zappa.
Impressed by the recording, Zappa responded by putting Vai on salary to transcribe his work, including pieces from the ‘Joe’s Garage’ and ‘Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar’ albums. After leaving college and moving to California, Vai auditioned and became a full-time member of Zappa’s band, going on his first tour with the musician in late 1980.
Following his breakthrough with Zappa’s band, Vai managed to climb the steps by playing with numerous successful rockers, including former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth, and leading a solo career. His music career, spanning over four decades, is filled with live performances and record releases since the guitarist hasn’t slowed since day one.
During an interview, Steve Vai reflected on this matter when asked if he wants to focus on being more prolific now that he’s 61 years old. The musician started saying this passion took over a significant portion of his life as a musician since he spent many years trying to satisfy himself by taking more duties than he should’ve.
Vai admitted that he realized this when he was 50 as he looked back on his career and saw somebody who tried to do 100 projects when in reality, he should’ve focused on one. That’s when the musician took a minute to appreciate his artistry and creativity that didn’t need dozens of projects to prove itself. Now that he’s aware of his limits, Vai stated that he isn’t worried about making as many projects as he can.
When asked if he wants to be more prolific, Vai said:
“That curse plagued me for a good part of my life. Strangely enough, again, for the last five to eight years, it’s also dissolved. There will never be enough for the ego. You’ll never be able to satisfy the unending thirst to express yourself creatively.
It won’t go away, but the feeling that you’ve got to get it all out now in panic mode. What matters is how you feel the moment you’re creating music or whatever you’re doing. If you’re looking for it in the future, it’s never going to come, because you’re always looking for it in the future.”
“When I turned 50, I looked at all of the lists of projects I’ve accumulated through the years that I wanted to accomplish, and I realized they were pipe dreams and fantasies. I could do one project a year, and the reality was, I had 100 of them.
And I just thought, ‘OK, you have to rethink this, Steve. You’ve been doing your best to be creative, and what’s been coming out is pretty appropriate for the time. So just continue. Don’t worry about all the stuff you want to release that isn’t going to be released because it’s all contained in each project you do.’ I think that makes sense.”
It appears that Steve Vai had many ideas that he wanted to bring to life, whereas his time required him to slow down. However, the guitarist wanted to prove himself that his creativity could’ve accomplished everything, but the number of projects he had done wasn’t proof of his artistry in the first place.