Steve Vai Shares The Story Of Receiving Standing Ovation When He Entered The Rainbow Bar And Grill

Steve Vai was a guest of Tom Morello’s podcast and talked about when he first got recognition in the heavy metal establishment Rainbow Bar and Grill.

Vai is a successful guitarist who has worked with some of the most legendary rockstars of the music world. His career jump-started when he started to work with David Lee Roth and released the album ‘Eat ‘Em & Smile.’ After this record, Vai began to gain recognition, especially in Rainbow Bar and Grill.

Rainbow Bar and Grill is an exclusive club founded in 1972, and it became a hanging out place for many rockstars and their groupies. Because of its exclusivity, being recognized and applauded there was a turning point in Vai’s career. During their conversation, Tom Morello asked him whether or not it is true that he received a standing ovation when he entered the club.

Morello asked:

“Tell me if this story was true. I remember reading it at the time that record comes out, so now it’s a thing, and now you’re known, you are no longer the Berkeley student. You’re the guitar-playing man. Was there a moment where you walked into the Rainbow Bar and Grill, the hallowed heavy metal establishment on the Sunset Strip, you know, ground zero for all things rock and roll and metal… You walked in, and there was like a standing ovation. Did that happen?”

Vai replied saying:

Yes, well it was bizarre, you know, because you’re right, back then in the ’80s The Rainbow was just like the go-to hang, and I lived right around the corner when I first moved here on Fairfax, but I wasn’t so much part of that scene entirely. I kind of dabbled in it so I didn’t know what to expect.

It was so interesting because I was in Dave’s basement for like a year and completely sheltered from any of this, and it didn’t hit me until the record came out, and I would go out.”

In the interview, Vai continued to state how working with David Lee Roth contributed to his success in the music industry. He said that even though no one recognized his face, they recognized his playing as they were listening to their record ‘Eat ‘Em & Smile.’

He described his first memory after the record was released, stating:

“I mean the first thing that happened it -you’ll get a kick out of this- I go to the gym like I’ve been doing for years, same gym and the record’s out. I’m walking through the parking lot, and there’s this guy that’s screaming through the parking lot in his car. You know he has to stop, and his brakes screech, and he beeps the horn, and he’s got the music blasting he’s jamming to the music. He beeps a horn, and he looks at me, and he screams some profanity ‘you asshole’ or something like that, and I just look at him and go ‘dude,’ he’s listening to ‘Eat Him and Smile.’

You can watch the full interview below.