Steve Vai explains why he joined David Lee Roth and Whitesnake back in the day

Steve Vai explains why he joined David Lee Roth and Whitesnake back in the day

Guitar virtuoso Steve Vai was recently interviewed by The Salt Lake Tribune where he was asked why he decided to play with David Lee Roth and Whitesnake when his solo music that he has put out is so different.

Vai replied: “Yeah, but I was a teenager in the ’70s, so I was really into the rock music of the ’70s — Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Queen, KISS, Alice Cooper. That music just lit me up. And I also was composing at the time. I was listening to fusion, and [Al Di] Meola and [John] McLaughlin, Carlos [Santana] and jazz — I was listening to a lot of different kinds of music. But the energy of rock music has always been at the center of what I do.

When the opportunity came up to join, like, Dave Roth‘s band, it was the perfect gig for me, because I had enough authenticity in my guitar playing — rock authenticity — that it worked. But it was quirky enough that it was still me. And Roth is kind of quirky in a sense — I say that not in a negative way, but he does funny little things sometimes. So we were a perfect match. I thought it was a great gig. And then when Whitesnake came along — I mean, I liked the music of Whitesnake. That record that they released [“Whitesnake“] — [with] “Still of the Night” and all that — that was huge. It sounded great, and David Coverdale‘s an incredible singer.

So, maybe a part of me questioned it, you know? “Should I go and do my solo music now?” But I didn’t, because I wanted to be in these rock bands. And I wrote music with Dave, and I was just expressing a particular side. All through it, I knew that it was fleeting. And as far as what other musicians choose to do, I would be very surprised if anybody I know were offered those gigs and turned them down! [Laughs]”

Vai was also asked whether an offer like playing in a band like Chickenfoot might appeal to him to which he responded: “No. I’ve done it. And I get offers all the time to form supergroups —”

When asked with whom, Vai stated: “I prefer not to mention. … But I get offers. And I’m not opposed to doing something if I think all the moving parts are in place. But I’m not interested in trying to re-live the glory days of yore. Because that’s what a lot of people wanna do. They do one style and they get a taste of rock stardom and it becomes addictive. I wouldn’t be opposed to doing something with a supergroup if I thought that everybody was on the same page, with a desire to do something completely different, uncommercial yet very accessible, and just really intense and musical and different somehow. But it’s really hard to find guys like that. So I don’t look for it. I’m happy building the music that I do now. I went through all that stuff. It’s not impossible to assume that I might do a legacy tour or something with one of those bands, just to get a ya-ya out, but we’ll have to see.”

You can read the rest of the interview with Vai at The Salt Lake Tribune.