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Very funny: Steve Vai recounting his very first tour as Frank Zappa's guitarist.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Blazer, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    [​IMG]
    Vai and Zappa during the early eighties

    Now, to say that Zappa's music is "Complex" would be the understatement of the century and that he worked his musicians HARD would also fall into that category. But the man credited with "Stunt guitar", "Strat abuse" and "Impossible guitar parts" on Zappa albums, had to start somewhere and he got the full force of the whip cracking down on him during that first tour.

    Here he is recounting the experience.
     
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  2. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    This has got to be him talking about being ill during most of the tour due to inexperience

    Pretty classic

    At least that’s what came to mind from the thread title
     
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  3. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

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    Funny! He has some other stories about meeting Zappa too. Vai is a good story teller.

    IIRC from the Bongo Fury album cover, that venue was in Austin.
     
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  4. Deeve

    Deeve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Jeebus - what a night
    :eek:
     
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  5. dogmeat

    dogmeat Friend of Leo's

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    yeah... armadillos is definitely Texas

    edit: just looked it up: Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin
     
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  6. Supa Necta

    Supa Necta TDPRI Member

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    Will watch soon. Coincidentally I found an Early 80s Carvin X series head at a pawn for cheap a few days ago. Will I sound like either of them now?
    696212A4-80B0-48D5-986B-DA19DFEE02FF.jpeg
     
  7. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's

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    Must have been 1981 I went to see FZ at the Berkeley Community Theatre with my college roommate. We had tickets for the thirteenth row but there was someone else who had the same tickets already there. We went to the usher to figure it out and got split up. Don't know where my friend went but I was placed in the leftmost seat in the front row about ten feet away from a 20 foot speaker stack and right in front of Steve Vai, who kept making weird faces at me while he was playing. Of course at that time he was just Steve Vai, who knew who he was?

    It was so loud I stuck my finger in my left ear for the whole night. At the end of the night I couldn't hear out of my right ear! They finished the show with "Whipping Post" which blew my mind. Afterwards when I got back together with my buddy, I said "MAN CAN YOU BELIEVE THEY DID WHIPPING POST!?!?!?!!" He said, "huh? Whipping what?" He was into Springsteen.

    During one part of the show they ripped into some wicked fusion type section, you know Vinnie on the ride cymbal. Frank was sitting on his stool. I gave him the thumbs up. He flashed it back at me. "Show me your thumb if you're really dumb!" I had an interpersonal moment with the man. It was cool, well other than how loud it was. I'm paying for that now, see thread on tinnitus.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
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  8. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    This one is for @frank Backlund !
     
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  9. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Not very likely, but you might have a go at sounding like John Frusciante because he used one of those on "Mother's milk"
     
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  10. HotRodSteve

    HotRodSteve Poster Extraordinaire

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    When he mentions Albuquerque I had to think of Bugs Bunny.

     
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  11. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    He used Albuquerque for comedic effect - it's funnier to say than boring old Austin.

    - D
     
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  12. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Weird that he said "Albuquerque, New Mexico," getting the state right, but the HQ was an institution when I was a kid. I can't remember if that "Save the Armadillos" campaign was a marketing deal with them, but we had a fair bit of that swag and I'm reasonably sure my folks drove down from Dallas to catch a show there in the 70s.
     
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  13. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Hell, I'm from New York and I knew where HQ was! I believe Willie put them on the map long ago.

    - D
     
  14. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Now that's a man who paid some dues. The show must go on. By the way (I learned this just recently - in Beato's interview), at age 18 Steve started transcribing Zappa's work for him. Amazing musician.
     
  15. Buzzgrowl

    Buzzgrowl Tele-Meister

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  16. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I haven't even watched that clip but I can SO hear him go "Al-buh-coy-keeh" in that voice of his.
     
  17. Big_Bend

    Big_Bend Poster Extraordinaire

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    Here is a wonderful interview with Steve Vai from a few months ago, where he talks about the recent Zappa documentary.



    This is awesome you'll love it!
     
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