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Steve Vai is one of the most influential, compelling,enigmatic, and musically irrepressible beings on the planet. A true guitar hero to many. Vai was born on June 6, 1960, and raised in Long Island, New York. Always intersted in music, he initially toyed with a tiny spinet organ to pick out melodies and trained his ear instintively. Later, like many "good Italian kids," he took accordian lessons and began to play with other musicians. Inspired by Led Zepplin (particularly Jimmy Page's "Heartbreaker" solo), Vai was finally drawn to the guitar in his early teens and quickly made it his instument. He began studying with Joe Satriani in 1973 and progressed rapidly, in the process assembling a wide array of influences and establishing the beginnings of a prodigious technical facility.

Vai attended the famed Berklee School of Music when he was 18. There he honed his music theory, composition, and transcription skills, in addition to improving his guitar abilities. He ultimately attracted the attention of Frank Zappa in 1978 with a scary transcription of "The Black Page" and a demo tape of his playing with fusion band Morning Thunder. Based on this introduction, Zappa hired Vai as both a transcriptionist and a guitarist--Largely to play "impossible guitar parts." His work with Zappa on such noteworthy albums as Tinsel Town Rebellion, You Are What You Is, Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar, Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch, The Man from Utopia, and Them or Us afforded the musical community its first view of Vai's Strat abuse and began his impressive body of recorded works. Vai's reputation was solidified with his 1984 self-recorded solo releases, Flex-Able and Flex-Able Laftovers, which married state-of-the-art guitar pyrotechnics with Zappa-esque humor. At this time, he was also a featured columnist with Guitar Player magazine and regularly provided complex and frighteningly accurate transcriptions in his Solo Flight features.

In 1985, Vai replaced Yngwie Malmsteen in Alcatrazz, setting in place a cornerstone of his legacy and fashioning his flamboyant "guitar-slinger" persona. He subsequently upped the ante with his playing on Public Image Ltd.'s Album, L. Shankar's Epidemics, and an onscreen appearance as the Devil's guitarist in the movie Crossroads. In 1986, Vai joined David Lee Roth's supergroup and was internationally touted in the media as the first legitimate contender to the Van Halen throne of guitar histrionics. The band's record Eat 'Em and Smile silenced any hype, fulfilling that promise and establishing Vai as a majof force in the rock genre. He increased his standing among rock and pop music fans globally when he joined vocalist and mega-frontman David Coverdale for an auspicious Whitesnake sequel record and world tour a couple years later.

By the time the eighties had come to a close, Steve Vai was a bonafide living guitar legend. Never content to rest on his considerable laurels or to adhere to a standard M.O., Steve released his magnificent instrumental opus Passion and Warfare in 1990. This album precipitated an ambitious series of recordings for the new decade--must-haves among all Vai fanatics. Sex and Religion(1993), Alien Love Secrets(1995), and Fire Garden(1996) followed and ensured Vai's preeminence in the modern guitar patheon.