Steve Vai reminisces about touring in the 1980s

Steve Vai

Steve Vai during G3 Europe 2004 - Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Robert Fripp - July 1, 2004 at Palais des Congres in Paris.

Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage

Legendary guitarist Steve Vai is still actively touring all around the world, but nothing truly compares to the global tours of 30 years ago. On Tuesday’s episode of The Last of The… with Ryan Duffy, Vai couldn’t help but reminisce about the glory touring days of the 1980s.

It was fun. It was really great because we could do all the craziest things, wear the craziest clothes. The stage was probably the size of a football field, if not bigger.

Vai, dubbed the last of the guitar gods by Duffy, has toured as part of the David Lee Roth Band and Whitesnake. He was named the tenth greatest guitarist of all time by Guitar World. He is a three-time Grammy winner and 15-time nominee. And although he enjoyed the extracurricular activities that came with being a rock star in the 1980s, Vai most proud of the work he did as a guitarist in those iconic bands.

The lighting truss in the Dave Roth Band is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records. The parties were notorious and we played our asses off, though. Billy Sheehan, myself, Brett Tuggle and Greg Bissonette, we were a great band, we played our asses off. And then I went right into Whitesnake after that and that was a fabulous band with David Coverdale.

In June of this year, Vai embarked on a world tour for the 25th anniversary of his solo effort Passion and Warfare where he performed the record in its entirety for the first time. He noted the differences in the prominence of guitarists from the 1980s to now.

It was a great time because the guitar was still very prominent on pop music radio, which is not really the case today. It doesn’t mean that the culture of playing the guitar is diminished at all, it’s increased, if anything. There just may be a few more subcultures.

The Last Of The… with Ryan Duffy featuring Steve Vai, the last of the guitar gods, premieres on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 1:30 p.m. ET on VOLUME (Ch. 106).


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