Bonzai Beat with Steve Vai

Mr. Bonzai

Music and recording industry figure, Mr. Bonzai, sits down with guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter, and producer Steve Vai.

The guitar virtuoso joins Mr. Bonzai and provides us with just a taste of his prowess while discussing his new album, the creative spirit, and pushing the boundaries.

Bonzai Beat with Steve Vai

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Steve Vai is a guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter, and producer Steve Vai has used his more than 40-year career to “routinely transform what would appear to be outrageously impossible into something very, very possible…and still pretty outrageous.” The three-time GRAMMY® Award winner and fifteen-time nominee spent part of his early days as Frank Zappa’s “stunt guitar” player and went to join David Lee Roth’s post-Van Halen band as lead guitarist. The band's release of the acclaimed Eat ‘Em and Smile garnered the attention of Guitar World editor, Brad Tolinski, who remarked, “Steve Vai’s guitar wizardry is so profound that in earlier times he would have been burned as a witch.”

After departing the band in 1985, Vai designed the JEM guitar, an instrument that incorporated a series of groundbreaking designs that have since become commonplace in the industry. Most recently, Vai is focusing on his “expansive and exploratory solo work.” He continues to challenge the perceived limits of traditional guitar playing and composition, even going so far as to reimagine the very instrument itself. Vai’s tenth studio album, Inviolate, was released at the end of January, with Vai embarking on a 54 date American tour of the same name later in 2022.

Mr. Bonzai is an award-winning photographer, author, and interviewer. He has written more than 1,000 articles for the United States, Europe, and Asia, and has published numerous books, including Studio Life (Mix, 1984), Hal Blaine and The Wrecking Crew (Mix, 1992), The Sound of Money (Focal, 2000), Faces of Music (Cengage, 2006), Music Smarts (Berklee Press, 2009), and John Lennon’s Tooth (BookBaby, 2012). His photos and articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Billboard, Mix, EQ, Keyboard, Daily Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Magazine, Disney Channel Magazine, Sound & Recording, and Relix, among others.