Starting with this blogpost, I decided to list the top 5 songs that really meant something to me over the years since I was a young boy. Songs I even remember where I was and what I did when I heard them the first time. I decided to do this for the sake of my daughter to read when Im dead so maybe (I wish) she can take care of thoose original vinyl recordings and treat them with the respect they deserve and know the reason why she should.
Steve Vai – Blue Powder
I would be crazy not to mention Steve Vai somewhere around here. No other musician has influenced me in so many different ways as Steve Vai. Both as a musician and emotional. I heard Steve for the very first time when I was about 17-18 years old from a “soft plastic” single i got with a magazine. I wish I could tell you what song it was, but anyway here’s the story.
Edit: it was called a” flexi-disc” This flexi-disc was an insert in the October 1986 issue of Guitar Player Magazine, demonstrating Carvin amplifiers. And the name of the song was “Blue Powder” (The A-side contained Michael Hedges performing “Because It’s There“, also an amazing guitarist well worth listening to).
I had just moved away from home to the big city (Yeah honey, you know which one – dad). Besides working, partying and playing with my band I bought a magazine every month called “Guitar Player”. As this was before the Internet, a paper magazine was the only way to pick up on trends and sounds in the guitar community (or in any other community for that matter).
One issue had a promotion single inside it; this must have been a pretty new and cool way to make magazines interactive. It was very thin and flexible and not intended to hold any longer period of time. If I remember it right it was some kind of advertising for a guitar amp. And on the B-side, demoing the amp was a young hot guitar player called Steve Vai. Steve recorded a demo using the amp and I have no idea who the rest of the musicians were on the original recording,
but I suspect it features American bassist Billy Sheehan. (Feel free to confirm or deny this if anyone knows).
Edit: I got a mail from a good friend of mine confirming it’s; Steve Vai – Guitar, using the Carvin X1–B amp, Stu Hamm – Bass, using the Carvin Pro Bass amp and Chris Frazier – Drums
This is of course an amazing song with some really kick-ass musical craftsmanship. Really not much to say more than this – you can be inspired by the amazing level of skill, dedication and feeling Steve Vai shows in whatever you set you’re mind on in life. Most of he’s work is truly inspiring regardless of what instrument you play.
This demo single was the most played record in my first apartment during the greater part of 1986 (if I remember correctly). Later that year I bought Steve’s first solo album Flex-able (1984). I had to import it from the United States for a huge sum of money. Anyway I wish I could find the original single that came with Guitar Player, but it’s long gone. I later had a big crush for the album Passion And Warfare (1990) and to my great satisfaction the song had made its way on to that record.
(Remember honey, this was 1986. No internet, no European union etc. You will however still find that first Steve Vai Album in the garage among the rest of the vinyl. Please treat it with respect. – Dad)