Steve Vai - Flexable - I first got a peek at this album from Guitar Player Magazine when they were putting little flexi-disks in the magazine. You pulled the record out of the magazine and put it on your turntable. Anyone remember these ? I grew up in the same town (Carle Place, NY) as Steve and had seen him play in Circus and Rayge many times at our school. Even the senior talent show when he played the National Anthem Jimi style and won. I was always envious of his prowess even then and when I saw his name on the Flexidisk I was shocked. I knew he was playing with Zappa but was convinced that this little record would suck. I was just coming into my own as a player playing in cover bands and original bands etc. I was convinced I was a player also.
Then the needle hit the record.
I just remember sitting on the couch thinking what the fuck was that. No serious .....WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT. I listened 2 or 3 times and immediately got really depressed. I went for a ride in my car threw Old Westbury came home and put my guitar in the closet. I never looked at it for year. I quit the band I was in "The Audience" and just worked at Cablevision as a installer.
I then got the complete copy of Flexable by sending $10 or something to his little label. I listened to it over and over and over. I actually sent a letter to his sister saying that the album was stolen so I could get another autographed version because I was to embarrassed to say I had worn it out. Funny side note I remember my girlfriend saying if she listened to one more song on this record again she would go insane.
Eventually I saw a picture of Steve building his first studio with a piece of sheet rock on his head or something. I thought if this guy can do it I guess I can. I went to Sam Ash and bought a 8 track Tascam setup and built a studio in my basement. I got the guitar out. I even went back to taking lessons and studying with people. In fact I had gone full circle from depressed feeling of why play anymore to playing is wonderful just make music ! As the 80s progressed the shred thing exploded and I was right there with it. Enjoying it..and that's the underlining tone of this windbag article. Here was this kid from Long Island, NY who just wanted to be an artist, to play, and to create music.
As time passed Steve became more and more of a star and I became more impressed that Steve had made this record basically in his basement. The sound quality is incredible. The playing by the rhythm section was tight. And the guitar playing well we know that. It is incredible it's as if Hendrix had gone to another level in my eyes. Now I don't want to sit here and get the knee pads out but in 1984/5 this was the shit and has stood the test of time. The song writing was interesting complex and with a Zappa flair. If you don't have this record or never heard it and you LOVE guitar playing this is a MUST HAVE ! Get it from vai.com or amazon.com its a treasure if you keep in mind the date in time and what is all represents. Not that I ever came with a moon shot of his accomplishments I did take that vision and gusto and stay involved with this stuff to the point of were I am today - Musictoyz.com etc. So Steve if your out there this is my ode to you. Making this little record your basement changed my life in some ways and I thank you......Song #1 - Song #2