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Steve Vai recalls what made him decide to join Whitesnake

Steve Vai

Classic Rock

Steve Vai recalls what made him decide to join Whitesnake

The virtuoso guitarist Steve Vai first achieved recognition as a member of Frank Zappa’s band, also working with Alcatrazz and David Lee Roth during the 80s. By the end of that decade he accepted an offer of Whitesnake to join them, while he already was releasing solo instrumental records. He recalled in an interview with Vintage Rock Pod (Transcribed by Ultimate Guitar) what made him decide to join the British Hard Rock group at that time.


He was in the group only from 1989 to 1990 and recorded the album “Slip Of The Tongue” (1989).

Steve Vai recalls what made him decide to join Whitesnake

“I thought, ‘Well, it would make much more sense to tour with Whitesnake and make a record with them.’ And for the momentum of that other side of my career, and lucky for me, I really liked the music of Whitesnake. Back then, their ‘Whitesnake’ album [had] sold 25 million copies and it was a great record. I just love great singers, and Coverdale was a monster.”

“I mean, come on. I watched that guy get on stage every night and deliver like a boss. So I thought ‘Yeah, man! I want in.’ It was great. When I got into the band, all the music was written and recorded for the ‘Slip of the Tongue’ record. I just had to put the guitars on it. That was another really great group of guys.”

He continued:

“If anybody was difficult, it was me. I was a bit of a primadonna. I came from Dave Roth, and with Dave Roth, you learn certain things, how to navigate the business and navigate the magazines and the press and things like this. Plus I had ‘Passion and Warfare’ out.

“It was blowing up while I was touring with Whitesnake. So we did the ‘Slip of the Tongue’, and we did a huge tour. It was fantastic. At the end of it, David [Coverdale] was going through some personal things. He was going through a divorce, so he disbanded everything. But I knew instinctively that I [had to] do a record and a tour with them, and [then] return to the quirky music that was in my head.”

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