The American guitarist Joe Perry helped to form more than five decades ago in Boston, Massachusetts, the band Aerosmith, which became one of the most successful of all time and certainly is one of the most important groups of the history of the United States. They have sold an estimated amount of more than 150 million records worldwide and influenced countless generations of musicians.
Perry is often mentioned in lists as one of the greatest guitarists of Rock and Roll but as in every field, there are many good professionals who are not often remembered and Perry even mentioned the American guitarist that in his opinion is underrated.
With many classic albums released in the 70s, Aerosmith quickly became a famous band during that decade but when the 80s were almost arriving Perry left the group (In 1979) and in 1981 the guitarist Brad Whitford did the same. Both of them returned only in 1984 and the Rock scene had changed a lot. That forced the band to recalculate the route and think about how they could evolve their sound in order to become relevant again.
One of the main influences for guitarists and bands in the 80s was, of course, Eddie Van Halen who really expanded the horizons of guitar playing. So many guitarists were inspired by his playing and first appeared as people who were just following what the Dutch-American guitarist was doing. However, many of those musicians then showed the world that they could really find their own sound.
As Joe Perry said in an interview with Guitar World in 2023, he thinks that the guitarist Steve Vai doesn’t get the credit that he should. Vai first achieved fame as the guitarist of Frank Zappa. Then he really showed all his talent in Alcatrazz (1984 to 1985) and as the guitarist of David Lee Roth (1985 to 1989). He kind of “replaced” Eddie Van Halen, since he was creating in Roth’s band a very similar sound to the one the singer’s previous band had.
“I have to mention Steve Vai because he’s just incredibly inventive. He’s a player that thinks way beyond guitar, you know? He’s got music in his head in a way that just blows my mind.”
“I saw Steve Vai play once back when he was with (David) Coverdale and Whitesnake. Some of the sounds he was making were just fucking unbelievable. I think he was playing a seven-string guitar. (He also) had some outboard gear that was doing shit that literally shook the building. He was fucking phenomenal. I’m not sure that he gets the credit that he should,” Joe Perry said.
Joe Perry had admired Steve Vai’s work for decades. He already called the American guitarist an “underrated genius” when he talked with Music Radar in 2004. “I appreciate what Steve Vai does on the guitar. I’m sure he’s an underrated genius. But it just doesn’t hit where I live, y’know? There’s something about that primal beat of blues, early rock, that just gets me.”
“AC/DC is a prime example of taking that blues rock thing and just living in that world. They only really move the furniture around a little on each album but it still works,” Joe Perry said.
As Joe Perry recalled in the conversation with Guitar World, Steve Vai was a member of Whitesnake too but he only stayed in the band for one year, from 1989 to 1990. After that he decided to maintain his focus on his solo career. He had already released in 1984 the album “Flex-Able”. But it was with the “Passion and Warfare” record, released in 1990, that his solo career really took-off. That album had the six minute track “For the Love of God”, which became one of his most famous songs.
Since then Vai had released 12 studio albums. The most recent one is “Vai/Gash” in 2023 and he continues to tour around the world.
I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG