Steve Vai
Model(s) Used: JEM, UV
Ibanez: Steve, I know you are currently in the studio. Can you tell us a little bit about your latest musical projects?
Steve: I have a CD coming out in November called "The 7th Song." On all of my records, the 7th song has been the track where I placed my most precious and heart felt guitar ballads. This CD is a compilation of all of those songs along with three new ones. In the past, I've received four Grammy nominations for these songs.At the end of the Fire Garden tour, I had this idea to record a live record of my next tour. I wanted to give it a different slant so I came up with the concept to visit some far out places and write songs that feature the traditional flavor of the music from some of these countries. When the Ultra Zone tour came along, I beat my poor band up everyday with long sound checks. The result is a live record with songs recorded from concerts in Rumania, Bulgaria, France, Italy, London, Slovenia, Istanbul, as well as several other countries. At this time, it looks like it will come out in February 2001.

Ibanez: Your main live guitar for a long while has been the JEM7VWH "EVO." Is this your main guitar in the studio as well, or are there other Ibanez guitars that you have been gravitating towards lately?
Steve: Every time I go to play another guitar, I usually come back to "EVO." I have been using another JEM7VWH called "FLO" as well because of the nice sustainer system in her. The other guitar I have been using in the studio is the Strat-type Ibanez JEM that the custom shop made me a while back.

Ibanez: How do you approach recording guitars in the studio? Do you always have a specific idea in mind in terms of guitar tones and effects, or do you do a lot of experimenting to find the right sound?
Steve: I usually know just how to set my gear up to get what I'm going for. The way you set up the effects and mic placement will result in a certain sound. The song has to tell you what it needs. I listen to the song and decide what kind of sound it needs and then we build it from there.

Ibanez: What is your take on the seven-string guitar phenomenon currently taking place?
Steve: You go boys! It's a result of someone displaying the seven-string as a viable and useful tool through their music and then people picking it up from there. On it's own, it probably wouldn't have fared as well. It's fortunate for the seven-string guitar that it was presented to the world in a genre drenched in testosterone by bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit.

Ibanez: Do you plan on using the Universe on any of your new projects?
Steve: I use it here and there on all my projects.

Ibanez: Over the years, there were rumors about you becoming a part of a band situation. One of them had you joining forces with Ozzy Osborne and another revolved around a David Lee Roth band reunion. Do you ever envision becoming a member of a band again?
Steve: In a way, I hope not, but you never know what the future holds.

Ibanez: When can we expect to see you tour again?
Steve: I go to Malaysia in October, South America in November and maybe the U.S. again next summer.

Ibanez: What records have you been inspired by lately?
Steve: Eric Johnson's new live CD "Live and Beyond." It's due out in October.

Ibanez: Your Favored Nations record company is a large focus of yours. Can you tell us what's going on with the label?
Steve: It's a fantastic forum for creative expression that I could not get elsewhere. We have seasoned pros working our records. Frank Gambale's record was our first release. Since then, we have released albums from Gregg Bissonette and Chad Wackerman. Later this year, we will have releases by Stu Hamm, Eric Johnson and possibly Dweezil Zappa. Next year, we are looking to release an amazing CD by Steve Lukather and Larry Carlton. There are many more fantastic projects coming up.

Ibanez: Any parting words?
Steve: Sell those guitars or I'll kill you! P.S. I love you.

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