Lauren Hutchinson of Manchester Rocks and Chris Appleton of ABSOLVA and FURY UK conducted an interview with legendary guitarist Steve Vai on December 7 at O2 Apollo in Manchester, England. You can now watch the chat below.
Vai's new solo album of original material, "The Story Of Light", was released on August 14, 2012. The title came out on Favored Nations Entertainment, the label Vai founded in 1999. The sprawling and expressive 12-song set continues a conceptual and cosmic narrative arc that began with the artist's most recent studio release, 2005's acclaimed "Real Illusions: Reflections".
Although "The Story Of Light" is largely instrumental, the album does feature guest vocalists, including singer-songwriter Aimee Mann — dueting with Vai on "No More Amsterdam", which she also co-wrote. Beverly McClellan, a season one finalist on "The Voice", appears on "John The Revelator", a track inspired by a vintage recording of blues singer Blind Willie Johnson, whose acid-soaked vocals are in the mix as well. Other highlights include the title track (which opens the album), "Gravity Storm", "The Moon And I", and "Velorum".
Throughout, three-time Grammy-winner Vai's lead guitar is as lyrically resonant as it is technically masterful, his licks and solos bending sounds and in listeners' minds in equal measure. "The Story Of Light" follows the journey of a man driven mad by grief, intertwining tragedy, revelation, enlightenment, and redemption.
"I'm always pursuing knowledge, I'm a seeker of spiritual equilibrium-and music is a big part of that," said Vai. "I've been obsessed with these kinds of ideas for years." Looking ahead, Vai envisions a third set of songs that will unravel the mysteries and reveal truths that swirl through both 'The Story Of Light' and 'Real Illusions: Reflections'. The completed trilogy, intended to be cinematic-even operatic-in scope, will include lyrics and narration.
"The Story Of Light" is Vai's 16th solo effort, and the follow up to 2009's live effort, "Where The Wild Things Are". In support of its release, Vai hit the road accompanied by his band — who are also featured on the new album: Dave Weiner (guitar), Jeremy Colson (drums), Philip Bynoe (bass), and Deborah Hensen (harp, vocals, keyboards).