Keeping bees and making music

  • 2005-09-28
  • By Julia Balandina
RIGA - Guitarist, composer and singer Steve Vai has some serious credits to his name. Before becoming known as a solo artist, he spent time backing a variety of world famous stars - from Frank Zappa to Johnny Lydon/Rotten of the Sex Pistols, from David Lee Roth to Whitesnake.

But it was with the latter two that Vai came into the international spotlight. His guitar wizardry began in full with his 1984 debut record "Flex-Able" and six years later with the more developed "Passion and Warfare." In 1993, Vai won a Grammy Award for his song "Sofa." The artist is known for his rare seven-string slinging, an epic variety of tunes, wicked metal riffing and surprisingly esoteric and pleasing melodies. In contrast to the harder rock that Vai does with others, his own work is much more subdued.

In February 2005, the rock star released his 19th album, "Real Illusions: Reflections." This highly successful project was nominated for a Grammy Award and without a doubt is Vai's biggest solo achievement. A challenging but deeply rewarding album, the music continues Vai's practice of pushing rock music to its limits. It is the first part of a gradually unfolding fable Vai has written. While the liner notes start to reveal the story, Vai says he wants to give everything away immediately and spoil the listener's journey.

The "man for all seasons" - is an incredibly talented guitar player and composer. He is also a showman who knows how to work both the stage and a crowd. Taking direction from mentors such as David Lee Roth and Frank Zappa, Vai's talent has always come naturally. He has appeared onscreen and his music has been featured in films such as "The Ghosts of Mars," "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "Dudes." The musician is so serious is Vai about his music, he is said to have used his own blood in the paint on one of his favorite guitars.

In Vai's spare time, he keeps bees and takes time to further the efforts of his own foundation - the "Make a Noise Foundation" whose goals "are to provide musical instruments, music education, and musical culture to young musicians who cannot afford to do these things for themselves."

Vai will be performing live in all three Baltic States as part of his European "Real Illusions" tour. If Vai lives up to his

reputation as a showmaker, the show and the music promise to be experiences that his Baltic audience won't soon forget.

Steve Vai will appear in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius on the following dates:

Oct 12 - Rock Cafe, Tallinn

Tickets: 590 - 750 kroons

(38-48 euros)

Oct 13 - Kipsala Hall, Riga

Tickets: 12 - 40 lats

(17- 57 euros)

Oct 14 - Ledo Rumai, Vilnius

Tickets: 60 - 160 litas

(1746 euros)