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Vai’s Melody

Steve Vai has a melody. It’s his favorite melody. He uses it everywhere. It sounds like something Frank Zappa hummed in the shower and Vai transcribed for electric guitar.

Vai’s melody is made of major thirds. It’s in the key of A above and makes an A Major seventh chord in passing. It first appeared in “Little Green Men” on Vai’s debut album. The melody is found at the very end.

Vai liked it so much he made a whole song out of it on Passion and Warfare. “Answers” is a toe-tapper that opens with a phantasmal beat. At around the 1:59 mark, Vai’s melody takes over and dominates the final minute of the song in various keys.

Gee Steve, why don’t you marry that melody?

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Steve Vai told a story in an interview. He played guitar for two days straight and fell asleep with his instrument. In his dreams, he continued to play guitar. The music he made was more beautiful than any of this world, but unfortunately, Steve Vai wasn’t able to remember it or it was impossible to play. Either way, he got Kubla Khan’d hard.

I would link to the article with the interview, but I’m not really interested in the internet anymore. I like imagination and boredom, faulty memories and synesthesia. Sitting around on the floor like Beethoven in a pile of orange peels. This is what we do.


When I bought Passion and Warfare from Sam Goody in the late ’90s, the cashier convinced me the album was satanic. He said nice-looking kids were the biggest satanists in terms of musical purchases. Anyway, it kind of scared me into not listening to the album for a while.

Now I’m not sure why all music needs to be satanic, but I guess Christian rock is kinda lame. “Devil’s got the best tunes,” as the preacher says.