I’ve spent the past two and a half hours writing a 750 piece on Steve Vai for Birmingham Weekly — the fifth rewrite I’ve done from scratch, and I’m still unsure of the end result. Doing the phone interview with him was an amazing experience — he’s incredibly laid back and easy to talk to (unlike some other ‘celebrities’ I’ve talked to), and amazingly humble, given his gifts and accomplishments. Writing the piece on him — and limiting it to 750 words — is akin to pulling teeth from an angry bull ape.
Vai has been — I’m not sure what the word is. Not my idol, really — I don’t really have too many of those, if any. Something to shoot for? The mastery the man has over the guitar, the vocabulary, the style, the unique creativity and vision — it’s humbling to witness, and inspiring at the same time. It’s hard for me to hear his music and not immediately want to pick up a guitar and simultaneously fear ever playing again.
Let’s compare it to reading the best of Mencken or Hunter Thompson, trying to imagine topping Warren Ellis’ or Grant Morrison’s situations, or making a movie that compares to ARMAGEDDON or PEARL HARBOR.
I’m joking about one of the above.
Talking about love is like dancing about architecture. And writing about the one person who inspires you in your chosen field (even if your chosen fields are many, like mine) is the same.
I’m overwhelmed, and taking a break. Thank god for X-Box golf.