With guitar great Steve Vai recently announcing a 54-date 2022 tour, you had to figure new music was coming. And now we’ve got it in the form of a fusion-funk track called “Little Pretty” that lets the creative guitarist explore a darker mood. The track is from Vai’s newly announced Inviolate album, which carries a Jan. 28 release date through Favored Nations / Mascot Label Group.
Vai utilizes his Gretsch hollow body guitar throughout a majority of the new song and the guitarist revealed his usage for the instrument, explaining, “It’s on the wall with all the other guitars, and I’d always just look at it and go, ‘One day I’m going to play you…’”
He continues, “In writing the chord changes for the solo section, and the solo itself, I dug deep into my academic music theory mind to create a set of chord changes where the harmonic atmosphere shifted on every change. The dense chord structures required a series of synthetic modes to navigate. This approach is along the lines of jazz and fusion players, but I knew I did not want it to sound anything like that and the solo had to be totally melodic. The results were pretty powerful in that the entire solo section evokes melodic atmospheric changes that shift dramatically but work together well.”
Take a listen to the inventing instrumental track in the player below.
Steve Vai, “Little Pretty”
As stated, “Little Pretty,” which is currently available here, will be part of Vai’s upcoming Inviolate album due on Jan. 28. It will initially be available digitally and on CD, with pre-orders being taken here. A vinyl LP version will follow on March 18.
While Vai has earned respect as one of rock’s most inventive guitar players, Vai says he’s not consciously trying to always go beyond his previous works. “I don’t sit around and say, ‘Okay, what can I do now that pushes the boundaries?” Vai explains about his approach to the guitar. “What I do say to myself is, ‘Okay, Vai – what are you going to do now that’s going to interest you, that’s going to fascinate you, and that’s different than anything you’ve done before?'”
On this new album, Vai not only invented a new guitar, but also a new guitar-playing technique. It also finds him at his most focused. “It’s very ‘Vai,’ whatever that means,” he says with a laugh. “Someone else might be better than me at explaining what that is. But it’s just very honest music. Because a lot of my records, they’re long and there’s a lot of concepts and playing around with stories. This one has none of that. This is nine pretty dense all-instrumental compositions that I wanted to capture and record so I could get out there and play them live for people.”
As for the new album, Vai says it’s primarily about finding your own voice and having the conviction to follow your creative instincts. “One of the great things about the guitar is you don’t need to be a virtuoso to express your creative vision,” he says. “I mean, Bob Dylan plays the guitar perfectly well for his expression. So does John McLaughlin. You just need to decide how much technique you want or need to get there. For myself, I came out of the chute wanting and needing it all. When it comes to my music, I don’t feel like I have to prove anything or conform to anything. I just love to think up creative ideas, and then use whatever skill I have to manifest them.”
“An inviolate inspiration is one that comes to you completely pure,” Vai continues. “It appears almost in its completeness, and there’s a recognition of it as being right for you – perfectly right for you. There’s no excuses in it. There’s no fantasy in it. There’s just a recognition of ‘yes.’ And then you capture that in a way that’s authentic to your unique creativity. Hopefully, that’s what I’ve done with this record.”
As previously stated, Vai recently announced a 54-date U.S. tour for 2022. Get ticketing and VIP Experience bundle options right here.
Steve Vai, Inviolate Track Listing
1. Teeth of the Hydra
2. Zeus in Chains
3. Little Pretty
5. Apollo In Color
7. Greenish Blues
9. Sandman Cloud Mist