Forgotten Guitar: Steve Vai's 1990 Appearance on MTV’s 'Headbangers Ball'
In May 1990, Steve Vai guested as host of MTV’s Headbangers Ball.
Filmed around the release of Vai’s second studio album, Passion and Warfare, and during his stint with Whitesnake, Vai couldn’t have been more “in demand.”
His appearance was heavily advertised at the time, with many fans writing in, hoping to get a response from the virtuoso himself. In the three clips below, Vai provides us with his opinions on such topics as female guitarists in the industry, tips for young musicians starting out and whether he’d do an album with fellow Long Island native and instrumental guitar legend Joe Satriani.
Throughout the show, Vai had his seven-string Ibanez Universe UV77MC on hand to provide some interesting interludes, including how to play guitar with your tongue, and (in the bottom clip) a short demo of how he achieved the cat sound effect on “Kittens Got Claws” from Whitesnake’s 1989 release, Slip of the Tongue.
Jonathan Graham is an ACM UK graduate based in London studying under the likes of Guthrie Govan and Pete Friesen. He is the creator of ForgottenGuitar.com, a classic-guitar media website, and is completing his debut album, Protagonist, due for release in 2016. Updates also can be found at Graham’s YouTube channel.