Steve Vai’s backing guitarist explains why he “almost got fired” during first gig: “I can’t believe this is happening right now”
Dante Frisiello, Steve Vai’s backing guitarist, revealed why he “almost got fired” during the first gig he ever performed for the guitar virtuoso.
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During a sold-out show in Lisbon, Portugal, the young player’s rig fell apart on stage when he couldn’t get his guitar to make a sound.
In a new YouTube video, Frisiello recalled: “I started playing and everything was great. Then, when we got to my solo – right after Steve introduces me – I clicked the unmute button to start playing and there’s just a huge noise and my rig went down!
“It was like the second I was supposed to start my solo, so I didn’t know what to do. I just started laughing because I was like, ‘Oh my God I can’t believe this is happening right now!’”
It hadn’t been long since Vai’s previous backing player, Dave Weiner, left after performing with him for two decades. Frisiello was Weiner’s tech before he stepped in as replacement.
But the trouble didn’t stop there for his first time in the new role: “[Eventually] Steve’s like, ‘Oh well, we’re gonna move on’. And then right when he says that, it comes back on!”
“Two songs before that there’s a song called Lights Are On, where Steve and I do a guitar duel – and I broke my high E string in the duel. So I had to finish the duel on my seven-string.
“It was one of those gigs where, man, everything was going wrong. The levels in my ears were a mess. Things were changing all night and it was a weird gig, but we had fun.
“It was a great crowd [in a] sold-out, huge venue, so it was great.”
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