Steve Vai Shares How Bob Dylan Ruined His Guitar Work

Steve Vai Shares How Bob Dylan Ruined His Guitar Work | I Love Classic Rock Videos

Steve Vai performs Tender Surrender - SteveVaiHimself / Youtube

Guitarist Steve Vai had an interesting story to share about a time when legendary musician Bob Dylan indirectly caused him to lose four days of hard work. The incident unfolded while Vai was working on a guitar solo for the song “Desert Diamond” by Alcatrazz.

The Undoing of a “Desert Diamond”

In a conversation with Rick Beato, Vai detailed the creative process he had envisioned for this particular track:

“There was this one song called ‘Desert Diamond,’ and the solo section I had this idea. I’m gonna orchestrate it for fifteen guitars and I’m gonna record this whole thing backwards and then fly it down to 2-tracks. I started to record this and it took me like four days. The next day I was gonna sneak in and fly it into the master.”

Vai’s plan was to create a complex sound by orchestrating fifteen guitars together and recording them all in a reverse sequence. This was no small feat and required a considerable amount of time and attention to detail to accomplish. Vai was satisfied with his work after spending four days perfecting this unique sound. However, his excitement was short-lived.

The day after he had completed this intricate work, Bob Dylan and his team arrived at the studio. Without realizing its importance, they used the same tape that contained Vai’s carefully recorded guitar tracks for their purposes. Vai recounted the moment he found out his work had been overwritten:

“I take my tape, and I put it on the shelf and as I’m leaving the studio, Bob Dylan is sitting in the waiting room. He’s waiting to get in, and he liked slap echo. And there’s my beautiful stereo guitar backwards orchestra and they grab it and they’re using that for slap for Bob Dylan. I get in there the next day, half of it is half of my backwards guitar orchestra and the rest, because I had to bring it back to speed, is a munchkin Bob Dylan just going (imitates Dylan).”


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Steve Vai’s Admiration for Bob Dylan Despite Lost Work

Despite the frustration of losing four days of work, Vai’s admiration for Bob Dylan remained undiminished. In another interview with Louder Sound, Vai spoke about how much he valued Dylan’s music, especially after delving deeper into his discography more recently. He described this process of discovery as akin to uncovering a new treasure:

“That moment of discovery is so special – the floodgates just open up – and the great thing is, it can continue to happen your whole life. I never really listened to Bob Dylan until fairly recently, and now I have every one of his records. It’s like a new life treasure when you find an artist who you resonate with. I love that feeling.”

This story highlights not only the unpredictable nature of the recording process but also Vai’s deep respect for fellow musicians, even when faced with frustrating situations. Despite the accidental erasure of his work, Vai chose to focus on the positive aspects of discovering new music and the ongoing process of musical exploration. His ability to move past the mishap and continue to admire Dylan’s work speaks volumes about his character and his love for music.