Watched "CROSSROADS" Again. And I'm Mad at Steve Vai.

plangentmusic

Squier-holic
Jul 4, 2012
1,666
manhattan
If you haven't seen Crossroads, you must. It's such a fun movie, along with some amazing guitar playing.

The ending "duel" is such a great idea and when the lead character resorts back to his roots it's pure magic. But man, Steve Vai really ruins that scene for me.

Yeah, I know -- Steve played all the classical stuff on the soundtrack. He's great. But even in real life, his stage presence always struck me as absurdly over the top. It come off, dare I say, as phony. Lame. Too forced. The shame is, he doesn't need it. He's an amazing player and a great looking guy. What's he trying to sell with the antics? And in this film he's really pouring it on -- posing, posturing, over acting and hamming it up to the point of being laughable.

In that final scene he plays a star "white boy" player player in a blues club in Mississippi. That role would have been perfect for someone like Johnny Winter, or Stevie Ray Vaughn. Steve Vai is NOT a blues player! And no way in the world would a speed metal guy go over in that environment. And at the end , when he hears playing he can not do, it would have been more effective if he quit right then and there. instead he starts playing the begging of the piece. You can't just play a classical piece. t must be worked out. And then he's flubbing bends? A good guitar player wouldn't do that.

I know...I know...it's a fantasy and I'm taking it too seriously. But it really is a good movie that is respectful to musicians and the history of the blues. (Kudos to Machio for "faking " the guitar playing). I t just could have been perfect, instead of losing impact when it needed it the most.

Hey, it was 35 years ago! I need to get over it! LOL
 

Eddd

Squier-holic
Nov 20, 2019
2,330
Canada
If you haven't seen Crossroads, you must. It's such a fun movie, along with some amazing guitar playing.

The ending "duel" is such a great idea and when the lead character resorts back to his roots it's pure magic. But man, Steve Vai really ruins that scene for me.

Yeah, I know -- Steve played all the classical stuff on the soundtrack. He's great. But even in real life, his stage presence always struck me as absurdly over the top. It come off, dare I say, as phony. Lame. Too forced. The shame is, he doesn't need it. He's an amazing player and a great looking guy. What's he trying to sell with the antics? And in this film he's really pouring it on -- posing, posturing, over acting and hamming it up to the point of being laughable.

In that final scene he plays a star "white boy" player player in a blues club in Mississippi. That role would have been perfect for someone like Johnny Winter, or Stevie Ray Vaughn. Steve Vai is NOT a blues player! And no way in the world would a speed metal guy go over in that environment. And at the end , when he hears playing he can not do, it would have been more effective if he quit right then and there. instead he starts playing the begging of the piece. You can't just play a classical piece. t must be worked out. And then he's flubbing bends? A good guitar player wouldn't do that.

I know...I know...it's a fantasy and I'm taking it too seriously. But it really is a good movie that is respectful to musicians and the history of the blues. (Kudos to Machio for "faking " the guitar playing). I t just could have been perfect, instead of losing impact when it needed it the most.

Hey, it was 35 years ago! I need to get over it! LOL
He’s not my favourite,but he is truly one of the best.I wouldn’t call his style “ speed metal” especially when he played with Frank Zappa.
 

Geode

Squier-holic
Nov 30, 2020
1,081
MB, SC
Yeah, 'Jack Butler' was
kinda cheesy... But,
he wouldn't have lost
to the 'Karate Kid'...
No..!! Only a movie.
OK...

I've seen Steve @ our
local HOB & yeah, he
can be outlandish &
flamboyant, but if you
can work the guitar
like he does, eh? Just
enjoy in amazement.

Like on a double neck
playing two different
melodies that work
for him. And us...
You go, Mr Vai..!!

Mr Beck may have a
technical edge, but
stand back & release
the Kraken..!! Wow.
 

SuiCyco4Life

Squier-Meister
Jan 1, 2021
220
Texas
If you haven't seen Crossroads, you must. It's such a fun movie, along with some amazing guitar playing.

The ending "duel" is such a great idea and when the lead character resorts back to his roots it's pure magic. But man, Steve Vai really ruins that scene for me.

Yeah, I know -- Steve played all the classical stuff on the soundtrack. He's great. But even in real life, his stage presence always struck me as absurdly over the top. It come off, dare I say, as phony. Lame. Too forced. The shame is, he doesn't need it. He's an amazing player and a great looking guy. What's he trying to sell with the antics? And in this film he's really pouring it on -- posing, posturing, over acting and hamming it up to the point of being laughable.

In that final scene he plays a star "white boy" player player in a blues club in Mississippi. That role would have been perfect for someone like Johnny Winter, or Stevie Ray Vaughn. Steve Vai is NOT a blues player! And no way in the world would a speed metal guy go over in that environment. And at the end , when he hears playing he can not do, it would have been more effective if he quit right then and there. instead he starts playing the begging of the piece. You can't just play a classical piece. t must be worked out. And then he's flubbing bends? A good guitar player wouldn't do that.

I know...I know...it's a fantasy and I'm taking it too seriously. But it really is a good movie that is respectful to musicians and the history of the blues. (Kudos to Machio for "faking " the guitar playing). I t just could have been perfect, instead of losing impact when it needed it the most.

Hey, it was 35 years ago! I need to get over it! LOL[/QUO

I am not a big Steve Vai fan. But i suppose when you are one of the best ever, you can act as over the top as you want. Especially in a Hollywood movie. In movies, they do a thing called acting.
 

wonkenstein

Squier-holic
Feb 3, 2017
2,325
NH
Well, there was Steve Vai hanging around as a teenager, and Frank Zappa is just tossing charts at him going "see if you can play this". But Frank Zappa actually could play blues guitar really well when he felt like it.
 

speelyei

Squier-holic
Sep 22, 2020
1,210
North America
Regardless of who they are, actors take direction from the Director. A casting Director chose Vai, probably from multiple options, and the script outlined his minimum dialogue. While shooting the scene, he may have been given some free reign to “do his thing”, but nothing would have been filmed that didn’t specifically meet the requirements of the Producers and Director.
Likely they were trying to epitomize the modern electric blues player... with otherworldly ability and an evil flare.
Interestingly, I had always heard the slide playing in Crossroads attributed to Ry Cooder, but I recently read an article that said Arlen Roth did a lot of playing in that film that wasn’t credited.
 

Uncle Joe

Squier-holic
Dec 18, 2015
2,504
Jersey
If I remember correctly he was the devil. I'm not sure anyone's supposed to like the evil one, not even in Hollywood movies.

I liked the movie. I'd like to see it again. I've seen Vai live and he was good. I remember enjoying him more than Gilbert and not as much as Satriani. Petrucci was the best though, IMO, in those G3 shows they used to do at MSG's theater that we used to call the Felt Forum.
 

SoundDesign

Squier-holic
Mar 8, 2016
3,194
Great. White. North.
Well, there was Steve Vai hanging around as a teenager, and Frank Zappa is just tossing charts at him going "see if you can play this". But Frank Zappa actually could play blues guitar really well when he felt like it.

That story of his audition is so great it has to be made up. At some point Frank asked him to play a chart some convoluted way and Steve said, "That's impossible!"

Frank allegedly replied, "I hear Linda Ronstadt is looking for a guitar player."
 

Eddd

Squier-holic
Nov 20, 2019
2,330
Canada
If I remember correctly he was the devil. I'm not sure anyone's supposed to like the evil one, not even in Hollywood movies.

I liked the movie. I'd like to see it again. I've seen Vai live and he was good. I remember enjoying him more than Gilbert and not as much as Satriani. Petrucci was the best though, IMO, in those G3 shows they used to do at MSG's theater that we used to call the Felt Forum.
 

wonkenstein

Squier-holic
Feb 3, 2017
2,325
NH
That story of his audition is so great it has to be made up. At some point Frank asked him to play a chart some convoluted way and Steve said, "That's impossible!"

I can believe this!

Frank allegedly replied, "I hear Linda Ronstadt is looking for a guitar player."

I can believe this, too.... I guess that might be why Glen Frey and crew got the gig?
 

VealCutlet

Squier-holic
Silver Supporting Member
Aug 9, 2011
1,706
Brookyn, NYC
That was a fun movie. Introduced me to a lot of the history of Robert Johnson and the origins of the Blues. The score was great, whether it was Cooder or Arlen Roth playing that slide guitar.

At the time, I thought it was weird because Vai was dressed as if he stepped out of a DLR video. Not what you’d expect to see in a roadside juke joint a stone’s throw from the Mississippi Delta. Still, I thought he was great as the kid who sold his soul to the devil who could play anything. And kudos to Macchio for his convincing performance on the instrument. Clearly, the last Paganini piece was sped up, but he looked like he was playing the right notes.
 

-r3-

Squier-holic
Jan 28, 2016
2,644
NC Piedmont
He’s not my favourite,but he is truly one of the best.I wouldn’t call his style “ speed metal” especially when he played with Frank Zappa.
The thing about him playing for Zappa though, is that people playing for Zappa play what FZ wrote for them, the way he wrote it to be played. He might have allowed a little deviation at certain times, but Zappa band members were Zappa's hired help. To be hired a person had to be an outstanding musician, but they weren't going to have creative control over the content.
 

Eddd

Squier-holic
Nov 20, 2019
2,330
Canada
The thing about him playing for Zappa though, is that people playing for Zappa play what FZ wrote for them, the way he wrote it to be played. He might have allowed a little deviation at certain times, but Zappa band members were Zappa's hired help. To be hired a person had to be an outstanding musician, but they weren't going to have creative control over the content.
Well he could play anything,but I still wouldn’t call his own music Speed Metal.just like John 5 is best known for his heavier stuff he could out country any country guitarist,or outplay most other guitarists in their respective genres.So how would you classify his style?
 

fadetoz

Dr. Squier
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 29, 2011
6,217
USA
I think Machio learned guitar for that movie. Obviously not to that level but I remember hearing that he learned guitar for it.
I Love Steve Vai so I have nothing negative to say about him at all. I will say I will never be the type that could put on a show like he does or play half as well.
 


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