News time: I’m writing a book!

It’s about the creation of Steve Vai’s Passion And Warfare album: the concept, the music-business deal-wrangling, the gear, the recording process, the creative exercises involved in getting into the headspace to make this stuff happen, and much more. There’s a lot of great info in the Passion & Warfare tab book which I know a lot of you may have already read, but there’s more below the surface. A lot more.

Steve very generously gave me a chunk of his time to answer all the questions I’ve had about this landmark album over the years, and we had an amazing chat last week. We talked about the origins of the Ibanez Universe, the surprising choice of main 6-string guitar on the album (hint: it’s not a Jem), how many amps blew up in the recording of ‘The Riddle,’ more detail on how the album bounced from Capitol to Relativity Records and some pretty damn deep metaphysical stuff.

Several other people involved in the album or subsequently inspired by it have agreed to be interviewed. I’ll be talking to Darren Johansen and I’m trying to line up time with David Coverdale right now. The final chapter will be about the legacy of the album so I’m working on getting a wide variety of Vai-influenced guitarists from the last 30 years to talk about how the album inspired them.

My original intention is that it will be picked up by 33 1/3 because that seems like a perfect home for it, but to be honest this thing is already kind of outgrowing the scope of their classic-album books so perhaps I’ll shop it around. (I already have a publisher for another book that I just got a deal for). I’d love to see it come out through Hal Leonard because half my damn bookshelf is from them!

This feels like something that a lot of musicians can learn from whether they’re guitarists or not, Vai fans or not, because the lessons involved in bringing this record to the world are extremely inspiring and instructive, and Steve has graciously shared details far beyond anything I’ve read before.