Steve Vai (Long Island, NY, June 6, 1960) and raised in Carle Place, NY was a pupil of Joe Satriani as a teenager and studied at The Berklee School of Music (his father sold his life insurance policy to pay for the tuition. Vai graduated from Berklee in 1979) before moving to Los Angeles at age 19. He was a huge fan of Frank Zappa's and joined Zappa's band in 1980, after proving that he knew most of the repertoire and could transcribe orchestral pieces by ear. Zappa often credited Steve on albums as "stunt guitarist". Vai is a respected apiarist who gives talks to schoolchildren about beekeeping. He has described his hobby as a "full-blown obsession".
Albums where Vai contributed vocals or guitar
- Tinseltown Rebellion
- Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar set
- You Are What You Is
- Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
- The Man From Utopia
- Them Or Us
- Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention
- Jazz From Hell
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 1
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 4
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 5
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 6
- The Dub Room Special
- Beat The Boots series disk As An Am (BTB)
- Dub Room Special
- Does Humor Belong In Music? (The Film)
- Uncle Meat (The Film)
- The Amazing Mr. Bickford
- Video From Hell
- The True Story Of 200 Motels
Vai and Zappa
Vai is also the subject of the song Stevie's Spanking, in which Zappa documents actual events that were reported to Zappa at a breakfast meeting the following morning (according to FZ in The Real Frank Zappa Book).
Vai also wrote a tribute to Zappa: Zappa: Now And Then....
He also once said: "In Frank I saw an artist with an uncompromising approach and flawless integrity in his art. A hundred years from now, when many popular bands will mean little more than funny names from the past, Frank will be revered and celebrated for the true genius that he is."