Guitar great Steve Vai has enjoyed an impressive career that includes a trio of Grammy wins and a history of great songs such as "For the Love of God" and "Tender Surrender," but you might be hard pressed to guess which song the guitarist calls his "greatest accomplishment on guitar."
While speaking with Guitar Player, Vai went with a deeper cut choosing the emotionally moving song "And We Are One" as his pick. The selection was part of a bigger feature in which the guitarist broke down his Top 5 Career Defining Tracks.
So why was "And We Are One" the choice? Vai says the 2016 Modern Primitive track moved him in a way that placed it in the top spot.
“I would go on record to say that I think the solo on ['And We Are One'] is perhaps my greatest accomplishment on the guitar," explained Vai. "That would be because of its phrasing, its neatness and its beauty. I don’t feel pretentious saying that, because I’m speaking within my capacities."
He then added, “So if I say something is profoundly, deeply moving and beautiful to me, that’s to me, you know? There may be others that feel that way, but it’s important that an artist invests their intimacy into their music, because it carries their DNA in it. This is what people want: They want you, your unique creativity. They don’t want you to sound like somebody else. They can smell fake a mile away."
Reflecting on the creation of the track, Vai commented, “With this song, I told myself, ‘You’re going to record a solo here, where every riff is going to be unique for you. It can’t be anything you’ve done before, and it has to be innovative.’ In that one song, there is more phrasing and melodic intimacy than anything I’ve ever recorded. That’s why this song is so important to me. There is really a lot going on in my playing that might not be apparent to someone who isn’t watching me play this. Not that that is important in itself, of course. What is important is that when the listener hears it, they feel something.”
To see what else Vai picked for his five career-defining tracks, check out the Guitar Player feature here. And if you need a refresher on the song Vai calls his "greatest accomplishment on guitar," take a listen to "And We Are One" below.
You can currently catch Vai on tour in support of his 2022 effort, Inviolate, at these stops.