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Thread: Steve Vai on writing Yankee Rose

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    Steve Vai on writing Yankee Rose

    Steve Vai recalled the informative experience of working on “Yankee Rose” with David Lee Roth, crediting producer Ted Templeman with the “money-punch suggestion” that solidified the song.

    In a new interview with the Professor of Rock, guitarist Vai explained that he recorded a demo for his bandmates, but it was still missing a certain something as they put together Roth’s 1986 debut solo album, Eat ‘Em and Smile.

    “When I was playing ‘Yankee Rose’ for them, Ted Templeman made the money-punch suggestion,” Vai said. “It’s simple – what I was doing on the verse, a riff, wasn’t quite working.”





    The producer suggested he just play some open chords instead. “At first, I thought, ‘That’s just a little too simple,'" Vai recalled. "That’s me, you know?” He soon realized the truth of the matter and that Templeman was an ideal fit for the album project."

    You can watch the interview below.

    Steve Vai on how He and David Lee Roth created 80s Hit Yankee Rose | Premium | Professor of Rock
    Subscribe to Ultimate Classic Rock on

    Album opener “Yankee Rose” begins with a sequence in which Roth acts like he’s having a conversation with the lead guitar. “It’s one of those quirky things about my technique,” Vai explained. “Dave and I really hit it off. … There’s something in us that has a similar kind of bent, a bizarre sense of humor. A lot of rock stars at the time would never go for something like that – talking guitar, talking with the guitar. … But Dave was just like, ‘Yeah, man! This is crazy. Let’s do it!’”

    Vai called Roth his “fourth and final mentor” after music teacher Bill Westcott, Joe Satriani and Frank Zappa, saying the Van Halen singer “really provided me with tools that you just can’t get any place else.”

    Vai noted that Roth is an "an intense guy. He was very serious and intense about his working out and being in shape. … That’s one of the thing I got from my relationship with Dave that was vital: You’re gonna go on tour for this amount of time, and you’re gonna go on that stage, and you have to deliver to a large group of people every night. You can’t mess them around. You’ve gotta be bulletproof. … We were always going to the gym or working out or climbing or running, and it was great.”






    Read More: Steve Vai Recalls Writing ‘Yankee Rose’ With David Lee Roth | https://ultimateclassicrock.com/stev...edium=referral
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seshmeister View Post

    The producer suggested he just play some open chords instead. “At first, I thought, ‘That’s just a little too simple,'" Vai recalled. "That’s me, you know?” He soon realized the truth of the matter and that Templeman was an ideal fit for the album project."

    Yes so don't try and produce the follow up yourself...

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    Skyscraper was a bit disappointing. Some great tracks on it, but more than half the album...honestly, I can't remember the last time I consciously listened to that album from start-to-finish...might well be twenty years or more, which to me isn't the sign of an album that has aged well. I'd be more likely to listen to the DLR Band album or A Little Ain't Enough in terms of post-EEAS stuff than I would Skyscraper.

    But Vai...I mean, mid-1980s when I first really started listening to the guy - which was sort of seemingly an all-at-once barrage, where I saw him in that Crossroads movie, then on that post-Malmsteen Alcatrazz album, then on EEAS - his playing was definitely jaw-dropping. I think I had been playing for maybe 4 years at that point, and was well pleased with myself because I could play some CVH/Iron Maiden/Ozzy with a decent degree of proficiency. Then, in the space of a couple of years both Vai and Malmsteen broke through in terms of getting name recognition, and their playing on a technical level was definitely a few notches up from the other stuff I had been cutting my teeth on.

    I must say, though, I thought Vai with Whitesnake was a bit of a misfire. I listened to Vai's first couple of post-Whitesnake solo albums, and while it was incredible stuff on a technical level... I dunno. To my ears, Vai...it's such a consistent flawless technical display. I'll readily admit his ability is miles above mine. But what he plays, it just doesn't move me beyond the immediate recognition that he is a fantastic technician...like, it's sort of soulless to me, if that makes any sense. Satriani is sort of in that same boat.
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    Vai can play like a bat of hell and can transition effortlessly with technique but his notes have no tone to them, no bottom or depth which shows really any emotive aspect or character, while Satriani does have a distinct sound with some personality... if Vai played the piano, one could say his notes in relation sound 'pingy' like a xylophone which does not resonate
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    Probably the best thing Vai played on in the 80s aside from Eat Em & Smile would be the album he made right before that, with a certain Mr. Rotten.....

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    Though there were moments, I thought Vai got buried in the keyboards on Skyscraper. I really enjoyed Passion and Warfare but he kind of lost me after that. When I heard he was going to be the guitarist for Whitesnake, I was so pumped up for that album. I think I bought it the day it came out. What a let down. That first release, Fool For Your Lovin', was a snoozer. I thought to myself, they brought a big gun in for this?
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