Posted by Dana Category: LATEST NEWS

stevevai400 The inaugural Steve Vai’s Vai Academy Song Evolution Camp will take place June 23rd-27th at the pastoral Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, New York. This unique vacation experience will be hosted by multi-platinum three-time Grammy Award-winning guitar legend Steve Vai, who will be joined by various respected guitar and music industry heavies, including Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Guthrie Govan and Vernon Reid.

The camp will focus on the evolution of a song. Attendees will learn how a song gets written, recorded, mixed, mastered, packaged, copyrighted, registered, digitally distributed, and marketed. Each special guest will conduct their own master classes as well.

Produced by Dreamcatcher Events, Steve Vai’s Vai Academy Song Evolution Camp will follow the entire process step-by-step as taught by an iconic virtuoso and a team of music industry professionals. Steve Vai’s Vai Academy Song Evolution Camp is the entire manual for being an independent musician condensed into three days of classes.

“I like to bring something different to the table. That’s the idea behind this ‘Song Evolution’ program,” says Vai. “You’ll enjoy a unique experience if you join us this summer. Although there will be a lot of guitar playing, this camp focuses on all aspects of creating your music, getting it into the world and launching your career.”

Vai continues, “I want everybody to learn how a song evolves and moreover how a career in music evolves. You’re going to have fun, and you’re going to leave knowing how to do this professionally. This is the entire manual for being an independent musician condensed into three days.”

Tickets for Steve Vai’s Vai Academy Song Evolution Camp are on sale now at Admission includes lodging, meals, classes, live performances and jam sessions. As an added bonus, attendees who sign up by March 31 will receive a free Ibanez RG Electric Guitar, courtesy of Hoshino.

For Steve Vai’s Vai Academy Song Evolution Camp, guests will choose from a variety of lodging options at Gideon Putnam Resort. Nestled in the southernmost foothills of New York’s Adirondack region and surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of Saratoga Spa State Park, the Gideon Putnam Resort features spacious guest rooms, luxurious bedding, wireless Internet access and upscale bath amenities. The 124 guestrooms, including 22 suites, offer relaxing, retreat-like accommodations in an unforgettable location.

Watch a video of Steve Vai discussing the camp below.


    1. Vai isn’t exactly known for his songwriting. According to a bit I read a while back, David Lee Roth couldn’t even get Vai to play certain songs live. They should just have a shred camp. “Here are a bunch of licks and runs that will impress the heck out of most 15 year old guitar players, along with older ones who think the same way. Practice these over and over. Dress up weird and act really spiritual. Hey, where’s the money?” Steve Vai doesn’t have a single signature “song” apart from some instrumentals that only guitar players know. I respect his level of talent/musicianship and enjoy some of his stuff but songwriting camp? Please…..

      Agree with you: Baxter would know more about songs than the other guys combined. The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan sold a hell of a lot of rekkids. Both band’s music holds up very well today. Even the earliest Steely Dan stuff sounds great. Can’t say that about most hair metal bands.

  1. Did he write any of the songs while he was in David Lee Roth’s band (I assume yes)? I think it’s a bit of exaggeration to say Steve Vai can’t write a song, or that he’s just a mindless solo guy. I’ve heard far worse from other uber guitarists. I do often find him to be too, I don’t know if it’s the right word for it, eclectic (or just weird?) for my taste. I’ve known several people (yes, mostly other guitar players) who practically worship the guy, but I guess I just never really “got” him. I’m by no means saying I think he’s a great songwriter, but I wouldn’t say that he just can’t or never has done it. There’s some good ones on his first solo album (For The Love Of God!), and I’m sure there’s more on the rest if you look for them. I could listen to Satriani all day on the other hand, and yes I do credit that to him writing better songs.

  2. Also of course, some people just don’t like instrumentals and dismiss anything without a singer as overindulgence or showing off. While this is sometimes true, if you don’t like instrumental music in the first place I’m not sure how accepting of even “good” instrumentals one can be. Also I can’t equate not having a “signature” song that’s known beyond guitar players as the same as not having any great songs. Being #1 on the charts doesn’t necessarily mean something’s good. Not trying to sound like a fanboy, I’m actually not much of a Vai fan and I do agree to some extent on your points, but I think he deserves more credit than what you’re giving him.

    1. If you check David Lee Roth’s Wiki page, you can see the listings of how his songs did. His most popular single was “Just Like Paradise” – #6 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 in play on the Mainstream Rock Charts. Says a lot that he had more chart success after Vai left and with a song not written with Vai’s help.

      I like instrumentals. But they should be about the music, not the ego or chops of the performer. I know guys like Satriani and Vai are getting to where they want to be with their writing and I’m happy for them. It’s not easy selling a lot of instrumental records.

      For my money, one of the most technically adept guys in rock to ever pick up a guitar was Jan Akkerman of Focus. I’d put the Focus tune “Sylvia” up against any instrumental out there. And it’s just a simple melody. Jan has chops that very few ever attain – he can play jazz great. He even plays lute. When Blackmore first heard Michael Schenker he thought Schenker sounded like Akkerman at “half-speed.” Akkerman improvises his ass off at a super high level. Never played two solos the same. I like a lot of Jeff Beck’s stuff too. But these guys I mentioned aren’t really heavy metal or hard rock for the most part.

        1. Yeah, I checked it out. Thanks. Nice piece, especially for a guy known more for rock. Starts with that Flamenco bit then goes into a lot of Mahavishnu (John McLaughlin) type licks with a cool background.

          Check out a live version of Sylvia if you get a chance – the Moving Waves era Focus is tough to beat if you like that kind of stuff. Gary Hoey covered Hocus Pocus. Metallica has a tune that’s a complete H.Pocus ripoff too. But Jan just smokes!

  3. Always too wild. Zappa’s charts caused it. Drove Roth crazy as Roth sang on top of the recorded versions…not where is this going transcriptions of EVH riffs sideways.

  4. Well, yeah – musically the Zappa stuff just…. I don’t know how to even describe it. Strange just doesn’t seem to cover it. I don’t profess to be deeply familiar with Zappa, but I’ve heard my share. I like it for the humor mostly, and the occasional blast of musical brilliance, but so much of it just sounds completely incongruous. People can call it “genius” if they want, but I guess guys like that just see and hear things through a different set of lenses.
    I actually listen to Satriani more these days for his songwriting than his technical chops – which are still brilliant – but I do truly feel he is more about the melody than just blowing people away all the time.

    1. Zappa got too much credit in my opinion. His obscure ness gave him cred, and his legend grew from there. Didn’t like most of what I heard. Sounded effortless and I don’t mean that in a good way.

      1. I think some Zappa stuff is great, some unlistenable. He’s all over the map. The stuff with Flo and Eddie is hilarious. I got a chance to see him in the mid 1980s. But he really covered a lot of territory. Hard to listen to one or two albums and say much. He had a ton of output.

  5. Zappa sounded like Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane sideways but it was structured with keyboards and lyrics. He admitted the Mothers sucked as musicians and dumped them by ’70 for great singers like Flo & Eddie and sight readers like Vai who could read his charts. He was very structured with the breaks and solos and comedy etc.. The stuff he did with Beefheart was horrible.

  6. Jan Akkerman was in peak form the ’70s. His best albums with Focus are “Moving Waves” (1971) and “Focus 3” (1972), and his best solo albums are “Eli” (1976), “Jan Akkerman” (1977), and “Live” (1978), though the earlier solo albums like “Profile” (1972) and “Tabernakel” (1974) have some good moments, too. Akkerman plays credible classical guitar and lute, prog rock and jazz electric guitar, Django-style acoustic, and more. Very well rounded!

    One great guitarist AND pianist who is often overlooked is Jukka Tolonen, foremost guitarist of Finland. His prog rock group Tasavallan Presidentti recorded several fine albums (best is “Lambertland” of 1972), and his solo albums “Tolonen!” (1971), “Summer Games” (1973), and especially “The Hook” (1974) are amazing. He was only 19 years old in 1971 when his first solo album came out. Astonishing talent! See Youtube videos of him live (especially “Ramblin'” from 1972) and you’ll immediately understand why he outclasses most guitarists. Jukka also recorded some Django style albums with Coste Apetrea, and there is a 30 minute video of this duo from 1980 also on Youtube. If you’re a fan of Zappa’s more serious instrumental efforts like “Hot Rats” (1969) or “Waka Jawaka” (1972) then you’ll love Jukka Tolonen. His songs “Starfish” and “The Sea” from the 1974 album “The Hook” are among his very best. Stellar talent!

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