There are lots of stories of rockers who succeeded in spite of their parents' pleas for a backup plan: Steve Vai is not one of those rockers.
In a recent interview with Guitar World, Vai recalled his parents' wholehearted support of his musical aspirations, even from a young age.
Anyone who's ever been in close proximity to someone learning a musical instrument for the first time knows it's far from easy-listening. But John Vai wouldn't tell his son to turn it down, or knock it off, no matter who complained.
"My father could be tough at times, like all fathers, but he was always very proud of what I was doing," Steve said. "I remember when I was young and playing my guitar too loud, the neighbors would complain. He'd tell them to shut the f--k up. (Laughs) He's say, 'That's my son up there playing the guitar.' Meanwhile, it sounded like hell."
But it wasn't just the neighbors who were annoyed by Vai's obsession with the guitar. John had his son's back, even when he was getting in trouble at school because of the thing.
"And then my teachers would get upset when I'd bring a guitar to school," he continued. "They'd call my parents, and my father would say, 'My son will bring his guitar wherever he wants.'"
His parents' devotion certainly made those first steps easier, but Steve speculates that it partly came with the knowledge that if he was anything like his Italian-American Long Islander dad, he wouldn't have turned down anyway.
"...Even if my parents fought me, I still would've become a musician," Vai said. "I had no choice in the matter; it was going to happen."
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