How/when/where did you get endorsed?
I'm not sure myself how this Peavey deal happened, 1st off, this has been the most recent link in a long chain of weird **** happening that pretty much all began when Steve Vai picked me as the winner of the Steve VAi/Ibanez/Tonos guitar challenge. Which was a true Dream come true for me.
I will get back to the Peavey thing in a minute, I would like to share my story of Meeting Steve, I think Vai fans will get a kick out of it. Plus this being Jemsite, Please know I am a Jem freak, I own 2 DBK's myself, One I got from Steve as part of the contest, he signed the headstock for me as well :-) I liked the guitar so much I ended up buying a 2nd one because I didn't want to screw up the one I won in the contest.
Strangest thing, before any of this stuff happened I met Steve VAi in a very real lucid dream vision, This still hurts my head, here is that story.
I had the most incredible Vision in a very very lucid dream one night, In this vision a guide is leading me down a hallway that leads into a Concert club, when we get inside the club, I realize Steve Vai is preparing to do a show, the club was totally empty, Steve is standing in front of the stage telling the sound guy how to EQ the guitars, I remember being Phyched, I was like cool, it's Steve Vai!
The band starts playing this tune called "There's a train that's leaving", I remember the song hitting me as if it was the most spiritual song I had ever heard, Steve is singing and it seems as if he's almost floating above the floor and he comes right over to where me & the guide were standing, He get's right in front of me and the music stops and in this thunderous voice Steve says "WELCOME ABOARD"
And at that point I sat right up in my bed and instantly awoke, I was like "What the **** was that about?" Chalked it up as one of the wierdest & most real dreams I had ever had and went back to sleep.
Around two or three days later, I make a Visit to Vai.com, I see this banner that says "Enter the Ibanez/Steve Vai/Tonos guitar challenge, well, the furr on the back of my neck went up, I had learned to pay attention to syncronicity and wierd coincidences, because there is no such thing.
So i entered the contest, After the Vai contest Mp3 file had finished downloading, I transferred the tracks to my ADAT/my home studio and as I was listening to Vai's backing tracks, it occurred to me that a guitar riff I had just wrote days earlier seems like it should fit well, I fired up my guitar amp and threw a microphone in front of the speaker, I just had to hear if my guitar part would fit over Vai's tracks! It fit perfectly! I was so inspired by what I heard, I thought, "I am going to record some solo's!" The solos were recorded on the 1st take, one pass through. To say this whole session seemed inspired would be an understatement, I listened back to the song, I thought to myself "Well, that's it!" I sent in my version of Vai's "Jibboom" for the contest the same night, at about 5:00 the same morning.
I have to say my heart sank when I learned that hundred's of guitarists had entered the contest, and you could even listen to all the entries online! It became clear how many great players were out there! I would consider myself lucky if I even placed as a runner-up. The entries were narrowed down to the top 10 and there it was! I made it into the top 10!
The entries were then narrowed down to the top 3, I could hardly bring myself to look and see if I had made it, I looked and to my surprise, there was my name again!
There was only one more step and that was the announcement of the grand prizewinner and that would be announced on March 15, 2001. Well, the 15th came and went and there was no announcement!
I decided I should call Tonos on the 17th and it was then that I found out I was the Grand Prize Winner!
As you can imagine, I could hardly contain myslf, it worked out that I would be flown to meet Steve Vai at a G3 show on July 8th, 2001.
I arrived at the concert venue around 12:30 in the afternoon, I met Vai's tour manager and rhythm guitarist Dave Weiner shortly after. Dave told me Steve would not be there until around 6:00. Seemed like I had all day to just hang out! I have to say it felt a little strange and surreal being there all by myself.
The thought of meeting Steve Vai was strange to me. 1st of all, I just met Steve in the dream/vision when he said "welcome aboard" and now I was being flown to meet the man himself. 2nd of all, I had begun to understand that there were many different level of souls here on Earth and that there are some very advanced beings that are incarnate here as beacons of light to those still in darkness. I am still convinced to this day that Steve Vai is one of these beings.
I had full access to anywhere I wanted to go at the show except for the dressing rooms; the food catering room quickly became my favorite place Imagine my surprise as I was grabbing a sandwich to see Billy Sheehan, the world-renowned bass player and founder of one of my favorite bands Mr. Big, standing right next to me! Billy was playing bass for Steve Vai on this tour. I remember, thinking to myself, this is too cool!
As 6:00 grew closer & closer, I became more & more anxious. Shortly before 6:00, Dave Weiner let me know that Steve was in the house and that our meeting would be held in Vai's dressing room, Dave said he would come to get me as soon as Steve was ready. I began to just sit and meditate in an attempt to calm myself, 5 minutes or so had passed which seemed like an eternity when Dave came out and said "Well Michael, you ready?"
Dave walked me to Steve Vai's dressing room and when I entered I noticed Steve was not there yet. The dressing rooms size blew my mind. it was huge! It had a couch, with two Victorian style chairs at either end. I took a seat in one of these chairs. Since Dave and I were the only ones there at the moment, I took the opportunity to look around the room, there was a countertop that wrapped around the other three walls and this countertop was almost completely filled with lunchmeats, breads, vegetables, and every type of cheese.
A couple of minutes had passed when Steve walked in the room, and right past me! He was talking on a cell phone and from his angle I don't think he could see I was in sitting in the chair right behind him. He continued talking for a minute or so and all I could think was Oh my God, That is Steve Vai!
When he was finished talking, Steve turned and seen me sitting in the chair, he said, "Michael, how are you?" Well, let me tell you, I thought I would be beyond nervous but he had a way about him that made me feel comfortable and at ease.
Steve walked over and sat down on the couch. We talked for 45 minutes or so! One thing that shocked me about Steve was how humble he was, after seeing him perform countless times and from his performance in the movie "Crossroads", I had constructed a mental image of Steve Vai as being somewhat ****y and arrogant, in a Sting (the singer, not the wrestler) kind of way. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Steve Vai was genuinely one of the nicest people I have ever met.
We talked about a wide range of subjects such as recording techniques, his days with David Lee Roth, other musicians we both admired, but the thing that really blew my mind was how complimentary he was of my playing! He told me that what I had done "Blew him away"! I just about had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming! He added "A lot of really great players had entered the contest" but he felt my version of Jibboom was the most creative! He even gave me permission to use my contest version of "Jibboom" on my new CD!
One of the highlight's from my meeting with Steve was when I asked him how he played the riff for "Big Trouble" from the DLR era, Steve says "Let me show you" and he goes and grabs his guitar and plays it for me! So, I'm sitting there in a chair thinking....Steve Vai is jamming for me in his dressing room?
Afterwords Steve said he thought it was odd that I asked about that song in particular because he had just been recently thinking about how much fun that song was to play live! I also remember Steve saying that tune had a "Slinky" vibe about it, I said ya, I love smokey, bluesy, riffs & grooves like that, Steve goes, "Ya Slinky!"
I also remember Steve saying DLR would make him turn up his amp so loud it would actually scare you when he first hit a note, and he said DLR wanted it even louder! Billy Sheehan added "Ya, That was the only tour I've ever worn ear protection on!"
I watched two thirds of the show from the soundboard; I watched the remainder of the show from the side of the stage! After the show, I spoke briefly with Steve again and thanked him for everything, had my picture taken with him and that was that!
You can imagine, I was a huge Ann Rice Fan, On the Plane Trip to meet Steve, I remember thinking that I would have felt no different if I were being flown to meet Lestat.