The moment Steve Vai thought he would never play again

Steve Vai said he briefly believed he would never play guitar again while recovering from recent shoulder surgery.

He had previously undergone back surgery, but then required a second operation which forced him to reschedule their 2022 tour plans at the fall. In a new interview with FaceCulture (video below), he revealed that there was a time when he thought things were much worse.

“The shoulder started years ago and it was something I was going through when I was training,” said Vai, who released the latest album Inviolate on Jan. 28. weren’t going to work and they had to go in and fix it. And they did, and they did a great job. And it healed. And I did Inviolate. Unfortunately, over the summer I tore another tendon, and that’s why we had to move the US leg of the tour to the fall, because I had to have another surgery.

He added that he hadn’t been worried about the development, but continued: “[T]There was a point after removing the sling where I started trying to play and there was nothing. I couldn’t choose, I couldn’t scratch. And I thought, ‘Okay, that’s the end of the day for a musician.’ And for about 10 seconds, that thought – ‘This is it; I’m done’ – it was in my head. And I can honestly tell you that with that thought, there was no fear. But there was a disappointment, of course.

Vai explained that he “wasn’t devastated” because he knew he could continue to express himself using other outlets if the guitar was no longer available to him. “I don’t define myself as just a guitarist,” he said. “Music is not my life – music is something I do for a living. Life is much bigger than what you do in it. So I never felt limited in expressing creative musical ideas, even though I didn’t have a guitar, and I always knew it was going to be there no matter what.

“But then another little voice came in, the voice of my higher self – it usually comes to the rescue – and it said, ‘Shut the fuck up and start playing. You know you have this. And I said, ‘Okay. Yes sir!’ And I just started, and it came back.

Watch Steve Vai talk to FaceCulture

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