Each following section of the song showcased a number of specialized techniques (such as two-handed tapping, whammy bar acrobatics, sweep picking, alternate picking, multi-part harmonies, and odd phrasing) used in angular and exaggerated ways that were unique to the song at the time.
In 1978, to further pursue his interest in music composition and theory, Vai attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
While at Berklee, Vai began working for Frank Zappa as a transcriptionist, and in the middle of his fourth semester, moved to California to start his career as a session and touring artist for Zappa.
He created his own record label, Akashic Records (later Light Without Heat Records), which he used to take Flex-Able directly to distribution channels. Vai began his rise to public acclaim in 1983 when, shortly before the release of Flex-Able, his composition "The Attitude Song" was published in Guitar Player magazine.
The song centered itself on a main guitar riff in the time signature 7/16, played over a rhythm section centered in 4/4.
In 1985, Vai joined David Lee Roth's post-Van Halen band as lead guitarist, together with former Talas Bassist Billy Sheehan on bass; and former Maynard Ferguson drummer Gregg Bissonette on drums.
The foursome's debut album Eat 'Em and Smile, released on July 7, 1986, was both a critical and commercial success, reaching number four on the Billboard 200 albums chart and selling over two million copies.
This live show was released independently in DVD format as Steve Vai: Live at the Astoria, London in 2003, and was Vai's first of many successful live concert DVD projects. 1) included as part of the box set, were released to the public both in 2001 and the years following.
2001 saw the limited release of The Secret Jewel Box, a conceptual ten-CD box set containing unique material from various eras of Vai's career. Also in 2001, Vai's record label Favored Nations released No Substitutions: Live in Osaka.
Four compilation albums (The Elusive Light and Sound, Vol. The release, which Vai himself produced and engineered, won him his second Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental Album in February 2002.
While most widely recognized for his stature as a rock guitar player, Vai is also a musical composer fluent in the composition and arranging of orchestral music.
In 1973, Vai began to take guitar lessons from fellow New York native Joe Satriani, and played in local bands (The Ohio Express, Circus, and Rayge) throughout his high school years.