Vai Voltage PostBy a show of hands, how many of you have seen “Crossroads”?
In case you don't know, it’s a film that’s about 20 years old, starring the Karate Kid, Ralph Macchio. It has kind of a corny plot line, about a kid obsessed with the legend of Robert Johnson and a supposed “lost song” Johnson left behind. Over the years the flick has gained a sort of cult status, due mostly to the climactic guitar battle between Eugene (Macchio’s character) and the devil’s guitar player, portrayed by Steve Vai.
I recently revisited this movie, wanting to see that classic battle again. It didn’t disappoint. Vai (who played most of both guitar parts) looks nothing short of evil incarnate as he wields his Charvel in an effort to win Eugene’s soul for Mr. Scratch. The guitar duel showcases Vai’s technical proficiency as both a rock guitarist and as a classical musician and composer. He wrote the piece Eugene “plays” to win the competition, basing the licks around Niccolo Paganini’s “Caprice #5.”
The “Crossroads” guitar duel – titled “Head-Cuttin' Duel” – can be found on Vai’s 2002 compilation album The Elusive Light and Sound, Vol. 1. The movie sort of inspired tonight’s post, even though it was a couple of weeks ago when I watched it. I’d like to say I have that album, but unfortunately I don’t. Instead I offer a couple of other Steve Vai tracks: A remixed Whitesnake song, which pumps up the guitar; and something from Vai’s 1990 solo album Passion and Warfare.
Fool For Your Loving (Vai Voltage mix).mp3
The Audience is Listening.mp3