Mailbag 128

I’d like to introduce myself… I’m Alexander Brandon, a composer who does game soundtracks (recently the soundtrack from “Unreal”, if you’ve heard of it) and coming soon, commercially released music. I’m mainly saying what my field is because I consider myself a little more than just someone who listens since I’m also someone who writes and plays. On to the compliment…

First of all I’d like to thank you for a very informative web page. It’s absolutely packed with goodies unlike many others I’ve seen, which say absolutely nothing. Seeing the gear, the life story, the Foundation work, and the complete sides of Steve’s harmonious and revolutionary life is what you’ve put forward and more… great job!

If you speak with Steve and could relay any of this to him, I’m not only a fan but a colleage whose life he has had a serious impact on. I had no idea Steve Vai existed until 1994 when I heard “Passion and Warfare” for the first time. I listened and loved it but the real connection came at one of his “Sex & Religion” concerts at the Cleveland Agora soon afterwards.

Devin walked out onto the stage and began screaming his head off. I winced a bit because I feared his vocal chords would come right out of his mouth. While Devin danced, stomped, and raged like a monkey on crack, a shape emerged from the rear of the theatre…. it was Steve, dressed in long rags and robes, with a very calm, very genuine smile on his face. The exact opposite of Devin, but the excitement was still there in his eyes. Then he started playing.

I’ve been to many concerts and I watch carefully. I watch faces, fingers, and every aspect of the performace. This was real… the playing was real, and the compositions were perfectly portrayed. This was no Steve Vai bouncing towards the camera on “Just Like Paradise”, and it wasn’t another longhaired pop star trying to get attention. This was a consumate musician, a virtuoso among virtuosos. The playing seemed as effortless as the bliss he seemed to feel while hearing his creation.

From that point on, Steve redefined my approach to music. The way I write, the intensity with which I enjoy my songs, and of course a new found respect for the guitar. Since then my writing has been more reflective, more heartfelt, and more evocative. Our personalities are different in that I’m far less extreme on the outside (wearing polo shirts, jeans, and Reebok boots as opposed to silk shirts or leather pants) but the musical emotion seems close.

To make a long story short, I’m on the verge of a possibly very satisfying musical career. With ‘Unreal’ selling hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide, I’ve invested in a music workstation, a library of sample CDs, and my first electric guitar: an Ibanez JEM90. Since 1996 I’ve been playing furiously on an accoustic electric JBP artist and a Zoom 505 fx pedal and feeling a rush when my rough attempts at following Steve’s lead on “Liberty” or “The Crying Machine” click and I can follow with precision.

So thank you. Thank you Richard for a site that I can read and read and never read enough. Thank you Steve for your enthusiasm, your skill, and most of all your passion in that which I hold dearest: the music at the end of it all….

Alexander Brandon
Epic MegaGames
Straylight Productions
Juni Digital Music Group