“It took me a while to come to terms with it”: Adrian Vandenberg recalls feeling frustrated with Steve Vai’s guitar playing in Whitesnake
“I was a big admirer of Steve, but I had a vision of how I wanted those songs to sound.”
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Speaking to Guitar World, the guitarist admits he wasn’t the happiest with Vai’s guitar playing on the band’s sophomore album Slip of the Tongue as it’d differed from the creative vision he had for the record.
“It took me a while to come to terms with it,” says Vandenberg, who was out of commission at the time due to an injured wrist. “I was a big admirer of Steve, but I had a vision of how I wanted those songs to sound: I wanted big rhythm guitars, melodic, and bluesy licks.”
As things were already set in stone, the musician had to learn Vai’s parts when the band began touring, a process that, as Vandenberg reveals, was by no means easy.
“It was one of the most challenging things I’d ever done, and it took me a few weeks to start appreciating Steve’s work,” he says. “I had to overcome my frustration about not being able to play the songs as I’d hoped, but once I overcame my frustration and became close with Steve, I came to love how they turned out.”
So much so that Vandenberg claims it was a shame the lineup featuring himself and Vai on guitars, Rudy Sarzo on bass, and Tommy Aldridge on drums didn’t last longer, saying “I definitely regret that the lineup with Steve and I didn’t get to continue. But grunge came up, and I’ve always been the kind of guy who sticks to his guns and does what he does best.
“So, if I could go back, I would have chosen to stay together and make at least one more album. I wish we had stuck to our guns, stayed together, and gotten back in the saddle like good cowboys [laughs].”