#983: ‘For The Love Of God’ – Steve Vai

If you were to ask me back in my high school years what my favourite song was, the answer probably would have been this track. See, during this time, I was pretty well set on becoming a musician at any cost. I’d play my guitar for hours in a day, completely shirking any responsibilities that I had, and almost failing a fair number of assignments. I wanted to become a musician at any cost, but unfortunately, a lack of talent, and a lack of musical friends made my dreams of being in a band any time soon. But around this time, I spent ages listening to a lot of instrumental guitarists, such as Buckethead, Joe Satriana, or Steve Vai.

When I discovered ‘For The Love Of God’, I was shocked by the raw emotion in the song. To me, it felt almost spiritual, and after reading more about the song and its conception, it felt that way even more. The story is that Vai would fast for days at a time in order to bring himself into altered states of consciousness. His belief was that by doing this, one could discover new techniques and ways of playing that would otherwise go undiscovered. On the fourth day of his fast, Vai recorded the track ‘For The Love Of God’. I always felt as though this must have been the track he was most proudest of, even if just because the levels of raw emotion, and technical brilliance apparent within the track.

Steve Vai would later confirm the spiritual nature of the song, once saying “To date, this is the ultimate musical statement of my subliminal love for all that is, and my desire to achieve purity of heart in one of these lifetimes soon. It was inspired by divinity, like all great things that the human race takes credit for.”

Back when I discovered ‘For The Love Of God’, I would spend hours at night listening to this track, trying my best to emulate and understand the techniques used by Vai within its composition. Eventually, I would give up, and read books while this song would play, eventually falling asleep to it. I remember once that I fell asleep at 9pm, and woke up 12 hours later with the song still playing in my headphones. If there was any truth to the theories of learning by osmosis, then I should be some sort of musical genius by now.

These days, this track is no longer by my favourite song (which is pretty obvious, I mean, you wouldn’t be hearing about it for another 982 days if it was), but it still holds a place in my heart as a brilliantly composed piece of music that should never be forgotten.

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