STEVE VAI PUTS TOGETHER FIVE GUITAR MASTERS TO FORM GENERATION AXE
What do you get when you put five guitarists that are all masters in their field? You get the supergroup Generation Axe. The Generation Axe tour was put together by guitarist Steve Vai who partnered with Yngwie Malmsteen, What do you get when you put five guitarists that are all masters in their field? You get the supergroup Generation Axe. The Generation Axe tour was put together by guitarist Steve Vai who partnered with Yngwie Malmsteen,
former guitar teacher Joe Satriani. Now Vai has taken his love of playing with other incredible musicians by putting together an ensemble of some of the best in today’s music world. Yngwie Malmsteen is the classical/rock musician that hails originally from Sweden and first hit the rock world with his classically trained licks and phenomenal speed in the LA band Steeler in 83’ and then playing for the band Alcatrazz formed by former Rainbow singer Graham Bonnet that same year. A year later, Yngwie embarked on a solo career backed by his band Rising Force. In 2003, Malmsteen and Vai first toured together in G3 where they released a double live cd with Satriani called “G3: Rockin’ In The Free World”. This was a time when both musicians knew they would want to work together in the future.
That future is now as they team up with guitarist Zakk Wylde who fronts his own band Black Label Society and was originally came to fame as the young virtuoso playing for Ozzy Osbourne in 1987. Zakk has also released solo albums “Book of Shadows” and it’s follow up “Book of Shadows II” on April 8th, 2016. Nuno Bettencourt was also chosen for this tour. He has been the guitarist for the Boston based band Extreme since its inception in 85’. Nuno and the band topped Billboard Hot 100 charts with their acoustic guitar based songs “More Than Words” and “Hole Hearted” reaching #1 and #4. Although the band hit commercial success with those songs, the band as a whole was a hard rock band with Nuno’s guitar solos that were more along the lines of Eddie Van Halen with a funk edge. Bettencourt also shared his guitar duties with recording with Janet Jackson (Black Cat), Satellite Paty with Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction, and recording and touring with singer Rhianna.
Also joining the guitar hero ranks is Tosin Abasi. Tosin is a progressive metal player who plays an eight string guitar and is the founder of the band Animals As Leaders. Tosin is another alumni from touring with Joe Satriani which was now considered a G4 tour with an additional guitarist added. With the Generation Axe tour, you get the show intro with all five guitarist sharing the stage for the first song then each member gets a set of songs to play individually and well as sharing the stage with other members. It’s a rotation of musicians and song stylings ending with all the members hitting the stage together at the end of the show for a couple more songs. It’s great to hear Zakk Wlyde covering Black Sabbath hits and Nuno coming out and playing songs from Extreme. For me the real magic came when the guitarist teamed up like Nuno and Zakk playing a Citizen Cope cover of “Sideways” and Steve Vai playing with Yngwie Malsteen on his song “Black Star”. The real shredding roundabout happened when these axe heroes continuously traded off during the final song. All guitarists were back on the stage for Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” which included Malmsteen on vocals. We also have to give credit where credit is due because this ‘Night of Guitars’ would not have sounded as great as it did without the accompaniment of the band which included Pete Griffin on bass, Nick Marinovich on keyboards, and Matt Garstka on drums.
For those who get to witness ‘Generation Axe’ on tour, you can expect showmanship, entertainment, memorable moments, guitar work at its finest, and also the unexpected. The great part of this supergroup is they also change the sets from show to show so you never know what you might hear. This is the tour worth checking out!!
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Check out our Mayhem Music Magazine Vol. 6 No. 2 Issue featuring Generation Axe HERE