Watch the Blue Powder online guitar lesson by Steve Vai from Alien Guitar Secrets: Passion & Warfare
In this video segment, Steve shares background and key insights related to Blue Powder. In the following text, Steve talks about the Naked Track for Blue Powder and how you might approach working with it.
Form: I left the intro melody notes on, so you can grab the intro.
Key(s): This is another one where the tonalities and FX change quite a bit through the piece. Not quite blues, not quite fusion, sort of Venusian home-grown.
What was I thinking?: It was 1983 and I had just received my first amplifier stack. It was a Carvin X100B amp and it had a head and two 4x12 cabinets. I was over the moon about this towering skyscraper of sound demolition. Carvin agreed to give me this amp in return for a demo song where I used the amp. I immediately created "Blue Powder".
What could you be thinking?: There's no real melody to sink your teeth into as much as there are harmonic testimonials. Once you get the changing tonalities under your ears, this one is quite pleasant to play. It's all in the touch here. An exercise in dynamics. Dynamics are usually ignored by many players, but it's the tongue that delivers the poetry in a piece of music like this. Think dynamics.
About Naked Tracks
Through the years, whenever I would mix my records I would usually do a mix of specific songs without the lead guitar. This allowed me to play along with the track or make loops to jam to, and because I figured perhaps someday maybe others would like to do the same. Voila! We have arrived at someday.
Playing to these naked tracks, or creating loops of various sections to endlessly meander over, is a phenomenal way to discover unique musical ideas from within yourself.
For the most part, the tracks in this series are presented in their original form with the lead guitar removed. In some cases, I looped some solo sections to give you an opportunity to stretch out.
I suggest you import these files into a sequencer program of sorts, such as ProTools, GarageBand, etc. and create loops of various parts of the songs to jam over. On many tracks, a hit or count-off was added to the intro to indicate where the song starts. On some tracks, a small portion of the original melody guitar may have been tacked onto the intro as a guide.
One way to play along with these tracks is to learn the original guitar parts that are on the album versions of the songs (for full transcriptions and notation, pick up the Passion & Warfare Songbook published by Hal Leonard), but I would encourage you to take a more active role in using these tracks as a bed to lay your own creative interpretation over.
There are really no rules. So sit back, flip on a naked track and dress it up with your own artistic musical apparel.