Joe Perry professed that the likes of Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix are irreplaceable legends, reminiscing about the time he was left in awe after watching a performance by Steve Vai with Whitesnake.
Recently, despite facing some dwindling popularity, electric guitars have witnessed a resurgence in the limelight both digitally and in mainstream media. The current generation has produced astounding virtuosos whose expertise and swiftness at times even surpass the prowess of DragonForce’s Herman Li – something even the maestro behind “Through the Fire and Flames” concedes.
Although Perry acknowledges the undeniable talent of modern “guitar prodigies”, he confided in a recent chat with Guitar World that many of these maestros don’t hold a candle to the trailblazers like Hendrix and Van Halen. These legends didn’t just play; they revolutionized the art.
Currently on Aerosmith’s farewell tour, Perry remarked:
“The likes of Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen are unparalleled. While we have emerging talents that emulate them, they remain the pioneers.”
“Nowadays, I can browse online and encounter prodigious guitarists, but we’re discussing game-changers here. We have some prodigies on platforms like YouTube, but it’s essential to remember who set the stage.”
In the course of discussing guitar greats, with Eddie also getting a nod, Perry took a moment to laud his junior counterpart, Steve Vai. The first time Perry witnessed Vai, the prodigious guitarist from Long Island, previously known as Frank Zappa’s “stunt guitarist”, was performing alongside Whitesnake. Perry was spellbound:
“I can’t ignore the brilliance of Steve Vai. His music transcends the conventional boundaries of guitar playing. He conceives music in ways that constantly astonish me.
“I was fortunate to watch Steve Vai when he was collaborating with [David] Coverdale’s Whitesnake. The sonic wonders he produced were downright surreal. His seven-string guitar and accompanying equipment created sounds that were not only musically genius but also resonated through the very foundation of the venue. It’s baffling that his talent often goes underappreciated.”