"Icons & Idols: Rock 'N' Roll": Julien's Auctions to hold three-day auction at Hard Rock Cafe in NY

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"Icons & Idols: Rock 'N' Roll": Julien's Auctions to hold three-day auction at Hard Rock Cafe in NY
"Evo IV”, 2012, Ibanez, JEM7VWH electric guitar.

NEW YORK, NY.- Julien’s Auctions announced today “Property from the Archives of Steve Vai”, an exclusive presentation honoring the legendary three-time GRAMMY award-winning rock maestro, guitar pioneer, renowned axe-slinger for David Lee Roth, Whitesnake, and Frank Zappa and collaborator with artists from Public Image Ltd. to Alice Cooper, taking place Saturday, November 12th, 2022, day two of Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll, the world-record-breaking auction house to the stars’ three-day event running Friday, November 11th to Sunday, November 13th live at the Hard Rock Cafe® New York and online.

It was also announced that a portion of the proceeds will benefit “Kicking The Stigma,” the Indianapolis Colts and the Jim Irsay family’s national initiative to raise awareness about mental health disorders and to remove the stigma too often associated with these illnesses. The auction will feature over 300 lots showcasing the rock and metal icon’s instruments, gear, handwritten music, creative documents, wardrobe, and memorabilia from his groundbreaking recordings, live performances and media appearances, as well as artwork, personal items, and a custom motorcycle, coming directly from Steve Vai’s home and studios in Southern California.

Since roaring onto the rock and metal scene four decades ago, Steve Vai has rightfully earned his title supreme “guitar god,” as a three-time GRAMMY Award-wining guitar virtuoso, visionary composer, Guitar Player and Guitar World’s most honored “Best Rock Guitarist,” producer, innovator behind one of the best-selling signature guitars of all time– the Ibanez JEM–who’s sold more than 15 million albums worldwide with a discography of more than 60 albums.

Born June 6th, 1960 in Carle Place, New York, Steve Vai began his storied musical journey at the age of 12, taking guitar lessons from guitar master Joe Satriani, penning his first orchestral composition and playing in two local rock bands. While a student at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in 1978, he began transcribing compositions of Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, and Frank Zappa, whom he sent a copy of his transcription of Zappa’s technically difficult “Black Page #1”.

At the age of 18, Vai launched his professional music career as Zappa’s regular transcriber and later joined Zappa’s touring band and recording, in Zappa’s words, “impossible” guitar parts on his various albums in the early ‘80s. Soon after, Vai embarked on his solo career and in 1984, released his debut solo album, Flex-Able on his own created record label Akashic Records. Immediately, his innovative and original guitar virtuosity began to attract public and critical attention. Vai’s meteoric rise in the 80s hard rock and heavy metal scene and dominance as one of the decade’s best hard rock guitarists surged when he replaced Yngwie Malmsteen as the lead guitarist of the heavy metal band Alcatrazz, published “The Attitude Song” in the first Guitar Player magazine “Soundsheet,” starred as “Devil’s guitarist” Jack Butler opposite Ralph Macchio in the 1986 film, Crossroads and joined David Lee Roth’s band as lead guitarist, touring, recording and producing the critical and commercial hit albums, Eat ‘Em and Smile and Skyscraper. This, in combination with his tenure shredding for mega platinum hard rock supergroup Whitesnake, rocketed Vai to the top of many “best guitarist” lists, including those published by Guitar Player and Guitar World, and established him as an audience favorite in reader polls around the world.

In 1987, he became known to the world as an innovator in guitar technology when he unveiled the groundbreaking Ibanez JEM–one of the longest running, most successful signature series guitars in history–at the annual National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) industry trade show. The instrument, which he collaborated with Ibanez while he was in David Lee Roth’s band, is designed with first-of-its-kind features such as, Vai’s “lion’s claw” tremolo bridge and the monkey grip, along with another Ibanez collaboration, the 7-string Universe, revolutionized metal, with the commercial availability of the Universe arguably spawning an entire subgenre, djent, and defining the sound of the new wave of metal bands that would rise to popularity in the mid-to late-90s.

In the 1990s, Vai released his solo album, Passion and Warfare, which garnered the first of Vai’s career thirteen GRAMMY nominations and widespread critical and popular acclaim, a rare feat for a largely instrumental rock album. He released five more studio albums, received his first GRAMMY in 1994 for his performance of “Sofa” on the tribute album, Zappa’s Universe, co-headlined Joe Satriani’s G3 touring project, a celebration of guitar mastery that showcases top guitar talent, and founded both his Favored Nations record label and the Make a Noise Foundation, whose mission is to provide funding for musical education.

In the 2000s, Vai unleashed an unprecedented series of career defining works including the releases of his career spanning ten-disc box set The Secret Jewel Box in 2001; No Substitutions: Live in Osaka, produced and engineered by Vai himself, which won him his second GRAMMY award (for Best Pop Instrumental Album) in February 2002; The 7th Song: Enchanting Guitar Melodies Archive; his first full-length live release, Alive in an Ultra World; The Elusive Light and Sound, Vol. 1. Real Illusions: Reflections and more. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in 2003, and became more actively involved in orchestral music, working with various ensembles around the globe to bridge the gap between the realms of rock and classical music. His project The Aching Hunger, undertaken with the Netherlands’ Metropole Orchestra, led to Sound Theories Vol. 1 & 2 and the Visual Sound Theories DVD, and in 2007, he celebrated the 20th anniversary of the production of the Ibanez JEM.

In 2008, he began production on his signature Jemini distortion pedal with Ibanez, and in 2009, Vai released his masterpiece live concert film Where the Wild Things Are, filmed at State Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota during his Sound Theories Tour that featured some of the world’s best musicians assembled as his backing band and an accompanying grand two DVD set of the film. In 2011, Vai set a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest online guitar lesson with his course offered through the online education division of Berklee College of Music. In 2012, Vai embarked on the world tour in support of his eighth studio album, The Story of Light, which spanned 254 engagements in 52 countries. He launched several educational initiatives, including the Vai Academy and released his 2015 album Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A. In 2016, he released Modern Primitive which included sketches of Vai’s songs written after the release of his 1984 debut album Flex-Able. and joined the Generation Axe tour alongside luminaries Tosin Abasi, Nuno Bettencourt, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Zakk Wylde. In 2022, Vai released his tenth studio album, Inviolate, which debuted at No. 1 on the Current Hard Rock Albums chart (his first No. 1 album), No. 8 on Top Hard Rock Albums, and No. 40 on Top Album Sales.

Vai is one of the most sought-after musicians and collaborators of all time, who has worked with some of the world’s most legendary artists across all genres of music, from Public Image Ltd.’s Album and Alice Cooper’s Hey Stoopid to Al Di Meola’s Infinite Desire and Joe Jackson’s Symphony No. 1, in addition to appearing on releases from Ozzy Osbourne and Meat Loaf. He has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Hell’s Kitchen, and performed on American Idol with Mary J. Blige, Travis Barker, Randy Jackson, and his pop protégé Orianthi. Vai’s work has been featured in film and video game soundtracks, including Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, Encino Man, PCU, and Ghosts of Mars, as well as the wildly popular theme from Halo 2, “Mjolnir Mix.” In 2010 he produced the award-winning film Crazy, inspired by the life and music of the guitarist Hank Garland, and appeared on screen in the role of Hank Williams. He most recently collaborated with Living Color on a remake of their mega hit “Cult of Personality”.

In addition to his three GRAMMY awards, Vai has received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including, honorary doctorates from Berklee and the Musicians Institute and the TEC Foundation’s Les Paul Award for excellence in the creative application of technology (past recipients include Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Herbie Hancock and Steely Dan). In 1999, he was honored on the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2016. He was voted the 10th “Greatest Guitarist” by Guitar World magazine and has won over 15 honors from Guitar Player magazine.

“Steve Vai is one of the most influential and innovative musical geniuses of all time who has ruled the rock and metal scene and set the bar high for guitar virtuosity for nearly half a century,” said Martin Nolan, Executive Director/CFO of Julien’s Auctions. “His signature sound, style and reputation as one of the guitar world’s most towering figures is unmatched and will be well represented in his epic collection headlining Julien’s Icons & Idols Rock N’ Roll event this November.”

Highlights announced today include (with estimates):

·“EVO IV” 2012 IBANEZ JEM7VWH ELECTRIC GUITAR ($8,000 - $12,000). “Evo IV” (SV 28), a white 2012 Ibanez JEM7VWH electric guitar, created for Steve Vai as a backup for his main axe, Evo, that was used extensively for rehearsals.

·“SOFIA” HENDRIX EXPERIENCE STAGE-PLAYED 2011 IBANEZ CUSTOM SHOP JEM77 ELECTRIC GUITAR ($10,000 - $20,000). “Sofia” (SV 83), a blue and red 2011 Ibanez Custom Shop JEM77 electric guitar created as the result of a contest in which people could submit potential designs for the JEM. Steve Vai selected this one, and two in this finish were made: one for him and one for the designer, Alessandro Serrago. This instrument can be seen being played by Vai live on stage during the Experience Hendrix tour in 2011.

·“ODE” 2005 IBANEZ JEM BRMR ELECTRIC GUITAR ($8,000 - $12,000). “Ode” (SV 44), a mirror-fronted JEM BRMR electric guitar that was part of the first batch of such instruments delivered to Vai in 2005 for his use on the Real Illusions tour. This particular instrument has remained the cleanest and most pristine of Vai’s BRMRs.

·“LONLIN” CIRCA 1980S-1990S CONKLIN CUSTOM COBRA 7-STRING ELECTRIC GUITAR ($4,000 - $6,000). “Lonlin” (SV 71), a custom-made 7-string electric guitar gifted to Vai by Bill Conklin sometime in the late 1980s / early 1990s. This dramatic instrument features a hand-carved cobra snake body in purple and tan with hieroglyph inlays on the fingerboard. Vai says of the instrument: “It actually plays very well, but it can bite at times if you play the wrong notes.”

·“PAULIE” 2018 IBANEZ JEM 7VP FIRST PROTOTYPE ELECTRIC GUITAR ($8,000 - $12,000). “Paulie” (SV 334), a white 2018 Ibanez JEM 7VP, is the first prototype of the JEM 7VP, with headstock hand labeled and signed by Vai.

·“COROZA” 1999 IBANEZ 7/6 DOUBLE-NECK ELECTRIC GUITAR ($5,000 - $7,000). “Coroza” (SV 40), a rare black Ibanez 6/7 double-neck electric guitar with “S” style body that, as a spot model, never appeared in the catalog.

·“MOTHERSHIP” CARVIN VAI LEGACY HALF STACK AMPLIFIER ($1,000 - $2,000). A c. 2000s Carvin Vai Legacy half stack amplifier (VL100 and C412) which was used in “The Mothership” studio, located in the Hollywood Hills. Portions of Passion and Warfare and Sex and Religion, the entirety of Alien Love Secrets and Fire Garden, as well as the guitars for Slip of the Tongue and his contributions to the PCU score were recorded there.

·IBANEZ JEMINI DISTORTION PEDAL PROTOTYPE ($300 - $500). One of six prototypes given to Vai by Ibanez as part of the process in creating the Jemini signature pedal. Features six gold knobs on aluminum box with on/off switches for each of its two circuits based on the TS9 and DS1 with orange dot markers to designate preferred settings.

·1976 EMT 250 DIGITAL REVERB MULTIEFFECTS UNIT ($5,000 - $7,000). The first commercial digital reverb unit produced, and still highly sought after in many studio contexts. This rare piece of equipment is one of only 250 produced.

·FRANK ZAPPA “BLACK PAGE #1” TRANSCRIPTION NOTES ($1,000 - $2,000). A sheet of landscape score paper on which Vai has handwritten transcription notes for Frank Zappa’s “Black Page #1,” the notoriously complex drum and melodic percussion solo performed live by Terry Bozzio and others. A young Vai sent a full transcription of “Black Page #1” to Zappa, along with a recording by his band Morning Thunder, which would lead to his first professional musical engagement transcribing music for Zappa at $10 a page.

·ORIGINAL 1984 MICHAEL PURCELL “FLEX-ABLE” ALBUM COVER ART - SECOND VERSION ($300 - $500). A collection of Michael Purcell’s original artwork from the creation of the second version of the 1984 album cover for Flex-Able including: drawings featuring alternate configurations of the flexible guitar neck; tracings of Steve Vai, Frank Zappa, and Jesus; and different versions of the Urantia logo and the words “Definitely Stereo” that would appear on the album cover. Together with a mock-up of the album cover.

·DAVID LEE ROTH TOUR STAGE-WORN DIFABRIZIO COWBOY BOOTS ($700 - $900). A pair of DiFabrizio brand black cowboy boots with silver detailing worn by Steve Vai while on tour with David Lee Roth.

·STAGE- AND 1993 “DEEP DOWN INTO THE PAIN” MUSIC VIDEO-WORN CUSTOM HIEROGLYPH ROBE ($500 - $700). A custom-made black sleeveless robe with Vai hieroglyph symbols stitched throughout worn by Steve Vai extensively while on tour. The robe can additionally be seen being worn by Vai in the music video for “Deep Down into the Pain,” from his album Sex and Religion.

·“INVIOLATE” 2021 MASTERING ACETATE WITH SIGNED ALBUM ART ($300 - $500). An original Bernie Grundman Mastering reference disk for Steve Vai’s tenth studio album, Inviolate housed in a white sleeve that has been hand labeled “Nov 23rd, 2021 / Steve Vai / “Inviolate” / Album.” Together with signed album art and a signed draft album cover.

·“PASSION AND WARFARE - ANSWERS” 1989-1990 STUDIO EPHEMERA WITH VINTAGE STICKERS AND SIGNED POSTCARD ($200 - $300). A collection of mix and track documentation from the recording of the song “Answers” from Passion and Warfare including: detailed track sheets, handwritten studio mix notes, as well as notes on the recording of keys. Together with a set of vintage Passion and Warfare stickers and a postcard signed by Vai.

·STAGE-WORN LEATHER PANTS WITH 2009 INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL STAGE-WORN SHIRT ($1,000-$2,000). A pair of size 34 black leather pants worn extensively by Vai while on tour c. 2000-2015. Together with a colorful Just Cavalli red, purple, and tan floral design shirt. The ensemble can be seen being worn by Vai while performing at the 2009 International Music Festival in Brasov, Romania and other occasions.

·“VAI MOBILE” CUSTOM MOTORCYCLE ($8,000 - $10,000). A custom-built motorcycle known as the Vaimobile. This matte black chopper-style motorcycle features bright green accents, custom trumpet exhaust pipes and Steve Vai’s hieroglyph design throughout. This motorcycle is equipped with a custom-built S&S Super V-twin engine and custom green cylinder heads. The tires on this bike are Cobra Avon AV71’s, while the spoked wheels feature green accents.

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