By Steve Wiseman

November 27 marks what would have been Jimi Hendrix‘s 70th birthday.  Despite having only 27 years on this earth, Hendrix has arguably been the single most influential electric guitar player in the history of rock music, inspiring nearly every six-stringer who followed.

One of the most influential players in more recent decades has been Steve Vai, who has graced the cover of many a guitar magazine.  He started out playing in Frank Zappa’s band. After that, he played with David Lee Roth and was briefly a member of Whitesnake before going solo.

Vai told CBS Local that he’s still blown away when he listens to Hendrix’s music even though at the time of his death “he was young enough to be my son!”

“He really dissolved the lines between convention and personal expression… Where did he get that stuff from?” he said. “There was no place that he could copy that stuff from. To this day, I still marvel at the way he played the guitar.  The way he sang was uber, ultra cool.”

Vai released his eighth studio album, The Story Of Light, over the summer, and will be touring Europe through mid-December.

Brian Ives, CBS Local 


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