Steve Vai Named The Douchiest Guitarist Of All Time

Legendary axeman earns himself somewhat of a different title.

Ultimate Guitar

During an over 20 years long career, Steve Vai has earned himself a wide range of titles and awards. He was named the fastest, the best, influential and revolutionary, but this time around, he is in for somewhat of a different recognition.

So in a recent post on the Village Voice, Vai was officially named the 'douchiest guitarist of all time'. 'Why?', you might ask. Well apparently, 'overplaying' and "getting up his own a--" are among the top reasons.

"Sure, plenty of guitar players can overplay and look really intense doing it, but until Steve Vai, we've never seen a guitarist actually manage to go up his own a-- while playing a triple necked guitar with legs crossed. You can almost feel how insignificant he thinks you are with every note he plays. You are blessed to hear him even turn his amp on. If these facial expressions alone during the entirety of this six minute clip don't earn him the top spot on this list, then PLEASE, tell us who deserves it more."

The author says there is a "fine line between sexy and douchey", adding that "Douchey Guitar Player Disease (a.k.a DGPD) is still a scourge on the music industry today" with Vai being among the prime examples.

So do you think this is right? Is Steve Vai really a douche? Or do you think the douchebag title should go to the author? Let us know in the comments section below.

203 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Yngwie Malmsteen - that is all.
    True.. although I have to admit (and yea, downvote all you want) that I never liked Steve's facial expressions... it's not that hard to act natural when playing the guitar..
    I'd say doing those expression is acting natural for him. Are you really inexpressive when performing an instrument? Don't you feel anything at all? Why play at all if you're not gonna enjoy it visibly?
    Yngwie has the personality that perfectly matches his guitar-masterbation sessions, Vai only plays his guitar like a douchebag.
    only because hes better than 100% of the people who trash talk him? and yeah yngwie definitely got this title a while back
    I never said he's a poor guitarist... A poor songwriter on the other hand might be a more accurate title.
    What a well written article. I didn't feel like my IQ dropped 5 points just by reading it.
    I know for a fact that he's not a douche. He was my father's favorite guitarist. My father was diagnosed with cancer and it wasn't looking too good. My uncle thought it'd be nice if Steve Vai could possibly write my father a letter containing some nice words and encouragement, so he wrote an email to Steve. A week after my father passed, we got a hand written letter from him in the mail. I kid you not.
    Seriously? Anyone who's ever watched any interview with him should know he's one of the nicest and coolest people in the music industry... Everyone has their own "Guitar faces" but come on, to call him a douche for that? Actually the entire list is really stupid... Apparently having fun on stage means you're a douche now...
    He's a showman. As a person, though, he's incredibly humble and aims to bring out the greatest sides of everybody around him. If you're going to hate on him, watch this (it's his acceptance for the Les Paul award)-
    It's long, but I have nothing but respect for Steve Vai.
    I agree. The people in the Village Post are acting dumb.
    They don't mention the fact that Steve Vai has swallowed some of the most famous cum of all time, FZ, DLR (me), Les Paul, Chet Atkins (he died before Steve could swallow so he went to the sperm bank Chet used and bought it), Michael Jackson, Elton John, Jeff Beck, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, the list goes on and on, he is gay AND a douchebag
    if you don't believe this article just check out this video.
    How does someone become a douche if he's more talented than you? It's your own fault you don't practice enough!
    Well i guess Yngwie Malmsteen has enough reason to bitch on everyone. Btw, Steve's not a douche.
    lol this is just hilarious xD and this article is just stupid.
    okay WTF.... this might be worse than Lil'Waynes solo or Fred dursts solo.. I couldnt go any further after 1 minute of this shit.
    You can't be that stupid
    These STS vids are hilarious. I really don't have an opinion about Steve Vai. I know he memorized all of Frank Zappa's music and called him on the phone and convinced Zappa to make him his lead guitarist when he was a teenager. As for his music, it's just not my style but I would never say he's a douche or a bad guitarist. Just not my taste.
    He didn't call Frank Zappa on the phone to convince him to hire him...he showed up on his doorstep playing Don't eat the yellow snow and gave him the best blowjob he had ever had then swallowed the 'snow'. Thats how he got with Frank.
    Okay kinda stuck with it for about.. 30 seconds and then i thought to myself this is the worst guitar player i have ever heard in my entire life how did he.. just never mind this is plain and simply bad.i dont care if its a joke its still is and always will be bad.
    Sheep Shagger
    "i dont care if its a joke its still is and always will be bad." IT'S NOT STEVE VAI PLAYING, YOU STUPID FUCK
    You're a dumbass. Vai is arguably one of, if not THE best guitarists in the business.
    lol, thats hilarious. nice job getting it to sync. Steve Vai is godly, we're lucky he exists, and lucky we are alive at the same time.. if he wants to take us on a Lydian, Locrian, time warp, I'm down.. let's get out of here, and leave the rest of em in the suspended 4ths dimension.
    EVERYONE KNOWS MICHAEL ANGELO BATIO TAKES THE DOUCHE AWARD IN MY OPINION. Nothing wrong with makin a silly face while playing I agree! I love Mark Tremonti but he can look pretty funny sometimes when he plays.
    I wouldn't go as far as to call him a douche. He's just a charismatic, out-there guy who isn't afraid of being humorous or a bit of a show off. In the genre that he plays his guitar work is meant to be "overplayed"
    The only douche in this context is the VV poster, who apparently knows nothing about reading a personality and sounds like a typical Rolling Stone/NME gossip writer. Fuck this bitch.
    Vai is certainly an extrovert when it comes to performing, but he even jokes around about how douchy he is (like, him refering to his fan at the front of the stage as his most important equipment), hes really humble and respectful in his interviews. You can easily see that he still feels lucky to be there. But more importantly; REALLY UG? Is this what it has come down to? Re-writing slanderous stories about TRUE musicians? For shame.
    I met Vai before a show a few years back. For a guitarist of his magnitude and talent, he was an incredibly friendly and down to earth guy. He's a virtuoso, and sure he plays the part when he's performing, but off stage and in interviews he just always comes off as a genuine guy. Dudes like Yngwie though....
    Michael Angelo Batio.
    Batio is not a douchebag. What makes you say that?
    I've met Batio at a guitar clinic, he knows exactly how good he is, but he's not a douchebag by any means, he's a fairly laid back dude who talks about Star Wars a lot, and happens to kick ass at playing guitar
    Battery Chicken
    His 4 neck guitar that is essentially exactly the same guitar x4. The guys is all tricks and no soul.
    Oh, come on! Playing guitar and making music doesn't have to be a chore and make everything "a soulful masterpiece" just because. Sometimes one just want to have fun and, I'll be damned, a 4-neck guitar is pretty ****ing awesome. It must be really fun to play it. Plus, Nitro is a spoof glam rock band. Check other works of him. It's like Buckethead. You have to dig through the shread to find the soul.
    Apparently, this site has never seen or heard of the fact that Lil Wayne plays a guitar on tour. Or should I say, pretends to play?
    So Jimmy Page is a douche for playing a double neck? Jesus christ, Vai is awesome, no arguments, he just is, get over it.
    Its not that he does play it but how he presents himself as he does it, with a cocky attitude that the listener and any other person who attempts it is worthless and insignificant. (I can read the article thoroughly, yay)
    It's called having style and flair. He isn't some kid playing a cover song on Youtube looking awkward and stoic. Vai is an "entertainer". He has confidence.
    There is a fine line between confidence and douchebaggery.
    I was reading the interpretation I read of the article, this guy had just decided that because A he must be B without imagine that there may be other reasons stated to lead it so. Personally, I think all guitarists are in some way douchey, self included. It is sort of a requirement for the instrument. A natural assumption is th ebest must be the douchiest, but I will agree with their article instead because he is a douche of douches by pointlessly learning how to play faster than anyone could give a damn about. (I think it was like 30+ notes per second). No good sound comes from that, that is just showing off, but in a douchey way
    I don't believe Vai takes himself as seriously as this article suggests. You can't tour with Frank Zappa's band as "stunt guitarist" for a few years and not be able to laugh at yourself. Also, check out Vai's 1st solo album "Flexable" for plenty examples of non-douchy-ness...
    He doesn't take himself seriously. In interviews and on stage he is always poking fun at himself.
    Can I point out that Michael Angelo Batio was third on the list, and the only reason they could muster up was that he wants too much attention to have a rhythm guitarist? I've met MAB and he's probably the nicest musician I'll ever meet. He let me play his guitar without me even asking. When I asked him questions about guitar related things, he asked ME questions too, it wasn't just an ego trip, he actually was interested in some guy he's never met. MAB has one rule - don't cheat, play guitar, and he thinks you're great. Not necessarily great at guitar, he's just glad that there are guitarists in the world who are trying to get better.
    WHAT? I wouldn't call him that, I think he's really cool and very nice,I've met him after his show in Lithuania
    Obviously, the author is jelous of Stevie Vai's fame, notoriety and skills. Hell I'm jelous of the guy, but you don't see me calling him a douchebag. The only acceptable reason for writing a review like the one above is the death of a pet or family member. Please take my sincere condolences if this is true. Rock on Steve Vai! \m/
    as much as i'm a massive fan, John Mayer has to be on the list of douchey guitarists. he just knows how good he is and doesn't care to show it
    This is a bad article. Who wants to call any guitar player a douche on a website devoted to guitar playing? Isn't this considered flaming anyway?
    What is the point if being great at guitar if nobody wants to listen to your songs?
    I'm way more of a douche that Steve Vai is. When do I get an article written about me?
    Yngwie Malmsteen won this a long time ago. Infact song 1 of his first album I believe was called "i am a viking" what a douchebag. Steve Vai is just a weirdo. Not a douchebag.
    I was amazed when I read that article last week how quickly a majority of readers ripped into that writer. Very deserving.
    He's a showman. As a person, though, he's incredibly humble and aims to bring out the greatest sides of everybody around him. If you're going to hate on him, watch this-
    It's long, but I have nothing but respect for Steve Vai.
    kill it
    Steve Vai is a talented musician and a class act. The Village Voice can suck it.
    Danjo's Guitar
    I can understand that Vai enjoys his music more than probably anyone else does, just because he's the only one that really knows whats going on. He's not a douche though. So cool.
    This is completely ridiculous. Only guitarists could be bone headed enough to try and marginalize such a great musician. It's times like these that I question why I even bother reading this shit.
    Mike Quall
    if shredding that hard makes you a douche, than I wouldn't mind being a douche, i mean what kind of douche bag would call him a douche?
    This is ridiculous. With the way this guy thinks, I'm surprised he didn't pick Paul Gilbert for the faces he makes when he plays. He's obviously jealous of Steve Vai's playing and the fact that Vai is a successful guitarist while he works for the Village Voice. What a douche.
    Every time Paul Gilbert does those stupid "O" faces, I puke on a John Mayer CD.
    They come down on me because I know how to play - Hey... **** you! Fuck yourself with a copy of Rolling Stone Or are they too holy for your holiest of holes - Steve Vai
    First off, I'm not a fan of virtuosos in general. But I definitely think Yngwie deserves this title way more than Steve Vai. Also, am I the only one who thinks Rick Nielsen deserves a nomination? He played a 5-neck guitar, which is beyond excessive, a guitar shaped like a saxophone and a guitar shaped like HIMSELF! That's pretty damn douchey
    Second Rate
    So, the central idea i'm getting from your comment is that you consider it "douchey" for an entertainer to attempt to do things to entertain. Am I in the ballpark here?
    Yeah this is total crap. The douchiest guitar player of all time is the ***** sitting outside a college dorm playing G, C, A, and D chords singing about breakups. There's a douche for ya.
    If you want to master a certain guitar-genre you will have to overplay it, else its isn't posible to master the genre you like. I actually think that you are a douche when you call other people a douche and publish that all over the internet.
    False. And I see nothing wrong with calling someone on their bullshit. You can do it in a way that makes you look like a douche, but just calling someone out doesn't automatically make you one.
    So basically because they could shred and played unique guitars they are douches? Sounds like the writer of this article was butthurt he himself can't shred or afford nice instruments.
    What's up with that guy, I agree with what he wrote about Lars but here he just sounds insecure, jealous and threatened by the very fact that Steve Vai exists. Fuckin wierdo ._.
    Seriously? The articles here have gone down the drain the past couple of years. How many UG Employees actually have any experience or have even studied mass communication, let alone the ethics of reporting?
    I think that the guy as musician is one of the best ever. Yes, he looks like a jackass on a stage with the fan pointing to his hair and his bloody faces that he mades,'s part of the show.
    His stage persona is a bit... douchey isn't quite the word. But outside of that he seems like a pretty genuinely nice guy.
    I've met Malmsteen in person and I can tell you, he's even more of a douche in person than what he is in videos and interviews. He was doing a session at a music store I once worked at, he treated all us employees like we were shit at the bottom of his shoe. Not to mention, he showed up almost a half hour late and left a half hour early. He was supposed to be in for 2 hours, but he only graced us with his divine presence for maybe an hour tops. It's funny because when Dimebag Darrell came to do the same thing, he was the complete opposite. We couldn't get the guy to leave. :p Vai looks like a douche but he's really not. Yngwie's got him beat, hands down.
    Personally I love how how Satriani made the list at #3 (see full article- even more ridiculous)- the reasons: he founded G3, was the teacher of many other influential guitarists, and sued coldplay for turning "If I Could Fly" into hipster drivel. This is the first time I've ever seen "douche bag" defined as "a professional guitarist being able to play his instrument to the highest ability possible and then putting his/her heart and soul into the music that they play." My time in medical school made me think a douche bag is a feminine hygiene product with a derisive connotation that is uncouth to use in respectable mass media. If this 5th rate NY joke of a rag knows something I don't, please pass the membership log for "wannabe douche bags of the world"- I'll be proud to sign.
    I'd rather see the award go to a guitarist that thinks he's a genius but a hack at best. Vai used to criticism by shred purists for using whammy bar too much, now he's too technical???? The guy played with Zappa and honed his skills with Zappa...
    Playing with Zappa is enough proof of great musicianship, even Adrian Belew said once that he graduated from Zappa's music school after he completed his playing period with Frank's band. The author of this article is the real douchebag. Virtuosos players always get criticised for one reason or another, these arguments get old pretty fast.
    i definitely had a pet peeve with the guy saying john mayer was on this list just because of the way he looks when playing. obviously the writer has never even touched a musical instrument or felt any sort of emotion except hatred.. I love watching John play with all his emotion and that doesnt make him douchy. this list sucks
    But John Mayer's on the list because he's a genuine douche I don't like his music, but he's still a fantastic guitarist Still a giant ****ing douche
    When I think of douchy guitarists, Steve Vai is last on my mind. I'm not the biggest fan of Steve, but in no means do I think he's douchy about his playing or personality.
    This shows how much the Village Voice knows nothing about Steve Vai. The guy is down to Earth and genuine. I can't fault the guy for having showmanship and flair - that's his style. In person he is extremely nice, generous, and encouraging. Yeah, what a douche....