Steve Vai ‘spiralled into a black hole’ filming Crossroads with Ry Cooder and Arlen Roth

Crossroads: Trailer for 1986 Ralph Macchio film

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Vai made his big-screen debut playing the devil’s guitarist, Jack Butler, in the cult movie. Iconic scenes show Vai flourishing his legendary guitar skills, trading Known as one of the nicest guys in rock music, the musician opened up about the dark place he went to for the role. He admitted: “You become what you create, and in those early days I was creating a lot of dark stuff.”

Vai had begun to make a name from himself when he joined Frank Zappa band in 1980, aged just 20, before launching his solo career in 1983.

In a never-before-seen interview with Guitar World he spoke of the dangers of those early years: “There was a time in my life when I was very willing and able to project a very dark aura. I discovered that it was having a detrimental effect on my mental and physical health and I actually spiraled into a black hole. Fortunately for me, I was able to claw my way out after several years.”

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