Singers: Steve Vai

You worked with David Lee Roth, the man who self-diagnosed the condition ‘Lead Singer Disease’.

I’ve played with some of the greatest singers in rock, and that’s part of their whole make-up. Touring amplifies the foibles of any musician. There’s Lead Guitarist Disease, Lead Drummer Disease and even Bus Driver Disease. At some point everyone believes the show will not go on without them.

How was Diamond Dave in that regard?

What an amazing professional. His voice was always there and he never complained.

What about David Coverdale during your tenure with Whitesnake?

He was extraordinary. The guy got up there and kicked ass. In the entire time we worked together, there were just two occasions when he couldn’t deliver because he was tremendously ill. Even then he tried to do one of those shows.

_Do you regard Frank Zappa as a vocalist? _

Frank never considered himself a great singer, but his voice was always appropriate for the songs.

On a scale of one to ten, what’s your ability to hold a tune vocally?

Depending on the day, I can be an eight or minus one. The human voice is such a fragile instrument. It’s extraordinary when great singers deliver night after night.

Who else would you love to work with?

I was always a big Chris Cornell fan. And you may laugh at this, but my wife has turned me on to The Darkness. That guy [Justin Hawkins] is amazing. What he does is so peculiar, but I admire his uniqueness and self-confidence. That’s what I look for in all musicians and singers.

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.