What happens when two absolute guitar gods hit the stage together? I don’t know, but we’ll find out in a couple days when the legendary Steve Vai and man of many projects Devin Townsend reunite on stage for the first time in almost 25 years at the Starmus Festival IV: Life And The Universe, set to take place in Trondheim, Norway throughout June 18-23.
Vai and Townsend have history together, having originally teamed up for Vai’s killer 1993 release Sex & Religion. The record had seen a group of distinguished “monster musicians” coming together, including drummer Terry Bozzio, bassist T.M. Stevens and, of course, Heavy Devy. The band had split up following the record, Vai only touring with Townsend and a rotation of session drummers and bassists.
Devin Townsend revealed the news to eonmusic on Monday night (June 12) at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods ceremony where he won the prestigious title of “Riff Lord,” stating, “We’re doing one of my songs with an orchestra, and I’m singing with him for the first time in 25 years. I’m also playing some of his stuff, so I think, now that I’ve been elevated to Riff Lord, I may get a promotion!”
Those whose ears perked up at the news that Townsend will do one of his songs with an orchestra: that song will be the excellent “Truth.” The song was originally released on his album Infinity and has been re-recorded and re-released, including on his latest album with Devin Townsend Project, Transcendence.
Psyched to do this. We're playing 'Truth' there with orchestra and guests as well 🙂 STARMUS – Life and the Universe https://t.co/Ran78mhbHd
— Devin Townsend (@dvntownsend) May 31, 2017
“It’s a festival that’s based around physics and science, and I really enjoy that,” said Townsend about the particularly unique event where he will be showcasing his reunion with Vai. “Being forty-five years old and sober and [having] kids and all that, I really respect that sort of process. I really like the idea that something that is maybe stereotypically known as as being a knuckle-dragging genre is able to participate in things that are really beautiful like this and contribute to it.”
“We’re just doing one song,” answered Townsend when he was asked what material the pair will be performing on the prophetic night. “We’ve known each other for many years, so to be able to get together like that is really cool.”
There were several instances where the two musicians performed on the same record following their initial musical partnership. In 2005, Vai had played a tasteful guest guitar solo on Townsend’s record Synchestra, and in 2013 was cast as a narrator on Townsend’s live album The Retinal Circus. And when Vai decided to record 2016’s Modern Primitive, which featured some music that he had written in the period between his solo debut Flex-Able and Passion and Warfare, the followup to Sex & Religion, he enlisted Townsend to do vocals for “The Lost Chord.”
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat