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- Posted on Nov 19th 2009 4:00PM by Robin Milling
"It's hard. You have to train a lot," he tells Spinner. "The other day, I rode my bike from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara which is 80 miles. Then I ran 22 miles the week before. It's really great but when you discover that lifestyle, it gives you a new lease on life. I'm going to be 50 next year and I started when I was 22. I went through an odd period when I was in my early 20s, like a depression of sorts, and I needed to have a complete 360 in my life or else I probably wouldn't have survived. I became a vegetarian, I quit smoking and I changed my attitude on exercise. It's really changed the quality of my life because I think clearer, play better, compose better music so I've always adapted a training, eating right lifestyle."
While performing with Frank Zappa and David Lee Roth, Vai was right in the thick of the '80s heyday of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. "I boozed it up a little bit and I'd just get kind of stupid," he says. "That's one of the reasons why I don't drink. I never liked anything that got in the way of my ability to clearly think about the music in my head. I always felt that if I complicated my life with drugs it would disrupt my ability to think clear about the music. A lot of people think that drugs can enhance that experience -- they just make you think you're discovering the universe with your lyrics but what you're really writing is 'I eat suitcases.' When I joined David Lee Roth's band, he got me into working out because he was a real exercise kind of guy and would get the best trainers in the world so hanging around him really inspired me. I never indulged in the drugs. I just loved playing the guitar. People would be walking around the halls I would just be playing all the time."
While groupies were all the rage in the '80s with plenty of sex for the taking, Vai opted for commitment over one-nighters. "As far as the sex thing, which is probably more of a dangerous vice when it's just laid out to you in whatever capacity you want it, I just wanted to have a meaningful relationship with someone," he says. "I've been with the same girl for 30 years, married for 22 years."
How many '80s rocker can honestly say that?