Second lead in the Steve Vai Band, Dave Weiner to play River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains
Wyomissing native Dave Weiner has an interesting day job. He plays second guitar in the Steve Vai Band, and spends most of his time dueling back and forth with the man who was called a “guitar god” and a “veteran guitar virtuoso” in a Rolling Stone article from July 24, 2012. Weiner has had the gig for 16 years, since he was 23 years old, and it takes up much of his time; but on a short break from Vai’s ensemble, he’s coming to the River Street Jazz Cafe to play with his own band for the first time in five years.
On Nov. 13, Weiner will bring his technical, instrumental guitar rock to Plains in a night being billed as “An Evening of Pure Guitar,” which will feature a set by Weiner and a set by Rob Balducci, who is signed to Vai’s label, Favored Nations. The event is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m., and the cover charge is $15 at the door.
After getting his accounting degree from Susquehanna University in 1998, Weiner moved to Los Angeles to attend Musician’s Institute, and he took an internship feeling it was time to meet people in the industry.
“I started interning for Steve’s manager,” Weiner said. “It ended up being Vai’s manager just by complete happenstance, and that’s how I got to know Steve over the year that I was at school … eventually he did ask about my guitar playing and did I have anything that he could listen to, and I happened to be recording.”
Weiner said he gave Vai that recording, and three weeks later was asked to join his band. It was his first major industry gig, and he decided to leave school to pursue it full time.
Now at 39, Weiner has toured with Vai for more than a decade and has released three studio records of his original music.
“I never set out to be in anybody’s band,” Weiner said. “I was always a writer. I started playing guitar when I was 10, and I had a band and full length original record when I was 13 and another one when I was 16. Certainly being in Vai’s band gave my name a head start as far as the industry, because fans of instrumental music, it’s a small niche; fans are very loyal.”
Weiner catered to that loyal following and made an instrumental record. In 2004, he released “Shove the Sun Aside,” which was re-released on Favored Nations in 2005, and is scheduled to be released again with three new songs to promote the 10th anniversary of the major label release.
The shredder put out his second record in 2010. “OnRevolute,” like Weiner’s freshman effort was another display of heavy guitar-centric rock, and he said both of his first two records entailed a lot of instrumentation, orchestration and production.
For his 2012 release, “A Collection of Short Stories: Vol. 1,” Weiner stripped down the process. “What I decided to do was something that was the opposite of what I had done before,” Weiner said. “What I could think of to make it as opposite as possible was an acoustic guitar with no accompaniment with one microphone.”
The result was a rich, classical sounding record that hints toward the style of Leo Kottke to guitar enthusiasts.
Weiner will bring a bit of all of that when he comes to the Jazz Cafe.
“I don’ t care if there’s five people there or 500 people there, it’s still your band, it’s still your music, and that’s the greatest joy in my life … to be able to share it live,” he said.
Weiner said he’s aware that many people don’t know who he and Balducci are, but they name their shows aptly to attract guitar fans and feel their work is relatable to anyone interested in guitar regardless of the names attached to the bill. He said if the show had to be classified, it would be called progressive rock, but both he and Balducci, who he calls an amazing guitar player, run the gamut of what’s intriguing to guitar fans.
Dave Weiner’s music can be found at www.daveweiner.com, and his lesson based, teaching company Guitopia can be accessed at www.guitopia.com. In addition to playing the Jazz, Weiner will be featured on PA Live between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Nov. 13.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or [email protected]