In the October issue of Guitar Player, guitarist Steve Vai talks about how he came to have two violinists in his touring band:
A lot of my music is pretty orchestrated and thick, so I decided to get a violin player — that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. But when I started auditioning them, I was scared to death, because most of the people who were coming in were these metal players who had awful intonation and didn’t understand how to read music. They just thought I was looking for shredders — which was about the furthest thing from the truth. And then, all the classical players who could read the music didn’t have any rock sensibility at all. Once I turned my amps on, they all ran for the hills. I almost gave up and then Alex DePue came in the room and tore it up. I mean, this guy is the right balance of everything. He’s ferocious, he’s unbelievably respectful and professional, and he’s capable of playing impossible stuff.
Vai’s right. I thought it was impossible for anybody to get me to listen to this particular Yes song, but Alex DePue works the miracle:
But the story doesn’t end there:
After I found Alex, I kept getting calls from this woman in the Midwest named Ann Marie Calhoun. I told her, “Thanks, but we’ve already got our violin player,” and she was like, “Yeah, but I want to rock out. Please check out my tape.” So I did, and I was completely and utterly blown away.
Here is Ann Marie Calhoun playing alongside the Foo Fighters:
Here she is in a homier setting . . .
. . . and here she is with her brother, Joe Simpson, playing my most favorite Grateful Dead song ever: