In the four-plus decades since ‘supergroups’ became ‘a thing’ with the debut of Cream, composed of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, music lovers have been treated to a long list of all-star bands.
Who could forget Temple of the Dog? Oysterhead? Down? Audioslave? Them Crooked Vultures? Or, our personal favorite, A Perfect Circle? The answer: no one who owns a Nirvana t-shirt, grew up religiously watching MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball, or just generally loves music. (If you grew up listening solely to Enya and spent your weekends immersed in Bible study we forgive you for being confused by the aforementioned list of bands.)
While some musicians and music aficionados will openly express distain for supergroups, often citing bloated egos, our editorial team is fully onboard (if you haven’t already guessed). That is why we are extremely excited to announce Generation Axe will be shredding up the People’s Republic this month.
Arguably the world’s newest supergroup, Generation Axe was formed by hard rock guitar virtuoso icon Steve Vai in 2016 and is composed of himself and fellow guitarists Tosin Abasi (Animals as Leaders), Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme, Mourning Widows), Yngwie Malmsteen and Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, Ozzy Osbourne Band).
Each of these technical and dexterous guitarists will perform in front of the same backing band, both solo and in a number of combinations – including all five on stage together.
Zakk Wylde has previously stated that his greatest guitar-style influence is the late Randy Rhoads, the immortal guitarist who played on Ozzy’s first two albums, Blizzard of Ozz and Dairy of a Madman
In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Vai stated that while the supergroup is composed of guitarists all used to steering the sonic ship, the tour’s atmosphere has been one of “friendly rivalry.”
“Guitar players are extroverts,” he told the SCMP. “Every one of us is on one level half crazy and on another level incredibly confident in what we do and our own ability to deliver. Anyway, I can’t compete with those guys – I couldn’t play as fast as Yngwie Malmsteen or with his tonality. But there’s a mutual respect among us – we’ve all done it, and we all know what it takes.”
Steve Vai began his musical career at 18 years old (way back in 1978) as Frank Zappa’s transcriptionist before joining his band in 1980
After a successful North American tour in April and May of last year, the fearsome fivesome that is Generation Axe is set to deliver a hearty dose of American rock across Asia, with a 10 stop tour hitting Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Jakarta, Bangkok, Singapore, Beijing and Guangzhou. More dates may yet be announced.