Guitar legends Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi are touring together as Generation Axe.
When Vai approached Bettencourt with the idea, his fellow axe slinger had his reservations.
“I said, well how are we doing this, how do all these great guitarists with egos play in the same sandbox together without getting in each other’s way?" Bettencourt told FOX411. "And his idea was, yes of course for years the people who do know us know that we are lead guitarists, even if we’re not, we like to say we’re ‘lead’ guitarists. But I think the idea is everybody knows us that way. What they don’t know is, what they haven’t seen is, can these five guys come together and unify and do some really beautiful stuff together, you know and some beautiful harmony and pieces.”
So do the solos get competitive?
"Maybe a few years ago it’d be a lot more competitive but I think now it’s more inspirational," Bettencourt said. "You know you’re waiting for your turn and you’re watching these amazing players and they raise the bar. They sort of raise your game and it’s really healthy. It kind of makes the best version of you that you could be on that spot and really it’s influential at the same time.”
“When you’re standing next to them and they’re doing their thing at the top of their game, you can’t compete on their level with them, you’re forced to kind of compete with yourself so they raise your own game and you just can’t get that kind of education any place either," he said.
Could the tour lead to something more, like an album?
“Obviously that would be fantastic. We kind of want to, the plan right now is to get out there, get our sea legs together a little bit and we’ve got some venues that we’re looking at that we might possibly film and record," Vai said. "And that’s kind of a first step. This is kind of an easy feel it out first step and if it feels good then there’s potential to do more.”
The Generation Axe tour starts tonight at The Wiltern in Los Angeles.