JOE SATRIANI On Touring With JOHN PETRUCCI And PHIL COLLEN: 'We Became Three Of The Best Guitar Buddies Ever'
Guitarist Joe Satriani was recently interviewed by Forrest of the Boise, Idaho radio station 96.9 The Eagle. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On inviting DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen to join the ”G3” tour:
Joe: ”I had such a great experience meeting and working with Phil the very last time at our ’G4 Experience’ camp last August. We literally met him outside the concert hall, and a few minutes later, watching him play, and then we started doing our teaching and doing our concerts every night. I was totally blown away. I always knew that he had to be a consummate professional and just a complete virtuoso, because you can tell when you listen to the DEF LEPPARD records and you see the live concerts that it takes a lot of impeccable musicianship to be able to keep that all together. But when you stand next to him and you see how he radiates into the room, it’s absolutely amazing. He has such a pure heart and pure star power, and man, was he fun to hang out with. I think that John [Petrucci], Phil and myself all agreed it was the best tour that we ever had. It had the best vibes, even though almost everybody got the flu in some form or another. We never missed a show, and we had the best time. We became three of the best guitar buddies ever.”
On teaching Kirk Hammett:
Joe: ”He was the lead guitarist in EXODUS. We’re talking teenage years. What a crazy scene. Kirk was already what you’d call, like, [an] intermediate to advanced guitarist. It wasn’t like he didn’t know what to do. He knew exactly what he liked; his fingers moved great. He was just looking to improve like a lot of his comrades at the time. He’d take lessons and Larry LaLonde from PRIMUS would come in right after him; Alex Skolnick would come in right after him. You’d have guys like Charlie Hunter, the jazz guitar player, and then David Bryson from COUNTING CROWS, Kevin Cadogan from THIRD EYE BLIND. These guys were all contemporaries. That scene with Kirk and that new form of metal, it was so obvious to me that this new, younger generation was going to kind of rule the world. It was so much fun to teach him. He was a great student and very motivated. During the course of our lessons, he got the gig playing with METALLICA and the lessons became even more important. He’d be off on tour for months; he’d come back in and take a bunch of lessons while they were making a record of something and then go back out. It was always a lot of fun. One thing I learned is that if you’re not passionate about music, you won’t make that leap. That’s what they all had — the kids that not only had the physical facility, but they had the most important element, which was the rage and the drive to be great and to create music that was different than, let’s say, my generation. They were younger, they wanted to change things and you need that — you need that energy to move music forward. They all had it — they had that drive.”
On the origins of CHICKENFOOT:
Joe: ”We met when Sammy Hagar invited us all to play an encore at one of his shows in Vegas. We jumped on stage, said hi to each other — Mike Anthony on bass, Sammy singing, Chad [Smith] on the drums, me on the guitar – and we ran through some [LED] ZEPPELIN and some other stuff. We had the greatest time, and by the time we walked off stage, we were, like, ’Hey, we should, like, be a band.’ Sammy said, ’Well, we should call it CHICKENFOOT.’ We all laughed, and then all of a sudden, it stuck, and there we were. We’ve been great friends ever since then.”
On the success of his new album, ”What Happens Next”:
Joe: ”Top ten record. That’s pretty amazing. First time for me to have a record received like that, so we’re happy.”
On recording the album with Chad Smith and Glenn Hughes:
Joe: ”[Chad and I] had a lot of experience in the studio, obviously, so I knew that he would bring the energy and the magic to any session. It was a question of whether he would be into doing an instrumental record, and I think that when I said, ’How about Glenn Hughes on bass?,’ that he just thought, ’Oh, that would be crazy.’ They had a good relationship together; they’d recorded together; and I always thought Glenn was an amazing bass player. I thought his bass playing was as crazy good as his singing. It never crossed my mind that it would seem odd to have him not singing.”
On being a band mate of two estranged former members of VAN HALEN:
Joe: ”Ever since I knew Sammy — and I’ve known Sammy even before CHICKENFOOT — there was always drama around VAN HALEN. It’s just one of those bands. They’re an amazing band — they’re rock ’n’ roll legends, and I’m a big Eddie Van Halen fan, so every time I’d hear them talk about stuff, I realized that being in a band is not easy. They love their history in the band, and I bet they wish that everything was hunky dory, and there wasn’t this tension, but that’s what happens with bands. Almost every band we can think of has got some member who’s gone and the new member’s in, and maybe there’s a little bit of bad blood here and there, but I tried to stay out of it, to tell you the truth.”
Satriani’s 16th solo album, ”What Happens Next”, was released in January on Sony/Legacy Recordings.
Joe’s touring band consists of Mike Keneally (guitar and keyboards), Bryan Beller (bass) and Joe Travers (drums).