Joe Satriani recent spoke to the Long Island, New York radio station 94.3 The Shark.
On being influenced by Jimi Hendrix:
Joe: “It’s an interesting story. I grew up in a little section of Westbury, and when I was about 8 or 9 years old, it was the first time I heard Jimi Hendrix, and I was completely transfixed. I just thought it was the greatest sound I’d ever heard in my life. At the time, I was actually studying drums. I was just beginning to take drum lessons. It lasted for about two or three years, and after I realized I was not going to be Mitch Mitchell, I started to think, ‘I’m going to have to do something else.’ A couple of years later, I’m on the football team one afternoon where I went to high school, and I was informed by a teammate that Jimi had passed away. I turned around, went into the coach’s office, told him I was quitting and [that] I was going to become a guitarist. I did the same thing [at home] — I went home that night and announced over family dinner what I was going to do with my life. After the dust settled and everyone stopped screaming and arguing, that was the plan that got put into effect, and I started that long road of trying to figure out how to play guitar.”
On participating in the “Experience Hendrix” tour
Joe: “It’s been really magical. This time around, I wanted to do the tour, but I asked John [McDermott, tour producer] if I could bring my own band this time. I put together purely on faith a really cool trio with Doug Pinnick singing and playing bass, and Kenny Aronoffon drums. I’d toured with Doug, but we had never actually played together. I actually toured with Kenny — he was CHICKENFOOT‘s drummer for the second tour that we did — so we had a history, but I just had this feeling like the three of us together would create something larger than the sum of the parts. Every night’s been magical. Every night’s different. We’re reaching; we’re creating stuff that just blows us away; and we love Hendrix music. We just love what we get to play. We get to take the stage for 30 minutes and play six songs, most of which Hendrix never played live, so that adds to the excitement.”
On the upcoming release of the “demos” by his first band, THE SQUARES:
Joe: “This has been a labor of love for myself and producer/engineer John Cuniberti. Jeff Campitelli, as fans know, played with me for decades. Jeff and I were in that band along with our lead singer and bassist, Andy Milton, who’s no longer with us. We were, like, the hardest-working, least successful band in the San Francisco Bay Area. We could never quite fit in, because we were a strange blend of punk, new wave, rock, old rock n’ roll, pop… We really had this belief that we were on to this new kind of synthesis that was going to be, like, some new style, but we were wrong. [Laughs] What we did was, we managed to confuse everybody. But it’s funny — year after year, bands started to come out that were kind of like what we were doing. They were better — GREEN DAY was a better version of that sort of punk, but with a pop attitude — and obviously, the three of us were so different. I was really into Hendrix and VAN HALEN and [BLACK] SABBATH, and I wanted to bring that into the band. Our lead singer was really into Elvis[Presley] and older ’50s stuff, and Jeff at the time was right out of high school, so he was perfectly his generation — sort of between Andy and myself, and a little more forward-thinking. Out of all of our stylistic arguments, we created something that, now that you look back on it, it makes you scratch your head and go, like, ‘Wow — who were those guys?’ The recordings are great, because Cuniberti was such a fantastic young engineer that he actually captured us in the best possible way. That’s what this CD is — it’s basically the best of the best that we ever did, but since we never released a record, technically, they’re all demos.”
On his other upcoming plans:
Joe: “I have to think about brainstorming a new solo record. I’m looking forward to doing that while I’m out on tour. It’s a good place to get a different perspective and come up with a completely new direction, so I know that’s part of my daily meditation. I’ll get to that this year — I’ll definitely record a new record this year… I’m pretty sure CHICKENFOOT‘s going to do a show in September. I’m not sure I’m supposed to talk about that, but I know that we’re going to work out those details pretty soon, and maybe we’ll get to record some new stuff while we’re rehearsing.”
CHICKENFOOT — in which Satriani performs alongside Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith — most recently reunited for a five-song set at the fifth annual “Acoustic-4-A-Cure” benefit, which took place in San Francisco last May. It marked the group’s first live performance since 2016.
Satriani‘s most recent solo album, “What Happens Next”, was released in January 2018 via Sony Music. The record saw the legendary guitarist performing alongside Smith and bassist Glenn Hughes.
“The Best Of The Early ’80s Demos”, an anthology of unreleased songs by Satriani‘s first band THE SQUARES, will be released on April 5 via his own Strange Beautiful Music imprint.
The ongoing 2019 edition of the “Experience Hendrix”tour — which also features Dave Mustaine, Zakk Wylde, Eric Johnson, Jonny Lang and Dweezil Zappa, among others — will wrap up April 6 in Wallingford, Connecticut.