by Ross CAT

by Ross CAT

Feature Interview: JOE SATRIANI

     HEY JOEÖ.. It should come as no surprise that 2010 is filling up quite quickly for one of the busiest Musicians on this planet or any other planet that JOE SATRIANI might be found surfing these days.
     The innovative guitarist single handedly brought the instrumental genre to the mainstream masses with his second solo release 1987ís Platinum selling record ďSurfing with the AlienĒ.
     With that album
SATCH broke down the Billboard barrier with his Instrumental Masterpiece; two of those tracks scaled there way into the top 40, the records title track ďSurfing with the AlienĒ & the ďSatch BoogieĒ.
     Since then
SATRIANI has recorded twelve studio albums which have garnered him fifteen Grammy nominations.  He has spearheaded the G-3 Guitar tours that have mesmerized fans around the globe featuring the best players on the planet including former student Steve Vai, as well as Eric Johnson & Yngwie Malmsteen to name just a few.
     Despite offers to join other bands as lead guitarist throughout the years (most notably
DEEP PURPLE); the guitar virtuoso has respectfully declined until one fateful gig in
Las Vegas in February 2008.  That evening SATCH strapped it on & stepped on stage with the Red Rocker SAMMY HAGAR, CHAD SMITH & MICHAEL ANTHONY who states, ďWe knew immediately that there was a special chemistry, the instant gratification from the crowd was overwhelming.  After that we all decided to take the next step to see where it would take us it was just to much fun to pass up.Ē
     That night CHICKENFOOT was hatched and has taken the music industry by storm with their self-titled debut record which went Gold in both the U.S. & Canada.
     The Rock Rapport caught up with SATCH following his annual NAMM appearance were he was showing off his latest guitar gadgets & meeting his thousands of fans who waited patiently in line for hours.
     Immediately following that
SATRIANI will begin gearing up for rehearsals for the upcoming Experience Hendrix Tribute Tour which launches March 4th in
Santa Barbara, CA running through March 28th in Durham, N.C.


Ross CAT-Itís great to speak with you once again from the frozen tundra here in Western New York.

SATCH - -No problem at all, we always enjoy playing the Performing Arts Center at the University of Buffalo.

Ross CAT - Lets get right into the new DVD/CD release Live In Paris: I Just Wanna Rock that launched worldwide this past Tuesday.
     First off why did you choose to film the show at the Grand Rex Theater in Paris?

SATCH - Its funny how those things work out, the opportunity arose to do this film with Director Gunther Kutsch at the start of the European leg of the ďProfessor Satchifunkilus & the Musterion of RockĒ Tour.  He had a timeline that involved only a few weeks which was really early in the tour for us as a band.
     This presented us with a number of technical issues including were to shoot the film within the framework of the gigs that had already been booked.  We decided to push into the third week figuring it would be nice to be warmed up since this was going to be a permanent recording.
     We arrived in France at the Grand Rex Theater which I had never played before it was absolutely beautiful, an ornate old Theater with huge balconies & lots of room for Lights & Cameras.
    Once my Lighting Director found out that the venue was three times the height of any of the other venues that kind of sealed the deal. As it turned out we had a great audio crew in Paris that could sync up with the German film crew; so as it turned out it was one of those crazy International Affairs that we were able to capture on film.

Ross CAT - As expected musically the show was emotionally charged with your star studded band Stu Hamm (Bass), Galen Hensen (Rhythm guitar) & Drummer Jeff Campitelli; what really stands out is how visually vibrant the concert is.
     The lighting & video editing really gives the concert a psychedelic vibe, the distorted cascade of colors gives it a 3-D effect that syncs up perfectly with the songs.

SATCH - Thanks, itís really remarkable the amount of time that was spent during the editing process to create those effects.  I think we had fifteen cameras rolling that night so you can imagine the amount of footage we had to go through.
     Every few months we would get an edit from the Directors and it would be more intense then the one before, we would keep cheering him on telling him ďYeah keep pushing it to the limitĒ.
     The Director was extremely happy that he got the artistic license to complete the theme of the film; we wanted it to represent the music as we felt it should look like.  As a band when weíre on stage itís a very intense cathartic experience, collectively we wanted this to be a representation of both the sound & the soul of the songs.
     With this concert film we really strived through both sound & sight to convey what was in our hearts as players while capturing the spirit of the audience.

Ross CAT - One of the cool features Iím sure fans will enjoy on the DVD is the interview you did during the tour; I had to take a second glance the women interviewing you looked like Edie Falco who played Carmella Soprano.

SATCH - (Laughter) Yeah, Thank God she was very professional especially considering the fact she was dealing with me.  That was shot about a week after the film so I was pretty toasty from traveling through Europe on the bus over the previous two months.  At that point I was definitely feeling the rigors of the road; she really did an amazing job considering what she had to work with.

Ross CAT - Aside from being a world class musician you also like dabble down other creative avenues including drawing.  Mixed in with the amazing colors & graphics on the backdrop some of your artwork made its way into the film, tell us about incorporating that into the movie?

SATCH - You noticed that too, it dawned on me as I was watching over production of the film, I thought boy Iím playing a JOE SATRIANI guitar held up by a JOE SATRIANI strap with my signature amps & pedals on the ground and then there are some of my drawings being flashed across the screen I thought to myself this is pretty weird.
     One of these days Iíll just have to do a show were Iím just playing other peoples stuff (Laughter). 

Ross CAT - I donít imagine youíll ever have to resort to that, although one of the interesting comments you made during the DVD interview was that ninety percent of your musical ideals never make it to a record, can you expand on that statement?

SATCH - -Itís true its just a funny process, I figure thatís true for most any artist no matter what the art form.  Youíre always left with a feeling that youíre never quite done or you didnít finish something.
     You just have to get used to the medium within which you work these days those things are ever changing at a very rapid pace.

Ross CAT - Before we get into the exciting things happening in the New Year lets look back at the amazing year 2009 was for you.
    The Band CHICKENFOOT featuring yourself, Rock Rapport regulars  SAMMY HAGAR & MICHAEL ANTHONY topped off with CHILI PEPPER madman CHAD SMITH most certainly lived up to all the hype surrounding the bands debut self-titled album.
     Thereís always been speculation ever since you replaced
RITCHIE BLACKMORE on the 1993 DEEP PURPLE tour as to whether you would ever step into a band environment outside your own; not to mention a group with a vocalist.
     Tell us about the transition into
CHICKENFOOT, especially sharing the songwriting duties with SAMMY?

SATCH - Itís really very exciting; SAMMYíS creativity is prolific so our writing sessions would be high tempo.  I would leave each session with seven or eight ideas drawn up on paper or recordings we may have laid down.  Iíd come home and make demos based on what we had come up with and then Iíd email them over to MIKE & CHAD.
     We would pick a point six weeks in advance to get together to record for a few days, then we wouldnít see each other again for two months as I was on tour at the time working on the
     It was a crazy year having those two projects going on side by side but the writing process with
CHICKENFOOT was always so inspiring for me. Thereís just so much of that style of music inside me, its what I grew up listening to & writing as an aspiring musician.
     Iíve really embraced the opportunity to be part of this group; ever since ďSurfing With the AlienĒ took off Iíve never really had an outlet for it.
     All of a sudden this project just appears out of no where and Iím playing with guys that have similar influences; every time we get together it feels like were in sync just like that very first night we jammed in Vegas.
     Individually weíre really completely different, maybe
MIKE & SAM are on the same wave length but in general its four completely independent guys; for what ever reason when we get together thereís an enormous amount of energy that Ďs bigger then the sum of the parts.

Ross CAT - The Rock Rapport was fortunate enough to be able to cover a few of the CHICKENFOOT shows in Toronto.  As for fans that didnít get that opportunity the DVD from the first tour will be out sometime in April.
    Aside from the amazing concert footage Iím sure thereíll be plenty ďbehind the scenesĒ antics considering the crazy cast of characters in the group.
      Please do tell what it was like being the straight man, so to speak, in the CHICKENFOOT comedy carousel?

SATCH --The insanity with those guys on the road & even on stage is great fun; we have an hour of behind the scenes footage of mayhem on the DVD.  We had cameras following us around just about everywhere & of course I had my own camera for my web pod casts.  Needless to say I caught everyone doing something stupid on a daily basis.
    Outside the everyday madness we did some other really funny little things along the way.  I interviewed Christopher Guest who donned his Nigel Tufnel (SPINAL TAP) wig & broke into character, that was very cool.
     As far as the actual concert footage we were slated to record three or four shows for the DVD.  The one in Berlin had to be cancelled because
CHAD busted up his bicep.  At that point the director had us set to record at the Rock Ďní Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the Tabernacle in Georgia & lastly the Dodge Theater in Phoenix which ultimately ended up being the show we chose.
     There was just something magical in the air that night in Phoenix it really comes down to luck; not only does the band have to be on, there has
to be a spark with the audience fortunately that night we all lit it up.

Ross CAT - Although fans are still savoring the debut album everyone wants to know will there be a second CHICKENFOOT record?
    Reports have
CHAD SMITH  back in the studio with the RED
HOT CHILI PEPPERS; will the FOOT reconvene when scheduling allows?

SATCH --Absolutely the four of us are all on the same page as far as this project goes, weíre all committed to doing a CHICKENFOOT #2.  As a matter of fact SAMMY & I have already begun the writing process together.
    Thatís really the beauty of this band is the respect we have for one anotherís time and career aspirations.  Iím getting set for the Experience Hendrix tour next month & writing for a new record, SAMMYíS busy doing a million things at once, CHADíS back working with the CHILI PEPPERS & MIKEíS busy being MIKE(Laughter).

Ross CAT - Thanks for that perfect segue; letís talk about the very exciting tour youíre involved with which runs through the month of March the EXPERIENCE HENDRIX ( tour.
     Sharing the same stage with you each night will be a number of world-class shredders including: Johnny Lang, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Brad Whitford (
Aerosmith) & Robert Randolph, the endless list of participants is phenomenal all paying tribute to the ultimate guitar hero JIMI HENDRIX.  Talk about what this means to you?

SATCH --Yeah this is really something special for me, itís no secret how the life & death of JIMI HENDRIX has impacted my life & career.
     I was at football practice one day at my high school on Long Island when a friend & teammate of mine told me that he heard that HENDRIX had passed away.
     I was only around fourteen at the time but I was absolutely devastated; right then & there I turned around took off my equipment and told the coach I was quitting to become a guitar player.

Ross CAT - Thatís truly amazing some might say fate may have played a part in your life that day.
    Ironically enough while fans may not have had the chance to cheer for you carrying the Rock across the gridiron your song ďCrowd ChantĒ from the ďSuper ColossalĒ record Rocks stadiums worldwide at numerous sporting events.

SATCH - (Laughter) I donít think it was any real big loss for my team mates since I didnít turn out to be such a big guy after all.

Ross CAT - Youíve mentioned how important your teachers were to you as a young player not just fundamentally but on a personal level.  Before your career took off you shared your unparalleled talents teaching guys like Steve Vai, Kirk Hammett & Tom Morello.
     Obviously now your life is full of time constraints that donít allow you the luxury of mentoring one on one anymore yet you continue to help young musicians through some charitable organizations like www.littlekidsrock &
     Tell us about your participation with these programs?

SATCH --Those organizations are just incredible in what they are able to accomplish for Children & Schools.
     Weíve been able to bring ideas, instruments & financial support to curriculums struggling with budget constraints that are hindering organizations & musical programs worldwide.
    Anything I can do to help those organizations to keep the Music alive, IíM THERE!

Ross CAT - Lastly JOE, what does 2010 have in store on the solo front?

SATCH - Iíve started to write for a new solo record; weíre already heading down that road were I have to start to pick musicians, studios, engineers things of that nature.
     Itís a real thing thatís going to happen in the summer & I hope to be able to deliver a record to Sony before summerís end.  If all goes well we could have a late fall release followed by a tour.

     Rock Rapport would like to once again Thank JOE SATRIANI for being so gracious with his time.  We would also like to Thank Joseph Carozza of Sony Music for hooking us up.
     Be sure to check out the SATCH ZONE, visit his extremely fan friendly website @ for news, tour dates, pod casts & even online lessons from the maestro himself.

***********************PEACE & Harmonies******************

LIVE in PARIS:  I Just Wanna Rock

Stuart Hamm- Bass Guitar
eff Campitelli- Drums
Galen Henson- Rhythm Guitar

Track Listing:

 1.  I Just Wanna Rock
2.  Overdriver
3.  Satch Boogie
4.  Ice 9
5.  Diddle-Y-A-Doo-Dat
6.  Flying in a Blue Dream
7.  Ghosts
8.  Revelation
9.  Super Colossal
10. One Big Rush
11. Musterion
12. Out of the Sunshine
13. Time Machine
14. Cool # 9
15. Andalusia
16. Cryiní
17. Mystical Potato Head
18. Groove Thing
19. Always With Me, Always With You
20. Surfing With The Alien
21. Crowd Chant
22. Summer Song

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