VIVID VISIONARY….Not-of-this-World Guitarist JOE SATRIANI spent the better part of the past few years storming the Planet with SAMMY HAGAR,  MICHAEL ANTHONY & CHAD SMITH taking the term Rock Band to new heights with CHICKENFOOT.
     After a Gold Record with their self-titled debut & several legs of a sold out World Tour
SATCH is back in his wheelhouse with his 14th solo Record “Black Swans & Wormhole Wizards”.
     Through the magic of his dynamic digits the passionate performer inspires thought provoking themes from Love to the Supernatural and everything ones imagination can conjure up in between.
     Of his many solo masterpieces Black Swans & Wormhole Wizards may be his most personal collection of songs to date; writing on the heels of the loss of his beloved Mother while on the Road with CHICKENFOOT & The Hendrix Experience Tour SATRIANI has penned the most poignant record of his already illustrious career.
SATCH did manage to take time out from his insanely busy schedule this past summer recreating his stirring rendition of the National Anthem on opening day for the Oakland A’s in 2002 as part of the upcoming Brad Pitt release titled “MoneyBall”, a movie  based on the novel “The Art of Winning an Unfair Game”.
     The Rock Rapport had the good fortune to catch the master of the six-string to talk about the new Record & upcoming tour as well as what’s cookin’ in the CHICKENFOOT camp.

Ross CAT- Hi JOE, as always great to speak with you once again we really appreciate your time here in Western New York & Southern Ontario; congratulations on another tremendous collection of songs.
     I must say I really look forward to listening to your solo material; I try to absorb the instrumental arrangements the first few times through without glancing at the song titles.

SATCH - Wow that’s an interesting approach, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard of someone doing that with my finished recordings, I think that’s very cool.
     That’s one of the many strengths of instrumental music whether it be classical, spiritual, rock or jazz, without those words being shouted out at you by a singer you’re free to bring the music into your heart and make it mean whatever you want.

Ross CAT - As we’ve discussed on your past solo Albums song placement is essential with instrumental tracking; I like how you wrapped the depth of the record in between the blistering opener “Premonition” & the thunderous closing track “God Is Crying”.
     Talk about the sequencing of the songs on “Black Swans & Wormhole Wizards

SATCH - Can I tell you the interesting story on the flipside of that; when I was in Vancouver mixing the record with MIKE FRASIER (AC/DC, Aerosmith, Metallica); I was having a really difficult time sequencing the album.
     Finally I decided to write down all the song titles on a piece of paper and laid them out on the floor of the hotel room; after frustrating myself to no end I turned to my wife RUBINA and said, “ do me a favor and arrange the album in sequence the way you want it to look based solely on the song titles”.  I knew she was familiar with the music itself from hearing me play it around the house the past couple of months, but she had no inkling of the titles; believe it or not after all of that her arrangement of the songs ended up being the final tracking sequence.

Ross CAT - That is truly amazing that RUBINA was able to blindly place those songs in the order they appear on the disc, once you listen & break the songs down it most certainly seems like it was intentional.

SATCH - Now that the songs are out there and I’ve been listening all the way through as we’ve been practicing for the tour; I have to say I’m still shocked at RUBINA’S psychic abilities to put this record together.
     After all my struggles with it she sat down in a matter of minutes and pulled it off; afterward I thought to myself oh my God now it makes so much sense.
     Sometimes you go out of your way to find the ultimate song placement on an instrumental Rock Record, year after year it seems to mean less & less with the digital revolution upon us.
     I remember back in 1997 when we were putting together the “Crystal Planet” Record I had this grand scheme of putting together the Album so that each song sequentially would move up in a key so there was always ascending movement in the key signatures.  It was a really cool thing to do and made for a very long Record getting all those songs to workout that way.
     At that end of all that I was pretty disappointed that after two years of interviews & touring around the world not one journalist or musician even noticed, not even the guys in the band.

Ross CAT - I had the pleasure of speaking with you earlier this year as you were getting set to release “Live in Paris: I Just Wanna Rock” DVD and hitting the road with CHICKENFOOT & the Experience Hendrix Live Tour.
     My condolences as I didn’t realize at the time that you had lost your Mother until I began researching
Black Swans & Wormhole Wizards were you pay tribute to her on a few heartfelt tracks “Two Sides to Every Story” & “Littleworth Lane”.
     Talk about what a cathartic experience this was for you in writing these particular songs?

SATCH - Thank You for the kind words; the song “Littleworth Lane” was the name of the street of a house that my Mother had bought in the late seventies.  The house itself dates back to the late 1600’s it’s very unusual, quite small but rich with character.
     I’ll bet she was attracted to the house based solely on the name of the street, I’m sure she identified with the name “Littleworth Lane” as she was always looking out for the underdog.  She was a wonderful Mother who loved to nurture; she spent her entire life as a school teacher focusing on helping children.
     As a family we shared beautiful moments there, a lot of great life was lived in that house.  When I was thinking about writing Music about her passing I thought it would be too much for me to bear.  I decided that I should start with something that was a bright & positive modicum about her life something I knew she had deep seeded feelings about.

Ross CAT - Getting back to the new Record the first song “Premonition” is a cool lead track, he vibe is almost like a locomotive gearing up to leave the station; there’s a short intro with some bells & whistles, what were you aiming for when preceding the instrumental piece?

SATCH - When I was putting that song together I was thinking of how to paint a sonic picture of what it feels like when you’re getting what one might feel is a “Premonition”, whether it be good or bad.
     I started to fool around at home with just some random sounds and I found a distant bell, footsteps, some strange musical overtones, all sorts of weird sound effects.  When I brought it into the studio MIKE listened and suggested we listen to some of the sounds backwards, trying to add to the confusion of that moment that the feeling falls upon you.
     Ultimately we just meshed it all together for a short intro and I’m still not quite sure what we’re saying but it just sounded right when we listened to it as part of the song.

Ross CAT - You’ve stated that most of this record was written & recorded during the CHICKENFOOT & Hendrix Experience tours, did those world-class musicians & musical influences seep into the new material?

SATCH - After finishing the “Satchifunkilus” solo release, the CHICKENFOOT thing really took off; in that Group I was experiencing something brand new for me, that being writing with partners.
     We recorded the tracks very quickly each time being a live vital recording, all live no click tracks or sequencing, needless to say I was way out of my element at that point.  That being said what I found was that we would record this stuff and it would take on a life of its own which was a new & interesting process for me.
     The CHICKENFOOT Album was done in three different segments over a ten month period, including recordings from SAMMY’S rehearsal studio, to the full on Band recordings at the George Lucas Skywalker Sound Studio, which incidentally is were I recorded the “Black Swans” Album.  The entire process was essentially a performance based record from the start including SAMMY’S amazing vocal contributions.
     Every night was just so exciting once we took the songs out on tour, its such a crazy band, it’s always on the edge and the way that we play is just pure insanity.  I was thrilled with the Live DVD recording “Get Your Buzz On” we captured such a great night both as a Band as well as the audience participation, which is a crucial element with live recordings.
     The danger of putting a Band like CHICKENFOOT together was the comparisons to everyone’s rich musical contributions.  We managed to create chemistry in our crazy approach which lead us to a fifth element if you will.
     When you listen to the songs you can’t say it sounds like the CHILI PEPPERS, VAN HALEN or SATRIANI, what we accomplish when we get to together is playing music based on our shared musical roots, it comes out like a Hyper Classic Rock Celebration.
     As you mentioned I immediately followed up the
CHICKENFOOT tour with the Experience Hendrix shows; playing with all those different people every night and not playing my own music was absolutely fascinating for me.  Celebrating the genius of HENDRIX was just a great way to step outside myself as a player.
     When I finally got home I started thinking about how I wanted to approach this solo project; I really wanted to capture some of the raw energy that had been driving me over the previous months after being surrounded by such amazing talent while on the road.
     The way I approach my instrumental work is by putting together what would be considered Rock Music, by that I mean material with solid structure along with good choruses, versus & bridges.
     The challenge MIKE & I faced was how to get this amazing live vibe & and in your face musical message I was still carrying from the road, without compromising good songwriting, composing & arranging skills so that it would come off as a tight Rock & Roll recording.
     Our ace in the hole was the Band we put together there was no drop off in musicianship for me with Bassist JEFF ALLEN and my longtime drummer MIKE CAMPITELLI.  They are very different from each other but like CHICKENFOOT when they come together they create this other worldly thing that is extremely powerful.

Ross CAT - What made you choose “Light Years Away” as the first radio single”?

SATC - You know I always try to step away from that part of the process; I would be the worst person to make those kinds of decisions.  I generally listen to satellite radio or my head is always filled with whatever project I’m working on at that moment.
     Once the Album is finished and I’ve decided on the Artwork and all that kind of stuff, it’s sent off to the Record Company & the Radio Rep. I just kind of wait to see what they have to say.
     I must admit I was pretty surprised when they wanted to lead off with “Light Years Away”, personally I would have thought it would be two or three of the other tracks.

Ross CAT - With the state terrestrial radio is in today I don’t envy anyone with that daunting task; especially considering the fact that your 1992 single “Summer Song” from the “Extremist” Album was groundbreaking in the sense it crossed over into mainstream Classic Rock Radio which was unprecedented at the time, not to mention charting on Billboard & garnering a Grammy nomination.

SATCH - It’s what those guys do for a living there good at it, most importantly they are aware of the trends that are happening in radio right now.
     I really have to give credit to Gary Jay from Landshark he’s been my Radio guy for awhile; we brought him aboard to pick a single for the CHICKENFOOT Record to get the word out early on.
     He selected “Soap on a Rope” as a lead single we all thought he was crazy, he kept saying it’s not the hit single that’s going to be “Oh Yeah” but “Soap” is the song you want to kick off the CHICKENFOOT campaign with.
     Turns out he was right CHICKENFOOT continues to sell Records, the Album went Gold and the two singles continue to chart in the Top Ten on the Classic Rock Radio charts.

Ross CAT - Unlike “Crowd Chant” from the Super Colossal Album & I Just Wanna Rock” from the Professor Satchafunkilus and the Musterion of Rock” there’s not a trace of vocal tracking on the new Record was that a deliberate omission?

SATCH - Yeah maybe it was a subconscious thing after working on the CHICKENFOOT project.  Working with SAMMY who is a larger then life vocalist is such an incredible experience.  When you stand next to him in the studio or on stage you realize the difference between a real singer and someone who can sing a little bit.
     He’s a lead singer through & through his magnetism automatically draws people in and his voice is ten miles wide, it’s really freaky.  I’ve been in the studio recording him and it’s just unbelievable how big his voice is, it’s on its own sonic level on how much space it can take up.  All he really needs is a high hat in the background he’s truly remarkable.

Ross CAT - He really is a freak of nature celebrating his 62nd birthday on 10/13; it’s not like he’s ever been known to hold back on any given night after almost forty years of belting out his songs.

SATCH - Your right about that he sings at 100% every night, he takes it right to the limit; after touring with CHICKENFOOT I didn’t even want to think about singing, that’s his department and he heads it up quite well.

Ross CAT With the songwriting partnership you’ve developed with SAMMY and the fact that you’re in the process of writing the 2nd CHICKENFOOT record; are there demos you thought might work best in the band or do you have to distance yourself from the band atmosphere when writing in the SATCH solo mode?

SATCH - I’m constantly writing so we do go back & fourth when it comes to new material.  There are songs sometimes that will be on a set of demos that could go either way.
     There are times SAMMY will notice that too, I’ll send him seven songs and he’ll say “Oh these are great songs but track six sounds like it could work better for you”, so yeah songs do have a tendency of bouncing around for a while before they reach there final destination.
     Actually “
Premonition” was one of those songs that were written around the time I was doing demos with SAM for CHICKENFOOT in the early stages.  I didn’t make a decision as to whether it was going to be a vocal song or not I just kind of wrote in a general sense at least as a demo.  That’s really the beauty of working with SAMMY you just never know what he might respond to.
     When I returned form recording “
Black Swans & Wormhole Wizards” I immediately jumped into the CHICKENFOOT demos, I ended up writing ten songs immediately and sent them off to SAMMY.
     We had planned on getting together later this month to work on them but as it turned out CHAD has studio commitments with the
CHILI PEPPERS to work on their new Album.
     As it stands it looks like we won’t be able to get together again until late January but by then we should be ready to record the full Album.

Ross CAT - Since were chatting about CHICKENFOOT’S upcoming sophomore release I have to ask, since the band has used the self-titled card on the debut Album will you guys give this second Record a title?

SATCH - (Laughter) Yeah, Boy everyone in the Band has been talking about that, I’d have to say that CHICKENFOOT 2 is a strong contender at this point.

Ross CAT - Back to the great new disc tell us about the lineup changes in your band adding Bassist Allen Whitman & Keyboardist Mike Keneally, tell us what they bring to the Band?

SATCH - Those guys are just so different, Keneally of course from ZAPPA & STEVE VAI Band, not only plays keyboard he can play anything on guitar as well.
     I had toured with Mike over the years with VAI so I knew he was a brilliant player and more importantly a strong improvisational player, I knew he would have an understanding of were to fit in with the keys relative to the guitar.
     Allen I’ve known as long as I’ve known Jeff Campitelli from our early days in San Francisco, he’s been playing in a Band called the Mermen’s the past twenty years.
     Jeff & I went to see him play a few months before we hit the studio to record Black Swans; we were just blown away how energetic he was on stage he had this big beautiful Rock & Roll sound and like Mike had that extra improvisational level that not all players are fortunate enough to achieve.

Ross CAT - I noticed from your always fan friendly website that your offering a Deluxe Edition to the new disc, which includes your autograph along with two bonus tracks, “HeartBeat & “Longing”; tell us where those particular songs fell in relation to the grand scheme of Black Swans & Wormhole Wizards?

SATCH - They’re very emotive pieces they weren’t as hard Rocking as the other eleven tracks.  I had originally thought I could amp them up once I got them in the studio but it just did happen.
     For me the performances were just so interesting on those songs; I was really happy when they where selected as the bonus tracks just because it was something I wanted my fans to have the option to hear.  In the end it was the right choice to leave them off with the original eleven tracks.

Ross CAT - I see in the press release that you got your acting chops on this past summer in the upcoming BRAD PITT movie “MoneyBall”.
     Were you holding out for an A-List actor to work with before you signed on for a movie?

SATCH - (Laughter) Hardly, I just stood there and played Guitar with a hat and a pair of shades on.  Yeah it was pretty cool hanging out with BRAD at the Ballpark for the day.
     (Laughter) I have to tell you it was my second cameo appearance in a movie, I was also in a movie called “For Your Consideration”; again let me preface that with the fact I was once again only playing myself in a band, I haven’t worked my way into a speaking role I’m to petrified for that.

Ross CAT - Finally SATCH, I know there will be some disappointed fans in my region as the University of Buffalo Center for the Performing Arts didn’t make the tour schedule this time out; can those fans look forward to a concert DVD from the Black Swans & Wormhole Wizards Tour?

SATCH - I really do love playing Buffalo but we can never get everywhere that we’d like to.
     As for the DVD I’m always assuming as we move along on the tour that we will decide to Record at some point so we’ll be camera ready.

     As always the Rock Rapport would like to THANK JOE SATRIANI for his valuable time along with Melissa Dragich for hooking us up.
     Be sure to check out SATCH’S fan friendly website
www.joesatriani.com for Tour Dates, News and to purchase BLACK SWANS & WORMHOLE WIZARDS.
     You can also follow CHICKENFOOT’S progress on their second Album due out in 2011 at www.chickenfootus.com

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

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