Veteran axe man shares recording tips, road gear list
IT’S AN enjoyable experience for some, a necessary evil for others, and the bane of many beginning musicians’ existence. Practice. It’s the punch line to the generations-old question, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” It’s also what Joe Satriani was doing prior to beginning a day of interviews. “It’s one of those discouraging facts,” he says. “When I was young, I always thought that I’d practice for a couple of years and then I’d be good, I’d be set, and I could just go and have fun. But decade after decade it’s like, ‘Man, I’ve got to keep practicing all the time; otherwise my fingers forget what they’re supposed to do and how hard it is to do it.’”
Decade after decade of practice has yielded fifteen studio albums, including Satriani’s latest, Shockwave Supernova, a unique project, a concept album of sorts, in which he explores the complicated, intertwined relationship between musician and performer, artist and alter-ego. The album entered at No. 19 on the Billboard Top 200, the highest debut in his 30-year career.
Joe Satriani’s storied career has taken him around the world numerous times. Whether leading his own band, as founder of the all-star G3 tours, or as a member of Chickenfoot, he consistently plays to sold-out crowds. To date, his catalog has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. He has received multiple Grammy nominations, and in 2014 he published Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir. Through it all, while the accolades never stop coming, he remains refreshingly unaffected by the fanfare that accompanies being in the spotlight.
GEARPHORIA: Social media makes it possible to do things like the behind-the-scenes making of the album and communicate directly with fans. Why continue to do so much press?
JOE: It’s a funny analogy, but with relationships, friends, family, and people that they love or choose, I often think that, at some point, people think I’ve got enough people to deal with, but I believe everyone is always surprised at their capacity to add more people’s love and more friends in their life. In the same way, if I can draw an analogy to the interviews, every once in a while… as a perfect example, the way this interview is starting off. It’s different. An interviewer may stimulate you to see your own art in a new way, from a new angle, perhaps. You never know how the question is going to hit you. Suddenly you have a revelation that you hadn’t thought of before about something you talked about a hundred times. For some reason, that one interview gets you to look at it from a different point of view. So I enjoy it…