JOE SATRIANI

JOE SATRIANI RE­TURNS TO AUS­TRALIA, 30 YEARS SINCE HIS FIRST VISIT WITH MICK JAG­GER AND WITH PLENTY OF OZ TOURS IN-BE­TWEEN. BUT IT WOULDN’T BE A SATRIANI TOUR IF THERE WASN’T SOME KIND OF TWIST. WORDS BY PETER HODG­SON.

Australian Guitar - - Contents -

Joe Satriani re­turns to Aus­tralia, 30 years since his first visit with Mick Jag­ger. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Satriani tour if there wasn’t some kind of twist...

Joe Satriani’s first visit to Aus­tralia was 30 years ago, as a mem­ber of Mick Jag­ger’s band for a mas­sive solo tour. Since then, he’s been back count­less times with count­less line­ups on solo tours of his own (side­note: we would ab­so­lutely kill for a Chick­en­foot tour) and as part of his G3 ex­trav­a­ganza. Now Joe is com­ing back in cel­e­bra­tion of that 30th an­niver­sary, and also in sup­port of his most re­cent al­bum, What Hap­pens Next. And whereas What Hap­pens Next is an­chored by the rhythm sec­tion of Deep Pur­ple legend Glenn Hughes on bass and Satriani’s Chick­en­foot band­mate – and Red Hot Chili Pep­pers legend – Chad Smith on drums, the lineup for this tour is driven by the crack combo of Mike Ke­neally, Bryan Beller and Joe Travers – all of whom have played to­gether for decades as part of Ke­neally’s var­i­ous en­sem­bles, in­clud­ing Beer For Dol­phins and the Mike Ke­neally Band.

It’s all em­blem­atic of Satriani’s con­stant search for mu­si­cal rein­ven­tion, and ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties that hap­pen when you swap out es­tab­lished el­e­ments in favour of some­thing new.

So this is the first time you’ve been to Aus­tralia with Joe Travers!

Joe joined the band at the be­gin­ning of the year, and it’s been go­ing great. This band is amaz­ing, and I’m so lucky to have Mike Ke­neally, Bryan Beller and Joe Travers tour­ing with me. It’s ba­si­cally the Mike Ke­neally Band, and they’re let­ting me play with them! Ev­ery night is re­ally fun, and it’s a good ad­ven­ture. We get to im­pro­vise and we get to re­ally rock.

You’re a player with a lot of blues in your ap­proach to rhythm. When a gui­tarist plays with that ap­proach, the drum­mer makes a huge dif­fer­ence.

I think a re­ally good way to look at it is to look at the pre­vi­ous band with Marco Min­ne­mann in the drum­mer’s seat. It was so in­ter­est­ing for me, over the last six years or so, how I was ex­plor­ing dif­fer­ent kinds of ar­range­ments that would al­low the three or four drum­mers to play around with ba­sic rock and deep-pocket stuff like Jeff Campitelli, to kind of a deeper, al­most jazz and pro­gres­sive swing from Vin­nie Co­laiuta, to then go to a younger, hy­per-pro­gres­sive ap­proach from Marco Min­ne­mann, and then, in a way, cir­cle back to Joe Travers, who is like a sum to­tal of all that.

I find that Joe has got such a deep rock pocket which is re­ally quite unique. It’s night and day to Marco’s ap­proach, which brought out dif­fer­ent things in my play­ing, but it feels a bit more com­fort­able be­cause Joe shares some roots with Jeff Campitelli in their love of rock and blues and that back­beat, and let­ting the song re­ally shine in the front in­stead of each in­di­vid­ual mu­si­cian show­ing their abil­ity to mul­ti­ply ev­ery lit­tle as­pect of a song struc­ture.

And it all comes down to the mes­sage you want to send with your style. To com­pletely trans­mit a style to the au­di­ence, you need to re­peat cer­tain things. If you’re go­ing to be a blues player, you need to im­i­tate the con­sen­sus of who the great­est blues play­ers are. You need to show your au­di­ence, “Look, I have lis­tened to and know how to play like BB King, Ste­vie Ray Vaughan, Al­bert King and Buddy Guy.” Your au­di­ence ap­pre­ci­ates it when you kind of copy some­body. That’s what ev­ery stylised artist has to do; they have to show their roots and their con­nec­tion to the au­di­ence. But in essence, it’s be­ing un­o­rig­i­nal.

But then you take a look at pro­gres­sive mu­sic, and what they’re do­ing is they’re say­ing, “Well, here’s the song, and while we’re play­ing the song, I just want to show you how good I am at rein­ter­pret­ing ev­ery mea­sure.” And that be­comes repet­i­tive as well. So I think that when you change members, like with a drum­mer, you get into this thing where they come with their own ap­proach to the mu­sic.

They may want to be a lit­tle more or­na­men­tal like Marco was, or they may want to lay down the big­gest groove pos­si­ble like Joe or Jeff. And I leave that up to the drum­mer. That free­dom makes ev­ery­body have fun on tour, month af­ter month.

What was it like for you when you first started tour­ing? Be­cause there was no blueprint for be­ing an in­stru­men­tal gui­tarist lead­ing your own shows.

That’s right, there was no blueprint, and it was pretty com­i­cal. I started with Stu Hamm on bass and Jonathan Mover on drums, and we didn’t even know each other. So we thought, “Do we just go out and play the songs, or do we bring the experience from our other bands to this?” There wasn’t a com­mon thread, re­ally.

So we just started out try­ing to present a night of songs, and we didn’t have that many songs that worked in front of an au­di­ence. We were play­ing two sets a night to a club au­di­ence, and the au­di­ence was as con­fused as we were! Y’know, how is an au­di­ence sup­posed to be­have when it’s a rock in­stru­men­tal? So I think we all grew up to­gether. Me, the band and the au­di­ence. And I learned quite a bit in that first year of tour­ing, be­cause af­ter three weeks on that Surf­in­gWith

TheAlien tour, I got the lead gui­tar job with Mick Jag­ger. Af­ter a two week break, I was just thrust into this rock­star arena.

You have to act and project your­self in a very par­tic­u­lar way. Luck­ily, I was very com­fort­able with the ma­te­rial, but play­ing in front of 90,000 peo­ple was still a bit of a shock! But Mick was very forth­com­ing with ad­vice on how to project your­self to big au­di­ences, and how to pace your­self in a three-hour show. So I was able to re­turn to Stu and Jonathan and say, “Hey, I’ve learned some stuff!”

So we toured for months, and then I went back for one last tour with Mick Jag­ger. And it grew. As the records be­came more pop­u­lar, peo­ple ac­cepted the fact that I was just gonna walk out there and start play­ing, and to be­have in a nat­u­ral way – which was that I just re­ally wanted to come out and rock the house. But it was those first three weeks of the tour in Jan­uary 1988 that were the most awk­ward, be­cause we didn’t know what to do!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.