Lord of the strings

Oct 29, 2018, 08:30 IST | Dhara Vora Sabhnani

One of the greatest rock guitarists of all time, Joe Satriani speaks about evolving constantly, the journey of rock, and his inspirations, ahead of an upcoming gig in India

Lord of the strings
Pic/Getty Images

Who is your guitar guru?
Jimi Hendrix inspired me to pick up the guitar and he has remained my main source of wonder and admiration. He was the bravest of creators and innovators on the electric guitar. He set a standard of originality that has never been matched.

Tell us a bit about your recent work.
My most recent release, What Happens Next, gave me my highest US chart position ever and it continues to reach new fans around the world. It's so important to make each album a unique musical statement, not only for personal growth but also as a way to broaden one's artistic reach around the world.

What can fans expect from this concert?
I have an amazing band with me — Bryan Beller on bass, Joe Travers on drums and Mike Keneally on keyboards and guitar. We have been touring since January and the live show we have put together is an awesome combination of new and catalogue material. Our Indian show will be the last of the year, so, it will be a very special one for us.

Have you had a chance to work with any Indian musicians?
So many of my friends have played with Mohini Dey that I'm beginning to feel left out. I hope I can catch her set at
the festival.

You have toured and featured as a guitarist for so many bands. How do you manage to gel with other rockstars?
From Deep Purple to Spinal Tap, and from Mick Jagger to Sammy Hagar, I have been very fortunate to work with some amazing talent over the years. I've never had any problems with runaway egos and such; it's been a lot of fun and hard work that I remember with a smile.

How has the rock music scene changed over the years? What is your most memorable story from the heydays of rock?
We would need a few hours to tell that story, ha! Everything has changed, as it should. Change is inevitable and constant. Each generation needs its own sound, feel and groove. I embrace the changes and work to be a creative part of them. Touring with Mick Jagger in 1988 was such a thrill as I was transitioning from a "nobody" to a "somebody". Surfing with the Alien was riding high on the charts (for 75 weeks!) while I was playing with a true rock icon every night. Mick did everything he could to help me take advantage of "my moment". I will always be in his debt for his kindness.

For Joe Satriani, the artistes who were the "gods" when he was coming of age have stuck: Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, George Harrison and Keith Richards.

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