Painting on guitars, another G3-tour and much more!
I´m Amir from the German music magazine www.metal-heads.de – we are based in the Ruhr area, that you might know or have heard of with venues like the Zeche in Bochum, the Turock in Essen or Westfallenhalle in Dortmund. I don’t know, if you ever played there, as I only remember seeing you perform in Düsseldorf or Cologne.
First of all, I have to tell you, that I´m proud to be able to ask you some questions about your new album and some other things. Not only myself, but for sure also our readers are interested to hear, what you have to say. So let´s get it started right away.
MH: First of all, I´d like to know, from where or what you come up with this creativity, that makes it possible to release so many (we are talking about 19 (!!) studioalbums here!) albums on such a high level?
JS…Thank you! Everyday life provides so much material to write about, it’s hard to find the time to turn it all into music. I’ve trained myself to always follow a creative impulse and document it. I will write down or record any idea, no matter how big or small. This method keeps me busy day in and day out. Then, I take a few days every month to review all the ideas and expand upon them. I highly recommend this approach to staying productive.
MH: Also it would be interesting, how or at which point of the writing (or recording) process you have other musicinas involved in the creating of the material?
JS…Sometimes I finish the songs down to every last note and arrangement idea. If I feel I need some other input I will ask for it. On the new album my producer Eric Caudieux wrote a few extra parts for 3 of the 14 tracks on the album. His contributions were essential and very much welcomed. In the band CHICKENFOOT it was a similar situation, sometimes the whole band would write a song, sometimes just me and Sammy.
MH: Can you play any other instruments besides the guitar? And/or do you use digital methods to include other instruments in your songs, when composing?
No drums, please…
JS…I’m a good bass player, and a simple keyboardist. I can play blues harp all day long! But I still suck on the drums, Ha! I like using software synths to help me complete a composition or even use as a suggestion to the „real“ keyboardist in the band. In this case we have Rai Thistlethwayte who is an amazing keyboardist. He plays all the keyboard solos on the new album.
MH: As a great guitar player, that you are, you inspire other people. But is there an inspiration by other guitarists, that you would like to mention?
JS…I’m still inspired by the players I listened to when I was a kid: Hendrix, Page, Iommi, Townsend, Beck, Harrison, Richards, etc… real old school rock stuff, Ha! New players like Tosin Abassi, Jason Richardson, Stephan Taranto, Yo Onityan, Yas Nomura, @fernplants, etc… These players are amazing. I like watching their IG posts. I’ll never be able to do what they do but it inspires me to keep trying anyway!
MH: Let´s talk about influences in general! I guess, when someone writes songs, there is always a musical input from somewhere? What are your musical influences these days and especially during the time, writing the new material?
JS…I listen to the sound in my head and try to match it up to the imagined movie my mind creates around the initial inspiration. I know it sounds crazy but that’s how I get from a story like „The Elephants of Mars“ to actually wrtiting and recording the song. Almost always, the story comes first, then the music. I’m influenced by everything I’ve ever heard that I feel was a successful telling of a story through music. So, any style is ok with me, as long as it works. Beethoven to Beck, Miles Davis to Metallica, it’s all good.
MH: I´m sure, you heard of that „mega guitar“ called „The hydra“, that Steve Vai has had himself developed. Could you imagine to let yourself custom build something special like that, too? And what features would you like to have included?
Steve Vai is a genius!
JS…Steve is a genius in his own right, and in his own world! That’s not my thing at all. I’m still fascinated by melody, harmony and rhythm. They are the most important elements of music for me. Making a few notes reach out and grab your heart is what I’m most interested in.
MH: As it´s a really special thing and involves many great musicians (not only on the guitar), I like the G3-concept a lot. Is there any chance to have you tour Europe again with G3 in the coming one or two years?
JS…I hope so. I have spoken with Steve and Eric a few times recently and they are down with the idea. So, maybe next year it will happen!
MH: As you have performed with a long list of great musicians already, are there still some names on the list, that you would like to play with in the studio and/or on stage? And why would you especially pick these musicians?
JS…Jimmy Page is first on my list. He is such an accomplished musician, composer, producer and performer, I think we could make a lot of great music together.
Playing with Jimmy Page, another G3-tour and painting
MH: As I heard, you are also interested in other forms of art like painting. Please let us know more about it. Are you a collector? Or do you create art yourself?
JS…I am currently commissioned to finish a few hundred paintings for the Wentworth Gallery here in the US (https://www.wentworthgallery.com/index.html) I love painting on canvas, and guitars too. Painting and music go hand in hand for me, so, I always find myself doing both almost everyday.
MH: In how far are you interested in cars? What car do you drive and what car would you like to own, if it was available/affordable?
JS…I’m not interested in cars. The future has let me down in this department. I always thought that by now we would have gone all electric, or, even gravity defying cars. But, we are still stuck with the same technology as the early 1900’s! Driving is fun but it’s still dangerous and bad for the environment.
MH: A look in the future – if you are thinking about it, when would yo see the point to stop making and performing music?
Just keep going…
JS…I’m just going to keep going until it doesn’t feel right. I don’t see the composing or painting slowing down or stopping. The playing and performing is always fun but the traveling can get you down. However, I do love spending time in new parts of the world. It’s just getting there that can be difficult.
MH: Now we slowly come to an end. It´s a tradition for us to leave the last words to our interview partners. Do you have a final message for our readers out there? About yourself, music in general or the new album…whatever…
JS…I’m so grateful that I have fans around the world that are still interested in my new music. Not a day goes by where I don’t feel filled with gratitude about my good fortune as a musician. So my message to my fellow Metal Heads is, „THANK YOU!!!“
MH: Thanx for your time and hope to see you on stage some time in the future! Maybe even in another G3-setting. And of course, at some point, I´d be interested to hear album number 20…
JS…Me too Amir. Cheers!
- G3 Joe Satriani 28.03.18 Köln E-Werk: (c) Chipsy-Karsten Frölich/www.metal-heads.de
- Joe Satriani – Albumcover The elephants of mars: www.amazon.de
- JOE SATRIANI – Live in Bochum: Bildrechte beim Autor
- G3 – Joe Satriani, Bonn Brückenforum: Bildrechte beim Autor
- Joe Satriani – Albumcover The elephants of mars – Beitragsbild: www.amazon.de