[% META title = 'Joe Satriani, Interviews' %]

Joe Satriani

- The newcomer in Deep Purple speaks

Business hours are over, the phone rings: "Hi, it's Joe Satriani speakin'!" Of course we are interested in how the grandmaster of the fast-finger-guitar gets along with the grand-heroes of hardrock. It's well-known that he has to replace no one less than Ritchie Blackmore on the ongoing world tour, after Ritchie (again) left the band.

[JS] In Europe you may expect 6 to 8 great concerts!

[MS] Was it your idea to join DP?

[JS] No, after the band asked Ritchie to leave [they asked him ???], Bruce Payne and Mr. Udo (Japanese promoter) had this idea and phoned my management.

[MS] Did you accept immediately?

[JS] I asked for a few days to think about it. I thought this must be a rather dramatic change for the audience. But after one hour thinking I phoned back and accepted. I was afraid they would have changed their mind meanwhile. But the band was still interested, strange enough. And then I met them, very nice and friendly, with a huge musical background and interested in new music, new stiles, new sounds!

[MS] Weren't you afraid that your solo-career would be negatively affected?

[JS] In fact, the offer came right in time. I had finished some studio work and hadn't been on tour for quite a long time. And in the end DP are part of my "roots". Already when being a teenager I listened to their music.

[MS] This leads to the question for your musical idols, or let's say, "guitar heroes", when you started playing ...

[JS] Jimi Hendrix was my number one! And he is still! Of course I also listened to Jeff beck, Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter - and Ritchie Blackmore!

[MS] Did he tell you how he likes his replacement?

[JS] No, I never talked to him. But Roger (Glover) talked to him and Ritchie told Roger that he's glad about this choice, because I introduce something new. He would have been definitely annoyed, if there would have appeared a guitarist who tries to play like he does or to immitate him.

[MS] Have the concerts been fun so far?

[JS] Indeed! All of them without exceptions! The band gives me all the space I want to play how I want to play and that's a great experience!

[MS] How would you characterize the band's personalities?

[JS] Ouhoho! Well, I think definitely, that Ian Gillan is the ultimate leadsinger personality. Including "party all the time" and everything! A great man, capable of spreading a great mood. Moreover, he has this strange eclecticism (from several systems lent, "own" philosophy). Jon Lord is an exceptional organist, the exceptional musical head. "Professor" Jon has also a wide range of humor, is very funny and always positive! Paicey on drums is a treasure of rhythm and style. In every soundcheck he introduces me to new songs and shuffles. Very inspiring!

[MS] The silent "leader" is still missing ...

[JS] Yeah, Roger was the one who called me at first. He spends all his energy and ideas in the band, is a great organizer with best mood and much of humor. They all made it very easy for me to feel like home among friends.

[MS] How long do you intend to remain in the band?

[JS] Preferably for ever! On the other hand we have a very strange contract situation at the moment, concerning the recording of new albums. Very complicating! But if it's true what Roger says, then the band wishes to keep me as a permanent member. This would my biggest wish, too! That's what I like! I was always a kind of an anarchist, especially when it came to my image. We prefer to say "forget the past - let's discover new things as a band!"

[MS] What do you think about Steve Vai, for whom you were the teacher?

[JS] Oh - that's a long time ago. He was (for three years) my "student", when he was a teenager. He has a great sense for "timing" and "harmony". Very interesting!

[MS] Did you listen to his albums?

[JS] Of course! All of them! And I hear he will be playing with Ozzy. This will be very exciting.

[MS] Finally: What do the DP fans have to expect now in Europe?

[JS] Ian Gillan wants lots of the songs to be played, which were never played live. There will be a new show with new songs like "Maybe I'm a Leo", "When a blind man cries". And with an extensive Laser show [Huh? Did anybody of you see it?]. DP always had special contacts to Germany - I'm especially looking forward to participating now. It will be "enigmatic" (mysterious).

[MS] See you!


This interview is taken from the hardrock bimonthly "MetalStar", #6/7, July 1994. Obviously it was recorded before the start of the European tour, but I thought some of you might be interested anyway.

Thomas Zeltwanger zeltwang@cony.gsf.de