Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani, one of the greatest guitarists of the 1980s, was a rare shredder who transcended six-string obsessives to become mainstream. Although the 1980s were a great time for guitarist heroes, even six-string slingers still need a hero. Joe Satriani is your hero. Satriani was more than a hero. He set an example for what could be done using the instrument, as well as being a teacher to luminaries like Kirk Hammett and Charlie Hunter. Satriani is a key figure in rock guitar history. However, when he began a career as an artist, he was able to reach a large audience with instrumental guitar music. He became a star with Surfing with the Alien, his 1987 album. This led to a string of hits, tours that were successful, and plum support gigs. These included backing Mick Jagger in the 1980s, joining Deep Purple during the 1990s, and playing with Sammy Hagar in the supergroup Chickenfoot. His legacy continues well into the 21st Century. Satriani, a Long Island native — he was raised in Carle Place and born in Westbury July 15, 1956 — began playing guitar when he was 14. Jimi Hendrix was his first inspiration. He began to take lessons from jazz musicians Lennie Tristano, Billy Bauer and continued learning over the years. Satriani was enrolled at Five Towns College. He also started teaching guitar. His first student was Steve Vai, who would be known for his “stunt guitar” feat on Frank Zappa records. Satriani moved to Berkeley, California, in 1978 to support himself by teaching and gigging with local bands. He would soon have an impressive list of students. These included Kirk Hammett, Charlie Hunter, Larry LaLonde, Kevin Cadogan, David Bryson, and Kevin Cadogan, who would later join Third Eye Blind. Slowly, Satch began to gain experience as a musician. He landed his first steady gig in the Squares in 1984, and then he joined the Greg Kihn band in 1986 just as the power popper’s hits were starting to fade. Satriani was fortunate to have the Kihn gig. His debut album, Not of This Earth was funded by credit cards. Regular performances helped to reduce his debt. Relativity released Not of This Earth in 1985. Steve Vai, Satriani’s student, was hired by David Lee Roth. This job pushed him into national attention and, once there, he often thanked Satriani. This helped to set the stage for the 1987 album Surfing with the Alien. It was the album that made Satch a superstar. The album was released on Relativity in 1987 and received rave reviews from guitar magazines. It also began a steady march into mainstream rock. The album charted on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock charts for the following year. “Satch Boogie”, “Surfing with the Alien” reached number 29 on the Billboard 200. It was certified platinum by the RIAA upon its release, which is a rare feat for an instrumental album. Satriani’s sudden success attracted considerable attention. Mick Jagger offered to play the guitar during his solo tour of Japan 1988. After releasing the EP Dreaming #11, which was largely recorded live, Satriani accepted and began work on Flying in a Blue Dream, his next album. The album was released in 1989 and featured a few cuts in which Satriani performed lead vocals. This may have helped the record reach higher in the charts. It peaked at 23 with the singles “One Big Rush”, “Big Bad Moon” and “Big Bad Moon,” both of which reached 17 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart. Satriani continued to be a star as he worked on 1992’s The Extremist, using signature Ibanez guitars. His biggest hit, the lyrical “Summer Song”, reached five on Mainstream Rock charts. The Extremist peaked in Satriani’s highest ever position on Billboard at 22. It was later certified gold by RIAA. The largely archived Time Machine, a double-disc set that reissued 1984’s EP and some live tracks, came out a year later. Satriani then went on tour with Deep Purple in 1993, where he took over the lead guitarist slot from Ritchie Blackmore. In 1995, Satriani released the eponymous album produced by Glyn Johns. But the next major event in his career came in 1996 when he joined forces with Eric Johnson and Steve Vai for G3, which was a tour that showcased the three guitarist virtuosos. The 1997 live CD/DVD set G3 Live in Concert captured this first tour. Satriani made it a tradition by touring with a rotating cast of guitarists for the next ten years. Crystal Planet, his seventh studio record, was released in 1998. It peaked at 50 on Billboard 200 and was then certified gold in the United Kingdom. In 2000, Satch expanded himself with Engines of Creation. This album had hints of electronica. In 2001, the double-disc Live in San Francisco was released. 2002’s Strange Beautiful Music followed. In 2003, Electric Joe Satriani: A Compilation was released. He then entered a period where he was extremely productive, with the release of Is There Love, Space? In 2004, he released another G3 live album. 2006 saw the release of Super Colossal, and another live set, appropriately titled Satriani live! He then delivered Professor Satchafunkilus in 2008 and the Musterion Of Rock in 2008. He filed a lawsuit against Coldplay at the end of 2008, claiming that their song “Viva la Vida”, contained “substantial original parts” of his 2004 composition “If I Could Fly”. The suit was settled out-of-court. The next step was to join ex-Van Halen rockers Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith in the supergroup Chickenfoot. In 2009, the band released their self-titled debut and toured. However, Satriani continued to keep his solo career afloat by releasing Black Swans in 2010 and Wormhole Wizards. One year later, Chickenfoot released Chickenfoot III, their second album. Satriani released Satchurated in 2012 and Unstoppable Momentum (2013). In 2014, he released Complete Studio Recordings and in 2015, he released Shockwave Supernova. Satriani, his 16th studio album, announced a new full length entitled “What Happens Next” in November 2017. On the date, he has Chad Smith (Chickenfoot’s bandmate and Red Hot Chili Peppers friend) on drums and Glenn Hughes as his bassist. After the announcement of the album, the first single from the set, “Thunder High on the Mountain,” were released. Allmusic

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