Joe Satriani hopes to perform in New Zealand again, chats about his guitar students and new album 'Shapeshifting'

interview 24/04/2020

This week, Nik Brown from the Morning Sound had the opportunity to chat with guitar legend Joe Satriani on the phone.

Nik asked Satriani what the driving force was behind his music career, and if it was purely self-belief. Satriani chuckled in response, saying, "Some people call that insanity, you know!"

"Some people are more wired to get in front of people to shout and entertain. I have always been that guy who wanted to be standing behind that crazy lead singer," he explained. 

But I realise that there are times where you have to take a chance.

"And if you see something that is going to be that one possible chance - the ticket to success, you gotta try it. That's one thing I learnt from my father is just to try and never give up, so I keep that spirit alive."

With the country-wide lockdown, Nik found Satriani's album, 'Shapeshifting' very uplifting when listened from beginning to the end. "Shapeshifting changes whatever you're doing, and it becomes quite uplifting," Nik said. "It's actually really cool, so I thought I'd share my experience of what you've done and perhaps there's an opportunity for people to realign themselves with music right now."

"I'm happy to hear you say that, I put a lot of care into making sure that the album was an experience to listen to, top to bottom, in sequence," Satriani says. "I apply all kinds of interesting rules; I have tempos and key signatures to make sure that each new song in the sequence is a compliment."

"My hope is that when they get to the end of the record, they'll go 'WOW! That was a journey; I gotta listen to it from the top again."

Who was the worst guitar pupil you had?

"Not all the elements of musical talent arrive in one package. You might find someone who's really fast, but doesn't have great ears, and then you'll find someone with great ears for music but really is a slow hand player. You'll find someone who is just interested in the most unusual kind of music and the simplest kind of music, but they're very diligent at understanding what makes it work."

Satriani shared his experience as a guitar instructor explaining that he would celebrate the variety of talent that would walk through the door when he was teaching guitar."

Nik also asked if there was any possibilty of Satriani returning to New Zealand for a tour. In response, Satriani said, "I really want to get down to New Zealand, but it looks like I have to go to Europe and all these other countries to honour my rescheduled performances before I can get down under."