Joe Satriani has made many trips Down Under since he first visited in 1988 as part of Mick Jagger’s solo band. SHANE PINNEGAR reports that the famed guitarist is coming back for another opportunity for fans of ‘strange, beautiful music’ to see him perform at the Astor Theatre on Tuesday, November 11.
Joe Satriani’s forthcoming Australian visit will mark the end of his Unstoppable Momentum tour, a jaunt which will have taken him far and wide for many months by the time he touches down in Perth.
“I’m looking forward to it. The cool thing is that it’s going to be the wrap-up leg of the tour, so we will be in a very celebratory state of mind.”
In between legs of the tour the New Yorker kept riding the momentum – unstoppable, see – by compiling a box set of his extensive solo work (14 albums, plus rarities), which also comes in a deluxe package – a life-sized chrome sculpture of Satriani’s head, with removable sunglasses that house two USB drives featuring all the music.
As if that wasn’t enough, the man sometimes known as Satch also collaborated with author, Jake Brown, on a 320 page retrospective book – titled Strange Beautiful Music after his 2002 album of that name – which tells the story of his career song-by-song.
“It’s funny,” he laughs, “when we started those two projects, they were not linked. One thing led to another. It’s great to have the book – although I can’t really look at it! The pictures kind of freak me out, you know what I mean? With long hair and the clothes; all the funny things I was wearing. The book had lots of embarrassing photos that people could get pleasure out of.”
Satriani’s music has always been extremely forward thinking – in a sense it has evolved with him, and takes his audience on a journey from song to song, and from album to album. You never know what you’re going to get exactly. He agrees that looking backward is a very different thing to get used to.
“It is hard. It’s one of those things that just doesn’t feel like a natural thing for a musician who’s always trying to write the next song and working on a new piece. Of course, so much of my life is playing the music, and re-interpreting it on stage. So to have to go back to the original versions – which I never listen to – that was hard enough. It’s weird – it’s like having to stare at polaroids from a party where you misbehaved!”
With the box set and book wrapping up his solo career to date, once the Unstoppable Momentum tour stops, that career has effectively had a line drawn under it. One wonders if Satriani feels that it will give him the freedom to move on to do something different.
“I’ll tell you, one thing I learned from doing the book is that I’ve always been free,” he says, excitedly, “although I may not have noticed it. The book details the 14 studio albums and the trials and tribulations and the triumphs that are behind each project. When you review the stuff like that you begin to realise that chances were taken. Crazy things were tried. In the end, it was all for good. It was good that we pushed ourselves to the edge.
“I keep thinking – as you suggested – I’ve sort of drawn that line and said, ‘that was then. Now I’m stepping right into the now’. I’ve been moving forward. The other week I sent a full record’s worth of demos off to Sam, Mike and Chad (Hagar, Anthony, Smith) from Chickenfoot, and I’ve been working on, of all things, a digital animation series based on characters from my art book from 2013.
“So every day we’ve been very busy writing a script, I’ve been writing and recording lots of music at home that accompanies the show – so, I have been moving forward into crazy places. If anything, every once in a while I go, ‘what am I doing? This is insane!’”
There’s no denying that Joe Satriani is one dude who is walking the road less travelled into some amazing areas.
“Yeah!” he says with gusto. “That’s the way it should be. I always think that when you get to the end of the line, you should exhale and say, ‘I did it: I tried everything I could’. Go out with a smile on your face.”
Live Nation pre-sale tickets for Joe Satriani are now available online here.
General sales are available from noon AWST this Friday, June 27.
Pic: Chapman Baehler