Joe Satriani Talks New Concert Film, Working With Mick Jagger in the '80s
Christie Goodwin, Getty Images
Satchurated was filmed live during Satriani's The Wormhole Tour, supporting his 2010 studio album Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards, at the Metropolis in Montreal, Canada. With a total of ten cameras working to capture the sold-out concert, Satriani's musical best was recorded in both 2D and 3D HD formats. The high-definition picture quality makes Satch's fretboard wizardry as much a pleasure to watch as it is to hear.
Noisecreep sat down with Satriani to discuss the film.
Congratulations on this release, Joe. It's very impressive, visually as well as sonically.
Thanks a lot. It's a technology that I was not familiar with at all. When we shot, some stuff seemed odd at the moment in terms of production but Pierre and Francois really knew what they were doing. We had the one night to make it right, and I think they delivered a stunning concert film that draws viewers in for all the right reasons. They never distract you with silly little devices that have nothing to do with the performance.
It was an emotional night for you.
Very. It was the one-year anniversary of my mother's passing. Extremely difficult, as it turned out. Leading up to it, I didn't think it would be an issue. But the night before, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt weird all night, but the band helped pulls me through and it became a much different sort of performance that I anticipated. What a night we captured.
You just got home from Australia – another successful G3 tour with your old buddy Steve Vai. The history you share, growing up together – it must be amazing to tour the world today, together.
With Steve and me, it's hard to describe sometimes. This last tour, our faces were hurting from smiling so much. The jams were always surprising – our chemistry just runs so deep. We had Steve Lukather too, who we had not done a tour like this with him – and he fit in amazingly well, too, like a long lost brother. But with Steve Vai, I mean, he and I have known each other forever. We are so comfortable pushing each other to the limit – it's just amazing. Look, we played in high school bands with some of the same guys – we are just so connected. Every time on tour today, when we are in New York we see our old bass players, and drummers and singers – all of us remain connected; the Long Island gang. But Steve and I are the only ones still making a living as musicians. Whether we are in North America, Asia, Europe, Central America- when we walk out we just always look at each other and start cracking up – like, 'can you believe this... how did we get here?'
Has Steve Vai seen the new film yet?
Not yet! But I can't wait for him to see it, because he will be brutal in hi critique. I count on his honesty and vice versa – we are always straight with each other and we always try to push each other. We're specialists in a way - we recognize that we have a special neuroses and he and I notice the most subtle things about each others' work; all the nuances and growth. In that way, we are good for each other – because we truly understand each other.
Joe, you've played with so many of the great guitarists over the years – anyone in particular you've yet to play with that you dream about?
It's funny. I can plan and dream and scheme about certain guys – like say Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck – guys I grew up loving that I would kill to play with. Then out of the blue comes something like Chickenfoot, a band I never expected but that I love to death. Who could have predicted that? So you can plan, and that's cool, you have to do that – but you have to keep an open mind because sometimes you wind up playing with people you never thought about, but it becomes like a dream gig. That's what I think about Chickenfoot. We just have so much fun.
Joe, can you take us back to the tour you did with Mick Jagger in 1988? That was special to you, wasn't it?
Some of the most fantastic memories I have in life – and it actually pretty much may have saved my career. Talk about a random event you'd never expect to happen. I was on my very first solo tour figuring out how to play 'Surfing With the Alien' in front of an audience. We were losing lots of money as well, about eight grand a week playing two club shows a night. I was all but done. So I was going to scrap the tour and just go figure something else out. Then I get a call about an audition for a Mick Jagger solo tour. I end up getting the job, then BAM - all of a sudden i went from all but total obscurity into a hyper world with a red carpet in front of me at all times. It was insane.
How did that help your solo career?
It was Mick. See, not only was he the total rockstar I always dreamed he would be – but he was also funny, unpredictable, incredibly cool, open, and one of the most generous people I'd ever met. He said to me, 'my staff is your staff – use all of my resources to help promote your record while we tour. Use this private room for interviews – use these people to help you.' Then he gave me a big solo spot in the show. He was totally selfless and completely excited to help me with MY success as a solo artist. He would tell me all the time –you've gotta go all the way – you've got to take advantage of whatever you can and most importantly, connect with the audience. I just learned so much from Mick Jagger and he really allowed me to establish myself as a solo artist.
What's the most important thing you learned from Mick Jagger?
Being on stage with him every night, I never failed to appreciate that this is a guy who always is trying harder than all of us to make a great show for the audience. We had an 11-piece band – so if someone wanted to kick back and relax a bit, it'd be easy to cover. But then Mick would run past you, giving 100%, 100% of the time, and you'd realize, if he's doing it, we all have to do it. He would drag me into the spotlight with him so different parts of the audience could really see me. He loves his audience so much, and is so focused on pleasing them – that's what I think I was the important thing he taught me – appreciating those who come and see you play – and working your hardest to please them.
Are you still in touch with Mick?
Whenever the Stones play in the Bay area I go backstage to say hi. And you know what? I have loved them since I was a little kid, and so I still get star struck around them.
Satchurated is available now in various configurations. Head over to www.Satriani.com for all ordering information and upcoming tour dates.