Joe Satriani Biography
Joe "Satch" Satriani (born on July 15, 1956, in Westbury, New York, USA) is an American instrumental rock guitarist and teacher.
Joe Satriani was inspired to play guitar at age 14 after hearing that Jimi Hendrix had died. Satriani reportedly heard the news during a football training session where he immediately confronted his coach and announced that he was quitting to become a guitarist.
In 1974, he studied music with jazz guitarist Billy Bauer and with reclusive jazz pianist Lennie Tristano. The technically demanding Tristano greatly influenced Satriani's playing. Satriani also began teaching guitar, with his most notable student, at this time, being fellow Long Island native Steve Vai.
In 1978 Satriani moved to Berkeley, California to pursue a music career. Not long after his arrival he resumed teaching. His most notable California students included: Kirk Hammett (Metallica), David Bryson (Counting Crows), Kevin Cadogan (Third Eye Blind), Larry LaLonde (Primus), Alex Skolnick (Testament), Phil Kettner (Laaz Rockit) and Charlie Hunter.
Satriani is also credited on many other albums, including guitar duties on Alice Cooper's Hey Stoopid (1991), Spinal Tap's Break Like the Wind (1992), Blue Öyster Cult's Imaginos (1988), band members Stu Hamm and Gregg Bissonette's solo albums, and many others including countless guitar heroes-style albums. Interestingly, he was credited for singing background vocals on the 1986 debut album by Crowded House. In 2003, he played lead guitar in The Yardbirds' CD release Birdland. In 2006 he guested on several tracks for Deep Purple's vocalist Ian Gillan's solo CD/DVD dual disc Gillan's Inn.
Satriani uses a variety of gear. Many of his guitars are made by Ibanez, including the JS1000, JS1200, and JS2000. These guitars typically feature the DiMarzio PAF Joe or PAF Pro in the neck pickup position and a DiMarzio Fred or Mo' Joe in the bridge. The JS line of guitars is his signature line, and they feature the Edge Pro, which is Ibanez's exclusive tremolo system. The mirrored silver guitar he used on the Live in San Francisco DVD is called Chrome Boy for obvious reasons.
Satriani has used a wide variety of guitar amps over the years but has recently settled on taking just two Peavey JSXs on the road--one to perform with and one as a backup. His effects pedals include the Dunlop Cry Baby, Digitech Whammy, BOSS DS-1, Fulltone Ultimate Octave, and Electro-Harmonix POG (Polyphonic Octave Generator), the latter being featured prominently on the title cut to his 2006 Super Colossal.
Satriani has also partnered recently with Planet Waves to create a signature line of guitar picks and guitar straps featuring his sketch art.
Satriani's work frequently makes references to various science fiction stories and/or ideas. "Surfing With the Alien", "Back to Shalla-Bal" and "The Power Cosmic 2000" are references to the comic book Silver Surfer while "Ice 9" refers to the secret government ice weapon in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. "Borg Sex" is a reference to Star Trek, which features a homogenous race known as the Borg. Additionally, his albums and songs often have other-worldly titles, such as Not of this Earth, Is There Love in Space?, and Engines of Creation.
On the album Super Colossal the song titled "Crowd Chant" was originally called "Party On The Enterprise". "Party On The Enterprise" sampled sounds from the starship Enterprise from the Star Trek TV show. But, as Satriani explained in a podcast, legal issues couldn't get resolved and he wasn't able to get permission to use the samples. Satriani then removed the sounds from the song and called it "Crowd Chant."
"Redshift Riders" another song on the Super Colossal album is "...based on the idea that in the future when people, can travel through out space, they will theoretically take advantage of the cosmological redshift effect so they can be swung around large planetary objects and get across [the] universe a lot faster than normal," Satriani said in a podcast about the song.