Joe Satriani took the rock world by storm with his 1987 breakthrough instrumental album, “Surfing With The Alien”. An earlier effort, “Not Of This Earth”, was pretty good but wasn’t promoted and nearly bankrupted Satch.
Having taken up the guitar upon learning of the death of Jimi Hendrix, Satch was good enough – before his own commercial success – to teach some musicians who later became famous in their own right, including Steve Vai, Kirk Hammett, David Bryson and Alex Skolnick.
The son of Italian immigrants, Joe Satriani was born and raised in New York but in 1978 moved to California to pursue his music career.
A genuine guitar virtuoso, Satch can play blazingly fast although he really likes slow melody and legato and also employs considerable tapping, vibrato and whammy bar use. Influenced by rock and jazz guitarists, as well as jazz pianist Lennie Tristano who was one of Joe’s early music teachers, he quickly became a skilled composer.
Joe’s concerts, whether with his own backing musicians or with other guitarists on his G3 tours, are musically scintillating and awe-inspiring.
In his early days as a guitarist, Satch played on Mick Jagger’s first solo tour and spent a year as lead guitarist for Deep Purple. His solo career has been very successful with strong sales and excellent critical reviews. In 2008 he became lead guitarist for super group Chickenfoot, which included Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony (ex-Van Halen bassist) and Chad Smith (drummer for Red Hot Chili Peppers).
Most of the guitars that Satch plays are made by Ibanez since he first played their Radius 540 model. A long-time endorser of Ibanez guitars, Joe has parlayed his association with the company into a complete line of instruments known as the JS Series. Joe became famous in the 1990s for his use of chrome-plated Ibanez JS2CH guitars, commonly known as Chrome Boys.
Newer Chrome Boys have since been based on JS10 and JS2PRM (for Premium Rock Mirror) instruments. Satch has also used a variety of amps, most notably Marshall and Peavey models and has released a Peavey-built, 5-watt tube amp called the “Mini Colossal”.
For an expanded reading of Joe’s abilities, a good choice would be his 1993, double-disc release, “Time Machine”. With one disc of studio tracks and the second featuring live recordings from a five-year period, this collection features some of his most familiar songs together with some wonderful and perhaps even weird tracks not heard on any other albums. Highly recommended.