Q&A: Joe Satriani Can't Talk About His Case Against Coldplay. But He'll Glady Talk Being Left Off Rolling Stone's List of Top 100 Guitarists...

Categories: Interviews
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Joe Satriani is considered by many to be one of the best guitar players in the world. Although excluded from Rolling Stone's list of the top 100 guitar players of all time, Satriani has taught such legendary string benders as Steve Vai and Mettalica's Kirk Hammett.

And, besides doing the solo thing, Satriani has also found time to play with Mick Jagger, Deep Purple and the Sammy Hagar-led supergroup Chickenfoot.

Though known primarily for his super-speedy technique, Satriani is actually a skilled composer who brings a lot more to his music than just shredding.

In advance of his performance at the Granada Theater tonight, Satriani was gracious enough to recently give DC9 a little time to chat with him during a tour stop in Canada. After the jump, he shares with us his thoughts on teaching guitar, playing with Jagger and why Rolling Stone sucks.

What's more rewarding, playing guitar or teaching it?
I've not taught guitar for a long time. Teaching was fun, at times. Other times, it was just my day job. I much prefer making albums and touring.

When Mick Jagger asked you to play in his touring band, were you nervous?
No, not at all. Mick was great. I've had a chance to play with many people I admire. When Mick asked, I jumped at that chance. Playing in front of that many people is something that every guitar player dreams about. Getting to share the stage with your heroes is incredible.

Are there certain artists whose material is harder to learn?
Not really. The challenge is performing live and getting the audience to have a good time. That's always a challenge. I think all performers share this challenge. With Mick, it was unusual in that people had a hard time accepting Mick as a solo artist. People had to get it out of their heads that this wasn't a concert by The Rolling Stones.

When Rolling Stone published its list of the best 100 guitar players of all time, your name was seen by many as one of the major omissions. Have you ever wondered why you were not on that list?
Everyone knows that Rolling Stone is shit. That list was made to be provocative, to get attention. And to Rolling Stone's credit, the list has gotten that attention.

Where were you when you heard the Coldplay song "Viva La Vida"? Did you immediately think they ripped off your "If I Could Fly" song?
I think I heard it in the mall. But I can't talk about that. There are legal issues that still have to be worked out. I really can't talk about that.

Is there a worse band name than Chickenfoot?
Hey, [Sammy] Hagar came up with that. I think someone called him that when he was a kid. But playing with Hagar is fun. The crowds are lively. Both the band and the crowd really get into the shows.

This tour you are playing smaller venues. Would you rather play the smaller venues than the stadiums or arenas?
That's a trick question. Everyone wants to play in front of 80,000 people because then you know that you've been financially successful. But I've been in bands that were playing huge venues that were only half full, and it's hard getting in sync with the audience. Playing the more intimate venues is perfect for connecting with the audience.

Your 1993 album, The Extremist, is often cited by critics and fans as your best effort. What is it about that album that has made it such a favorite?
I don't know. I am proud of all of my albums. I have this new one called Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards and I am very proud of it. I feel very lucky to play my songs in front of an audience.

Has your audience always been mostly male-dominated?
Yes, but I think that's changing. On this current tour, I've seen a lot of women. Also, I've never seen such a range of ages before. I like to think my music can appeal to other people besides male guitar players.

Joe Satriani plays tonight at the Granada Theater

Location Info

Map

Granada Theater

3524 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Music


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20 comments
Darinlwarren
Darinlwarren

Satriani, like any amazing artist isn't going to appeal to everyone. And certainly not the top40 crowd. His "music" is not boring, it is often complex and not commercially "hook" oriented for the simple minded masses. Any list compiled by actual guitar players would have Satch in the top 20.

ChrisU
ChrisU

you guys and gals workin up your next list yet ? the top Dallas guitar players i'm countin seven or eight on Stone's list. and we can include Robert Johnson because he didn't have any real residence until 508 Park Ave. remember Freddie is the F. King!

Darryl
Darryl

Joan Jett shouldn't be on any list. And Satriani himself said that the Rolling Stone list was made to stir up controversy. Richard Thompson should have been #2. and Robert Fripp at 4? Pleeeze. I asked Richard Thompson about this list several years ago and he thought that Cobain was placed properly due to his effect on a generation of kids and musicians. But I also agree that Satriani deserves a place on the list, even though his music can be a snoose-fest.

ChrisU
ChrisU

maybe Rolling Stone should have called the list 'most influential rock'n'roll guitar players'if it was about technique wouldn't Django Reinhardt be on that list? at least they had sense to put Eddie Cochran over Joan Jett.

IanKelly134
IanKelly134

1Jimi Hendrix2 Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band3 B.B. King4 Eric Clapton5 Robert Johnson6 Chuck Berry7 Stevie Ray Vaughan8 Ry Cooder9 Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin10 Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones11Kirk Hammett of Metallica12 Kurt Cobain of Nirvana13 Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead14 Jeff Beck15 Carlos Santana16 Johnny Ramone of the Ramones17 Jack White of the White Stripes18 John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers19 Richard Thompson20 James Burton21 George Harrison22 Mike Bloomfield23 Warren Haynes24 The Edge of U225 Freddy King26 Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave27 Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits28 Stephen Stills29 Ron Asheton of the Stooges30 Buddy Guy31 Dick Dale32 John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service33 & 34 Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth35 John Fahey36 Steve Cropper of Booker T. and the MG's37 Bo Diddley38 Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac39 Brian May of Queen40 John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival41 Clarence White of the Byrds42 Robert Fripp of King Crimson43 Eddie Hazel of Funkadelic44 Scotty Moore45 Frank Zappa46 Les Paul47 T-Bone Walker48 Joe Perry of Aerosmith49 John McLaughlin50 Pete Townshend51 Paul Kossoff of Free52 Lou Reed53 Mickey Baker54 Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane55 Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple56 Tom Verlaine of Television57 Roy Buchanan58 Dickey Betts59 & 60 Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien of Radiohead61 Ike Turner62 Zoot Horn Rollo of the Magic Band63 Danny Gatton64 Mick Ronson65 Hubert Sumlin66 Vernon Reid of Living Colour67 Link Wray68 Jerry Miller of Moby Grape69 Steve Howe of Yes70 Eddie Van Halen71 Lightnin' Hopkins72 Joni Mitchell73 Trey Anastasio of Phish74 Johnny Winter75 Adam Jones of Tool76 Ali Farka Toure77 Henry Vestine of Canned Heat78 Robbie Robertson of the Band79 Cliff Gallup of the Blue Caps (1997)80 Robert Quine of the Voidoids81 Derek Trucks82 David Gilmour of Pink Floyd83 Neil Young84 Eddie Cochran85 Randy Rhoads86 Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath87 Joan Jett88 Dave Davies of the Kinks89 D. Boon of the Minutemen90 Glen Buxton of Alice Cooper91 Robby Krieger of the Doors92 & 93 Fred "Sonic" Smith, Wayne Kramer of the MC594 Bert Jansch95 Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine96 Angus Young of AC/DC97 Robert Randolph98 Leigh Stephens of Blue Cheer99 Greg Ginn of Black Flag100 Kim Thayil of Soundgarden

IanKelly134
IanKelly134

Rolling Stone is $hit, and everyone does know that . . . They are complete idiots with an agenda who nothing about music . . . Leaving Satch off that list in favor of Kurt Cobain who couldn't even play and sing at the same time he was so bad is proof of their ignorance to music. I am a Coldplay fan too but if you're talking musicianship, Coldplay is so elementary they should almost be embarrassed to call themselves "musicians", Satriani on the other hand is a virtuoso and gifted person in that regard.

Biggun
Biggun

I believe it is Kirk Hammett.

Guest
Guest

Shoulda asked him what he thought about those 'shreds' videos

Vox AC-30
Vox AC-30

Yeah, Joan Jett is better than EVH, LMAO!

Ttsimpkins
Ttsimpkins

Hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Grit
Grit

Love how Kirk Hammett is listed as the number 11 "best guitar player of all time"; he was one of Satriani's students back in the early 80's.

Daniel Hopkins
Daniel Hopkins

I know, because "Satch" had a waaayyy bigger impact on music than Kurt Cobain. The reason you can't get your head around why people think Cobain is great is because you think of music as a sport and not as an art. Satriani can shred the fastest, therefore he must be the best, right?

But, truthfully, his music is boring as hell.

Guest2
Guest2

i love how because he's not on the list, rolling stone is shit, but i bet if they give him a good review for his shred-off album he wouldn't be talking. Joe Satriani is an 80's guitar burn-out. The most attention he's got in recent years was suing Coldplay, one of the biggest bands in the world (cause you know when everyone heard viva la vida they thought "hey that sounds like a random joe satriani song"). Him and all his shred-tastic friends need to take a long look in the mirror and realize that for the past 15 years their music has become nothing more than obsolete

Rsmithy123
Rsmithy123

lou reedis 52 and ahead of EVH? Steve Howe? randy rhoads?

what?

Vox AC-30
Vox AC-30

You like Cobain because he was influential in your eyes, that's fine . . . In my eyes i agree he was influential, he influence crap music and since you like crap you think he was a skilled musician . . . Most of their songs could be taught to a person who doesn't even play the guitar in 10 minutes tops, now does that merit 12th place overall? What a joke . . . Rolling Stone Mag is run by complete morons . . .

Danny
Danny

If you knew anything about him or his music you would know that he does not and is not a fast shredder... Music is not a sport, thats the most idiotic thing ive heard. Music is a form of art, it is an expression and sadly, art does not always work. Oh yeah, lets praise a guy who can barely play or sing, plays three to four chords per album, stares at his shoes, says how he hates being a famous musician, and kills himself. Nobody plays in a band if they dont want that for a living, Rolling Stone does not care about talent, art or music . They care about money, and who is going to pay them to promote the "next big thing" just like clear channel radio. I really wish it was like it used to be, when radio actually played what they wanted to, and played commercials just not 10 minutes worth. Over half the time, the dj's they are broadcasting are pre recorded... its such a joke. If you like Cobain, cool im happy for you.. I get it, i really do.... but don't go pissing on other peoples music just because your mind is to simple to understand it... Dont bore us, just give us a chorus and make sure its no longer than 3 minutes, because thats all we can handle... idiotic.....

Danny
Danny

Seriously?? Their music is nothing more than obsolete??? Do you know anything about music other than the crap that Rolling Stone, Clear Channel and the like tell you is good? Joe Satriani has had a wonderful career as well as Steve Vai and other actual musicians...Let me guess, you like the songs that use Auto-tune and you dont buy actual cd's from groups, but you have all the singles that get released...

Grit
Grit

Coldplay and Rolling Stone repeatedly give each other reach-arounds, so the fact that Satch is not on their stupid list is not surprising. Rolling Stone is a caricature of itself now; they used to be good, really good. Now, they have a hard time competing with the bloggers (who aren't even real journalists), as they depend on the likes of Pitchfork and those of their ilk for the meat of their published stories.

IanKelly134
IanKelly134

Dude, that list should be an embarrassment for them, if you know ANYTHING about the instrument of guitar, Satriani could be argued as not only in the top 100 but possibly even the most gifted to ever pick up the instrument, so get over yourself already.

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