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Last year in Singapore, on stage for the final performance of his two-year Unstoppable Momentum tour, Joe Satriani had both an epiphany and an out-of-body experience. “I realized that I was playing the guitar with my teeth an awful lot.” Satriani says,” which is not something I do as part of my everyday playing style. I thought, ‘Why are you doing this? You’re just scraping the enamel off your teeth.’ It’s as if something else, or somebody else, was driving me to do it.”
All at once, Satriani seized upon this moment of self-realization as the springboard and creative center for his wildly ambitious 15th solo album, Shockwave Supernova. A lifelong science fiction fan – he’s also developing a sci-fi animation series called Crystal Planet – Satriani created the alter ego of “Shockwave Supernova,” the outlandish and extroverted ‘performance side’ of the normally shy and retiring guitar virtuoso. “Understanding that it was another character that would do these things on stage led me to the idea that it was time to transform him into something else,” Satriani says. “Not to retire him, but to put him through a metamorphosis. He had come to the end of one road and had to see another way forward. That’s what would guide the shape of the album.”
One way of looking at Shockwave Supernova is that it’s a concept album, but Satriani has never operated under such rigid restraints. The 15 songs on the new record would be ‘inspired by’ his concept, but they don’t follow a direct narrative. “The real reason for the concept was to allow me to make creative decisions song by song, exploring unique moods and feelings as they relate to my central character,” he says. “So in that way, it’s both loose and free-form, but there is an overall tone, one of a rebirth.”
Once Satriani had amassed a prime batch of songs and demos – no mean feat, as he’s been known to stockpile anywhere between 30 to 50 ideas for any given record – the guitarist hunkered down at Skywalker Sound in Lucas Valley, California, the same studio where he’s worked for the past few years, with co-producer and engineer John Cuniberti. Satch and Cuniberti share production on Shockwave Supernova, as they have on numerous albums – their shared history dates back to the guitar star’s 1986 debut album, Not Of This Earth.
“In the studio, John is a great facilitator and creative catalyst as well as a fantastic engineer,” Satriani says. “Because we’re friends, he knows how to push my buttons. He’s not afraid to tell me exactly how he feels, but he also knows when to not say anything, both of which are equally important. For this album, I told him that I wanted something special, an album that wasn’t overly limited or compressed, but instead had a lot of dynamics to it. Making a powerful, high-fidelity record was very attractive to both of us.”
At Skywalker, Satriani assembled the same trio of world-class musicians he had just traversed the globe with on tour: renowned keyboardist and guitarist Mike Keneally, a veteran of several Satch outings and recordings; along with drumming whiz Marco Minnemann and bass extraordinaire Bryan Beller. “I couldn’t have asked for a better band to help bring these songs to life,” says Satriani. “Marco and Bryan are at the top of their fields as players, but what’s really great about them is their sense of adventure. I can say things to them like, ‘I know this demo sounds a little like a metal song, but is there a way we can make it more arty?’ And they’ll be right there with me on the approach.”
As for Keneally, Satriani regards him with a mixture of awe and envy. “He’s one of those insanely talented guys who can play anything you throw at him, but he’ll send it back to you six different ways,” Satch marvels. “A couple of tours ago, I half-kidding said to [bassist] Allen Whitman, ‘we have to get rid of this guy, he’s making us look bad!” That’s how good Mike is.”
Minnemann and Beller handle the bulk of the rhythmic duties on Shockwave Supernova, but four cuts – the driving “Keep On Movin’,” full of wondrous Satch guitar wizardry and Keneally’s playful piano, “In My Pocket,” a deliciously greasy, souped-up take on Swing, along with “Crazy Joey” (a deliriously effervescent romp) and “Scarborough Stomp” (a relentless upbeat rocker) – find Satriani joined by another powerhouse rhythm section: the esteemed drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (whose work includes the likes of Frank Zappa, Sting, Paul Simon, among others) and Jane’s Addiction bassist Chris Chaney (whose resume includes Alanis Morrisette, Celine Dion and Rob Zombie, to name a few). The basic tracks for these numbers were initially recorded for Satch’s Unstoppable Momentum album, but the guitarist and that disc’s co-producer, Mike Fraser (credited with additional production on Shockwave Supernova), felt that they weren’t yet fleshed out writing-wise.
“Those songs still called out to me,” Satriani says, “so I went back in, added parts and edited out sections. John Cuniberti added percussion performances himself. He did stunning remixes, which really changed the nature of the songs and elevated them to a new place. They fit beautifully with the rest of the record.”
When it comes to thrilling and soul-nourishing guitar artistry, Joe Satriani has set new standards for close to 30 years, and the six-string work on Shockwave Supernova brims with widescreen riffs, blockbuster solos, and other bravura fretboard performances. The gargantuan, earth-moving title track, the bruising “Cataclysmic” and “On Peregrine Wings” feature some of Satch’s most spine-tingling and lyrical axe passages yet. “It’s always thrilling when you respond not just emotionally and intellectually to a song you’re playing, but physically too,” Satriani says. “The beginning of ‘On Peregrine Wings’ is supposed to illustrate the feeling as if you suddenly had wings and you stepped off that precipice. That’s how I felt as I played those opening chords. And then the song takes off and it’s like you’re flying, defying gravity – and man, that beat is fast!”
Satriani brings that same depth of emotion to a pair of striking ballads, “Stars Race Across The Sky” and “Butterfly And Zebra,” and on the album’s riveting closer, “Goodbye Supernova,” Satch sends his alter ego off with both melancholy and celebration. “It’s rebirth, it’s an end and a beginning – it’s filled with all those conflicting thoughts and feelings,” Satriani says. “As I would write the piece, I just went with whatever mood I was in, so it’s got anger, spite, joy and revelation.”
On a host of other astonishing cuts, Satriani explores some fascinating new stylistic avenues, such as the intoxicating “All Of My Life,” featuring bassist Bobby Vega and percussionist Tony Menjivar, which floats gently on a dreamy samba-ish beat, while the infectious groove of the super-melodic “San Francisco Blue” sees the guitarist stretching the boundaries of the shuffle. “’San Francisco Blue’ really speaks to Marco’s creativity,” says Satch. “I brought it in with a big smile on my face, knowing that he has an aversion to shuffles. Once he got his head around it, he came up with something so classy and fresh. It just epitomizes how versatile he can be, swinging from something really trippy to straight blues, all in his own way.”
It would be easy to call Shockwave Supernova a “masterpiece” or “the last word on guitar” – as the world’s most commercially successful solo guitar performer, with six gold and platinum discs to his credit (including one more for his side band Chickenfoot) and a staggering 15 Grammy nominations, not to mention reigning grand champ of every six-string poll that’s ever existed, Satch has consistently advanced the artistry of the instrument he dedicated himself to on September 18, 1970 (the day his idol Jimi Hendrix died).
“I feel like this record shows me playing better than ever,” Satriani says. “But as much as some people may focus on technique and flash, I don’t really. For me, it’s always, ‘Where is this music taking you? How is it making you feel inside? What is it communicating?’ And if the music can represent your true spirit and speak to others,, then it’s alive – and that’s pretty great.”
Joe will be joining Sammy Hagar (The Red Rocker) for the Season Premiere of Rock and Roll Road Trip this Sunday, March 5th! Tune in and set your DVR at 9/8c on AXS TV. The episode covers Acoustic-4-A-Cure and an acoustic version of the Chickenfoot track “Sexy Little Thing”. Check […]
It’s the season of giving and Satch is definitely feeling the spirit! Joe is giving away a special five song re-mix EP to his fans to celebrate and thank everyone for making “Shockwave Supernova” a worldwide success. For more info on how to snag your EP visit Joe’s website. And […]
The G4 Experience has to come a close this year at the beautiful Glen Cove Mansion in NY. The sold out week of playing, listening, and hanging with Joe Satriani and his crew of guitar gods could not have gone any better! We thank all those who came and had a […]
Fans from the southern hemisphere rejoice! Joe Satriani has announced more Shockwave Tour South American dates this winter. Newly added include Uruguay and Argentina! For a full list check out http://www.satriani.com/road
Happiest of birthdays to a legend in the guitar world, our longtime friend, Joe Satriani! And what a way to spend his birthday; playing a show at the Guitare en Scene Festival in St. Julien de Genevois, France with special guest Steve Vai!
Joe Satriani’s Surfing to Shockwave Tour entered into Europe yesterday! The European leg of the tour started at the Hellfest Open Air Festival in France and will continue through out the summer to the Nethlerlands, Denmark, Czech, Italy, Spain and more! Check out www.satriani.com/road for more details!
Joe Satriani was in eclectic and talented company on Monday the 16th for the annual Acoustic 4 A Cure benefit at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Satch joined Sammy Hagar, John Mayer, Melissa Etheridge, Tommy Lee, James Hetfield, Vic Johnson, and others not pictured such as Pat Monahan and Kris Kristofferson. […]
Joe Satriani joined up with his old pals Chad Smith, Sammy Hagar, and Michael Anthony for two incredible nights of Chickenfoot in Tahoe on May 7th and 8th. The Foot Soldiers had a blast and so did the band! Photo credit: Jon Luini.
Joe Satriani has just added more dates to his European leg of The Shockwave Tour! The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, Czech, Spain, France and more are all represented this summer! Check out Joe’s Road page for details and information on ticket purchasing! VIP tickets (which includes, autograph, photo with […]
“For more than 2 hours, he captivated the audience with his guitar genius and held everyone in awe”, writes the prog report after Joe Satriani’s Ft. Lauderdale show. So the question is, do you have your “Surfing to Shockwave” tickets yet? *Photo credit Larry Marano Photography
Joe Satriani’s Surfing to Shockwave North American tour, celebrating 30 years are guitars wizardry and promoting Joe’s latest album, opened on January 25th at the Parmount Theatre in Seattle, Washington. KISW Rock 99.9 was there to experience the night. Check out the review and pics here. And for a complete […]
In a little over 1 week the “Surfing to Shockwave” 2016 North American tour will kick off in Seattle on February 25th! With 48 tour dates from late February through April, this show is not to be missed. Joe, Mike Keneally, Bryan Beller and Marco Minnemann will be celebrating “30 […]
Joe Satriani is gearing up to launch his career retrospective “Surfing to Shockwave” Tour on February 25th in Seattle, WA. The 48-date tour Satriani will spotlight music from his first solo album, “Not of this Earth” through his latest release and 15th solo album, “Shockwave Supernova”. During the upcoming U.S. […]
After being named in the top 50 Albums of the year by Guitar World magazine last week, the fans have spoken! This week’s Reader Poll voted Joe Satriani #1 Shred Guitarist and Shockwave Supernova #1 Shred Album! All hail the reigning Guitar King!
“Despite one or two nasty rumors to the contrary, the guitar is alive and well in late 2015” (Guitar World, 2015). That being true, it’s probably no surprise that Joe Satriani’s new album Shockwave Supernova is featured on Guitar World‘s Top 50 Albums of 2015 list, along with Warren Haynes, […]
At the 11th Annual Classic Rock Roll of Honour Award ceremony in London on November 12th – Joe presented Brian May of Queen with the “Living Legends” award and took home the “The Maestro” award! Congrats to Joe and everyone else! To check out more photos from the night, visit […]
European rock and guitar festival fans get ready to mark your summer 2016 calendars! Official announcements for Joe Satriani’s tour will be coming soon, stay tuned!
Joe Satriani is featured on this month’s online magazine Guitar Interactive (UK) cover! Inside is an interview with Joe, as well as his album and tour coverage. AND by signing up for the free site fans can actually view the filmed interview with Joe!
Every so often, people ask us, is Joe going to play with Chickenfoot again? I’m sure he gets that question 20 times more than we do… well the cat is now out of the bag. Or in this case, the chicken. Joe Satriani, Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, and Chad Smith […]
Joe Satriani is featured on the July cover of Audience Magazine (UK), celebrating his biggest tour yet – Shockwave Supernova! As a music industry magazine, unfortunately it’s not available to consumers… But if you’re a fan, there’s still good news! For an in-depth article on “the Professor”, you can pick up September’s Guitar & […]
Wishing the happiest of Birthdays to our long time friend Joe Satriani! Here’s a pic shared on his Facebook page today.
On July 24th Joe Satriani’s 15th Solo Album – Shockwave Supernova – which also happens to be Joe’s alter ego, will be released! However, we have a sneak preview of the title track available now on Yahoo! Music!
Just announced! Joe Satriani and Steve Vai will be co-hosting a 3rd benefit concert for music industry veteran and friend Cliff Cultreri, who “discovered” both legendary guitarists! The show will be held on June 12th at 8pm at the Wiltern Theatre in LA with special guests Animals as Leaders. Tickets […]
We are happy to announce that Joe Satriani’s camp has released additional Shockwave World Tour dates for fall 2015, with more Europe dates being added as we speak! Satch and crew will be headed to France in September and the UK in November. Check out the presale tix and vip packages […]
Satch is starting off 2015 with studio sessions. That’s right, the rumors are true, Satch will be recording a new album this year and we can”t wait to see what sound he brings to our ears this time!
Joe Satriani is just finishing up his Latin American leg of this year’s world tour with two shows in Brazil this week. Before that Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina all experienced the Professor at work. Next up, is a run of dates in New Zealand & Australia and a final […]
Joe Satriani and CKConcerts announce the show in Quito, Ecuador must be cancelled due to logistical complications. CKConcerts and Joe Satriani regret the cancellation and apologize to the fans that were looking forward to seeing the show, but after many weeks of trying to resolve technical issues both parties agree […]
Check out the Q&A with Joe Satriani live on Rolling Stone’s website.
Its been a busy few days for ‘Satch’ as his 2014 leg of the Unstoppable Momentum Tour has started up again. He played an amazing Homecoming Appearance show in Westbury, Long Island on Sunday, followed by The PBS filming of his Les Paul tribute in NYC last night. It was a […]
Joe sat down for a Nights with Alice Cooper interview last week – check it out! With one month until the kick out of his second round of the Unstoppable Momentum tour, we’re getting excited for his homecoming performance in Westbury, shows in Europe, and the G4 Experience, just to name a […]
Joe is once again gracing the cover of Guitar World Magazine, along with Zakk Wylde, for the “Ultimate Guitar Superhero Showdown” issue. So scoop up an issue and prepare yourself for what comes next — set to ship out on May 1st — are Satch’s “Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical […]
It’s the moment Long Islanders have all been waiting for… Satch is coming home! That’s right, Joe Satriani is playing The Space at Westbury – his hometown – on June 7th and tickets go on sale today at noon (EST)!! Ready your dialing or typing digits because these tickets won’t last long!
Have we told you about the amazing G4 Experiencein August?! This will be a unique guitar retreat in Cambria, California for guitarists of all ages and levels to learn from, ask questions of, and hang out with Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Andy Timmons and Mike Keneally! Check out www.g4experience.com for more information.
Joe Satriani had one of the his most successful years on the road with, perhaps, his most lengthy and grueling touring schedule ever! Satch performed over 90 shows throughout Europe and North America, 6 per week, in most cases, and turning in his longest runs to date in both the […]
From Istanbul to Oakland, the recent World Tour that has covered over 90 cities/venues in countless countries over the last 6 months, ended last night (Saturday, October 26th) in Oakland, CA at The Fox Theatre. One door closes and another one opens; ‘Satch is currently contemplating a short run of […]
Satch is currently making his way across Canada with new special guests Sit Down, Servant!! joining the tour for the Canadian leg. For news from the road, check out www.satriani.com/road. The last few North American Unstoppable Momentum shows are scheduled from east to west Canada, Washington state, Oregon and finally ending in Joe’s […]
Last night Satch cruised into New York City to play a rockin’ show at The Beacon Theatre. Playing old favorites from past albums such and new pieces fromUnstoppable Momentum , including Shine on American Dreamer, Satch did not disappoint! The crowd hooted, hollered, whistled, and jammed along to the singing, soaring guitar […]