Arts & Entertainment

Guitar hero Joe Satriani calls current generation of musicians the best ever

By Monica Rubalcava

Mexico City, May 4 (EFE).- “There’s no doubt about it that people are more talented now than ever before,” Joe Satriani, whose 10 million discs make him the best selling instrumental rock guitarist of all time, tells Efe during an interview to promote his first album since before the Covid-19 pandemic, “The Elephants of Mars.”

“Certainly guitar players are playing things never played before in the history of guitar, I guarantee you,” the 65-year-old guitar instructor turned solo artist says.

“You take a bunch of 20-year-old guitar players and they are so far ahead of what my generation did and generations before us, which is a natural thing because they start with what happened before them and of course, they move it forward,” Satriani says.

Besides his 15 Grammy nominations and the long list of his students who have achieved stardom, such as Steve Vai and Kirk Hammett, the Long Island native has a planet in the Marvel universe named in his honor.

Satriani’s second album, “Surfing with the Alien,” featured Marvel’s Silver Surfer on the cover.

The musician says that his interest in fantasy and science fiction dates from childhood.

“When I was a young kid I realized that we humans are on a planet and the planet is in outer space, so it’s not like we’re not in outer space and outer space is something far away from us. We’re actually in the middle of it,” he recalls. “So this was a profound thought in my mind and I suddenly got very relaxed with the idea of science fiction being a very forward way of imagining possible futures.”

Amid the enforced isolation of the pandemic, Satriani and producer Eric Caudieux crafted one of the most experimental album’s of the guitar maestro’s career.

They realized “that it was something we could take advantage of, because we could finally play the craziest ideas even if we couldn’t figure out how to do it right, there would be no retribution for making mistakes,” Satriani says.

“When you’re recording live in a studio you try a little bit less than crazy because you want to make sure you get through it without screwing anybody else up,” he explains. “When you’re recording at home and you’re overdubbing you can try anything and it doesn’t matter. If you make a mistake you push stop, you start again. Nothing is lost.”

Even after decades of recording and performing, Satriani values genuine feeling over technical proficiency.

“What’s important I think is the idea that you have more subjects to write about,” he says. “Because one of the things that can be disappointing is when you come up with an idea that you want to play in a certain place or in a certain style but you’ve got nothing to say. Professionally you can pull it off and you can manufacture it and try to sell it, but it’s not the same as if the music comes from inside your heart first.”

“So that emotional connection for me is the most important part,” Satriani tells Efe. EFE mrl/dr

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