No go-slow for legendary Joe

The Lounge Kittens are Zan Lawther, Timia Gwendoline and Jenny Deacon. Picture by Paul Harries.

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Having already released 14 albums, legendary guitarist Joe Satriani is showing no signs of slowing down.

The New Yorker is heading over to play at Portsmouth Guildhall next Sunday (June 16) and is excited as ever to be playing in front of a crowd.

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani

He says: ‘Playing the whole album live is very exciting. I like to keep busy and stay focused on the shows, and I am still figuring out a way to play each song better.’

That may come as a surprise to some fans who regard Satriani – or Satch as he is also known – as one of the best guitar players in the world.

He’s sold more than 10 million albums and raked in 15 Grammy nominations.

Joe released his latest album, Unstoppable Momentum, last month, dovetailing with his UK tour, which starts tomorrow.

For two decades, he has travelled around the globe, playing to sold-out crowds as a headline act and as a founder of the all-star G3 guitar extravaganza.

After returning from the South American G3 Tour in October last year, he got down to writing music for the new album over the next two months.

The record features an array of talented players, including Vinnie Colauita (Sting, Jeff Beck) on drums, Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction) on bass and Mike Keneally (Dethlok) on keyboards.

Mike will also be part of the live tour, along with Marco Minnemann (drums) and Bryan Beller (bass).

Joe’s extraordinary association with some of the best musicians around started early on in his career.

After hearing about the death of Jimi Hendrix, which inspired him to pick up a guitar, he started to teach guitar soon after. His students included talented and well-known musicians such as Steve Vai, Larry LaLonde, Rick Hunolt, Kirk Hammett and Andy Timmons.

‘I started teaching guitar when I was really young to make money so I could continue playing,’ he remembers. ‘You’ve got to really love doing it. As I got into my 20s I liked the idea of giving everything to the younger players.’

However, as Joe confirms, there can be obstacles working with so many talented people.

‘In the studio you have to work pretty hard and sometimes there are changes of personnel.

‘You have to get people of out of their comfort zone.

‘It is difficult breaking working patterns with friends, but sometimes it’s necessary.

‘I have had to do that so many times before, throughout my career.’

He adds: ‘I think being creative is a very difficult thing. It’s not like a piece of machinery or something mechanical you can just practice with, it can be completely elusive and you don’t know how you are going to work it out.

‘Writing music for me is still cathartic, maybe even more so now because I am writing about life experiences. You get more reflective as you get older, there are more serious things to write about.’

Tickets to the Guildhall show cost £33 to £36 from (023) 9282 4355 or

portsmouthguildhall.org.uk

For more information about Joe Satriani go to www.satriani.com

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