Joe Satriani Discusses His Most Heartfelt Album Yet
GW I know you said you can’t write to please your audience, but with an album like Black Swans, which is a heavier and more demanding record than a lot of fans might expect from you—
SATRIANI [smiles] That’s the idea.
GW I know. But still, isn’t there a part of you—even a tiny part—that is concerned how it will do commercially?
SATRIANI That’s the last thing I think about. Believe me, I love my fans and appreciate them—I have the greatest fans in the world. But an artist has a duty to please himself first. Art is expression, as lofty as that sounds. If you’re not expressing what it is you’re feeling, if you’re not pushing yourself to do something that matters, then you have to ask yourself why you’re even doing it. And sometimes you have to take your lumps. Fans love some records; others they don’t love so much. I know how important this record is to me, so hopefully it’ll resonate with other people. That’s really all I can do: create, put it out there, then create some more.
GW One last question: you’ve explained what “blacks swans” mean in regard to the album title, but what the hell is a “wormhole wizard”?
SATRIANI [laughs] Oh, that! Well, it’s nothing as high-minded. Or maybe it is. Basically, I’m fascinated by the idea of wormholes. Think about the whole idea of crawling from one universe to another through a wormhole. We might never be able to do so in this lifetime, but maybe one day people will. I wish I could now. Getting from gig to gig would be a breeze!
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