Joe Satriani: Hey Joe
GUITAR WORLD Are you having a hard time coming down from your year of Chickenfoot?
JOE SATRIANI Yes, I am. Funnily enough, I was just talking to Sammy about this very thing. We both had some solo gigs to do after shutting down Chickenfoot last December, and we compared notes about how strange it was to go back to being the artists we once were. We found that we’d experienced the exact same phenomenon: we picked up our guitars and started playing songs that we’d performed for 20 years or more, and everything was just…blank. [laughs]
For example, in my case, I was getting ready to do a little show with Jeff Campitelli and Stu Hamm, and I actually had to go back and listen to “Flying in a Blue Dream.” It was like, Now, how did I used to play that? [laughs] Little things that I thought I knew like the back of my hand I had to reacquaint myself with. Totally crazy, right?
Also, there was a physical element of playing the guitar with Chickenfoot—using heavier strings tuned down, and then going back to my normal routine of using .009s tuned to standard pitch—that was throwing me off a little bit. It’s going to take a while to come down from such an incredible year, but I’m so grateful for all that’s happened.
Sammy and I realized how much space in our brains Chickenfoot took because it was so fresh and new. Suddenly, we were this band and we operated in a different way than what we were used to. Going back to playing solo is going to take a period of readjustment.
GW We’d spoken about this previously, how you had wanted for so long to be in a vocal-oriented rock band. And now its happened, and it was a success.
SATRIANI It’s totally mind blowing. And I think the real important thing is that Sammy, Mike, Chad and myself formed a real connection. We didn’t break up after the record was made; we didn’t break up after the first tour and the second tour. That we were all able to look one another in the eye at the end of the run and say, “Chickenfoot is a band and we have more to do,” that’s the greatest thing to come out of all of this.
GW With Chad back in the Chili Peppers for what might be a year or two, are you going to try to work around his schedule? Are you going to write and demo songs without him?
SATRIANI Actually, we planned ahead by writing while on tour. Before we went onstage, we’d play in the dressing room and record what we were doing. So there’s a batch of ideas and half songs already floating around that could be Chickenfoot songs, and we made a plan to get together this year, whenever possible, to flesh them out more. Even with Chad in the Chili Peppers, I think we’ll be able to do it. He won’t be recording all the time—the Chili Peppers take breaks, sometimes a few of them, during all their records. Chad will be available. Like we did before, with everybody’s crazy schedules, we’ll be able to get Chickenfoot songs in the can. To tell you the truth, I’m welcoming what might be extra time. The first record was a little rushed. We might be able to give the second record a little more love.
GW Josh Klinghoffer has recently taken the place of John Frusciante in the Chili Peppers. So tell me, why didn’t you get the gig?
SATRIANI [laughs] Yeah, why not, right? Hey, it’s not like I didn’t drop hints: I played some Chili Peppers songs backstage, hoping Chad would pick up on it. Actually, I was pretty shocked to hear the news that John Frusciante had quit again. I thought [the group’s 2006 album] Stadium Arcadium was a terrific record that really showed off his playing. It’s was the most “John Frusciante” of all their albums. Chad never mentioned that John was leaving, at least not to me. It’s a pretty big deal for the band. We’ll see what happens.
GW Last year was a pretty tumultuous one for you, too, with the Coldplay lawsuit. [Satriani sued Coldplay in December 2008 alleging their song “Viva La Vida” infringed the copyright to his 2004 track “If I Could Fly.” The case was dismissed in September 2009. The details remain sealed, and Coldplay were not required to admit any wrongdoing.] Without going into details, any thoughts as to its resolution?
SATRIANI I can only say, “No comment.”
GW But still, you must be relieved that it’s over.
SATRIANI Oh, sure. No musician likes to go through a lawsuit. Musicians want to spend their time making music, not talking to lawyers and dealing with all that stuff. I don’t think anybody enjoys that kind of thing.
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