Joe Satriani: Prime Cuts
FLYING IN A BLUE DREAM Flying In A Blue Dream (Relativity, 1989)
That’s a song about these flying dreams I had when I was a child and how wonderful they were and how it used to get to the point where I knew I could get them to happen. I’d lay down in bed and just take off around my room, go out the window and fly around the neighborhood. It was a great thing and I always seemed to be able to do it.
The humorous part of that song was that when we were putting the basic tracks down, before the melody was recorded, I was going to put down some chunking rhythm guitar tracks. We’re at the top of the song, just about to start, and I turned my guitar volume down. Suddenly, a radio or TV broadcast comes through the speakers, and we all start laughing and thinking, “We’ve got to get out of this studio, there’s radio frequencies everywhere.” We start listening to it, and it was this little kid talking. It was one of those moments. I looked at [engineer and co-producer] John Cuniberti and he looked at me, and we both knew it had to be recorded. He pushed “record,” and the kid says: “And afterward, sometimes they like each other and sometimes they don’t.” All of a sudden the rhythm guitars came in. We were blown away, because it was totally by accident.
Cuniberti knew the song was about childhood. At the time, of course, we didn't know what the kid was saying—we still don't know what he’s talking about. He’s trying to explain something humorous. It sounds like an old Art Linkletter radio show or something. My only negative story about the song is that the solo was recorded when I was having a really rough time continuing the record because my father was quite ill. It got to the point where I could only play things once or twice, and then I couldn't hear them again until the end of the record. I just couldn't deal with it.
That solo was done one night after John took me out and made me drink a lot of wine and eat a big dinner because he knew I was having a hard time getting through the session. We came back, recorded that solo, and he refused to touch it. He said it was a work of art, because I had played so unusually for that moment in time. I didn’t listen to it again until after my father passed away. When I heard it back I knew it had artistic integrity, but I felt bad that there were some sharp notes and rushed phrases. If I had been in a normal state of mind, I would have corrected them. To this day, whenever I hear that solo, I think, “A bit rough around the edges,” but I also respect its emotional impact.
SUMMER SONG The Extremist (Relativity, 1992)
I came up with the title before the actual song. And it’s probably one of the most totally pointed-in-one-direction songs I've ever written. I remember trying to focus on that one feeling you get when you’re getting out of school or out of work, when your summer vacation is coming and the flowers are blooming. You know, everything is happening; your hormones are raging.
That’s what the song is about. On a technical level, when John and I were recording it, I told him, “Look, I want one guitar to seemingly play the entire song.” That was because I wanted to get away from Surfing and Flying In A Blue Dream, where there were layers of different guitars with different tones that were coming in and trading off. I wanted the image of the song to be one guy with a guitar, playing a seamless barrage of single-note phrases, from beginning to end.
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