Joe Satriani: “There's got to be 100 guitar players out there who I love watching every day because they do things I could never do”

Joe Satriani
(Image credit: Future / Jen Rosenstein)

It must be difficult to watch an album you labored over for months get released into a world on lockdown. But in April 2020, Joe Satriani made the decision to put out his 18th solo album, Shapeshifting, a month into the Covid pandemic in hopes the world would be back to business as usual in a matter of months, and he could play it live for fans around the world on tour.

As those optimistic early days of the pandemic passed, Satch settled into longer-range plans. Excited by the band he had assembled – Kenny Aronoff on drums, Bryan Beller on bass and newcomer Rai Thistlethwayte on keys – he decided to record some new songs to supplement Shapeshifting before they hit the road. But, alas, plans shifted again, and instead he conceived an entirely new album, The Elephants of Mars.

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Jim Beaugez

Jim Beaugez has written about music for Rolling Stone, Smithsonian, Guitar World, Guitar Player and many other publications. He created My Life in Five Riffs, a multimedia documentary series for Guitar Player that traces contemporary artists back to their sources of inspiration, and previously spent a decade in the musical instruments industry.