Skip to main content

100 Greatest Guitar Solos: No. 30 "Surfing with the Alien" (Joe Satriani)

“We didn’t know where that song was going until one afternoon when we went to record the melody and I plugged a wah-wah pedal and a Tubedriver into my 100-watt Marshall,” says Joe Satriani.

“Then, just on a whim, I said, ‘Let’s try this harmonizer.’ It was one of those Eventide 949s. The sound that came out of the speakers blew us away so much that we recorded the melody and the solo in about a half-hour and sat back and went, ‘Whoa! This is a song, man!’

“And then, of course, the Eventide broke down and we couldn’t fix it. We couldn’t do anything. We lost our tone. When we finally got it working again, we weren’t able to recreate the original effect. It just sounded different. So rather than screw up a wonderful-sounding performance that may have had a couple of glitches, we decided to just leave it, because it was just swinging.

That wasn’t the title track of the album for quite a while. It was going to be called The Lord of Karma. It wasn’t until we finished that track and added the jet noises that we realized that ‘Surfing’ was the song that summed up the feeling of the whole album.

“The whole thing with the Silver Surfer was purely by accident. It came about because the product manager at the record label, Jim Kozlowski, used to be called the Silver Surfer when he was a DJ in Boston. When I delivered the album, he said, “This is a great title. We should put the Silver Surfer on the cover.” I had no idea what he was talking about. I literally did not know anything about the comic book character.”

Next: 29) "For the Love of God"