Joe Satriani’s G3 tour with Phil Collen & John Petrucci starts today in Seattle! The guys were featured in an awesome USA Today story here.
Satriani played in an early 1980s band called the Squares that sounded a bit like Green Day or Blink 182 but a decade before those bands became popular.
“We were kind of like Van Halen meets the Everly Brothers, which is probably why we weren’t that successful,” Satriani said.
Satriani said he lucked out when he began his solo career in that no one remembered he was “Joe from the Squares” by the time he released Surfing With the Alien in 1987.
The native New Yorker also spent a large part of the 1980s as a guitar teacher to supplement his then-meager musical earnings in his adopted home of San Francisco. While many of his pupils, including Steve Vai, formerly of David Lee Roth’s band and Whitesnake, and Kirk Hammett of Metallica, have gone on to play in front of arena-filled crowds, Satriani settles for more modest venues, usually with 5,000 or fewer seats.
“If you’re just playing instrumental, it cuts off a big chunk of your audience,” Collen said. “But the key to it, is it’s about the songs. I’ve played in front of four people. With Def Leppard, we played in Rio in the mid-90s, and no one showed up. This is Def Leppard, and we had like 100 people there. And we went on like we were playing in a packed, Wembley Stadium. There’s no shame in playing if you’re doing your own thing.”
Satriani has created a niche audience for himself, and it’s one Z.Z. Satriani documented on film after, at first, professionally separating himself from his father.
“I really wanted to do my own thing instead of being in the shadow,” said Z.Z. Satriani, who is an avid skateboarder and filmmaker. “So I was doing my own thing for a while, and he approached me with this idea. I didn’t feel like I needed to make my own name anymore. I was like, ‘Yes, let’s work together.’”
Follow Phil on Instagram here for more updates from the road!