joe satriani - press release

For Joe Satriani, the ultimate special effect may well be to play lead guitar. After six albums that made Satriani the ultimate guitar hero of the decade and one of the best selling instrumentalists in the business, that is exactly what he has done with almost the entirety of his seventh Relativity release, Joe Satriani.

The album represents a creative breakthrough for the San Francisco-based guitarist, who relinquished control of the sessions to an outside producer. But Glyn Johns is not just any producer.

As an engineer, Johns helped the Rolling Stones make their first demos as well as cut high water marks like "Honky Tonk Woman" and "Jumpin" Jack Flash." He spun the dials while the Beatles dissolved during the Let It Be sessions. When Led Zeppelin first went into the studio, Johns ran the board. He watched virtually the entire career of the Who from the other side of the control booth glass. As a producer, he has made rock history with the Eagles, Steve Miller, Eric Clapton, the Clash and John Hiatt.

"I wanted to try and do something different," said Johns, "and record him in a way he hadn't been before, something that touched upon the emotional side of his playing. Equally important, the manner in which we made the record was not technically based, I simply put him in a room with other musicians and had him play lead guitar on the tracks."

Already the results have been hailed as a new Satriani. "It definitely sounds like a new me," said Satriani. "Nothing enhances presence like the absence of effects. Equipment can boost certain things, give you some extra mileage in the sustain department. But ultimately, you have to go on the song first and get the feeling out of your body and into your amp. Everything else is decoration."

The surprisingly bluesy album was recorded quickly, with basic tracks completed in two weeks. Johns surrounded Satriani with a group of heavyweights: drummer Manu Katche from the Peter Gabriel band, bassist Nathan East from the Eric Clapton's group and Andy Fairweather Low, also from the Clapton band, who served as resident rhythm guitarist, freeing Satriani to concentrate on lead guitar. Johns also convinced Satriani to abandon his labyrinth of pedals and outboard effects and simply attach his cord straight into the amplifier for much of the album. This configuration allowed Satriani to concentrate on feel, groove and soul.

"I needed to be shown what it was I sounded like," said Satriani. "Every song I did under Glyn's supervision was a learning experience."

Other musicians contributing to the project included drummer Gregg and bassist Matt Bissonette, Satriani's colleagues from The Extremist on two tracks, and drummer Jeff Campitelli, his longtime associate, on a track co-produced by customary collaborator, John Cuniberti. Also featured are Eric Valentine and Ethan Johns, the son of the album's producer. Glyn Johns mixed the entire album.

Satriani, who grew up in Long Island and lived briefly in Japan before settling in San Francisco, took a three-week break in 1983 from the power-pop trio, the Squares, to record some of the music he heard inside his own head. He sold the resulting extended play 45 out of the trunk of his car and although it only made a minor local splash, it came to the attention of Relativity Recordings.

Most of these tracks were finally re-released on his 1993 two - CD set, Time Machine, a mix of rarities, oddities and various outtakes with three new recordings and a separate second disc of live recordings. The set served as a kind of summing up of Satriani's career to date and set the stage for this new undertaking with producer Johns.

Satriani, a technical wizard on the instrument, supported himself before his solo recordings struck paydirt as a guitar teacher. Some of the students included Steve Vai, Kirk Hammett of Metallica and Larry LaLonde of Primus. He followed his homegrown EP with the 1986 outing, Not Of This Earth. By mid-1987 he completed his ground-breaking Surfing With The Alien, a diverse and adventuresome collection that announced the arrival of a new talent, stormed the best-selling charts and ultimately sold more than two million copies, making it one of the most successful instrumental albums of all time.

He toured the world as lead guitar for Mick Jagger, before following up with another million-selling solo album. Flying In A Blue Dream. His 1992 album, The Extremist, was co-produced by Andy Johns, brother of Glyn Johns and a veteran producer/engineer himself.

After selling more than six million albums and earning six Grammy nominations, Joe Satriani's unique signature style can be heard everywhere and he has effectively redefined the role of the electric guitar in pop music. Joe Satriani is just the latest chapter in his ongoing quest, a telling revelation of gifts only glimpsed before.