The one thing your favorite guitarists have in common

Joe Satriani playing guitar during a concert.
Photo by Hreinn Gudlaugsson, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Growing up Joe

Joe was born on Long Island, NY, in 1956 and is of Italian heritage. In fact, his grandparents — both sets — were born in Italy.

Learning and teaching

“Satch” spent four years learning the guitar before seeking out Billy Bauer and Lennie Tristano, two jazz musicians, to really dig into the study of music. Tristano was an especially demanding teacher, something Joe took note of an incorporated into his own teaching style.

Stardom and surfing with aliens

Joe released his first album in 1986, but it was his second album in 1987, Surfing with the Alien, that rocketed him to previously unknown success. It was the highest instrumental album on the charts in many years, and it got him constant radio airplay.

G3 and Chickenfoot

Satch’s career and influence continued to grow in 1996 when he founded G3, a regular series of concerts — that are still going to this day — featuring some of the top rock guitarists on a single stage. Many rock stars have joined Joe on stage, including Vai, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and John Petrucci.

Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and John Petrucci at a G3 concert
Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and John Petrucci in G3 (Photo by Mandy Hall, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Satch facts

If you are a die-hard Joe Satriani fan, you probably were already familiar with most of his story. In fact, you may not have even learned anything new about Satch to this point.

  • Joe played guitar on Spinal Tap’s 1992 album, Break Like the Wind
  • Satriani has been in several movies, including For Your Consideration and Moneyball
  • Joe’s favorite albums of all time include So (Peter Gabriel), Electric Ladyland (Jimi Hendrix), Exile on Main Street (Rolling Stones), and Please Please Me (Beatles)
  • Joe wrote an autobiography in 2014 called Strange Beautiful Music
  • Satch is an avid painter who finished over 100 paintings during the COVID lockdowns

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Jon Clemence

Jon Clemence

Medium needs more guitar-related content. I. Am. That. Hero!