Satch still surfing

• Guitar maestro Joe Satriani. Photos supplied

ONE of the world’s most successful instrumental rock guitarists, Joe Satriani, will play the Astor Theatre in November.

“Satch” is a technical virtuoso who can pretty much play anything on an axe, but throughout his long career he’s never lost sight of melody, and his music appeals to both guitar nerds and the mainstream.

Readers of a certain vintage may even remember his top 40 hits Surfing with the Alien and Satch Boogie in the 1980s.

After 16 albums and 15 Grammy nominations you’d think Satriani would never doubt his creative ability, but like most artists he went through a period when he lost his muse.

Ironically his 25-year-old son, ZZ , an aspiring filmmaker, helped Satch get over his creative flunk by documenting his struggles in the doco Last Creative Crisis.

“It was a really interesting look at what goes on in my creative mind and it involved a lot of reflection,” Satriani says.

“And, because I was interviewed by him [ZZ], I had to be honest.

“Every cycle there’s always a moment when you think, ‘What am I doing?’

“I’m normal in that way…every now and then you need to step away from it.”

For his latest album, What Happens Next, Satch teamed up with Red Hot Chilli Peppers drummer Chad Smith, Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes and producer Mike Fraser to create a lively rock’n’roll-style record.

Several music critics have described it as his most accessible, straightforward rock album yet; but Satriani disagrees.

“That’s really not true. It depends on who you talk to. Ultimately it is the fans who decides what is most accessible.”

Currently enjoying a break from touring at his home in San Francisco, Satriani says his touring schedule is less hectic these days.

“We leave a lot of space open these days for rest and other projects,” the 62-year-old told the Voice.

“When we released Flying in a Blue Dream in 1989, we toured for 11 months straight.”

Satriani will play the Astor Theatre on November 24 as part of his What Happens Next world tour. For ticket details go to



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