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Joe Satriani

Vital Stats:
Web Site Nickname: Joe Satriani
Birthday: July 15th
Nicknames: Satch

Since his guitar skills often sound like they come from another planet, its no wonder that Joe Satriani seems the ideal person to ponder Is There Love in Space? Joining such Satriani classics as Not of This Earth and Surfing With the Alien, his latest Epic Records endeavor further explores his extra-terrestrial mastery of the instrument - albeit while working in a more comfortably grounded environment.

"People have heard my bluesy side, my metal side and my techno side," he says. "I guess this is my ROCKIN' side."

The 11 diverse cuts on Is There Love in Space? range from the pulsating, brash opener "GNAAHH," to the drop-tuned menace of "Hands in the Air" to the poignant ballad "Just Look Up." Yet all the tracks are unified by Satriani's love of old-school hard rock.

"I've taken a lot of my cues recently from live performance more than anything else," he says of solo tours and those shared with fellow virtuosos in the evolving project G3. "Standing on stage has made me feel freer to explore some places I've been before and to look for some avenues I haven't been."

One of those avenues that is rather novel to Satriani is vocal duties. Is There Love in Space? includes two compositions that feature the instrumentalist taking command of the mic.

"I usually try to find a character to sing through as a method of creating a vibe on the song," he explains.

Over the hammering riff of "Lifestyle," Satriani summons the same style he adopted when covering Neil Young during the G3 tour. While on the swamp-rocker "I Like the Rain," he dons a ZZ Top hat "like a junior Billy Gibbons."

"My fans know I'm just using the vocals as an effect to create an interesting song," he says. "Just like if I'm playing slide guitar, they know I'm not a dedicated slide player. I'm not going to make it part of my signature. What we arrive at is somewhat cathartic for someone who doesn't sing."

"I Like the Rain" also features the album's most eccentric moment, when the engine revving of a Harley Davidson becomes an integral part of the song. ("It's a little synchronicity combined with serendipity," Satriani says of the circumstances that spawned the recording.) Apparently, while waiting for a guitar tech to return to the studio with a piece of gear, the band could hear his motorcycle's rumble signaling the arrival. The crew ran some cables out the control room doors and into the street to pop the sound onto tape.

"It was perfect because it went with the attitude of the vocals," Satriani says.

Another notable guest appearance involves the musician's young son, who turns up on the moody - and downright spacy - closer "Bamboo."

"I coaxed him into lying on the floor with an electric bass and playing a couple notes with his violin bow," he remembers. "It turned out to be great. It was the first thing that we had really done together that I knew would wind up on a record, so it was exciting for me. Obviously, he couldn't care less."

Is There Love in Space? is produced by Satriani, recorded by longtime collaborator John Cuniberti and mixed by Mike Fraser. The album features the performer's core trio of Matt Bissonette on bass and Jeff Campitelli behind the drums.

With this release, the New York native now boasts 11 solo albums to his credit - and a staggering 13 Grammy nominations to go along with them.

His records have sold over 7 million copies worldwide. In fact, his sophomore effort Surfing With the Alien became the first instrumental guitar album to crack the Top 40 charts. While also scoring on sales for his latest DVD releases with Live in San Francisco hitting the gold mark and the first G3 Live in Concert DVD going platinum.

In addition to his own material, Satriani has recorded and toured with such artists as Mick Jagger, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper and even Spinal Tap. While even before his 1986 debut Not of This Earth, Satriani had become something of a cult legend as the guitar teacher to such future stars as Steve Vai, Metallica's Kirk Hammett, Counting Crows' David Bryson and jazz artist Charlie Hunter.

Satriani has also become a hometown hero in the Bay Area where he resides, which has led to his being recruited to render the national anthem before San Francisco 49ers and Giants games, as well as for across-the-bridge neighbors the Oakland A's.

It's no wonder he is listed at No. 8 in Guitar Player Magazine's "Top 50 Greatest Guitarists Poll."

"My ultimate goal is to continue playing forever," Satriani says. "I hope to never be tired of it and to always be searching to express the life I lead by taking those experiences and turning them into music. Hopefully, the guitar will be my ongoing instrument of expression."

©2004 Sony/Epic Records


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