Back in the early 1980s, my parents were certain that my new-found interest in heavy metal music was going to cause me to either join a satanic cult or commit suicide. No matter what I did or said, they were convinced bad things were going to happen to me if I continued down this guitar-driven path of doom. That was until a few years later when they heard me listening to Joe Satriani—the track Always With Me, Always With You in particular.
This was the first distorted guitarist my parents heard that made my attraction to guitar understandable to them. From that point on, my life at home while listening to heavy guitar filled music was much easier. I gained some freedom and my Mum purchased the Surfing With The Alien CD. So I’d say Joe Satriani and I both had a small win back then.
If you’re very young and/or not already a fan of the track Always With Me, Always With You, I’d suggest you give it a watch and a listen now. Even if you are a fan, just remember the days when Joe Satriani had some impressive long hair. Oh, didn’t we all?
I’m pretty sure every track on the Surfing With The Alien album was a potential single. Keeping in mind this is an instrumental album, that’s quite the accomplishment. Joe Satriani was showing exactly how musical and melodic the guitar is. With this album he showcased exactly what the guitar was capable of too. It’s easy to see why some of the biggest names in the business were being taught by him.
It’s his teaching that also makes me admire him so much. Not just because he taught the likes of Steve Vai or Kirk Hammett, but because over the past four decades or so, he has been teaching countless people how to get more out of their guitar. There are countless videos on the Internet of Joe teaching people guitar. That’s cool. That’s a true guitar fan.
When not teaching, he’s playing. And when he’s playing, he’s often playing with other like-minded guitarists either in a band such as Chickenfoot or through the hugely popular G3 concert series. G3 has seen Joe Satriani tour with talented guitarists such as Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Eric Johnson, Brian May and Paul Gilbert. For guitar fans, these gatherings are surely nothing but electric guitar dreams come true. It’s a combination of skill and passion for all to enjoy.
Who wouldn’t want to see something like that for hours on end?!
With over 15 albums, Joe Satriani has produced some amazing music and performed with some amazingly talented artists. There are so many tracks to showcase that prove his worth as a guitar hero and idol. For me though, I just can’t go past the brilliance that was Surfing With The Alien. That’s not suggesting in any way that material since then isn’t impressive—I’ll never produce anything as good as his worst song—but when you have something as impressive as ground-breaking album in your portfolio … Well you just recognise it.
I’ll always be a fan of the man and his ability.
This is not a top guitarists list and there is no significance in the order the guitarists are placed in the list. This is simply a collection of guitarists that have been influential to me.