Joe Satriani Has ‘Harder Time’ Playing Guitar Than Steve Vai
Joe Satriani said he found it harder to play guitar than his friends Steve Vai and Dream Theater’s John Petrucci, and admitted that he only had limited manual dexterity beyond his virtuoso musicianship.
“I’m always worried that I won’t be able to play,” he told TeamRock in a new interview, refuting the suggestion that he ever woke up and thought of himself as “arguably the best guitarist in the world.” “For the first couple of moments, I’ll flex my fingers and go, ‘Okay, how do they feel today?’ I have a harder time playing guitar than some of my best friends. If I’m hanging around with Steve Vai or John Petrucci, they don’t have the tightness issues that I seem to always be plagued with. That might just be my physiology, that I’m so tightly wound.”
Satriani said he was “getting better” at typing too. “I use all my fingers," he noted. "But thank God for spellcheck.” He pointed out that many of these problems just come from getting older. “I’m much better now at harnessing my physical attributes," he said. "But on the other side, there’s gonna be stuff that breaks down. I kinda noticed that in my late twenties, just as my career started. I remember thinking it really would have helped if I was famous at 19, when my body was firing on all cylinders. Instead, success came when I was turning 30. And I thought, ‘Great, now I’m becoming old. My hair is falling out. This is bad timing.’ But those things are silly. If people connect with your music, they get used to how strange you look or the way you need to operate to make music.”
Satriani, who's known for wearing sunglasses, recalled that the fashion choice started as a joke. “I surprised my band one tour by showing up with my head shaved,” he said. “And they were so horrified that they said I had to wear a hat and glasses or they wouldn’t stop laughing onstage. Then I realized that having that curtain to hide behind allowed me to be more creative and feel less self-conscious. My buddy Sammy Hagar feels the same way. He says he can’t go onstage without sunglasses because he’s so embarrassed to be a singer. He’s the last person you’d expect to think that way.”
Satriani recently released his latest solo album, What Happens Next, featuring Glenn Hughes and Chad Smith.