Joe Satriani is bringing his prodigious guitar shredding to Providence this Thursday, March 31, where he will play at The Vets Auditorium at 7:30pm.
Since picking up the guitar at 14, Satriani has sold more than 10 million albums, been nominated for 15 Grammys, gone on tour as Mick Jagger’s lead guitarist and been a teacher to many other famous guitarists, including Steve Vai. “We are celebrating 30 years of making instrumental rock guitar music,” Satriani says about the tour in an interview with Motif. He’s got a lot to celebrate.
The tour bringing him to the Ocean State is called “Surfing for Shockwave,” for his latest album, Shockwave Supernova. The album is based around Satriani’s idea of a performative alter-ego character, “Shockwave Supernova,” who is more outlandish than he is. “I’m basically a shy person with a job that requires a very outgoing personality, so, getting out on stage, meeting fans and mixing with industry folks requires extra effort,” he says. The album is also a return to the sci-fi/space motif that Satriani has circled around since his first album Surfing with the Alien. “I didn’t start out wanting to be a space cadet, but maybe that’s what I am.”
Satriani has a reputation not only for technical prowess, but for playing the guitar in ways that others never thought of or dared to try. He infuses intense fast-paced solos with legato licks, and layers elements of jazz and blues guitar onto hard rock songs. “I always stay focused on creating strong melodies first, then let the technical innovation follow if needed,“ he says. “I love the recording process, too. It’s an art form all its own. I use the studio like an instrument. …I’m always looking for ways to make new and interesting recordings.”
Even after more than 30 years, writing music still has its challenges. “It’s always hard work, emotionally and physically. Writing from the heart takes its toll and can leave you feeling a bit wounded now and then.” But Satriani says that Shockwave Supernova was a thrilling and cathartic roller coaster. Providence fans can expect to experience it for themselves, alongside a mix of older material as well.