“There’s this 12-year-old kid, a stringless guitar in one hand, a pack of strings in the other”: Joe Satriani recalls the first time he met Steve Vai

Satch looks back on one of the rare occasions Vai did not immediately impress.

Joe Satriani and Steve Vai

Image: Sergione Infuso – Corbis / Getty Images

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Joe Satriani has opened up about the first time he met Steve Vai and how he eventually said yes to mentoring the aspiring guitarist.

Speaking in a new interview with Guitar World, Satriani recalls the exact moment a young Vai came knocking on his front door asking for guitar lessons.

“It was your typical Long Island afternoon,” says the guitarist. “I open the door and there’s this 12-year-old kid, a stringless guitar in one hand, a pack of strings in the other.”

As Satch explains, “I really didn’t know him, although I knew and feared his older siblings. When you’d see them walking down the hallway at Carle Place High School, you just moved to the side. Impressive family, you know?”

He explains that Vai had gotten his contact from a friend/student of his named John Sergio, and that he probably wouldn’t have said yes to the boy had he not name-dropped the guy.

“So Steve shows up wanting to play guitar, and I think he knew about me because I had been teaching another local kid, John Sergio, who was Steve’s friend,” Satriani says. “John was a good guy and a really good student, and I probably never would’ve let Steve in the door had he not said John’s name. But I thought, ‘Okay, let’s see what this is all about…’”

And the rest, as they say, is certainly history.

In other news, Vai is set to embark on a tour as King Crimson tribute supergroup, Beat, featuring former members Adrian Belew and Tony Levin, as well as Danny Carey of Tool.

With the blessings of King Crimson virtuoso Robert Fripp himself, the group will hit the road for an extensive trek across North America this September, performing tracks from three KC albums: Discipline, Beat, and Three of a Perfect Pair.

RF: This is the project that Adrian Belew called me about last Autumn, a project which I support and fully encourage,…

Posted by Robert Fripp on Saturday, March 16, 2024

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