Joe Satriani on his guitar heroes: Hendrix is “my number one”, Pete Townshend could “lift the spirits of the audience like nobody”

Satch also praised Jimmy Page for being “so courageous”.

Joe Satriani Guitar

Image: Gonzales Photo / Alamy

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Even your guitar hero has a guitar hero he looks up to, as is the case of Joe Satriani, who recently spoke about his love for Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend and the reasons why they inspire him even till this day.

Speaking in an interview with Tone Talk, Satriani was asked to name some of his very own greatest guitar heroes, to which he replied without hesitation: “Hendrix is my number one.”

“I still can’t believe he did what he did, It’s just freaky,” said Satch. “Every once in a while I’ll get the courage to listen to Machine Gun, Live at the Fillmore again. Somebody could do that live, you know, it’s absolutely amazing. And that was 1969, you know. Just crazy when you think of the tools that he had, It’s just amazing.”

The guitarist also touched on some of his musical influences growing up, naming some of the other icons who revolutionised the guitar landscape in the early days of rock.

“I grew up listening to the music my older siblings were listening to in the late ’50s, early ’60s. I didn’t start playing till 1970. I was a drummer when I was a little bit younger, when I was nine years old. So, I loved the Beatles and The Stones and everything from ‘66 on really started to build that foundation of what I thought felt really great. Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend…”

Recounting the time he spoke to Townshend’s producer Glyn Johns about his time with the man, Satriani said: “I worked with Glyn Johns, and I remember I would grill Glyn about working with Pete, and so many times he shocked me, telling me that [on] some song I asked him about – Pete had played acoustic guitar and did the vocals, live, for the album. I’d be like, ‘What!’”

Satriani went on to explain how The Who guitarist’s ability to ‘sell’ music live greatly impressed him.

“A lot of people forget that performing for the audience and the tape machine in the studio is an art form unto itself. It’s a real specific set of talents, very different from just technical talents or being able to play difficult passages. It’s different than composing, remembering your steps, where your lighting cue is, and all that kind of stuff.”

“But Pete was out of control. I mean, he just could really sell music and lift the spirits of the audience like nobody,” Satch concluded.

Check out the full interview below.


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