The newcomer in Deep Purple speaks

"MetalStar", Germany, #6/7, July 1994

      Business hours are over, the phone rings: "Hi, it's Joe Satriani speakin'!" Of course we are interested in how the grandmaster of the fast-fingerguitar gets along with the grand-heroes of hardrock. It's well-known that he has to replace no one less than Ritchie Blackmore on the ongoing worldtour, after Ritchie (again) left the band.

      [MS] Was it your idea to join DP?

[JS] No, Bruce Payne and Mr. Udo (Japanese promoter) had this idea and phoned my management.

      [MS] Did you accept immediately?

[JS] I asked for a few days to think about it. I thought this must be a rather dramatic change for the audience. But after one hour thinking I phoned back and accepted. I was afraid they would have changed their mind meanwhile. But the band was still interested, strange enough. And then I met them, very nice and friendly, with a huge musical background and interested in new music, new stiles, new sounds!

      [MS] Weren't you afraid that your solo-career would be negatively affected?

[JS] In fact, the offer came right in time. I had finished some studio work and hadn't been on tour for quite a long time. And in the end DP are part of my "roots". Already when being a teenager I listened to their music.

      [MS] This leads to the question for your musical idols, or let's say, "guitar heroes", when you started playing ...

[JS] Jimi Hendrix was my number one! And he is still! Of course I listened also to Jeff beck, Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter - and also Ritchie Blackmore!

      [MS] Did he tell you how he likes his replacement?

[JS] No, I never talked to him. But Roger (Glover) talked to him and Ritchie told Roger that he's glad about this choice, because I introduce something new. He would have been definitely annoyed, if there would have appeared a guitarist who tries to play like he does or to immitate him.

      [MS] Where the concerts fun so far?

[JS] Indeed! All of them without exceptions! The band gives me all space to play how I play and that's a great experience!

      [MS] How would you characterize the band's personalities?

[JS] Ouhoho! Well, I think definitely, that Ian Gillan is the ultimate leadsinger personality. Including "party all the time" and everything! A great man, capable to spread gread mood. Moreover, he has this strange eclecticism (from several systems lent, "own" philosophy). Jon Lord is an exceptional organist, the exceptional musical head. "Professor" Jon has also a wide range of humor, is very funny and always positive! Pacey on drums is a treasure of rhythm and style. In every soundcheck he introduces me to new songs and shuffles. Very inspiring!

      [MS] The silent "leader" is still missing ...

[JS] Yeah, Roger was the one who called me at first. He spends all his energy and ideas in the band, is a great organizer with best mood and much of humor. They all made it very easy for me to feel like home among friends.

      [MS] How long do you intend to remain in the band?

[JS] Preferably for ever! On the other hand we have a very strange contract situation at the moment, concerning the recording of new albums. Very complicating! But if it's true what Roger says, then the band wishes to keep me as a permanent member. This would my biggest wish, too! That' what I like! I was always a kind of an anarchist, especially when it came to my image. We prefer to say "forget the past - let's discover new things as a band!"

      [MS] What do you think about Steve Vai, for whom you were the teacher?

[JS] Oh - that's a long time ago. He was (for three years) my "student", when he was a teenager. He has a great sense for "timing" and "harmony". Very interesting!

      [MS] Did you listen to his albums?

[JS] Of course! All of them! As I hear he will be playing with Ozzy. This will be very exciting.

      [MS] Finally: What do the DP fans have to expect now in Europe?

[JS] Ian Gillan wants lots of the songs to be played, which were never played live. There will be a new show with new songs like "Maybe I'm a Leo", "When a blind man cries". And with an extensive Laser-show. DP always had special contacts to Germany - I'm especially looking forward to participating now. It will be "enigmatic" (mysterious).