Hendrix is Satriani's personal favorite and his inspiration for picking up the electric guitar in the first place. After a 40-plus-year career, Satch says Hendrix's spirit visited him again last year when he began writing his 17th solo album, Shapeshifting, which is available everywhere now.
Satriani was one of an all-star cast of players headlining the 2019 'Experience Hendrix' tour, celebrating the music on one of the 20th century's most influential artists. Revisiting that music with some close friends was just the creative exhale Satch needed to being composing again.
"After touring wth Kenny [Aronoff] and Dug Pinnick on the 'Experience Hendrix' tour last year, I was sort of rejuvenated during that whole period," he tells Q104.3's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke. "Because we were playing these beautiful Hendrix songs — they were both simple and yet so complex and so rich. Every night, we knew we could never be as good as Jimi, but the songs were like an invitation to really apply your love of music and expression."
Every time there was a break in the tour, Satch was motivated to work on new ideas. Getting so deep into Hendrix's material was freeing for a seasoned composer like Satch, reminding him that he didn't have to stick to his signature sound.
"I thought I should just let the songs change me and just keep writing in any style, so that's how we would up with a song like 'Nineteen Eighty' right next to a song like 'Carry the Blue River,' the reggae song that you mentioned," he says. "The diversity on the album of the material actually fueled the sessions."
The more out-of-the-box material spurred on Satch's collaborators and incited even more belief in the direction of the album as a whole.
"Every day [bassist] Chris Chaney and [drummer] Kenny Aronoff would come so excited because they knew we'd have a different song in a different style and they could play differently; they wouldn't be repeating themselves and I would be saying to them, 'Go for it! Go for it!'"
Watch the full conversation with Satriani in the video player above!
Watch the official music video for "Nineteen Eighty" here: