If you've ever been in a band, you know that getting two guitarists to play nice with one another isn't always a walk in the park.
But to get three on the same page? Did you see the History of the Eagles documentary?
So how the heck does Joe Satriani's G3 tour seem to work so well year after year?
While Satch tells Q104.3's "Out of the Box" with Jonathan Clarke that there is a competitive side of getting three of the world's best guitarists on one tour with the express purpose of showing off, he describes backstage as less of a locker room and more of a mutual admiration society.
This year's tour features Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen and Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci on the bill alongside Satriani. The greater the ability, the higher the stakes and the more interesting it makes the whole thing, according to Satch.
"We go out there, I think, with the express desire to see how we can push each other to some new place," Satriani says. "We're looking at each other, we're elbow to elbow and after the show we talk about it for a half hour."
G3 is as much of a learning experience for the participants as it is a revelry in excess, he says.
"That's actually what makes it really a lot of fun," Petrucci adds. "There's this traveling community of musicians who just are having such a great time, love sharing stories, musical experiences...I really look forward to that aspect of G3."
The 2018 G3 tour is Petrucci's eighth time joining the guitar extravaganza.
Satriani describes the run of show, each guitarist performing a set with his own band, as a means of exorcising "those gunslinger demons" before the big jam at the end of the night.
"And then by the time we get onstage," Satriani says, "everyone's so relaxed and we're ready to do something new that we didn't do last night or the week before."
While Satriani's solo project and Petrucci's band, Dream Theater, lend themselves to the occasional foray into self-indulgence, Collen doesn't tend to have the same luxury within the confines of Def Leppard. When not recording or touring with Def Leppard, he does have a new side project called Delta Deep, with Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo.
For Collen though, the G3 context is new territory and a new opportunity to push himself.
"It's great, but I think the main thing is I get inspiration off of these two," Collen says. "It's crazy every night. We're actually creating music on the fly...it's unbelievable. The magic of being a musician is that discovery."
Check out the full interview with Satch, Phil Collen and John Petrucci above!
Get all the G3 tour dates here.
Keep up with Phil Collen here.
Check out the music video (audio only) for Joe Satriani's song "Energy" from his new album, What Happens Next: