Joe Satriani Says That People Misinterpreted His Famous Piece: ’People Thought It Was a Romantic Song’

Guitar legend Joe Satriani named one of his most popular tunes that people misunderstood.

This is not a new thing, especially for an artist who does instrumental music. However, Joe doesn’t seem to mind as he revealed that he has no intent to force people to interpret his art in any specific way.

The topic came up during Satriani’s recent chat with Ultimate Guitar as a part of the Rapidfire interview series. This came up when he was asked whether there was ever a song that he was “hesitant to release.” Satch replied:

“If you were a manager or an A&R person, you’d say, ‘Hey, what’s that song doing on the album? [Laughs] That’s something you shouldn’t enjoy on your own.’ Once you release it, you share it,” Satch explained. “You could argue that you don’t own it anymore, emotionally or artistically.”

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And, as an example of a song that he “doesn’t own anymore” in this sense is “Cryin'” from his 1992 album “The Extremist.” The piece is widely accepted as some sort of a love song. However, Joe reveals that this is not the case.

“A song like ‘Cryin” was written about grieving for my father’s death,” the guitar legend explained. “But it turned out that people thought it was a romantic song, and they used it that way.”

Despite this, Satriani doesn’t really feel like running around and telling people how to feel about his music. “I can’t stop people from doing that,” he explained. “I wouldn’t want to.”

For Joe, every new piece of music that he’s working on is the best one. This is the approach he has accepted, and he cannot really point out that one song he’s the proudest of.

“I always think the next piece of music is going to be the most important one,” he said. “I like all of them. I feel sorry for all of them that I couldn’t make them better, couldn’t express the reasons of why I wrote them better.”

As of this writing, Joe Satriani is starting off on his first tour dates of 2024. The first on the menu is regrouped original G3 lineup, featuring Steve Vai and Eric Johnson. The schedule is packed all the way until February 10. After that, Satch goes on the road with Steve Vai with a long run going from March 22 all the way to May 12.

And once that’s done, Satch will be doing the long-awaited tour featuring a Van Halen-heavy set. Joined by Sammy Hagar, Jason Bonham, and Michael Anthony, this tour will go from July 13 to August 31, and we can’t wait to hear it.

However, with three major different tours in one year comes a set of issues. As Joe explained in a recent interview, he’ll be having some trouble with guitars, namely string gauges and different tunings.

“The equipment thing is really challenging for me,” he said. “Because I play 10s at E-flat. The G3 jam is going to be [in E standard tuning]. So I’ll probably have nine and a half. So nines on some 440 [A=440Hz, E standard tuning] guitars.”

“The Hagar tour is D standard tuning. And I’m still trying to figure out what gauge to play. For those radio shows, I did a set of 11s. It was a big mistake.”

“I mean, it helped with the tuning. But getting around the guitar was almost impossible. I didn’t realize it — I was halfway through the show. I’ll probably try 10-and-a-half, 10s or something.”

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“But having those three or four guitars, setups, and going through the day is just driving me insane. I wish it was just one guitar with one set of strings and one tuning.”

“I never thought it would bother me so much. It doesn’t in the studio, but when you’re performing live, having that little bit of the rug pulled out from underneath you is disconcerting. Especially with vibrato and intonation. It’s really odd.”

During that same interview, Joe also discussed how scale lengths can also impact this same issue. But as he explains, the usual scale lengths may be a bit too short for some low tunings that people love to use.

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“The scale length is what does it in,” he said. “Once you get past, maybe C sharp, the regular Fender scale length [25.5 inches] still just isn’t long enough. The harmonics are different.”

“The harmonics of each string don’t support each other as well. Like 9s at 440, it’s just kind of beautiful-sounding. Almost every chord works. And you turn more sharp, you go higher, it just gets better and better.”

“If you play a song with a capo at the fifth fret, and you go, ‘Oh my god, this guitar sounds amazing. It’s just all sparkly.'”

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“And so when you go the opposite way, it may match your mood, but it’s actually kind of dark. Not like treble control dark. There’s something about it that’s dark.”

Photo: Eduardo Peña Dolhun

Author

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.