Joe Satriani Reveals Surprising Thing Mick Jagger Did After Joining His Solo Band, Recalls Losing $8,000 Per Week During ‘Surfing With the Alien’ Tour

Kirk Hammet was the last lesson he gave as a guitar teacher, recalled Joe Satriani during his appearance in Tone Talk. After that, he was just going to go and live his dream – playing instrumental music on a tour and making a living from it. Unfortunately, things are never that simple.

Bassist Stu Ham and drummer Jonathan Mover accompanied him and the first show took place in San Diego. After about a week of touring, his manager dropped the news that they were, somehow, losing “eight grand per week” and that “there’s no way around it.” Satriani adds (transcript via Ultimate Guitar):

“And I remember, I think it was in Boston at the time. We just finished a gig where the opening band had rifled through my rack and tore it apart. [laughs] Goodwill from fellow musicians, right?”

Joe Satriani live rare full - Limelight, NY July, 1987

However, around that time, Joe managed to get a gig with none other than The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger. The singer was planning to do his first solo tour and Satriani was a candidate for lead guitar. However, when he got the offer, Joe thought that he wouldn’t really be the best fit. Nonetheless, he wanted to give it a go. He recalled how it all came to be:

“So, I’m sitting there thinking like, ‘Okay, how am I gonna get around this? Because this is not working out.’ Even though the record’s really hot on the charts, and we’re getting calls from MTV, I still can’t get a theater gig – that would help pay for the bus, salaries, and everything. And I got a call from a former agent who said, ‘Hey, how would you like to go audition for Mick Jagger’s solo band?'”

“And we laughed for about a minute because we knew that I wasn’t the right guy for it. But, you got to go, right? You just got to check it out. And so I went to NYC, I had a gig there, at The Bottom Line – really, really small place, teeny stage with a pole, typical little club. And we had sold out two nights, two shows a night – and they only gave us one fruit basket, by the way, I always like to point that out. [laughs]”

Mick Jagger, Joe Satriani, Honky Tonk Woman, Tokyo Dome Live 1988

But, obviously, he got the gig. Joe recalled meeting Jagger before doing the audition and a super-wholesome thing that the singer did. As he explains:

“Anyway, before I landed in NYC, the day before I do the audition, I get the gig, I invite Mick to come and play at the show, just as a joke, just to come and jam. He says, ‘Yes,’ he shows up, and to the shock of everybody there, he jumps on stage, and he does ‘Red House’ [by Jimi Hendrix] with us. It was really, really amazing. And things did start to change from there. Number one, I was able to cancel the rest of my dates, which was great, because we were just losing money.”

He also added:

“But I spent the next two months with Mick in New York, and then in Japan. By the time we got back, things had changed a lot. Suddenly, we were playing small theaters, and clubs that were really big, like the Fillmore, and stuff like that. And that really helped quite a bit. And that lasted up until I went back with Mick in late September for the Down Under tour… By the time the next record came out, ‘Flying in a Blue Dream,’ we had moved up. We started the tour at the Santa Monica Civic. We did play bigger places, and it was really great, just to kind of spread our wings that way.”

Photo: Raph_PH (Mick Jagger Desert Trip 2016-40), Robbie Drexhage (Joe Satriani)

  • 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, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.

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