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Go behind the scenes with the musician The New York Times called “a guitar God!” Oft-hailed as the Jimi Hendrix of his generation, living guitar legend Joe Satriani has long transcended stylistic boundaries with a sound that raises the bar like a new horizon for the broader genre of instrumental guitar rock. Joe’s 6-string secrets have astounded listeners around the world f Go behind the scenes with the musician The New York Times called “a guitar God!” Oft-hailed as the Jimi Hendrix of his generation, living guitar legend Joe Satriani has long transcended stylistic boundaries with a sound that raises the bar like a new horizon for the broader genre of instrumental guitar rock. Joe’s 6-string secrets have astounded listeners around the world for nearly 30 years. In Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir, Satriani and coauthor, music biographer Jake Brown, take fans on their first authorized tour of the story behind his climb to stardom and the creative odyssey involved in writing and recording a storied catalog of classics including “Surfing with the Alien,” “Summer Song,” “Satch Boogie,” “Always With Me, Always With You,” “The Extremist,” “Flying in a Blue Dream,” “Crowd Chant,” and more. Featuring previously unpublished photos and hours of exclusive, firsthand interviews with Satriani, Strange Beautiful Music offers a unique look inside the studio with Joe, giving fans a chance to get up close and personal like never before. With insider details about his collaboration with multi-platinum supergroup Chickenfoot, exclusive interviews with Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony of Van Halen and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, commentary from fellow guitar legends such as Steve Vai, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, Primus’s Larry LaLonde, and legendary music producers including Glynn Johns and the late Andy Johns, this memoir offers a rare inside look for die-hard Satriani fans, guitar enthusiasts, and anyone who loves to rock.


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Go behind the scenes with the musician The New York Times called “a guitar God!” Oft-hailed as the Jimi Hendrix of his generation, living guitar legend Joe Satriani has long transcended stylistic boundaries with a sound that raises the bar like a new horizon for the broader genre of instrumental guitar rock. Joe’s 6-string secrets have astounded listeners around the world f Go behind the scenes with the musician The New York Times called “a guitar God!” Oft-hailed as the Jimi Hendrix of his generation, living guitar legend Joe Satriani has long transcended stylistic boundaries with a sound that raises the bar like a new horizon for the broader genre of instrumental guitar rock. Joe’s 6-string secrets have astounded listeners around the world for nearly 30 years. In Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir, Satriani and coauthor, music biographer Jake Brown, take fans on their first authorized tour of the story behind his climb to stardom and the creative odyssey involved in writing and recording a storied catalog of classics including “Surfing with the Alien,” “Summer Song,” “Satch Boogie,” “Always With Me, Always With You,” “The Extremist,” “Flying in a Blue Dream,” “Crowd Chant,” and more. Featuring previously unpublished photos and hours of exclusive, firsthand interviews with Satriani, Strange Beautiful Music offers a unique look inside the studio with Joe, giving fans a chance to get up close and personal like never before. With insider details about his collaboration with multi-platinum supergroup Chickenfoot, exclusive interviews with Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony of Van Halen and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, commentary from fellow guitar legends such as Steve Vai, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, Primus’s Larry LaLonde, and legendary music producers including Glynn Johns and the late Andy Johns, this memoir offers a rare inside look for die-hard Satriani fans, guitar enthusiasts, and anyone who loves to rock.

30 review for Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I won a free copy of this ARC through the First Reads progran at Good Reads. OK, here's what happened. I read the first 60 pages or so of this book word by word. The story of Satch's childhood and teen years as he made the decision to be a professional musician - now those sections were very good. But then as the recording process started, we got a play by play of the technical side of music and guitar theory. While all of that is fascinating on a big scale, I'm more interested in reading the stor I won a free copy of this ARC through the First Reads progran at Good Reads. OK, here's what happened. I read the first 60 pages or so of this book word by word. The story of Satch's childhood and teen years as he made the decision to be a professional musician - now those sections were very good. But then as the recording process started, we got a play by play of the technical side of music and guitar theory. While all of that is fascinating on a big scale, I'm more interested in reading the story of a person's life and experiences when I read a memoir. There is more of it here, but it seems to be buried in more technobabble. So I skipped ahead to the Chickenfoot chapter and read about how Satch formed that band with Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, and Chad Smith. I really enjoyed that and read up until we started seeing the recording sessions outlined. Also, there are too many blurbs & quotes from other people. I thought that some of them worked in giving insight, but the constant shift from Satch to someone else back to Satch again and then again to another person was jarring. I did give the book 3-stars because I enjoyed the biographical parts. I think a serious guitar player would love the other stuff too, but it's just a foreign language to me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    gekko100

    As a long-time fan of Joe’s music, I was gearing up for a fascinating read when I stumbled on his recently-released memoir. Unfortunately, the book rather failed to live up to expectations. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a reasonably interesting meander through his musical career over the years, and as such is certainly a worthwhile read for any Satch fan. It’s just that it could have been so much more. The approach taken is very straight-down-the-line and uncontroversial: we get plenty (I would argue As a long-time fan of Joe’s music, I was gearing up for a fascinating read when I stumbled on his recently-released memoir. Unfortunately, the book rather failed to live up to expectations. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a reasonably interesting meander through his musical career over the years, and as such is certainly a worthwhile read for any Satch fan. It’s just that it could have been so much more. The approach taken is very straight-down-the-line and uncontroversial: we get plenty (I would argue too much) of detail on the studio production story of each album, but very little on his personal life or the early stages of his musical development. I wasn’t hoping for the usual rock-star memoir cliches a la Keith Richards (which, in any case, I suspect were never Joe’s thing), but neither did I want to plow through the minutiae of a sound engineer’s logbook. For me, those are details that I may want to consult in an appendix; but they’re not my main interest. I guess I just wanted to read more about Joe the person, and how he became the staggerly accomplished musician we know and admire. A couple of cases in point: his lessons early on with jazz pianist Lennie Tristano merit far more than the one or two passing mentions they are given; while his lessons with Steve Vai – surely the guitar nerd’s equivalent of Plato and Socrates sitting around discussing politics – are similarly glossed over. Also conspicuously absent is any real opinion/critique of his contemporaries: not a single feather in the guitar player community could have conceivably been ruffled by what’s in the book. Maybe I’m just seeing this through the warped lens of a wannabe guitar geek, but come on, how many people reading this book aren’t guitar players? There is some discussion of the creative process and inspiration behind some of his songs, and indeed these are the most interesting moments in the book. However, coverage is very patchy and I personally would have welcomed a more comprehensive, even a track-by-track, discussion. (On a mischievous note, I for one would still love to know what on Earth he was playing at with the truly awful Woodstock Jam on the Time Machine album??) As a final peeve, I found the copious use of extended interview excerpts from the likes of producers, session musicians and the other members of his recent collaboration Chickenfoot to be a little tedious and distracting from the flow of the book. Overall the book is an easy, pleasant read; it’s just a little too “safe”. To sum up, it was something like the memoir equivalent of Joe and his buddies sitting around in the studio reminiscing over all the good times, with smiles and good-natured compliments all round, while Rubina’s Blue Sky Happiness plays softly on an endless loop in the background.

  3. 5 out of 5

    N.N. Light

    As one of the greatest guitarists in the world, Joe Satriani is a must-listen to and I am pleased to own several albums. When I heard he's written an autobiography, I knew I had to read it. Brutally honest, Joe takes us behind the scenes and inside his mind as he shares his musical life. I loved every part of his story and felt a deep connection with him. A must read! My Rating: 5 stars As one of the greatest guitarists in the world, Joe Satriani is a must-listen to and I am pleased to own several albums. When I heard he's written an autobiography, I knew I had to read it. Brutally honest, Joe takes us behind the scenes and inside his mind as he shares his musical life. I loved every part of his story and felt a deep connection with him. A must read! My Rating: 5 stars

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rod Horncastle

    WARNING: this is a book for serious musicians and guitar players ONLY. I would have given this book 5 stars if it shared just a few more stories about Deep Purple and all the people Joe has Jammed with over the years - especially his G3 gigs with Steve Morse, Paul Gilbert and John petrucci. Even a bit more of his Mick Jagger experience would have been cool. Thankfully we do get some great moments with Chickenfoot. (and yet no mention of him touring with Bassist Dave LaRue???) But this is mostly a WARNING: this is a book for serious musicians and guitar players ONLY. I would have given this book 5 stars if it shared just a few more stories about Deep Purple and all the people Joe has Jammed with over the years - especially his G3 gigs with Steve Morse, Paul Gilbert and John petrucci. Even a bit more of his Mick Jagger experience would have been cool. Thankfully we do get some great moments with Chickenfoot. (and yet no mention of him touring with Bassist Dave LaRue???) But this is mostly a quick run through Joe's albums and career. He chats a little about his guitars and amps - but not much. The strangest thing was finding out he often does NOT use an amp on some songs. As I was reading this I went back and listened to almost all of his albums - they are still great. I've been a fan since Surfing With The Alien came out back in 1987. Wow! 28 years I've been a fan of Joe's. I still prefer to hear him live with no overdubs or endlessly tracked guitars. But both are necessary for a long ambitious career. Right now i'm loving " black swans and wormhole wizards".

  5. 4 out of 5

    Molly Anna

    Joe Satriani is considered a guitar legend, having sold millions of albums and been nominated for many Grammy awards. If you are familiar with his work, you will know that he specializes in instrumental rock, and from reading his memoir, it is obvious that he is a guitar and recording gear geek. So, if you are into amps, wahs, and pedals and you can't get enough of recording techniques, I recommend this book to you (especially if you are very familiar with Satriani's work -- much of the book als Joe Satriani is considered a guitar legend, having sold millions of albums and been nominated for many Grammy awards. If you are familiar with his work, you will know that he specializes in instrumental rock, and from reading his memoir, it is obvious that he is a guitar and recording gear geek. So, if you are into amps, wahs, and pedals and you can't get enough of recording techniques, I recommend this book to you (especially if you are very familiar with Satriani's work -- much of the book also focuses on his inspirations, preparations, and histories for his songs). Overall, it was an unique experience reading Satriani's book. (I do recommend having his albums on hand while reading so that you are able to reference the songs Satriani highlights.)

  6. 5 out of 5

    patrick Lorelli

    This book is really like the title says, beautiful music. Joe Satriani has been making music for decades and he takes you through his journey. From his learning to play the guitar to actually teaching and one of his students was Steve Vai, I thought that was actually an interesting part of this book because both of these men are guitar giants now. I don’t know how many people have heard of Joe Satriani, but I do know it is more than when his Surfing with an alien album first came out. Not only w This book is really like the title says, beautiful music. Joe Satriani has been making music for decades and he takes you through his journey. From his learning to play the guitar to actually teaching and one of his students was Steve Vai, I thought that was actually an interesting part of this book because both of these men are guitar giants now. I don’t know how many people have heard of Joe Satriani, but I do know it is more than when his Surfing with an alien album first came out. Not only was that a very good album but it was totally different and perfect at the time. From there each record was something different until he got together with Chicken Foot. Now that music is special and I wish they could make more records. He takes you through each album he made and the people that were on them. There are also excerpts from the people that worked on those records talking about making them. Overall I thought it was a good book talking about the music that he has made over the years like the title stated. I got this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

  7. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Gonçalves

    A great book detailing this brilliant musician's life. A great book detailing this brilliant musician's life.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eric Bittner

    The subtitle of this book tells you what to expect: a musical memoir. If you’re looking for sordid tales of life on the road as a rock star, keep looking. But if you want insight into Satch’s approach to songwriting and recording, this is it. I’m definitely biased, as I’ve been a fan of Joe’s music since Surfing With the Alien, but I found the stories about recording each of his albums fascinating. If you’re a fan like me, you’ll want to have your iPod, etc. cued up with his music as you read, a The subtitle of this book tells you what to expect: a musical memoir. If you’re looking for sordid tales of life on the road as a rock star, keep looking. But if you want insight into Satch’s approach to songwriting and recording, this is it. I’m definitely biased, as I’ve been a fan of Joe’s music since Surfing With the Alien, but I found the stories about recording each of his albums fascinating. If you’re a fan like me, you’ll want to have your iPod, etc. cued up with his music as you read, as you’ll probably want to hear the songs as you read about how they were written and/or recorded.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    Music biographies typically fall into two camps: the PR instrument that's rushed to market and tows the company line (i.e. every boy band or teenybopper bio ever) or tell-alls that twist deep into uncharted waters (think the new Keith Richards book.) This is neither - it's more or less an engineer's logbook of all of his recordings. I hoped for some personal details, a biographical history, some background on his upbringing. I didn't need any shocking confessions or controversy, which is a norm Music biographies typically fall into two camps: the PR instrument that's rushed to market and tows the company line (i.e. every boy band or teenybopper bio ever) or tell-alls that twist deep into uncharted waters (think the new Keith Richards book.) This is neither - it's more or less an engineer's logbook of all of his recordings. I hoped for some personal details, a biographical history, some background on his upbringing. I didn't need any shocking confessions or controversy, which is a norm in music biographies. But I live a town over from Berkeley, where he got his start in the seventies, and I often wonder what the Berkeley of that time was like. This book gives no details whatsoever about that sort of thing. I understand he may be a private guy, but you'd think he would at least mention "oh, I met this woman and got married" at some point in the timeline. The stuff about recording each album is interesting, especially the early albums, which were recorded on tape, and on a shoestring. But it does get exhausting at a certain point. Overall, this is good if you really need to know what distortion pedal he used on the third album, but it's sorely lacking as a biography.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    MY COPY OF THIS BOOK IS 294 PAGES LONG, THOUGH THE REST OF THE INFORMATION IS THE SAME AS LISTED. 1st Read: September 21, 2016 - September 28, 2016 An interesting look into the life of one of my favorite guitarists and what goes on behind closed musical doors. I love that he always pushes himself to be better than he was on his last performances, excelling into new accomplishments and collaborations. He seems to be a great musician to work with and comes across as very positive. Even if you ar MY COPY OF THIS BOOK IS 294 PAGES LONG, THOUGH THE REST OF THE INFORMATION IS THE SAME AS LISTED. 1st Read: September 21, 2016 - September 28, 2016 An interesting look into the life of one of my favorite guitarists and what goes on behind closed musical doors. I love that he always pushes himself to be better than he was on his last performances, excelling into new accomplishments and collaborations. He seems to be a great musician to work with and comes across as very positive. Even if you are not a gear-head (when it comes to his toys), you would still enjoy this book! It was a Bucket List item stroked off from my own personal desires, upon seeing Joe and his band live on October 13, 2013. My mind was blown and I had a permanent smile on my face for days after. It was the best kind of high I've ever achieved!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    Joe is one of my all time favorite guitarist and being a guitarist as well he has influenced me in ways others haven't. This book really got inside the head of a genius and shows us how he approaches his music from inception to the finished product. What I really enjoyed about this book was not only did Joe give us his perspective on his work but had the people he worked with do the same. The entire book is laid out almost like a call and response. I would have to say that there is a bit of tech Joe is one of my all time favorite guitarist and being a guitarist as well he has influenced me in ways others haven't. This book really got inside the head of a genius and shows us how he approaches his music from inception to the finished product. What I really enjoyed about this book was not only did Joe give us his perspective on his work but had the people he worked with do the same. The entire book is laid out almost like a call and response. I would have to say that there is a bit of technical detail in this book that may seem foreign to those unfamiliar with the recording process,the equipment and instruments involved. Overall it is a must read for fans of Joe Satriani.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Oscar Quintero

    I was looking for Satch to open up more but he fails in this book. A lot if interesting anecdotes on each of his recorded albums, but that's about it. I was looking for Satch to open up more but he fails in this book. A lot if interesting anecdotes on each of his recorded albums, but that's about it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Danny

    Essential for Joe Satriani fans. This book reads like the liner notes for every one of Joe's albums. Before I read a biography, I typically ask myself "what interesting thing do I hope this person cover in this book?", if these questions are addressed and I learn a couple of other things, I usually come out of the book happy. By these standards this is a great biography. It reads more like a documentary, Joe details parts of a tour or recording the album and then someone comments on it, and then Essential for Joe Satriani fans. This book reads like the liner notes for every one of Joe's albums. Before I read a biography, I typically ask myself "what interesting thing do I hope this person cover in this book?", if these questions are addressed and I learn a couple of other things, I usually come out of the book happy. By these standards this is a great biography. It reads more like a documentary, Joe details parts of a tour or recording the album and then someone comments on it, and then Joe adds to those comments. It is an interesting style that fits the subject perfectly. There is a lot of information on instrument and recording specifics but in my opinion it did not interfere. My favorite parts were learning how Joe self funded his first album and was almost done if not for a gig in the Greg Kihn Band at the end of their fame, how Silver Surfer ended up on the cover of "Surfing with the Alien", all the great guitarists that were taught by Joe and how long he was a guitar teacher. This definitely not a biography you will enjoy without having any previous knowledge of the subject but I found it a unique and easy read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway a while back and just got around to reading it. This is the updated version that covers up to 2016's Shockwave Supernova. I've been fascinated by Satriani's guitar playing since the first time I heard him play, I was blown away when I saw him live in the early 90's when Stu Hamm was playing bass and Eric Johnson was the opening act. I'm giving this 3 stars not because I didn't like it but because it was so far beyond my capability to understand when they geeked o I won this in a Goodreads giveaway a while back and just got around to reading it. This is the updated version that covers up to 2016's Shockwave Supernova. I've been fascinated by Satriani's guitar playing since the first time I heard him play, I was blown away when I saw him live in the early 90's when Stu Hamm was playing bass and Eric Johnson was the opening act. I'm giving this 3 stars not because I didn't like it but because it was so far beyond my capability to understand when they geeked out. My wife thinks I'm a music geek but they totally lost me when they started talking equipment (never my strong suit). What I can say is that I loved the enthusiasm that Joe has for his music, and I appreciate hearing what other people had to say about working with him. There were some things that I didn't know and other things that I didn't care to know. It was worth reading but it probably didn't need to be updated quite yet.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Dex

    I enjoyed reading this book. As a fan I always wanted to know what was this great mind thinking while writing those beautiful songs. A major part of the book is about what gears Joe has used for the recordings which I personally didn’t find fascinating however I’m a guitar player myself. There aren’t so many details on Joe’s life. it’s more of him and other musicians explaining about the record process and song writing. Overall it was a great experience.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

    Love Joe’s music, but not enough to love this book which was deep into explaining the technical side of his recordings and VERY shallow into telling his story. The subtitle of “A Musical Memoir” is pretty accurate. This is all about the music and very little about the musician. For example, his wife is mentioned in passing without ever telling us that he got married. Ditto for his son. And so on... Just not what I was expecting at all.

  17. 5 out of 5

    DavidO

    The book starts well, as Joe writes about his youth and what got him into music. But after a while it stops being a story of his life and more about going to the studio and recording. You'd also think after reading this that everything he ever did was great. The honest truth is that his later albums didn't sell that well. The book starts well, as Joe writes about his youth and what got him into music. But after a while it stops being a story of his life and more about going to the studio and recording. You'd also think after reading this that everything he ever did was great. The honest truth is that his later albums didn't sell that well.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erwin

    A unique look into the mind of guitar god Joe Satriani, as he went through the journey of making album after album of instrumental guitar. Interviews and comments from his collaborators also made this memoir richer. A must-read for those who had been a fan of his music.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matto

    Four stars might be stretching but if you’re a fan you’ll enjoy at least portions of the book. Best read while listening to the songs being described!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chris Olson

    Joe gets into his process a bit, recommended reading for any guitarist.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mike Garrigan

    Anyone who has been through law school will tell you that the experience requires a lot of reading. I like to listen to music when I read, as long it's instrumental music. Over the past month, I gathered all the best instrumental music from my collection and placed it on my laptop. I have Bernstein conducting Brahms, Beethoven, and Mozart; a few Brian Eno albums; most of the Miles Davis electric period; and all of guitar hero Joe Satriani's studio albums. After listening to a lot of Satriani, bot Anyone who has been through law school will tell you that the experience requires a lot of reading. I like to listen to music when I read, as long it's instrumental music. Over the past month, I gathered all the best instrumental music from my collection and placed it on my laptop. I have Bernstein conducting Brahms, Beethoven, and Mozart; a few Brian Eno albums; most of the Miles Davis electric period; and all of guitar hero Joe Satriani's studio albums. After listening to a lot of Satriani, both during my commute and while reading, I became familiar with the subtle nuances of and differences within Joe's arc of records, from the early NOTE/Surfing albums through the mid-period Engines of Creation, through the last few, which are polished masterpieces. Naturally, I became interested in understanding why his music shifted the way it did over the past 30 years. Satriani’s memoir, Strange Beautiful Music, details these artistic choices and brings light to his evolution. Written by Joe Satriani and Jake Brown, Strange Beautiful Music was published on April 8, 2014 by BenBella Books. Todd McLaren narrated an well-done audiobook version of the memoir. At just over 300 pages (or about 8 and a half hours on audiobook), Strange Beautiful Music tells Satriani’s story through the lens of his solo albums. Also, the book takes a few explanatory detours into Satriani’s time with supergroup Chickenfoot. When I was 14 years old, I had the first two Satriani albums on cassette. The first album, Not of This Earth, always sounded a bit strange to me but I could never put my finger on why. As the memoir points out, NOTE was both revolutionary and experimental—no one had made a record like that before. Those techniques would be perfected on Surfing with the Alien, which became one of the best selling instrumental rock albums of all time. Satriani’s production team used a drum machine kick drum, a live top kit, and glued it all together with non-linear reverbs. With each subsequent record, Satriani challenged himself by changing some critical component in the production chain. The memoir’s strength is also its weakness—this is a technical book. Strange Beautiful Music takes time to explain Satriani and producer Cuniberti’s varying rationales for selecting various of hardwares throughout the different recordings. I know the differences between a Neve and an API console, but I don’t know that a casual listener would. For me, reading Strange Beautiful Music brought a greater insight into Satriani’s albums, especially a new found appreciation for a project I didn’t fully understand: Chickenfoot. I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Satriani’s work as well as any aspiring studio engineers who are looking for a well documented history lesson in the evolution of recording over the past 30 years.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Book Review Strange Beautiful Music – A Musical Memoir by Joe Satriani And Jake Brown The guitarist and composer Joe Satriani is one of those players that needs little introduction to fans of widescreen, technically astounding guitar music and playing. His playing has graced dozens of albums, numerous band projects and guest spots, writing for guitar magazines, and he is renowned for being one of Rock music’s more approachable figures. However, if you are not into this type of thing, and many peopl Book Review Strange Beautiful Music – A Musical Memoir by Joe Satriani And Jake Brown The guitarist and composer Joe Satriani is one of those players that needs little introduction to fans of widescreen, technically astounding guitar music and playing. His playing has graced dozens of albums, numerous band projects and guest spots, writing for guitar magazines, and he is renowned for being one of Rock music’s more approachable figures. However, if you are not into this type of thing, and many people are not, then this book is not really going to have widespread appeal. The narrative, such as it is takes an almost diary like approach to all of Satriani’s musical endeavours, asking the producers, mixers, technicians, and musicians who were also involved in the making of the albums for their knowledge of Satriani’s working methods. We skim slightly over Joe’s childhood, and his monumental decision to give up team sports to become a guitarist on September 18th, 1970. The day that Jimi Hendrix died. We are given a rarified glimpse into the live music scene of 1970’s San Francisco, where Satriani was struggling to get noticed in the popular trio The Squares, and how during a break from band commitments, he put together his first release At the time, he was also a guitar teacher, teaching such future famous players such as Metalica’s Kirk Hammett,. Guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, and Counting Crow’s David Bryson how to play what is still one of the most popular instruments in the world. Not everyone who picks up a guitar becomes a genre defining musician, but some of what is needed, in terms of dedication, treating music as an art form, not as a disposable commodity, and pure luck is shared in this book. We see that Satriani is an all round musician, able to play and write fun rock and roll pieces, such as Satch Boogie, the doom laden Ice 9, or the popular ballad Always with Me, Always with You, and find space for them on his first proper release, Surfing with the Alien, which changed how instrumental rock music was recorded, and more importantly, marketed. We see how each subsequent release improved on Satriani’s art, reliant at different times on computers, drum machines or live musicians to bring the sounds he heard in his head to fruition. So, as aluded to earlier, this book will not be for everyone. It is a good and interesting read for any fans of Satriani himself, rock guitar and the recording studio in particular, but as with most musicians, the best evidence for the art is in the music, the recordings, and the live stage.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Randall Wallace

    What a major disappointment! I figured if Steve Vai studied from him, Satch’s writings must be interesting to read – big mistake! This is a bio in the most tedious sense – it explains why his records were made, and how, and with who but this book completely avoids the two burning questions most musicians would ask of Joe – 1. On your biggest songs, what led you to your final chord progressions, chord voicings, phrasing, tunings, and melody? 2. How extensive was/is your practice routine? (Did it What a major disappointment! I figured if Steve Vai studied from him, Satch’s writings must be interesting to read – big mistake! This is a bio in the most tedious sense – it explains why his records were made, and how, and with who but this book completely avoids the two burning questions most musicians would ask of Joe – 1. On your biggest songs, what led you to your final chord progressions, chord voicings, phrasing, tunings, and melody? 2. How extensive was/is your practice routine? (Did it involve microtonal bends, studying the various modes of the melodic and harmonic minor minor, exotic scales, half-whole, Lydian augmented, Byzantine scales and others? What non-Ionian, non-pentatonic technical explorations have been most fruitful for you and why?) I loved Satch Boogie, his most famous song, and yet learned absolutely nothing about it by reading this book. Why not? A detailed discussion of the techniques by the master himself on Satch Boogie alone – Joe’s use on dipping the Wang bar or the tapping section on Satch Boogie, or merely the origins and development of each section of Satch Boogie alone would have given this book five stars but no – instead this book is as dull as Neil Young’s Heavy Peace, another totally unexpected Snore-Fest. The only interesting bit in this book for me came not from Joe but Sammy Hagar who explains that Joe’s thing historically was highly controlled non-improvisation – carefully working out entire songs with every note pre-planned -the opposite of Jazz. Only through Chickenfoot was he forced to let it go – to wing it more and go for groove over perfection of execution. Wanna know how Joe uses his pick, controls pinch harmonics, vibrato taps, his tapping, keeps from going stale, etc? Well, keep wondering. The fact is, any issue of Premiere Guitar or Guitar Player Magazine will both teach you more and entertain you more than this highly acclaimed but nonetheless dull book that basically devotes its pages to giving you the most boring bio back-story possible about everything he has recorded. Oh yes, the lack of activism in Joe’s career is truly depressing; America needs a book by Tom Morello now as an antidote to this one.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brent LeVasseur

    I am a huge Joe Satriani Fan! I remember 1984 when Surfing with the Alien came out, and it inspired me to ask for a guitar for my 12th birthday and start playing. Joe is the man! This book is not a typical memoir, as it is written from multiple perspectives and includes excerpts from many of the people Joe has worked with or influenced or taught over the years, including other Guitar Gods like Steve Vai and Kirk Hammett of Metallica. In the first few chapters you not only hear from Joe about his I am a huge Joe Satriani Fan! I remember 1984 when Surfing with the Alien came out, and it inspired me to ask for a guitar for my 12th birthday and start playing. Joe is the man! This book is not a typical memoir, as it is written from multiple perspectives and includes excerpts from many of the people Joe has worked with or influenced or taught over the years, including other Guitar Gods like Steve Vai and Kirk Hammett of Metallica. In the first few chapters you not only hear from Joe about his upbringing in Long Island NY, but also from his former students (like Steve Vai) who looked up to him as one of the cool kids who everyone wanted to play like. After about the 4th chapter or so, things become a lot more technical, and the book loses a bit of it's memoir feel. What I did was purchase the audio book, so I could listen to it as I worked or did other things (which works perfectly in this situation). So my suggestion to you is, if you are curious about this book and are a Joe Satriani fan, get it with the audio book and listen to that rather than read it, and you will enjoy it much better than if you just read it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Trever Ferrell

    As a musician and guitar player, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was fun and easy to read. I know some people may get bored with a lot of the technical aspects Satriani touches on, or may not understand the musical language he uses, because each chapter focuses on a specific album. I've been listening to Joe Satriani ever since I picked up a guitar and he has always been a huge inspiration to me, so if you've had a similar experience, then I highly recommend this book. To be clear, Satriani d As a musician and guitar player, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was fun and easy to read. I know some people may get bored with a lot of the technical aspects Satriani touches on, or may not understand the musical language he uses, because each chapter focuses on a specific album. I've been listening to Joe Satriani ever since I picked up a guitar and he has always been a huge inspiration to me, so if you've had a similar experience, then I highly recommend this book. To be clear, Satriani does not talk a lot about his family or personal life, but understand music is such an integral part of who he is as a human being. The book explores how certain moments, people and thoughts in his life have inspired so many great songs! Any aspiring guitarist can learn something from this book, but it must be examined and applied.

  26. 4 out of 5

    GONZA

    If you're like me, a long-time fan of Satriani, this book offers some spectacular insight not only on his creative process, but also on some facts of his life. For example did you know that Kirk Hammett and Steve Vai were his pupils? If that it is not enough, Mick Jagger chose to play and sing with him..... Se siete come me dei fan di lunga data di Satriani questo libro vi offre alcuni spettacolari insight non solo sul suo processo creativo, ma anche sul fatto che sia Kirk Hammett che Steve Vai s If you're like me, a long-time fan of Satriani, this book offers some spectacular insight not only on his creative process, but also on some facts of his life. For example did you know that Kirk Hammett and Steve Vai were his pupils? If that it is not enough, Mick Jagger chose to play and sing with him..... Se siete come me dei fan di lunga data di Satriani questo libro vi offre alcuni spettacolari insight non solo sul suo processo creativo, ma anche sul fatto che sia Kirk Hammett che Steve Vai sono stati suoi allievi, che insomma, voglio dire, ma nell'eventualitá non bastasse, anche Mick Jagger ha suonato con lui.... THANKS TO NETGALLEY AND BENBELLA BOOKS FOR THE PREVIEW!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Snem

    This gave me a new appreciation for sound. I found his approach to creating music interesting. I enjoyed reading about his friendship with Steve Vai and how Chickenfoot came to be. This is very technical and while I knew it was a music memoir and not a musician memoir, I don't play an instrument and found myself very mired in technical specs that made me glaze over. I would have enjoyed a few more aspects of his personal life, a few more emotions, feelings and inspirations behind the music. I wo This gave me a new appreciation for sound. I found his approach to creating music interesting. I enjoyed reading about his friendship with Steve Vai and how Chickenfoot came to be. This is very technical and while I knew it was a music memoir and not a musician memoir, I don't play an instrument and found myself very mired in technical specs that made me glaze over. I would have enjoyed a few more aspects of his personal life, a few more emotions, feelings and inspirations behind the music. I would highly recommend this to fans of Satriani's and guitar nerds. Non-musicians can get a lot out of this too as long as you don't go in expecting "The Dirt."

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brijesh Kartha

    This book can be termed as a career autobiography as it speaks more about his life as it had to do with him becoming a guitarist, a teacher and later focuses on his studio albums and how they came about. Now this might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I loved it. It gave a great insight into his thinking process and how he went about doing what he did. The fact that I love him as a guitarist did not hurt for sure. Well written too, collaborating with an author was a smart move. It makes me want This book can be termed as a career autobiography as it speaks more about his life as it had to do with him becoming a guitarist, a teacher and later focuses on his studio albums and how they came about. Now this might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I loved it. It gave a great insight into his thinking process and how he went about doing what he did. The fact that I love him as a guitarist did not hurt for sure. Well written too, collaborating with an author was a smart move. It makes me want to check out all his albums soon. Worth a buy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    This one took me a long time to finish, but it was pretty interesting overall. I thought it was a bit short on biographical details and any personal insights, but did a good job of detailing the creative process. Some of the technical details about various instruments and equipment was way, way over my head both in terms of interest and appreciation, but it was interesting to get a feel for his level of commitment to getting the best music he can. There are many interviews with other musicians a This one took me a long time to finish, but it was pretty interesting overall. I thought it was a bit short on biographical details and any personal insights, but did a good job of detailing the creative process. Some of the technical details about various instruments and equipment was way, way over my head both in terms of interest and appreciation, but it was interesting to get a feel for his level of commitment to getting the best music he can. There are many interviews with other musicians and producers and sound engineers throughout the book that illustrate his philosophy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steve Nixon

    As fan of Joe right through from the 80s to 2000; I was looking for insight, stories, anecdotes. What you get is interesting enough, but it feels shallow. Breakdown of miking and kit setups aren't really that interesting, and kit lists for every album are given at the end. Actual personalities and the human element are great, but too few. Recommended for the true fan, but easily avoidable by most. It has made me want to go back and listen to some of the earlier albums I enjoyed when I was younge As fan of Joe right through from the 80s to 2000; I was looking for insight, stories, anecdotes. What you get is interesting enough, but it feels shallow. Breakdown of miking and kit setups aren't really that interesting, and kit lists for every album are given at the end. Actual personalities and the human element are great, but too few. Recommended for the true fan, but easily avoidable by most. It has made me want to go back and listen to some of the earlier albums I enjoyed when I was younger.

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