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Tan Kee Yun
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Showbiz

Guitar guru Joe Satriani proud of mentees who outshine him

The New Paper | Tan Kee Yun | Friday, Oct 31, 2014

US guitar maestro Joe Satriani (in pic), who has many famous students including Steve Vai and Metallica's Kirk Hammett, is playing in Singapore this November.

The US guitar virtuoso, often hailed as one of the greatest axemen in rock, has produced legions of famous students including Counting Crows' David Bryson, Third Eye Blind's Kevin Cadogan and jazz fusionist Charlie Hunter.

A couple of them, Steve Vai and Metallica's Kirk Hammett, have gone on to become internationally renowned names capable of packing arenas with their stunning technical supremacy.

And Satriani would not have wanted it any other way.

In an interview with M, the 58-year-old instrumentalist, who sports his signature look of a bald pate and dark sunglasses, declared that he is "very proud" of his mentees' achievements.

"The student is supposed to surpass the teacher," he said. "If new generations do not surpass previous ones, there is no hope for civilisation."

He has been called a guitar hero and legend, but Satriani is not one to bask in the glory.

"These revered titles don't enter my consciousness at all," he said.

"Even till today, I try to be the best guitarist I can be every day, just like I was as a teenager."

Armed with lightning-paced fingerwork that can make his guitar growl, howl and whimper, Satriani will be in town next month for a one-night concert at The Star Theatre.

Fans can expect classic tunes from the multiple-Grammy nominee, such as Flying In A Blue Dream, Cryin, and Surfing With The Alien, as well as new hits like Unstoppable Momentum, the title track from his latest studio album released last year.

S'PORE CONNECTION

Satriani has a personal connection to Singapore. His wife Rubina is Singaporean.

"We had our marriage ceremony at her childhood home at Branksome Road back in 1981. So I have wonderful memories of Singapore's special charm," he said.

The couple have a son, Z.Z. (short for Zachariah Zane), who occasionally tours with his dad.

In May, Satriani released a memoir - co-penned with music biographer Jake Brown - called Strange Beautiful Music. It recounts his climb to stardom as a fresh-faced kid in New York to globetrotting rock god.

"The initial idea was to do an in-the-studio type book. The publishers asked me to make it more of a first-person memoir," he recalled. "It became quite cathartic to go back and remember in detail all the trials and tribulations of my recording career."

Besides his impressive solo work, Satriani's other big career milestone is being the founder of G3, a popular concert tour featuring a trio of guitar gurus.

The tour, which began in 1997 and held its last instalment in 2012, saw Satriani, Vai, neo-classical metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, electric guitarist Eric Johnson and progressive metal guitarist John Petrucci, among others, perform.

Satriani said he relished the friendly rivalry among maestros.

"The kind of competition the G3 concerts bring out in us is the best kind," he said.

"We respect each other's musicianship and truly enjoy everyone's music.

"We push our peers along and have fun trying to keep up with each other."

WHEN:Nov 13, 8pm
WHERE: The Star Theatre
TICKETS: $88 to $148 from www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555

keeyunt@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 29, 2014.
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