Joe Satriani talks drummers - Chad, Vinnie and more
As a guitar hero for more than 30 years, Joe Satriani has worked with some of the finest musicians out there. Just take a look at some of the players that have graced his drum throne – Chad Smith and Vinnie Colaiuta for starters.
As Satriani prepares to release his latest solo record, Shockwave Supernova, we chatted with him about the A-list drummers that he has played with down the years.
Joe Satriani’s new album “Shockwave Supernova” is released by Sony Music/Legacy on Friday July 24th.His 9-date UK tour with special guest Dan Patlansky kicks off at the O2 Manchester Apollo on November 1st. Tickets:www.ticketline.co.uk/joe-satriani
"Vinnie has an incredible amount of talent and discipline. They are two very different things.
"Some people have the talent but not the discipline and working with them is hit and miss. There's more people out there with discipline but not much talent.
"To find someone with both freaky talent and a technical background and discipline is really rare. Vinnie is at the mountain top, he's a guy that can do anything but plays in a very natural way. That surprised me in the studio. If we did seven takes he would give us seven different ideas."
"Jeff has one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard from a drummer. He focuses so much on the tone of his kit, it's quite remarkable.
"He also has a unique pocket groove.I always wanted that from a drummer. I wanted my drummers to be solid and consistent with a deep pocket.
"Sometimes I want them to give the impression they're on top of the beat, sometimes that they're way behind the guitar.
"Jeff is one of those guys that specialises in grooves of all kinds. He loves the history of drummers so he can draw upon a very deep well of influences.
"On my first three records he was doing some programming and some very strange overdubbed recordings.
"We wanted to create a sound in the studio that was different to what my friends like Steve Vai were doing."
I knew about Marco a couple of tours ago, when Mike Keneally and Jeff Campitelli would be watching Marco's DVDs on tours and marveling at his playing.
"Fast forward a couple of years and we were in the studio doing Unstoppable Momentum with Vinnie Colaitua. I knew Vinnie would not be available to tour and Mike suggested Marco.
"Once we got together I was completely blown away by Marco's versatility. Every night is so much fun on stage with Marco."
"Chad is great fun to play with. He's a real live wire.
"You put him with Sammy Hagar and the two of them are over the top. If it wasn't for me and Mike [Anthony] being more mild mannered they would just go off, but the energy during the recording sessions were crucial in capturing what Chickenfoot was about.
"In the studio Chad is extremely disciplined and worked incredibly well with Andy Johns. Recording drums is complicated - there's lots of parts, a ton of microphones and usually 20 snares sitting on the floor - so it takes somebody with discipline to sift through all of that and then play the craziest thing.
"We just played an all acoustic benefit show, with myself, Chad and Sammy playing with all kinds of people like Jerry Cantrell and James Hetfield.
"Chad was playing standing up with a kick, snare and some congas and he was still the crazy Chad Smith."
"Kenny's got a great energy, he's got that fresh, crackin' snare sound that we all know so well.
"He's also a great listener, and he really finds what is the most essential part of a piece of music.
"He has a great attitude as well as a great sounding drum kit. That's important. Drummers have a lot to look after.
"The drummer can create so many dynamics with their hands and feet and Kenny has complete control over those dynamics in the course of a song, or in the course of a show.
"He can elevate a set of music with that incredible sense of dynamics that he has.
"He's a great guy to hang with too, and he lights up the room. It's interesting how drummers can do that without running around like lead singers. They're sitting back there the whole time. It takes a special person to be able to reach people like that from behind the kit."
Shockwave Supernova is due for release on 24 July via Sony Music/Legacy Recordings.