On Joe Satrani's upcoming solo album, Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards, the guitar icon goes deeper into his soul than ever before. "It's like I had no choice in the matter," he tells MusicRadar. "The last year has been one of phenomenal change, professional highs and a very tragic personal hardship. As a musician who wants to convey powerful statements, tapping into my emotions was key.
"Making this record was an amazing outlet for me. Musically and spiritually, it surprised me greatly, and I think my fans will feel the same way."
2009 was indeed a memorable year for Satriani. There was the triumph of Chickenfoot, his big-time “supergroup” (which also includes singer Sammy Hagar, ex-Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith). But there was also, last December, the unexpected death of his mother, Katherine. “Suddenly, I had to face everything that had happened and make sense of it all,“ he says. “As a songwriter, that was my overriding goal."
Goal set and realized, MusicRadar can report after hearing an advance preview of Satch’s absorbing new masterwork. Co-produced by Satriani and Mike Fraser, the album sees the guitarist working with his longtime drummer and percussionist Jeff Campitelli along with a couple of new faces: bassist Allen Whitman (from the San Fransicso-based band The Mermen) and keyboardist Mike Keneally, who has played with everyone from Steve Vai to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. “It was a real thrill to work with such a talented group,” says Satriani. “They pushed me but in ways I relished. I found that I dropped my inhibitions and let my heart do the playing.“
Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards will be released in the UK on 4 October and 5 October in the US. On the following pages, MusicRadar presents our initial impressions of each song, along with an exclusive walkthrough of the selections by Joe Satriani.