When Joe Satriani's Surfing With The Alien was released in 1987 it changed the game, recalibrating the potential of the electric guitar (opens in new tab), establishing Satch as the master of shred.
But it was more than shred. If some tracks could be seen as a more progressive, instrumental take on the virtuoso US rock sound, others, such as Satch Boogie, saw him adapt blues-rock for his own style. There are moments of pop, jazz, rock, and fusion too.
Satch's guitar – like Steve Vai's, like the best of his peers – carries a melodic sensibility that takes the position of vocals in the mix, and as he explained in a 2017 interview with MusicRadar, the idea behind Surfing With The Alien was to celebrate everything that he liked about the guitar.
“And, so, for me, it went from Chuck Berry to Hendrix, from Wes Montgomery to Allan Holdsworth, I wanted to celebrate all of it," he said. "I was a kid that grew up listening to The Beatles, and The Stones, and Jimmy Page, and Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, and I wanted all of that in there. But at the same time, a large part of my playing is Tony Iommi and Billy Gibbons. I'm just a sum total of all of the guitar players that I think were really cool. And I wanted to make an album that was about."
Now Satriani is reissuing the classic in a double red-and-yellow vinyl release that sees the original recording remastered, with an all-new special mix sees his solos removed the mix, and so once you think you've got his solos down front-to-back, or if you just want to freestyle in the right key, you can jam with the record.
The release comes via Legacy Records and is limited run of 3500 units to mark Record Store Day (opens in new tab)on 29 November.
- Read Joe Satriani's track-by-track Surfing With The Alien MusicRadar interview here (opens in new tab)