On his 2010 album, “Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards,” Satriani caught fans off guard by veering from his typical virtuosic fare and treading more groove-oriented terrain with slants of gospel, R&B, jazz and blues.
Satriani talked via e-mail about his post-Chickenfoot songwriting, his involvement with the Experience Hendrix tribute and the status of the Sound Strike movement protesting Arizona’s immigration law.
Q: Talk about the writing process for the new album.
A: I wrote about 50 songs, then spent a few weeks editing and picking the ones I found the most interesting. Next, I recorded demos and sent them out to the band and (producer) Mike Fraser.
Q: What was the intent of the record?
A: To reach people more deeply with my melodies, my phrasing and with the overall sound and feel of the record.
Q: You’ve said that there are songs on this album that your audience might not expect, can you elaborate?
A: “Littleworth Lane,” “Two Sides…” and “Wind In The Trees” are good examples of songs that might seem to be outside the style I’m well known for.
Q: Tell me about the significance of the Black Swans image and how it connects to the idea of wormholes.
A: Black Swans refers to the surprise, or “out of left field” style of some of the songs mentioned previously. In literature, a black swan is an unexpected or unlikely event, thing or action. Thus, the correlation with the direction of some of the new songs.
Q: How did you approach recording on this record?
A: Get a great live band in a big room and push record!
Q: How did you approach Chickenfoot versus how you approach your solo material?
A: Chickenfoot is collaborative in the studio, as we arrange all the material on the spot as a group.
Q: In what way did your experience with Chickenfoot affect the way your look at your solo material?
A: It just made me excited to record more live-oriented tracks.
Q: What can listeners expect from the next Chickenfoot album?
A: Something bigger and better than Chickenfoot 1.
Q: What was the Experience Hendrix project like for you?
A: I had a great time playing with all the super players on that tour. Playing Hendrix music is cathartic for me. I love Jimi’s music.
Q: What did you think about Nicki Minaj sampling “Always With Me, Always With You”?
A: Nicki and her producer asked for permission to use part of my composition “Always …” in their song “Right Thru Me.” So I am listed and compensated as a co-writer. I love what Nicki did with the song, she is a great talent.
Q: How did you get involved with Sound Strike, what’s the status of the movement?
A: We are waiting to see what the Supreme (Court) has to say about SB 1070 (the Arizona law). I am hoping they find it unconstitutional, and prevent its implementation. If not, I will end my boycott of the state and try to change their minds by showing up and making a lot of noise.