JOE SATRIANI: Why I Decided Against Joining DEEP PURPLE

Written by on May 4, 2022

Joe Satriani, who was drafted into DEEP PURPLE to complete Japanese dates in December 1993, and stayed on for a European summer tour in 1994 following the abrupt departure of founder Ritchie Blackmore, spoke to about his decision to decline a permanent position in the band. He explained: “I took my cue from those players that were laying the groundwork for the kind of stuff I do, like Jeff Beck. I saw the freedom that he had to play with interesting players that would inspire him to do different things. I thought that’s really great. I love watching him live and I love his albums and he keeps you guessing and he’s always progressing as a guitarist. He just keeps going forward. I love that attitude of just moving forward all the time. He’s not really hampered like a legacy band where they’re going to have to play their hits. Like when AEROSMITH goes out, they’re just going to have to play those songs that are their hits. They’ve got to play ‘Janie’s Got a Gun’, they’ve got to [play] ‘Dream On’. They can’t do a concert without it. But Jeff Beck really doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to do. [Laughs] He can say, ‘No, this is where I’m at right now. Check this out. No one else can do it. I can do it.’ [Laughs] I love that attitude. It’s a dangerous move. You miss all that input from a band and you miss the chance that you can go mainstream. It’s very difficult for Jeff Beck to go mainstream like AEROSMITH or any other pop band where you’re talking billions of streams and TV appearances and all the awards, that kind of stuff. However, everybody knows and respects Jeff Beck as a player, as a musician, as a composer, and they wouldn’t dream of him changing his attitude. We like him being the iconoclast that he is.

“I had that choice to make when [DEEP PURPLE bassist] Roger Glover asked me to join DEEP PURPLE,” Joe continued. “I just thought, I’m Joe from Long Island. I don’t belong in this British royalty metal band. I knew I just didn’t belong. I was a big fan of Ritchie Blackmore and I thought I’ll never be able to rectify it. I’ll always feel guilty that I have to copy Ritchie and I didn’t want to do that.

“I’ve had friends who’ve had successful turns replacing famous people in bands,” Satriani added. “But I remember what they would always say at the end of it. I remember Steve Vai telling me once, ‘Joe, if you can avoid it, don’t ever replace anybody famous in a band because the fans — they never let you forget it. You’re always compared to the first guy, the original guy.’ So I thought I’m going to take the chance. I’ve got a good relationship with my fans, and we’ll stick together and try to just make better and better albums.”

Last month, Satriani praised DEEP PURPLE for hiring fill-in guitarist Simon McBride to step in for Steve Morse, calling the Irish player’s recruitment “a great call” by the band. Satriani made his comments while speaking to Eonmusic about new album “The Elephants Of Mars”, which was released on April 8.

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