Joe Satriani Admits He Took Jeff Beck As An Example To Refuse Deep Purple’s Offer
During a recent conversation with Vintage Rock, Joe Satriani revealed that he followed Jeff Beck‘s lead in his decision to reject a permanent position within Deep Purple.
When Deep Purple launched their 25th-anniversary tour in 1993, the tension between the band’s guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and their frontman Ian Gillan increased. It also began negatively affecting the band’s shows. Blackmore couldn’t stand it anymore and left the band, although they had some remaining show dates. This departure put Deep Purple in a pretty tough situation.
During their Japanese tour, the group invited Joe Satriani as a temporary replacement for the former guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Satriani agreed to step in temporarily to complete the remaining tour dates. The shows went quite successfully. Thus, they asked the guitarist to be a permanent band member. However, Satriani declined the offer, and then Deep Purple hired Steve Morse to fill in the position.
In his latest interview, Joe Satriani reflected on his then-decision and revealed that Jeff Beck was influential in his rejection of Deep Purple. Beck has worked with various artists from different genres as one of the most respected guitarists in the rock scene. He wanted to be free in his decisions, just like Beck, and didn’t want to be stuck in the same band for years.
Satriani thinks that Jeff Beck has always progressed as a guitarist thanks to his bold decisions and courage to do different things. Maybe Beck doesn’t have any hit songs as Aerosmith has, but he is free to do whatever he wants on the stage. Although it is hard for him to go mainstream for Satriani, Beck will always be remembered as a respected guitar player.
About how he took Jeff Beck as an example in his Deep Purple decision, Satriani said:
“I took my cue from those players 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 was great. I love watching him live, and I love his albums. He keeps you guessing, and he’s always progressing as a guitarist. He 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’ and ‘Dream On.’ They can’t do a concert without it. But Jeff Beck doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to do. 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.'”
The guitarist continued:
“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, musician, and 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 Roger Glover asked me to join Deep Purple. I just thought, ‘I’m Joe from Long Island. I don’t belong in this British royalty metal band.’ I knew I 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.”
When he found the opportunity to join Deep Purple permanently, Joe Satriani felt that he didn’t belong there. He knew he wanted to pursue a different path in his music career. The guitarist also felt guilty about copying Ritchie Blackmore during his tenure within Deep Purple, although he was a big fan of Blackmore.