Joe Satriani Looks Back On The Time He Worked For The Mafia

During a recent interview with Classic Rock, Joe Satriani reflected on the time when he was a young musician who was working at a club in Long Island. Apparently, the guitarist was tricked by his agent at the time and worked for the mafia without even realizing it.

For those of you who may not know, Joe Satriani was determined to be a guitarist at the young age of 14 when he found out about the death of Jimi Hendrix. From that on, the future icon started practicing music with jazz guitarist Billy Bauer and jazz pianist Lennie Tristano.

After he was sufficient enough, Satriani himself began teaching guitar and had many future legends as his student including Steve Vai, Kirk Hammett, and Alex Skolnick. While he was teaching, he also attended Five Towns College for studies in music.

When it was his time to pursue a music career, the guitarist moved to California and started playing in a San Francisco-based band called Squares. From that on, the musician released a number of monumental albums including ‘Flying in a Blue Dream,’ ‘Surfing With The Alien,’ and ‘Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards’ as a solo guitarist.

Long before moving to California and becoming one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Joe Satriani perfected his guitar playing at bars in New York where he was born and raised. Around this time, the musician was about 16-17 years old and experienced one of the most terrifying incidents that a teenager can face.

According to his statement during a recent interview, Satriani decided to work with a local booking agent since he was young, at the age of 18. The agent and his friends looked like stereotypical mafias which scared the teen musician at first and look humorous now looking back.

Regardless of their appearances, the musician worked with them without asking too many questions. He rehearsed at a club in Long Island with his band, and they often heard bottles being smashed at the end of the night, rather than seeing fans at the venue.

It was then they realized something was going on other than music. In fact, they were a part of a mafia house that used Joe Satriani’s band as a cover to their scam. After everything was found out, his agent went to prison for his crimes whereas Satriani had to find himself a new place to perform.

In the interview, Satriani said:

“I started playing in bars around New York when I was 16 years old, and I signed up with a local booking agent when I was 18. He and his friends were straight out of mafia movie typecasting, and if it hadn’t been so scary it was kinda comical. It was the underbelly of the music business and you didn’t ask questions.

We rehearsed at a club in Long Island which no one ever came to, but at the end of every night we’d hear the sound of hundreds of bottles of booze being smashed, and I realized that we were the house band for a money-laundering scam. My agent eventually went to jail and I started thinking, ‘I need to find a new gig!'”

Although the entire experience must have been intimidating for the young musician, it’s fair to say that he dodged the bullet. He could have been involved in the whole scam without actually having a fault, or got hurt when got in the way of those mafias. Fortunately, the whole incident turned into a distant and funny memory for Satriani now.