Joe Satriani Says ‘The Extremist’ Album Blended His Painting Career Into Music

During a recent interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Joe Satriani looked back on when his interest in drawing and painting started to intertwine with his music career. Apparently, the two talents started blending together during the creation process of his album entitled ‘The Extremist.’

‘The Extremist’ is the fourth studio album of guitarist Joe Satriani, released on July 21, 1992. The album is one of Satriani’s most popular releases and his highest-charting to date, reaching No. 22 on the U.S. Billboard 200 in addition to remaining on that chart for 28 weeks. The record also reached the top 50 in six other countries. As for its singles, three of them reached Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Chart, ‘Summer Song‘ being No. 5, ‘Friends’ being No. 12, and ‘Cryin’ peaking at No. 24.

In addition to releasing such successful albums, Joe Satriani has also been interested in painting and sketching. In fact, the guitarist even published a well-received 2013 art book entitled ‘Joe’s Art,’ which featured a number of his favorite sketches. The musician is so good at his art that his work will now be showcased at an art exhibition in conjunction with the Wentworth Gallery, opening Friday in Hollywood. The name of his exhibition is ‘Joe Satriani: Beyond Reality,‘ and it features original canvas art and hand-painted guitars.

His passions may be two different forms of art, but Joe Satriani found a way to combine them while making ‘The Extremist.’ During the recording of the ‘Extremist,’ which lasted about two years, the guitarist also spent a great deal of his time painting, as he revealed during an interview. After those sketches ended up on the album and CD booklet, some of Satriani’s were used on the merchandise, tour t-shirts, guitar picks, and the guitar strapline.

When asked about the beginning of his interest in art, Satriani said:

“I could draw crazy-looking things, but straight lines and perfect circles eluded me. I was encouraged nonetheless to join in anytime. We all created quite a lot of crazy art growing up. I just kept doing it, and it didn’t really creep into my music career until ‘The Extremist’ album.

I had a lot of time on my hands. I was spending a lot of time just living at Le Parc Hotel in Hollywood while I was trying to finish up the album. I was sketching all of the time, and eventually, those sketches wound up in the album and CD booklet.”

He continued:

“Skipping ahead a little bit, some of my drawings wound up on the merchandise, tour t-shirts, things like that, and then guitar picks. The guitar strapline with D’Addario / Planet Waves and getting all of that out there. We just started to grow that. Then, I was getting into digital art, where I would make sketches from my sketchbook.

I’d scan them, and then I’d put them in the computer and manipulate them. As an experiment, I made a book in 2013 and I put all of those drawings in this artbook, just to see if people would react differently when they saw them in a book. They did. It was really interesting to see that happen.”

While many rock stars have several interests other than their music career, they don’t often bring those two worlds together. In Satriani’s case, he happens to have the gift for combining his musical and drawing talent to create products his fans love to see.