Joe Satriani Shares The Problem He Confronted While Touring With Deep Purple

During a recent interview with VWMusic, Joe Satriani stated that deciding whether to put his spin on Ritchie Blackmore or merely play what he did was one of the problems he confronted while touring with Deep Purple.

Deep Purple’s founding member Ritchie Blackmore left the band during their 25th-anniversary tour in 1993 after a turbulent time with the rest of the band. The turning point in his ever-worsening relationship with the band was their England show during the same tour. Although the concert began, Blackmore didn’t take the stage with the rest of Deep Purple and forced them to start without him.

The guitarist officially quit the band four shows later, although they had some remaining show dates. Thus, Deep Purple had to find an immediate replacement to complete the tour. They were forced to bring in Joe Satriani to finish a series of dates in Japan. Deep Purple also asked the guitarist to be a permanent member after the successful shows, yet Satriani declined the offer since he wanted to try different things.

During a recent interview, Joe Satriani reflected on the problem he confronted while touring with Deep Purple at the time. He was initially asked about the rumored Van Halen tribute tour and what would be his decision on playing Eddie Van Halen’s licks straight or putting his own spin on them if it was to happen. The guitarist revealed that he experienced a similar problem while playing with Deep Purple.

Playing with a band was an unusual experience for Satriani since he had worked on his solo material for years. He was undecided on whether to put his own spin on Ritchie Blackmore or merely play what he did before. He had to make a tough decision at this point. He knows every player has a distinctive technique, so he didn’t know how to work on it.

In Joe Satriani’s words, the problem he experienced while touring with Deep Purple:

“I had a similar experience when I was touring with Deep Purple back in ’93 and ’94, and I was confronted with the same thing. I’d been comfortably doing my own stuff for years, and all of a sudden, I had to think about that very question, ‘Do I put my own spin on Ritchie Blackmore? Or do I pay my respects by just trying to nail what he did?’

I had to pick and choose because there’s always something idiomatic about a player that will hit you like a brick wall. It’ll be one goofy little technique that only they can do, and even they don’t know why. It’s just something that they developed, and they leaned on it a lot, and it might be the one thing that you’re weak at. It’s one of those funny things, like, if you had to replace Ian Gillan, how would you do those screams? How would you sing ‘Child In Time?’

You might be a great singer, but you may not have that high scream. It’s the same thing with Sammy Hagar, those high vocals, and there are plenty of amazing singers out there, but very few can do what Sammy was really great at. How do you work around that? With Eddie, there are a couple of things that came naturally to him that don’t come naturally to other players.”

It is one of the things that makes Joe Satriani think about a possible Van Halen tribute tour in the upcoming days. He believes although he can play most of the stuff Eddie Van Halen did, there are still some inimitable things that were special to him.