When Ritchie Blackmore Slammed Joe Satriani’s Guitar Playing

Deep Purple is one of those bands who have experimented with numerous line-ups throughout their music career, spanning nearly four decades. Their former band members include eight musicians such as Glenn Hughes, David Coverdale, and Rod Evans. The English band has also worked with several musicians while touring, some of which never officially made it to the line-up.

One of those people is Joe Satriani, who replaced the founding member Ritchie Blackmore in 1993. Although his tenure with the band was successful, he declined the offer to become a permanent member. While the band members were satisfied with Satriani’s guitar playing just like their fans, Blackmore wasn’t impressed with his skills, as he once revealed.

Joe Satriani Replaced Ritchie Blackmore

For those who may not know, Joe Satriani joined Deep Purple as a temporary replacement of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore during the band’s tour in Japan in late 1993. Since the performances were successful, Satriani was asked to join the band as a permanent member.

What initially appeared as a great opportunity was declined by the guitarist since he had signed a multi-album solo deal with Sony. While Steve Morse took the guitarist duties in Deep Purple, Satriani collaborated with numerous members of the band, such as bassist Glenn Hughes and vocalist Ian Gillan, in the following years.

Did Ritchie Blackmore Like Joe Satriani?

During an interview on his official YouTube channel back in 2018, Ritchie Blackmore opened up about his replacements, especially Joe Satriani. According to him, Satriani plays the guitars too perfectly, which means he doesn’t search for brilliance in the mistakes.

In addition, Blackmore said that some guitarists play from the heart, whereas some play it using their heads. If you ask him, Satriani plays the guitar ‘from the head,’ which makes the performance dull. He went on to add that he prefers those who play with their hearts, such as Jeff Healey and John Mayer.

In his words, Blackmore said:

“Joe Satriani is a brilliant player, but I never see him really searching for notes; I never hear him playing a wrong note. Jimi Hendrix used to play lots of wrong notes because he was searching all the time – ‘Where the hell is that correct note?!’ And when he did find that right note – wow, that was incredible.

If you’re always playing the correct notes, there’s something wrong – you’re not searching, you’re not reaching for anything. But that’s not to say that he isn’t a very brilliant player. It’s the same thing with Steve Morse, a fantastic player.

I’m just glad Deep Purple found a guitar player to carry on because I thought I was going to be shackled to this band for the rest of my life. It was like a ball-and-chain thing, and luckily they said, ‘Well, we found someone.’ ‘Thank God, I can get out!'”

He continued:

“I think what you mean is that certain people play from the heart and other people play from the head. I prefer a heart player, I prefer someone like a blues player, like Jeff Healey. Jeff Healey I think is tremendous. I think the John Mayer guy is great too. People like that, I prefer.

If I hear someone really technical running up and down a fingerboard, I can hear that for a couple of minutes and then I start to kind of get bored and think of other things like playing football or something. But I do like to hear someone reaching for something, not quite making it, and then sometimes they do make it.”

You can watch the interview down below.