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Hear Joe Satriani’s ‘San Francisco Blue’ From His New Album: Exclusive Premiere

Joe Satriani opens another intriguing chapter of his career with the release of Shockwave Supernova, his 15th studio album, which will be released on July 24. Ultimate Classic Rock presents the exclusive premiere of “San Francisco Blue” from the new LP. You can listen to it above.

As is often the case with many of Satriani’s projects, the initial inspiration for the Shockwave Supernova album came from an interesting place. During the touring cycle for his previous album, Unstoppable Momentum, Satriani found himself playing guitar with his teeth more and more as the tour progressed.

“I was playing more with Mike Keneally, like the two of us would be out there just freely jamming all of the time, trading solos,” Satriani tells Ultimate Classic Rock. “He’s so damn good that I sometimes I just wind up answering back some crazy lead [by] playing with my teeth. So, as we’re winding up and getting to the end of this long tour, I start to notice that my teeth did not feel the same anymore. My front two teeth were feeling like someone had been scraping the tips off, and I thought, ‘Well, I know who’s been doing that.’ It’s this alter-ego, whoever takes over when I’m onstage and is willing to do something stupid just to make the moment more fun and rock ‘n’ roll.”

Satriani says he hung out in Singapore for about a week after the tour ended and started to think about “that whole process and how humorous it was.” “I had been collecting all of this material for the album, and it started to dawn on me that the music I was writing really could be tied to the idea that this alter ego of mine, who I then named ‘Shockwave Supernova,’” he recalls. “Of course a personality like that would insist on some ridiculous name like that. I thought the record has to be the story about how the real person, Joe, wrestles with this guy and says, ‘You know what? It’s time for you to move on.’”

But as Satriani reveals, his buddy Shockwave wasn’t going anywhere — the story continued to develop in the guitarist’s mind. “Shockwave goes through all of this reminiscing and soul searching about his whole career, represented by all of the different kinds of material on the record, and then in the end he realizes he’s not being retired, he’s not dying — he’s actually being reborn into something better — and that’s what the last track is all about,” he says. “You have to imagine that every time I’d think about this, I’d get excited and then I’d go, ‘Oh, I must be out of my mind. This is ridiculous.’”

Testing the waters, Satriani ran the idea past a few people, starting with his wife before he presented the concept to his record company. Everybody who heard the idea gave it a thumbs up, says Satriani.

“I got the green light to do this 15-song epic project, and I’m so happy they let me do it,” he says. “It was so liberating to be able to have such a huge canvas to work with this time. It just allowed me to play more and show people all of the different sides of my playing and what I’ve been working on and what I’ve been developing. So from a guitar player’s point of view, it was a never-ending festival that I was at the center of.”

“San Francisco Blue” comes from a huge batch of about 100 songs that Satriani wrote during a period when he was sidelined with the H1N1 virus. The veteran guitarist made the best of the situation and got creative with his unexpected free time. “I kind of wrote a Chickenfoot album during that period, but a lot of that material now is headed toward being used for my sci-fi animated series Crystal Planet,” he says. “It’s really interesting sometimes when you write, you don’t really know where it’s going to end up or how it’s going to get used. That was a crazy period — every day, all I could do was sit with my guitar and play — that was about all of the energy I had. But it turned out to be a very creative period.”

Satriani will return to the road for a Shockwave Supernova world tour, which will launch in France in September. More dates are currently scheduled through early November, with additional shows to be announced later.

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