Pop Quiz: Joe Satriani

Aidin Vaziri | While his lawyers were hashing it out with Coldplay in court, contending the hit “Viva La Vida” borrowed liberally from his track “If I Could Fly,” guitarist Joe Satriani was keeping busy on the road. Between touring with his supergroup Chickenfoot and the Experience Hendrix tribute show, he managed to record a new solo album, “Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards.” The 54-year-old San Francisco transplant (he’s originally from New York) plays the Fox Theater in Oakland on Thursday. We spoke with him by phone from a tour stop in Denver.

Joe Satriani
Q: You did the Experience Hendrix tour. For a guitarist of your stature, isn’t that kind of like going back to kindergarten?
A: I thought that it would be a good cathartic experience to finally do what I had avoided for so many years. I was so crazy about Hendrix when I was young, I would never play it in front of people. When this opportunity came up, I felt like I had to open it up and share it with people. It helped me collect all my thoughts and writings for the new record.
Q: It’s a pretty complex record. Did you make it in reaction to dumbing things down for Chickenfoot?
A: There was just so much leading up to me writing and recording this record. From the inside looking out, the stuff I listen to in the morning on any random day is as big an influence as the stuff I do that you might see on YouTube.
Q: Do you remember the last time you went a whole day without picking up a guitar?
A: Yes, because it was earlier this week in Chicago. We had just played six days in a row, we had a video shoot and then we had a day off. My hand was killing me, and I didn’t want to play guitar at all. So I had a good day just listening to music.
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