Home » Mick Jagger and the Guitarist Dilemma: Joe Satriani Acknowledges It Wasn’t the Perfect Match

Mick Jagger and the Guitarist Dilemma: Joe Satriani Acknowledges It Wasn’t the Perfect Match

In an interview with Ultimate Guitar, Joe Satriani opened up about his initial uncertainty regarding his role as a guitarist alongside Mick Jagger. Satriani, known for avoiding emulation of other guitarists’ styles, sought guidance from Jagger on which of the numerous guitarists he had collaborated with he should draw inspiration from. Reflecting on this period of uncertainty, Satriani shared:

“When I entered the national or worldwide scene, playing with Mick Jagger, I had my doubts about being the right fit for the gig—at least that’s what I thought. You know, I had already distanced myself from the idea of imitating those types of players. I’ve loved the Stones since childhood but deliberately avoided copying the likes of Keith Richard or any lead guitar players featured.”

In response to Satriani’s inquiry, Jagger advised him to express his own style. Satriani elaborated on the conversation:

“So there I am, suddenly standing next to Mick Jagger, thinking, ‘Hey Mick, do you want me to play the solo exactly like Keith did, or like Ronnie did, or Brian?’ And he’s like, ‘No, just do whatever you want, just get into the song and be yourself.’ And that’s how we roll.”

Preconceived Doubts: Satriani’s Uncertainty About Being the Right Fit for Jagger

Satriani’s doubt about being the right guitarist for Mick Jagger predates his actual involvement with the legendary singer. During his 1987 ‘Surfing with the Alien’ tour, despite achieving success with his record and garnering attention from MTV, Satriani faced challenges securing profitable gigs. In the midst of this struggle, a former agent surprised him with an unexpected offer—an audition for Mick Jagger’s solo band. Despite his reservations, Satriani embraced the opportunity.

This collaboration proved pivotal for Satriani, leading him to cancel less profitable tour dates and spend the next two months closely working with Jagger in New York and Japan. Reflecting on this challenging period in a 2022 interview on the Tone Talk Youtube channel, Satriani shared:

“I got a call from a former agent who said, ‘Hey, how would you like to go audition for Mick Jagger’s solo band?’ And we laughed for about a minute because we knew that I wasn’t the right guy for it. But, you got to go, right? You just got to check it out. And so I went to NYC, I had a gig there, at The Bottom Line. Anyway, before I landed in NYC, the day before I do the audition, I get the gig, I invite Mick to come and play at the show, just as a joke, just to come and jam.”

To everyone’s surprise, Mick accepted the invitation, and, despite the intimate venue, joined Satriani on stage to perform “Red House” by Jimi Hendrix. This unexpected turn of events marked a transformative moment for Satriani. He continued:

“He says, ‘Yes,’ he shows up, and to the shock of everybody there, he jumps on stage, and he does ‘Red House’ (by Jimi Hendrix) with us. It was really, really amazing. And things did start to change from there.”

For the full details, you can watch the complete interview on the Ultimate Guitar channel, where Joe Satriani discusses his time playing for Mick Jagger.

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