Listen to Joe Satriani’s ‘Headrush': Exclusive Premiere
“I think that ever since the first time we met each other, we knew that there was a future in our future,” Satriani tells Ultimate Classic Rock. “That we could possibly really hit it off and make some great music together.”
Turns out they were right, as fans will find out on Jan. 12, when Satriani’s 16th album, What Happens Next, is released. The LP features the guitar legend working with a power trio that includes Black Country Communion's Hughes on bass and Satriani's Chickenfoot bandmate Chad Smith on drums.
“He and Glenn together, the two of them, you know, that was the thing,” Satriani says. “When I started to get the idea of inviting Chad, I thought, ‘I bet he won’t do it unless I invite someone else that he can really relate to that will bridge the gap.’ Then I realized, on my list of favorite bass players who people hardly ever talk about in terms of bass playing, was Glenn Hughes. He’s just an amazing bass player, but he’s such an amazing singer that it sort of outshines his bass playing. Then I realized, ‘Wow, that’s right, they’ve done records together. If I can get them in the same city for a week, this is going to be very cool.’”
One of those new tracks, “Headrush,” finds Satriani and his bandmates locked in an intense jam. You can listen to the song, an exclusive premiere, above.
“I just can’t believe that we pulled that one off," Satriani says. "It’s crazy and it’s a schizophrenic song. It’s a full-tilt boogie, and then it turns into this sort-of country Southern rock thing in the middle. I didn’t know if that was going to work. The demo sounded really stupid. There was just this drum machine clicking along. So when I gave it to Chad, I said, ‘I don’t know how you’re going to do this, but somehow you’ve got to make it work. I want it to sound country-like.’ But I didn’t know really how to express it to him in drummer terms, so I just had to have faith that he would figure it out, and he gave it that thing that only Chad knows how to do.”
The limited time window they had spurred both excitement and uncertainty for the recording sessions. “I knew that Chad and I could get crazy in the studio, but I didn’t know if we could get it done,” Satriani notes. “We had the two Chickenfoot albums, and they were all done extremely fast. I thought, ‘Well, we’ll just do that. If I’m lucky enough to get him, I know it’s going to be like seven days and that’s it.’ Sure enough, he’s on tour with the Chili Peppers, he flies down after a gig in Vancouver or Seattle, and the next day he’s in Sunset Sound with me. The day before, Glenn Hughes was finishing up vocals on a Black Country Communion record and then he’s in the studio with me. So we kind of got together and said, ‘Okay, we’ve got seven days and we’ve got 12 songs, so let’s get busy.’ We captured that enthusiasm and energy that we cooked up between the three of us.”
Satriani has a busy 2018 ahead of him, with the the next installment of his annual G3 tour launching at the start of the new year, but he’s already looking forward to possibly collaborating with Hughes on another project. “Once I got over just being a super-fan of Glenn Hughes, we were able to really sit down and talk about what might we accomplish in the future sometime,” he says. “We’ve promised each other that we’re going to get together and see if we can write an album of vocal material.”