Joe SatrianiJoe Satriani

Joe Satriani first came to prominence as a "guitar teacher to the stars," with Steve Vai, Metallica's Kirk Hammett and Counting Crows' David Bryson spreading kudos as pupils. Soon, however, the teacher had become renowned on his own, following the 1987 release of his platinum-selling "Surfing With the Alien." Although he's spent time filling in as a member of noted bands (Deep Purple) and as a sideman for other stars (Mick Jagger, Alice Cooper), Satriani tours almost every year with G3, a concert tour he founded that partners him with two other renowned six-stringers, from Queen's Brian May to Journey's Neal Schon.

"That would be the Malaysian show. ... It (started) four hours late, so we went on at four in the morning. And it was in this stadium that holds 100,000 people. But it was raining so there were only about 2,000 people there. Before us there was Jethro Tull, there was Sugar Ray ... Toto -- just the weirdest group of bands ever. It was a two-day festival. Anyway, someone wakes me up at 3:30 a.m. and says, 'You're going on at 4 a.m.'

"So I get down there, I'm in the middle of the second song -- which is 'Satch Boogie' -- and the (Malaysian) army comes onstage with machine guns. They threaten to put us in jail unless we stop immediately. So I put down my guitar, I picked up my backpack and I left the stadium.

"I have no idea (why they needed me to stop), but I didn't argue. When you're in a country like that and they show up onstage with weapons -- you know I came packed because I knew from experience that sometimes you gotta be ready. So I literally put on my backpack and gave my guitar to my tech.

"I said, 'Put it in the case and come with me now.'

"Then we got in a car and left, and three hours later I was at the airport flying home."

— Joe Satriani


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