Joe Satriani

Shockwave Supernova

(Legacy Recordings/Sony Music Entertainment)

Now I had heard of Joe Satriani because of the music super-group Chickenfoot  (which includes singer Sammy Hagar, bassist Michael Anthony (Van Halen), and drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chilli Peppers). Satriani’s musical career spans over two decades and has seen him travel the world as a solo performer and as part of the all-star ‘G3’ guitar extravaganza, release fourteen albums with four of them becoming gold discs and two platinum and have a grand total of fifteen Grammy nominations between them.

Well Joe has returned with his fifteenth studio album ‘Shockwave Supernova’ which was recorded late last year at Skywalker Sound in Lucas Valley CA and co-produced  by co-producer and engineer John Cuniberti, a pairing which is not unfamiliar with fans of Satriani’s earlier albums ‘Not Of This Earth’ and the critically-acclaimed ‘Surfing with the Alien’.

For the album, Satriani gathered a dynamic trio of world-class musicians who he had previously toured with him; renowned keyboardist and guitarist Mike Keneally, drummer Marco Minnemann and bassist Bryan Beller.

The opening title track has crisp drumming throughout and the electric guitar sounds very country rock which reminds me of artists like Seasick Steve. However, the guitar twang waves in and out around the sci-fi keyboards. It is a punchy opener and I wouldn’t be surprised if he opens with it on his European & UK Tour dates in the autumn.

‘Lost In A Memory’ is beautifully executed and creates pictures in the mind of flying across galaxies. I completely understand that Joe Satriani is an instrumentalist but I think this song is calling out for some lyrics.

‘Crazy Joey’ is one of the tracks that has a change to the lineup with has esteemed drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (Frank Zappa, Sting, Jeff Beck, Paul Simon) and Jane’s Addiction bassist Chris Chaney getting into it. The piece really swings and it makes me think of summer holidays. However, although all of the musicians are technically skilled the song seems a bit too repetitive to me.

‘In My Pocket’ really showcases the abilities of Keneally  and the harmonica is a really cool touch but at this point I feel like that the tracks potentially run the risk of merging into one thus becoming quite formulaic.

‘On Peregrine Wings’ has a tight rhythm section but seems quite stationary in terms of the song as a whole.

‘Cataclysmic’ is the type of song you’d expect to hear at a Within Temptation concert and it is that heavy rock sound that this album needed . My favourite track is ‘San Francisco Blue’ because the guitar is fluid and it is one of the few songs you could actually dance to. Also, as soon as this song came on my CD player the sun came out as I was typing.

‘All Of My Life’ has a laidback funk vibe with stunning percussion whilst ‘A Phase I’m Going Through’ is quite wiry and doesn’t stay still at all.

‘Scarborough Stomp’ hears the return of Colaiuta and Chaney and it sounds like it could be quite commercially successful as it does stick in your head. ‘Butterfly and Zebra’ is an airy number and allows to hear Satriani’s softer playing. I am glad this is on the album because it shows us the different tones of his playing.

‘If There Is No Heaven’ puts his time with Sting to good use as to me, all I can hear in this track is The Police. The penultimate song ‘Stars Race Across The Sky’ has a smooth delivery and I read that Joe Satriani had an epiphany during the final performance of his two-year Unstoppable Momentum in which he asked himself why he played guitar with his teeth. It is that self-realisation that has allowed him to record gems like this.

Closer ‘Goodbye Supernova’ is clever because on one hand it has the feeling that something is about to end but because of the first-class musicianship you also find yourself wondering if you have pressed track one by mistake as it also sounds like it is just the beginning.

In conclusion, ‘Shockwave Supernova’ does have quite a few stand out moments including ‘San Francisco Blue’, ‘Scarborough Stomp’ and ‘Stars Race Across The Sky’. However, I did find myself getting a bit tired of a couple of the earlier tracks as they just sounded to similar. I am excited about his autumn tour though and this release has made me want to see Joe Satriani in a live setting.  If you like your science-fiction soundtrack music or if you are just a fan of technically skilled electric guitar than this is one cosmic musical journey you don’t want to miss.

Glenn Sargeant


Shockwave Supernova packshot

Joe Satriani’s new album “Shockwave Supernova” is released by Sony Music/Legacy and is out now. For more information visit:

His 9-date UK tour with special guest Dan Patlansky kicks off at the O2 Manchester Apollo on November 1st. Tickets:


Sunday 1st November 2015

Box Office: 08444 777 677
Tickets: £38.00 / £34.50
Stockport Road, Higher Ardwick, Manchester, M12 6AP

Monday 2nd November
Box Office: 0121 780 3333 / 0121 357 0000
Tickets: £38.00 / £34.50
Broad Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B1 2EA

Tuesday 3rd November
Box Office: 0141 353 8000
Tickets: £38.00 / £34.50
2 Sauciehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3NY

Wednesday 4th November
Box Office: 01142 789 789
Tickets: £38.00 / £34.50
Sheffield City Hall, Barkers Pool, Sheffield, S1 2JA

Thursday 5th November
Box Office: 029 2087 8444
Tickets: £38.00 / £34.50
The Hayes, Cardiff, CF10 1AH

Saturday 7th November
Box Office: 01702 351 135
Tickets: £38.00 / £34.50
Southend Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road
Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7RA

Sunday 8th November
Box Office: 0117 922 3686
Tickets: £38.00 / £34.50
Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5AR

Monday 9th November
Box Office: 02392 824 355
Tickets: £38.00 / £34.50
Portsmouth Guildhall, Guildhall Square,
Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2AB

Tuesday 10th November
Box Office: 0844 249 4300
Tickets: £38.00 / £34.50
London Eventim Hammersmith Apollo
45 Queen Caroline Street, London, W6 9QH

(Feature image by Stephen Fourie. Thanks to Peter for help with this review)