Joe Satriani says that “it’s unfortunate” that Ritchie Blackmore would say anything negative about his guitar playing.
The CHICKENFOOT guitarist, who played with DEEP PURPLE after Blackmore decided to leave the band for good in 1993, made the remark in response to an apparently two-decade-old interview with Ritchie which was posted earlier this month in audio format on the current RAINBOW leader’s official YouTube channel. In that interview, Ritchie referred to Satriani as “a brilliant player” but criticized him for “never really searching for notes” or “playing a wrong note.” Blackmore added: “If you’re always playing the correct notes, there’s something wrong — you’re not searching, you’re not reaching for anything.”
During an appearance on the latest installment of the “Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon”, Satriani was asked for his reaction to Blackmore‘s comments.
“Well, it’s unfortunate when somebody that you look up to has something negative to say about you,” Joe said (hear audio below). “So that part will always hurt. I wouldn’t hide my feelings about that.
“I get criticized on both sides of the fence for the opposite offenses,” he continued. “And I don’t quite understand it other than most of the time, when someone has criticism, it’s because they’re challenged and they feel that they have to strike out. So I get it — I understand why he would have to say something negative. I can kind of laugh at it, because I’m not like that myself. I tend to just look at the positive of another musician and focus on that.”
In Blackmore‘s original interview, which was apparently conducted in 1997, he stated about Satriani and current DEEP PURPLE guitarist Steve Morse: “I’m just glad they [DEEP PURPLE] found a guitar player to carry on because I thought I was going to be shackled to this band for the rest of my life. It was like a ball-and-chain thing, and luckily, they said, ‘Well, we found someone.’ ‘Thank God, I can get out!’
“I haven’t listened much [to DEEP PURPLE‘s recent recordings]. I just know that Joe Satriani and Steve Morse are brilliant players. I remember Steve Morse with the DIXIE DREGS; they’re fantastic.
“I think what you mean is that certain people play from the heart and other people play from the head. I prefer a heart player, I prefer someone like a blues player, like Jeff Healey. Jeff Healey I think is tremendous.
“If I hear someone really technical running up and down a fingerboard, I can hear that for a couple of minutes and then I start to kind of get bored and think of other things, like playing football or something. But I do like to hear someone reaching for something, not quite making it and then sometimes they do make it.
“Joe Satriani is a very polished player — almost too polished; that’s what worries me sometimes. But it’s different strokes for different folks, as an enemy of mine used to say — which is such a corny thing. Some people are into that head music, that head technique; some people are into the heart technique; some people are into blues technique.
“I personally am into the minstrel technique — if I hear someone playing a lute or playing a crumhorn, it just moves me, I don’t know why. Guitar players I find kind of boring — and that’s not meant as a dig. I find myself boring.
“I think the main objective is to move people, make people think in their heart. I personally am not interested in appealing to other musicians. To me, it’s more inspiring to move someone who doesn’t know anything about music, but has a feel. They can say, ‘I don’t know what you’re doing, but I just feel that’s something there.’ That, to me, is an incredible compliment, as opposed to, ‘Well, you’ve just run up and down the fingerboard. That’s wonderful, very fast.’ All that means is I’ve just practiced the hell out of the guitar and I’m not really saying anything. I’m going from A to B, but not seeing anything on the way.”