For My Sunday Song #122, the instrumental this week is “Satch Boogie” by my favorite guitarist Joe Satriani. The song is off his 1987 album ‘Surfing With the Alien’. This album was what I would compare all instrumental albums against. It was how an instrumental album should be and sound.
The songs should be that, songs. They don’t need to be just showcases of your shredding because that would get old, fast. The songs should be songs. They should tell a story, have melodies, a chorus even and just be awesome. Joe normally does just that. Makes a song. And sometimes, he just shows off and this one is him showing off and having fun. Heck, the name of the song is fun…”Satch Boogie”. And boogie he does.
Form the opening light touches of the high-hat to his frantic fret work, it is a shredding good time. There is technique Joe uses in the song called “pitch axis theory”. Thanks to wikipedia, it is the following:
Pitch axis theory is a musical technique used in constructing chord progressions. The tonic is used as the bass note, and melodic scales are chosen according to the chords that lie beneath them. “A variety of scales or modesare used, all built around the same tonic pitch.”
The song has been ranked as the 55th greatest guitar solo by Guitar World magazine and it might be higher for me. Joe’s solo is something to behold and it must be heard to be believed. His fingers are moving so fast and every note just fits so well together. Even though he is shredding a little more on this one, it is still a beautifully crafted song.
How did Joe come up with the song? Well according to an interview he did with Songfacts.com, it was the following:
Satriani: It was about two weeks before I was supposed to go out on tour with Jonas Hellborg – the Swedish bass player. I was going to Europe – this is back in like, November of ’86. I got in a car accident and got some whiplash, so I was sent home with one of those big neck collars and a nice bottle of pills.
I couldn’t really do much, so I just stayed home for a week, and as I sat with my guitar, I couldn’t look down at my guitar because of the neck brace. I was thinking, “I might as well just write some music as I’m sitting here,” and I had this crazy idea about what it would sound like if there was a horn section trying to play with Gene Krupa on the drums, as his set was falling down a flight of stairs. And I thought, “This is the kind of thing you only think of if you’re on painkillers and in a neck brace!”
So I wrote “Satch Boogie” with that image in my mind. It took a very long time to work that out, since I couldn’t look at the guitar neck because of the neck brace. I remember it vividly, that whole process.
Give it a listen and let me know what you think. I think it is amazing!