Joe Satriani’s ‘Subversive’ Tricks for Surviving Chickenfoot Rehearsals
In an interview with Music Radar on the theme of musicians returning to live performance, the guitarist reflected on his experience of working with Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith in the currently-dormant supergroup.
“Some of these ideas are fairly subversive,” Satriani said, “but I’ve learned over time that sometimes the best way to get something accomplished is to not let people know what you're doing.” He added: “Of course, that might be a problem now!”
One of his key suggestions was to “show up really late.” He explained: “[T]he band can't rehearse without you. So let them have their time to do whatever. Then you can walk in, unpack your guitar, look at everybody and go, 'Are we ready?' You might get these, 'Well, we're waiting for you' looks for a few seconds, but chances are they'll be glad you finally showed up and they'll be more than fired up to start playing.”
Despite that, he also said it was best to “make sure your singer is the last to arrive,” reporting: “[T]he truth is, you really want your singer to be the last guy to walk in the door – especially if that singer is Sammy Hagar! Singers get bored very easily. And if they're not playing an instrument, this compounds itself. If you're still setting up your gear, before you know it your singer is going to be in another room, he's going to making phone calls, he'll be outside… You don't want to be roaming around saying, 'Now, he was just here a minute ago…’”
Satriani added: “So have your act together. Have your gear set up and ready to go so that the minute your singer walks in the door, all he has to do is start singing. And as soon as you think you've had enough rehearsal, let the singer leave – because he's going to get bored again when you start fiddling around with your equipment. And trust me, you'll definitely fiddle with your equipment!”