Written by Fumo Verde
I learned to surf in 1987, which was the same year I picked up a cassette of Surfing with the Alien and within the first thirty seconds of listening to it I was hooked. I’ve been surfing ever since and have listened to the album from time to time until my truck’s tape player ate my Workingman’s Dead, so when I got a chance to review the new digitally re-mastered CD, along with a DVD of Satriani performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival, I was super stoked.
Satriani has had a major influence on young guitarists around the world. Not only a great player of the guitar, he also teaches. His students have included Kirk Hammett of Metallica and Steve Vai. Surfing with the Alien has been called the quintessential guitar rock album of the ‘80s and for anyone interested in playing guitar they should pick this Legacy Edition and just listen, watch, and learn. Joe Satriani is a master musician and his one true passion is creating music with his guitar.
The title track opens up with rocket-like fury, as Satriani blasts off into the waves of the universe, dropping in deeper, carving harder, and getting shacked into tubes of cosmic forces. Contrast that with “Always with Me, Always with You” where Satriani slows it down as he lets the notes do the singing. This jam takes you away to a remote tropical island with sandy white beaches and intense colored sunsets. Next up is “Satch Boogie,” a jazzy jam that brings Satriani’s talents of his former teachers into play. He learned from some of the best, including jazz guitar great Billy Bauer and legendary pianist Lennie Tristano. The hard work and ceaseless enthusiasm Satriani brings to his art can be heard throughout Surfing with the Alien but to get a real idea of what he can do, you need to watch the DVD.