Joe Satriani Forced To Change "Surfing With The Alien” Cover

December 2, 2019
Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani isn’t a guy that regularly sells out the big arenas like other bands in the late 80’s. He was more of a theater sized act. Thing is, if you were a fan of Van Halen, Van Hagar, Aerosmith, Metallica, etc, you probably cranked that Satriani album in the car and found yourself at one of his concerts. That album, “Surfing with the Aliens”, out in 1987, is getting the deluxe edition treatment and was launched as a limited run, 3,500 copies, for Record Store Day, last Black Friday.  There’s a couple of tidbits about this release I’d like to share with you.

First..The album cover. It appears the comic world's Silver Surfer, is owned and licensed by Marvel and the price to use it has been going way up. So they opted for a new cover. Joe describes the cover, “Seeing my guitar bursting through a multicolor wormhole seemed quite fitting. It’s as if it always belonged there.” 

Secondly, It will also contain a “stripped” version of the album, with all his solos and melodies removed. Huh? Joe didn’t like the idea at first because, “I didn’t want to reveal what I always thought should stay a secret.”  he continued, “ When I build a track  from scratch it’s a kind of musical alchemy, mixture of voodoo, mojo, blood, sweat, tears, prayers...a lot of hard work.” (Hey EXACTLY like me and blogs! ahhh nope).  You see BUILD is the key word. In the early days the engineer would try and take an audio snapshot of the band playing live in the studio. Just try and capture exactly what they’re playing and don’t blow the recording process. “Distortion...Hum?’ “Okay..Take 58! 1,2 3 4!”  

In the mid-late 60’s, multi track recording became possible and allowed you layer in tracks and pieces separately. Sort lot like the difference between an audio snapshot, compared to painting with sound. Another advantage of this stripped version is that you can grab a guitar and play along, record that, and bore your friends with endless playbacks at parties!