Joe Satriani Responds to Ritchie Blackmore’s Criticism
He wasn't in the lineup long, but Joe Satriani's brief fill-in stint with Deep Purple after Ritchie Blackmore left the group made him a part of the band's history — and left him open to a bit of mild criticism from Blackmore that recently resurfaced and has since drawn a response from Satriani.
As previously reported, Blackmore's official YouTube channel recently posted a clip of archival interview footage with the guitarist, in which he looked back on his departure from Deep Purple with evident relief — and offered his opinion on Satriani, who subbed for the dates remaining on the 1993 tour during which Blackmore quit the lineup, as well as Steve Morse, who joined after Satriani returned to his solo career and remains with the group today.
"Joe Satriani is a brilliant player, but I never see him really searching for notes; I never hear him playing a wrong note," Blackmore observed. "Jimi Hendrix used to play lots of wrong notes because he was searching all the time ... and when he did find that right note, wow, that was incredible. If you're always playing the correct notes, there's something wrong; you're not searching, you're not reaching for anything. But that's not to say that he isn't a very brilliant player."
You could definitely say worse things about a person, but as compliments go, it was somewhat backhanded — something Satriani took in stride when the subject came up during a visit to Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon, which you can listen to below. "It's unfortunate when somebody that you look up to has something negative to say about you," he admitted. "That part will always hurt. I wouldn't hide my feelings about that."
That being said, Satriani went on to point out that he's been criticized for doing exactly the opposite of the things Blackmore accused him of doing — and after this many years of playing in public, it's ultimately impossible to keep doing what you do if you take any of these statements personally.
"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," Satriani added. "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."