Joe Satriani says that, as with most of his solo albums, he was "surrounded with anxiety" as he started making "Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards," which comes out Oct. 5.
"I start every project wondering if it's all going to come together or not, and you never know," the guitar virtuoso and Chickenfoot member tells Billboard.com. "Every time you write a new song, or you successfully complete arranging one you've already written, it's a big deal. You take this big step forward towards completing the project. I didn't get a handle on this [album] until late May, when I was really late handing over demos to the guys. But all of a sudden it sort of came together, and I felt really pleased with how it was going."
Satriani says several of the songs on "Black Swans and the Wormhole Wizards" have some history behind them. The first single, "Light Years Away," and the album-opening "Premonition" were both considered for Chickenfoot's first album. "God is Crying" was written for 2008's "Professor Satchafunkilus and the Musterion of Rock" but was "voted off" by his collaborators, even though Satriani "thought they were crazy...But sure enough, this time around I re-wrote it and got it more crystallized, and it's a real shining moment on this album."
"Wind in the Trees," meanwhile, is a song Satriani started writing when he was in high school. "I tried it on a few records but it never took off," he recalls. "This time around, everything was working really well...I was able to really bring the songs to the band and say, 'Let's try this.' It's just two chords and a bunch of guitar harmonies, very laid back, and this time I had a band that understood it and could really do it."
Satriani starts touring to support "Black Swans and the Wormhole Wizards" on Oct. 16 in Dublin, Ireland, with the first of two North American legs commencing on Dec. 1 in Atlanta, Ga. Meanwhile, the second Chickenfoot album looms; Satriani says he's outfitted frontman Sammy Hagar with "about 10 demos" of tracks so far, and the quartet -- which also includes Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony -- plans to start recording in late January and early February, with a hoped-for early summer release and possibly some summer tour dates, depending on Smith's Chili Peppers commitments.
"It's not different than it was last time," Satriani says with a laugh. "It was insane trying to put it together, and I believe it will be just as crazy this time. But I'm sure it will work out, and if anything it makes us more appreciative of the time we do get to play with each other."