Unstoppable Momentum certainly isn't Joe Satriani's first trip to the record-making rodeo. Prior to the new album, the guitar superstar had already released 13 landmark solo studio recordings that changed the landscape of six-string-oriented music, including his multi-platinum effort from 1987, Surfing With The Alien. However, by the time he had completed his latest album, Satriani, one man with a guitar, sounding like one man with the universe, had created a rhapsodic journey that bursts with evocative, hauntingly beautiful harmonic depth and sonic surprises. Once he had the album's title song recorded, Satriani discovered that he had become intrigued by a two-word phrase that popped into his head: unstoppable momentum. "I was being carried away by this grand idea," he says, "and it seemed to have its way with me. I wanted to push some boundaries in my musicianship that maybe weren't the obvious ones. It's easy to play louder, faster, harder - that's like turning a knob up. But telling a story musically, that's the noble and artistic pursuit. Those two words spoke to everything I was feeling."
Satriani has been spreading such musical waters for a quarter century now, having moved 10 million albums and counting, he's now the biggest-selling instrumental rock guitarist of all time. (Satch's popularity isn't limited to rock alone: In 2010, hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj used a sample of Satriani's much-loved ballad "Always With Me, Always With You" as the basis for her Gold single, "Right Thru Me.") In addition to being a consistent sell-out solo performer, Satriani has also, since 1996, filled venues with his G3 concert tour - three hours-plus of music featuring Satch and a rotating cast of fellow guitar gods like Steve Vai, Eric Johnson and Steve Morse, among others, and there's even a supergroup - Chickenfoot , Satriani's all-star assemblage that includes singer Sammy Hagar, bassist Michael Anthony (Van Halen) and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), with two smash albums, with more, no doubt, on the way.
With so much going on, you'd think that Satriani might be looking to slow down, but he's now taking Unstoppable Momentum on the road. Regarding his longstanding status as a six-string king (he's won every rock guitar magazine award imaginable - multiple times, in fact), Satriani views the acclaim with an interesting perspective: "For me, the excitement of having music inside of me, and it's especially true on this album, goes beyond guitar playing," he says. "Guitar playing is fun, and it's physically thrilling like any crazy sport or artistic venture. Music engages my whole being. It's physical, it's the heart, the brain, the spirit and the emotions; everything's firing and you're lost in the moment; you sweat, you hyperventilate - everything goes into it, and you wind up exhausted at the end."