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Joe Satriani & Steve Vai – Which Band is Which?

SatchVai Tour

Joe Satriani  

Long time rock guitarist, Joe Satriani has lived quite the life. He has traveled the world, played to sold-out crowds, taught aspiring guitarists, and has been part of many music groups. After all, with six gold and platinum discs, more than 10 million recordings sold, and 16 Grammy nominations, who wouldn’t want Joe Satriani to play guitar for them?  

The Squares: The first band Satriani joined was The Squares, a popular new wave band based in San Francisco.  

The Greg Kihn Band: The next band Satriani played guitar for was The Greg Kihn Band. He toured with this pop-rock band while awaiting a deal decision from Relativity Records.  

Deep Purple: Satriani joined the band Deep Purple in 1993 as a temporary replacement for Ritchie Blackmore.  

G3: In 1996 Joe Satriani founded G3, a group of guitarists that included Satriani, Steve Vai, and Eric Johnson. The trio went on a North American tour together, playing 24 dates to 90,000 fans.  

Chickenfoot: Formed in 2008, the musical group Chickenfoot includes rockers Sammy Hagar, Chad Smith, and Michael Anthony. The band toured all around the world after releasing their debut album titled Chickenfoot, which was later followed by Chickenfoot III. 

Joe Satriani posing with guitar

Steve Vai 

In addition to dedicating his time to play guitar in various bands, Satriani also taught guitar. At just 15 years old, Satriani began to teach a student that would go down in history as another legendary guitarist, Steve Vai. 

Steve Vai has also been part of many bands, many of which you might recognize.  

Hot Chocolate: In 1967 Vai played in the band Hot Chocolate. He assisted with bongos, the record player, and vocals. He was only seven years old! 

The Ohio Express: Back in 1971-1972, Vai was part of The Ohio Express at age 12. He would rehearse with three friends in Frank Stroshol’s basement... until they were not allowed to anymore, which meant the end of the friends’ band.  

Circus: The next band Vai contributed to was Circus. At this point, Vai was becoming a pretty good guitar player, but eventually, the other band members no longer wanted to play with Vai, seemingly as his skills progressed.  

Rayge: Next came Rayge, a cool band that created great times and memories for Vai. In this band, Vai was able to experiment with writing some of his own songs.  

Bold as Love: This band formed in 1977 and included Steve Vai, Jimmy Thomas, and Billy Sullivan. Bold as Love was a Jimi Hendrix cover band.  

Axis: Then came Axis, a band Vai put together at Berklee College of Music. This band consisted of early rehearsal mornings and late rehearsal nights.  

Morning Thunder: This band came along in 1979, and was the second band Vai formed at Berklee College of Music. Once again, rehearsals started early in the morning and went late into the night. 

Frank Zappa: Frank Zappa was the first professional band that Vai played in during the years 1980 – 1982.  

The Out Band: This band was short lived, lasting for a few rehearsals and one show.  

The Classified: The Classified was Vai’s first band in California. While the band produced some great and funny music, it also took most of Vai’s money.  

777: This band came about in 1984 and included Steve Vai, Stu Hamm, and Chris Frazier, a power trio.  

Alcatrazz: Vai came in to replace Yngwie Malmsteen on the guitar during a few gigs, much to the audience's dismay. Despite a rocky start, the band produced a hit titled “Disturbing the Peace”. 

David Lee Roth: This is the band that skyrocketed Vai to fame. With it came notable memories and amazing tours.  

Whitesnake: According to Vai, “It was what it was.” 

VAI: Also, according to Vai, “It wasn’t what it was.” 

Steve Vai: Beginning in 1995, the Steve Vai band ran until 2016, with each era consisting of different great musicians. 

Steve Vai playing guitar

Each of these guitarists are electrifying on their own, but they’re even better together. Don’t miss out on The Satch-Vai Tour, coming live to you April 25 at the Des Moines Civic Center. Get your tickets now for a one night only performance that will have you air strumming along with the duo.  

Tickets Here 


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