Joe Satriani Recalls ‘Amazing’ Small Bar Gigs With Mick Jagger
In an exclusive conversation with UCR’s Matt Wardlaw, Satriani recalls one of Jagger’s favorite pastimes: playing unannounced gigs at dive bars.
“He loved doing that,” Joe Satriani explains. “It seemed like once a month we would find a bar somewhere and we would make a deal with the local band that we would just walk in and take over their gear. And if we needed to bring an extra guitar, we would. But pretty much we plugged in to whatever they had.”
For Satriani, watching the Rolling Stones frontman perform in such an intimate setting was a joy.
“It was always great, just to see Mick turn it on when he’s literally 12 inches away from the audience and they can touch him and everything,” the guitarist admits. “And he loved playing blues songs and rock and roll favorites and stuff. We all got a kick out of it.”
“The whole thing was crazy,” he continues, “because we’d pull up in these SUVs all clandestine like, you know because of Mick. He’s such a famous person he had to be handled very carefully. But he loved it, he just loved being with people, he loved performing and to just stand next to him while he exuded this positive rock and roll energy was just, oh man it was worthy every second. It was just amazing.”
Satriani further notes that Jagger delivered the same high-energy performances, regardless of his audience size.
“I stood next to him on the stage at the Tokyo Dome in front of 95,000 people and in front of this little club where people, where there couldn’t have been more than 80 or 100 people totally packed into this teeny thing. Stage was about six inches high. He loved it though,” the guitarist recalls. “Doing ‘Little Red Rooster’ in a little club like that, everyone’s drinking and having a great time. It was fun. We’d go in there, play for 45 minutes and run out. And then go have a party back at the hotel (laughs).”
It seems that Jagger has not lost his penchant for visiting dive bars. The frontman was regularly captured at local watering holes during the Rolling Stones’ 2021 tour of America, with several of the pictures going viral on social media.