Me and Joe Satriani’s Plectrum

Joe Satriani’s plectrum

Back at 1996 I attended a big technology conference at New Orleans, Louisiana. We were a small delegation of Finns visiting there and after seven days of hard work it was time to head back home. At the airport I bought some guitar magazines to help me over the boredom of long journey back to Europe.

Well, luckily enough, the TWA plane from New Orleans to New York was almost empty so we were able to spread around and sit comfortably. I was talking to my friends sitting close by as an elderly lady interrupted me by asking where we were from as our language sounded quite funny. I told we were from Finland.

After a while as she passed me again, she noticed that I had some guitar magazines next to me. She told me his son is also playing guitar. I mumbled something like “guitar playing is a good hobby” or something like that. I was a bit surprised as she asked me to pass her the magazine on the top of my pile. She took it, stared the cover page for couple of seconds and then dropped a sentence I still recall clearly:

“This is my son!”

She was pointing at Joe Satriani‘s picture with her finger! “Oh my god! One of my great heroes, can this be true!”, I mumbled. Well, it was my turn to blush as I realized I had just spoke about guitar hobbyists in my previous sentence! I fell into my most humble presence saying something like “great honor to meet you, ma’am!”

Soon we started a lengthy conversation during which I told her being a big fan of Joe’s, and that I just recently struggled with my guitar on Joe’s “Surfing with the Alien” album fingering exercise. I admitted her that I never get to that level of speed & accuracy. As we started to land to JFK I asked her to bring my regards to Joe and kindly pass the wish for him to visit Finland one day as there are a lot of his fans there.

As we separated in the NYC airport the lady gave me a Joe’s plectrum from her valet as a reminder of the nice talk we had on the airplane. I’ve kept that particular Joe signed pick ever since as my Mojo!

Then, on 2004, Joe came to Finland with G3 tour and I had a chance to briefly see him in a store. He was surprised when I showed him the pick which was given to me – not himself throwing picks for fans at a gig – but her beloved mum!

I do remember that moment with warmth!

–Ilkka

 

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