Here’s an inspirational anecdote from Joe Satriani about playing the chorus arpeggio’s from “Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing” from his Flying in a Blue Dream (1989) album. I remember first hearing those arpeggios and thinking: “What the hell was that?” They really sounded that distinctive; they seemed to jump out at me and demand attention.
I was very surprised recently to hear he spent 8 hours a day for a few weeks perfecting them – and they probably amount to 6 seconds of material from a 64-minute album. I shouldn’t be surprised because spending hours a day perfecting a technique is what virtuosos (or virtuosi) do, but I had just assumed that by 1989, Joe had the skills to play … well anything.
They are timely reminders that everyone has to practice and that hard work does pay off. The next time I come across something that feels too hard to play – I have one such piece in mind actually, I’ll hopefully recall this segment and be motivated to give it a try. Perhaps not though for eight hours a day for a few weeks; I have a day job. Anyway, Joe Satriani, thanks for the inspiration. Below the video containing the arpeggio anecdote, is the full interview the anecdote was taken from.