Love Crush

As I hit middle school I was knee deep in the hair metal hoopla, but once I made it into my freshman year of high school I’d begun to find more nuanced, less sexually ambiguous music to fall for. I’d been playing guitar for a little over two years once I hit 9th grade and my tastes in music had been steering towards guitar prowess in music. I no longer thought that CC Deville was a fabulous player. Or that Mick Mars was a killer guitar slinger. I’d discovered Shrapnel Records and their line up of 60 notes per second players. A good portion was just “meh”, but there were a few that showed real potential. But once I’d picked up Joe Satriani’s Surfing With The Alien that was it. This was the guy. Prodigious player with lightning fast chops, but he could actually write a catchy tune. He had melody lines that stood in for vocals. There was interesting things going on rhythmically, and he seemed to be pulling influences from all over the the place. He was a blues-based guy for sure, but he obviously dug music from all over the place. I think that was the point where I’d lost interest in “flavor of the month” bands that were featured monthly in the music rags I followed.

By the time I’d bought Alien it had been out for about a year. There was no sign of a new record coming from Satriani anytime soon, so I went back and bought his first LP Not Of This Earth, which lived up to the title. It was pretty out there, showcasing his proficient skills and ability to get weird when he wanted to. But in-between Surfing With The Alien and his 1990 Flying In A Blue Dream there was the short but sweet Dreaming #11, an EP that touted one new song and three live tracks recorded at the California Theater in San Diego, California on June 11, 1988. Dreaming #11 came out in November of 1988, not long before the Thanksgiving holiday which gave me a nice 4-day weekend to really dig into it(I’d also bought the debut Winger album around the same time, too. Don’t judge me.)

At the time this one was nice, but at only 4 tracks with three being older live songs it didn’t leave a lasting impression. The one new song, “The Crush Of Love” was stunning, though. It was this beautifully put together piece of melody-driven guitar rock. It had a nice push to it, with an amazing melody line that stayed in your head long after the song ended. I can remember a few months after it was released I would hear the song being played on the semi-local rock station out of Niles, Michigan 95.3 WAOR. Hearing that on the radio I sort of felt like Satriani was being vindicated or something. He was this guy that I felt needed to be pulled out of guitardom obscurity and have a mainstream audience get into him. This was the kind of song that could’ve been the theme music for anything, really. It was just a damn catchy tune. The three live tracks were pretty stellar sounding, too. Surfing With The Alien’s “Ice Nine” and “Memories” were played to perfection by Satch and the rhythm section of bassist Stu Hamm and drummer Jonathan Mover. The last live track was Not Of This Earth’s “Hordes Of Locusts”, which was the best track on that album. I can remember learning the main riff and playing it ad nauseum. It’s a cool song, but not on par with the Alien tunes.

joeI think what I remember most about this Satriani EP was riding with my dad in his truck and listening to it. My dad had heard a couple of Satriani’s songs on the aforementioned WAOR and had become a fan. He quite liked “The Crush Of Love” so we’d listen to it often. He’d play it in the garage boom box as well when he’d be out washing the cars or working on projects(he would later take a shine to my Suicidal Tendencies cassette Controlled By Hatred/Feel Like Shit…Deja Vu.)

Whenever I could find something for my dad and I to bond over I’d relish it. He was a sports guy. He played football, basketball, and ran track in high school. He had the old letterman sweater to prove it. So when I hit 7th grade he was excited for me to try out for football, which I did and made the team. But about a week into it(well before the first game) I quit. It wasn’t my thing. I’m not a sports fan and never had been. I know he was disappointed I didn’t give it more of a shot, but I think he understood. After a year or so of guitar lessons he saw how much I enjoyed playing and how good I was getting. He saw I’d found my “thing” and I believe he’d become genuinely happy for me. So when he was liking music I was liking, well it genuinely meant a great deal to me.

Today I pulled out Dreaming #11(I found a copy online for pretty cheap awhile back) and gave it a spin. It’s still not a substantial release by Joe, but “The Crush Of Love” is still a hell of a track. It’s a poised, catchy tune that holds up incredibly well. And it still reminds me of my dad.


30 thoughts on “Love Crush

  1. Haha great stuff. It’s clear to me what’s happening psychologically here, due to some great national trauma, or other, you are clearly retreating to a time when everything felt safer and clearer.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I don’t have this. I thought I never heard Satch until Flying in a Blue Dream. Once I finally heard more of his music, I realized the Toronto radio station Q107 used his music as bumpers all the time. So I was a fan without knowing it! But I have never gone back before Alien, weirdly. I think I should. I have lots of this stuff as live versions, but that’s not the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That must’ve been a popular thing to do among radio stations, as there were at least two stations around here I can think of that used his music as bumpers.

      Not Of This Earth is strange. For me, it all starts with ‘Alien’. If you ever get a chance to check out his live in San Francisco DVD do. I used to own it. It was spectacular.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will look for that. I love watching guys like that play. I can’t fathom it.

        I am also sure that the TV station MuchMusic used the title track in one of their bumpers. It was everywhere — it lead me to believe that Joe Satriani was this mega popular artist that every single person in the world knew.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s a sight to behold, plus there’s some great behind the scenes stuff about his rig. I was pretty surprised by how simple his guitar set up was. I saw Joe twice live and both times were amazing.

        MuchMusic. When we built our house in 1996 we got satellite for the first time. MuchMusic was one of the stations. I loved it. I learned about so many great Canadian bands on there. I’m still a big fan of Sloan. Was Big Sugar a Canadian band? Anyways, good stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Big Sugar are indeed Canadian, and lead singer Gordie Johnson is renowned as a “good shit” around these parts. He moved to Texas and did a solo project there called Grady that was pretty good.

        Aaron is the biggest Sloan fan I know. I just got their new Christmas single in the mail thanks to James at the KMA!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I remember buying a Big Sugar album that had a hot rod on the cover. “Better Get Used To It” was on it. I dug it.

        ‘One Chord To Another’ was what won me over with Sloan. ‘Navy Blues’ was great, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The hot rod cover is their greatest hits album. I have a 2 CD version with a bonus live CD. That’s a great compilation. All it was missing is their cover of BTO’s Let It Ride.

        Those are two damn fine Sloan albums. One Chord is a personal fave.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I found their first two CDs for a dollar each at a used CD shop here in town over ten years ago. I was shocked they were there and that they were so cheap. Snagged ’em up. I liked ’em, but I think I prefer their 60s retro sound to the more indie rock vibe of ‘Smeared’ and ‘Twiced Removed’. But “Underwhelmed” is a classic.


  3. I’m really digging these posts, JH.

    I like Hordes Of Lucusts, but The Crush Of Love less so. I’m still getting into Satriani, right enough. I have a few of his more recent albums, but really need to get Surfing With The Alien (I was kinda holding off in the hope I’d see it on vinyl).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The Crush Of Love” is definitely a standalone song. “Hordes Of Locusts” has such a great riff to it.

      I know that ‘Alien’ was reissued on vinyl awhile back, but not sure how pricey it is. I found an original pressing a few summers ago for $20. I felt pretty lucky about that find. Definitely worth having on vinyl.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s what I thought. I saw a copy a while back for £7, but there was something else I was after at the time and it threw me off course. I’ll find one, though… what’s for you won’t go by you and such…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is awesome. You’re lucky to have music you can bond with your Dad over. My Dad… let’s just say he doesn’t really care about music. He likes it, and will listen, but has never actively sought it out.

    I don’t own ANY Satriani. I’ll see myself out…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I do feel pretty lucky in that regard. My parents always were buying albums when I was growing up. I remember being 5 or 6 and going with my dad to Butterfly Records and him picking up Alice Cooper’s ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’ on vinyl. He’d come home from work at least once a week with a new album.

      If you could own just one, ‘Surfing With The Alien’ would be it. That’s all you need.


      1. Haha man you are SO Lucky. We went to see Forrest Gump in the theater, and we came out raving how the music fit the scenes so well, and my Dad said “There was music?”

        Thanks for the SWTA recommend. I’m on it!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry I told a lie, too. I do have one Satriani album here, a 2CD called Live In Paris. Clearly it’s been a while since I played it! But I found a copy of SWTA for $1.56 so it’s on the way here now…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I own 10 Satriani albums but had not heard of this EP. “The Crush of Love” is indeed a helluva track. Thanks for the introduction!

    I especially liked your memories of listening with your dad. Joe Satriani has been of of the wonderful listening intersections I have enjoyed with my own son.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad I could introduce you to this one! Really love revisiting it. I was lucky enough to see Satriani twice live and both times were pretty great. My first concert was Satriani. Flying In A Blue Dream tour back in 1990. My older brother took myself and my best friend an hour east of us to Fort Wayne, Indiana’s Embassy Theater. Such a great show. Next time was in 1994 at a club in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Another stellar show.


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