Joe Satriani Finds Ultimate Vocal Substitute For James Hetfield To Sing ‘Enter Sandman’

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During a sit-down with Ultimate Classic Rock Nights host Matt Wardlaw, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai shed light on their latest musical collaboration, which included an unexpected twist involving the classic Metallica anthem, ‘Enter Sandman.’

When Wardlaw inquired about the decision to incorporate ‘Enter Sandman’ into the encore of their ongoing tour, Satriani revealed the serendipitous inspiration behind the choice:

“I was brainstorming with my keyboardist, Ray Thistlethwaite, who has this incredible vocal range. We had just wrapped up a G3 tour where he wowed everyone with his renditions of vintage ’60s tunes. We wanted to mix things up and decided on a more diverse setlist. We knew we were going to feature ‘The Sea of Emotion, Pt. 1.’”

Satriani then recounted Thistlethwaite’s unexpected enthusiasm for tackling the iconic Metallica track:

“We were tossing around some wild ideas for songs, and at one point, I threw out ‘Enter Sandman.’ I didn’t really expect him to bite, but he immediately said, ‘Let’s do it. I want to give it a shot.’ I was pleasantly surprised because his style is different from James [Hetfield], but every night, he nails it. It’s been a blast.”

Despite their longstanding friendship, Satriani and Vai only recently ventured into the studio together, culminating in the release of ‘The Sea of Emotion, Pt. 1’ and an impending full-length album collaboration. Reflecting on their creative process, Vai elaborated:

“It all unfolded quite organically. Joe and I often tour separately on the heels of our solo projects. Our schedules happened to align, and we thought, ‘Hey, why not hit the road together?’ It’s like a G2 setup, where I perform for an hour, followed by Joe. While G3 typically involves another artist, this time it’s just us. We thought, ‘Why not have some fresh material to bring to the stage?’”

Their synergy continued as they reunited with Eric Johnson for a G3 tour earlier this year, commencing on March 22 at Hard Rock Live in Orlando, Florida, with their final performance scheduled for May 12 in Santa Rosa, California.

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