Mark Kaufman

DUDES. So the Mercury's finally doing an issue about guitar gods, huh? Well, I think you know what I have to say about that: It's about time. I mean, shit, there's only so much indierock or whatever the hippie harmonica harpsichord bullshit is that the Mercury's always writing about. It's so boring, man. You know what I do when it comes to the Mercury's music section every week? I skip it, bro. And you should too. Well, except for this week, where I'm in it, because my writing is good—not because I got good grades in writing or English or whatever, which I didn't, but who cares, because—fuck, man. That kind of harshed me out. My mellow is gone. See, back when I was a sophomore or whatever, I had this prof who was all like "So let me get this straight, Seth. You want to get out of writing your final paper so you can go see Aerosmith in Tacoma?" And I was like, "Yo, prof, I could've lied to you and told you my ol' granny died or whatever, but I told you the truth. Doesn't that count for anything?" And he was all, "No, Seth. And don't call me 'prof.'" Man. What a douche, am I right or am I right? I'm right. If you ever find yourself in one of his classes, know two things: (A) He hates music, and (2) all he talks about are these poets who never wrote anything half as sweet as Van Halen's "Jump."

Oooooh, "Jump." Man, what a killer song! Every time I feel down, I listen to "Jump." I call it my jump-start song. Yeah! Exactly! Yeah, partly because of the "jump" in the title, but also partly because it gets me jump-started, like a car, and ready to rock. I can be in the worst mood—like I could be feeling worse than people in the Holocaust or Bosnia or whatever—but when I hear "Jump," everything's cool. "You've got to roll-oll-oll with the punches, and get to what's real!" Am I right? You know it, broseph!

Okay, so, right. What? I forgot. But—oh, yeah! The Mercury's music section sucks, except for this week, because of me, and because I've been tasked with telling you all about the greatest guitar hero of all time. Saint Joe. JS. Joey S. Joe Satriani. The Satch. It's a big task. Important. Probably the most important thing I'll ever do. But that's cool. I just put on "Jump," and now "Panama" is on, and I am pumped. Are you ready? I'm ready. Shit yes! Paaa-na-maaaa!

Okay, right, so... uh, yeah. Little known fact, dudes: When Jimi Hendrix died in 1970, his spirit passed into the 14-year-old body of Joe Satriani. I picture it like that part at the end of Batman Returns when Christopher Walken gets electrocuted—KWA-ZANG! And he's all shaking and shit! So much power. So much soul. So many sweet riffs pulsing through blood and veins and lungs and brains. KWA-ZA-POW! So no matter what Batman tried to do, The Satch was born. Screw you, Batman! And from that moment on, The Satch was The Greatest Guitarist Who Ever Lived. He was even better than Jimmy Guitaroni, who, in case you don't know, invented the guitar in 1543 AD. (Mr. Guitaroni invented the guitar by taking a mandolin and plugging it into the wall. This was because Guitaroni, rightly, believed that mandolins were totally gay.) In point of fact, Jimmy Guitaroni and The Satch once had a guitar-off, on top of a mountain in Asia, and The Satch won so hard that Jimmy Guitaroni was like, "Hey, Satch. You're really good. We should rename the guitar 'the satriani.'" But The Satch, in his infinite wisdom, just said, "No, Guitaroni. I have defeated you today on this wind-tousled mountaintop, but doing what you suggest would just not be right." Then the two did a sweet duet of "Sweet Home Alabama," and then they took their guitars/satrianis and used them to smash some mandolins.

But the legend of The Satch does not stop there. There was this one time, I remember, when one of my friends got me a sweet tape of The Satch's album Surfing with the Alien! I liked it from the first time I saw the cover, because it has a picture of the Silver Surfer on it. You know the Silver Surfer, right? From comic books and shit? No? What? Man, you should come over and I'll let you read them. Serious, man! I have this sweet black light poster of him too. My black light's broken right now, 'cause I spilled some Cherry Coke on it, but it still looks pretty sweet. Anyway, the Silver Surfer was this silver guy who surfed through space on a surfboard and fought the Fantastic Four and shit. Awesome, right? Right. So I was like, "Oh, so this Joe Satriani likes the Silver Surfer, huh? He must be alllllll right." And he was. Kind of a weird story, right? If it gives you the chills, that's all right. Don't panic. It's supposed to. The best stories do.

The only thing bad about The Satch is how he makes me sad. Not really sad, but kind of sad. Like, to me, his music is all about space and time and neutrons and proton packs and stuff like that, you know? Like, sometimes when I listen to him—okay, like every time—I just get a sweet joint and then just lay down the floor and close my eyes and within seconds it's like I'm on Star Trek, standing on the top of the Enterprise or whatever, and just flying through space, past Saturn and Mars and everything, and Lieutenant Worf is there with me, 'cause he's my favorite, and sometimes, if the weed's really good, I see Worf playing guitar like The Satch, and he's all leaning back, wailing Klingon-style, and baring his fangs and shit—but from smiling, not from frowning, that's important—and the guitar is like, "TWEE-DEE DLEEEEE DWIPPPPPOOOOOOOOLDEEEE FWEE DWEE DWEE DWEE DWEE DWEE SQUEEEEAAAAAAL! KWA-ZZZWANG! Whammy bar!" And then Picard comes out and is all, "From now on out, Starfleet's Prime Directive is to rock. Engage!" And we do. But that's just what I see in my mind. My real life's not like that at all, which is lame.

Aw, shit! Okay, right. Where was I? Oh, yeah. The Satch. The Satch is the best! There was this one time when he was playing a sweet riff and—what? I'm out of room? Seriously? What, so you can write about some mandolin band or something? Man, I thought you guys were doing this issue different. I thought this was going to be good. What? You don't like what I said or something? That was good, man. And you know it. It was tons better than whatever... okay, fine. I'll go, I'll go. Just goes to show you that the Mercury never changes. Which is too bad. 'Cause the Mercury could really use some of The Satch up in here, am I right? Yeah. I'm right.