While many American concert promoters called off all touring weeks ago due to increasing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, Joe Satriani says his partners across the pond were especially slow to react.
Despite nationwide lockdowns in Italy and Spain and a rising COVID-19 death toll, Satriani tells Sonic Perspectives in a new interview that European concert promoters were still pressuring him to honor his touring plans.
Satriani on Wednesday officially postponed the European tour in support of his upcoming Shapeshifting album (due April 10). He says there was no question in his mind as to the severity of the situation.
"I have relatives who live in Milan, Italy, so I knew exactly what was happening on the ground," Satriani said. "I alerted the staff a week ago about not sending my closest buddies, my wife and me to a place we will only get locked down."
Italy has endured more deaths due to the coronavirus than any other country — more than double China's total — as a late response from the government caused hospitals to be overwhelmed by critical patients for weeks.
He continued: "There was a lot of denial with the European promoters, but then finally, everyone realized the significance of it. Some promoters kept insisting ... that if we canceled, it would be on our shoulders, and unable to claim the virus as the problem [with insurance]. We thought they were nuts and days away from an apocalypse. They finally realized and we canceled the European tour, which will be moved to 12 months from now."
Satch is still unsure what will become of his summer tour in South America or his North American tour in September.
In a statement announcing the postponements, the guitar hero recommended fans hold on to their tickets for the rescheduled dates.
"Let's band together to beat this virus and rock another day," he concluded.
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