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Guitar Gods Joe Satriani and Steve Vai to Play Benefit Concert for Friend

Paul McConnelly, Getty Images | Juan Naharro Gimenez, Getty Images

Legendary guitarists Joe Satriani and Steve Vai will headline a benefit concert at the House of Blues in Hollywood to help music industry veteran and friend Cliff Cultreri pay his medical bills.

A Benefit for Cliff II will be held on Sunday, July 10th and features performances by Satriani and Vai as well as special guests including Dweezil Zappa, Orianthi, Brendan Small, and Tony MacAlpine, among others.

Cliff Cultreri is the A&R executive who first discovered Satriani and Vai, as well as many other popular recording artists while working at Relativity Records and Koch Entertainment. Today, he is suffering from a host of auto-immune and connective tissue disorders that are simultaneously attacking his immune system, a 1 in 100 million occurrence that causes severe pain and physical debilitation.

Over the years Cultreri has worked with artists as diverse as Peter Frampton, Megadeth, Anthrax, The Cure, Modern English, and many others.

Culteri’s history with Satriani and Vai is particularly special.

Both guitarists spoke exclusively with Noisecreep about how big a part Cultreri has played in both of their professional and personal lives.

“Ever since I met him, I knew he was a kindred spirit,” Satriani said. “When I started, nobody was into ‘instrumental rock.’ Cliff was such a mentor to me, fighting to have me signed, fighting for the genre I played — he’s the best friend an artist could have. Plus, he’s a gear junkie like me so we still talk all the time about guitars and other gear. But without him, I’m not sure how ‘Surfing With The Alien’ ever would have come out. He just understood. There is nobody else like him.”

Around this time, Satriani had been Vai’s guitar teacher for two years. Once Cultreri helped Vai’s inventive work see the light of day, Vai said he begged him to give Satriani a listen too.

Satriani laughs at the memory. “I’ve know Steve since he was 12, so we were tight. He really did me a favor turning Cliff on to my music. Who knows where I’d be today without that assist from my best student.”

For Vai, it was an obvious move.

“Joe is still my mentor,” Vai told Noisecreep. “We’d play for hours back then, just jam endlessly in his backyard. An amazing teacher, so I’d have done anything to help more people hear him.”

As for Cultreri, Vai says he’s never met another record company exec that even comes close to him.

“The music business has a reputation that, to a degree, is true, thanks to lots of really sleazy, typical types that are only out for the money,” Vai says. “Cliff was different. He was all about the artist and the music. He is so passionate about music that it was always just like being with another musician, not an executive. He is in such pain today. His bills pile up but he keeps pushing on, just like he always has. It’s the love of music that keeps him going so for Joe and me, this is real opportunity to make a difference. We love him, plain and simple.”

In addition to this extraordinary concert (that both players said would feature some pretty big surprises), Satriani, Vai and others have graciously donated various items to be auctioned that evening. Among these items is a Steve Vai signed 20th Anniversary JEM guitar commemorating the entire line of Ibanez guitars. Steve used this guitar for the duration of his 2007 String Theories Tour and on the Grammy Nominated song ‘Now We Run,’ featured on the Platinum award-winning DVD ‘Where The Wild Things Are.’ Other auction items include a Joe Satriani JS1000 guitar with personalized art, a Joe Satriani JS1200 guitar autographed by all the musicians, and a Paul Gilbert autographed guitar.

Tickets prices start at $75 for general admission and are on sale now. A limited number of VIP and Platinum VIP packages are now available through satriani.com and vai.com.

Doors will be at 7:00 pm with the show set to begin at 8:00 pm.

Watch the video for Joe Satriani’s ‘The Extremist’ and interview

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