When Guitar Center launched its “Master Satriani” contest in July, more than 600 hopefuls sent in a video of themselves playing lead guitar over a track by multiple Grammy nominee Joe Satriani, for a chance to take a master class with the legend himself. The 10 winners spanned from New Jersey to Texas, but when Santa Cruz contestant Colin Gailey received a call letting him know that he had won, he was taken by surprise. “My first thought was that perhaps I had missed a payment on one of my bills,” he says with a laugh.
“[It was] unexpected and exciting.” Gailey’s shock could be partially attributed to the fact that he almost missed the contest deadline. “Originally, my dad sent me an email to let me know about the contest and I forgot about it for a couple of days,” he remembers. Eventually, Gailey chose Satriani’s “Dream Song” as the base track for his submission. Bursting with ideas but unsure where to focus his efforts, Gailey spent hours tweaking his solo—a fact which made him two hours late to his 30th birthday party (the same day as the deadline). Luckily, all that effort has paid off. Gailey is now the proud owner of a signature Satriani guitar, and will fly to Hollywood to learn from his idol on Nov. 7. Like many teenagers, Gailey started playing guitar when he was 14, but it wasn’t until he saw Satriani play live that he had an epiphany. “At that moment I knew that playing guitar was what I wanted to do with my life. Listening to Satriani encouraged me to always get to that next level,” he says. “It’s so full circle for me—I’m blown away. I know he has so many fans, but I’ve listened to him for so long.” Before he heads to Tinseltown, locals can catch a live performance by Gailey and his local reggae/funk band, Coastal Sage, at The Crow’s Nest on Friday, Nov. 2.
INFO: Colin Gailey will play with Coastal Sage at 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2 at The Crows Nest, 2218 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. $6. 476-4560.