One of the best ideas in popular music is the supergroup. Because when you unite famous musicians into a band they immediately become more interesting than they were as solo artists.
Even if you don’t particular care for one, or all, of the musicians, you have to admit that once they coalesce they create a certain fascination. Granted, that fascination maybe akin to watching a car wreck, but it’s a fascination nonetheless.
That’s why Land of Punt finds the supergroup Chickenfoot so damn fascinating.
Chickenfoot features vocalist Sammy Hagar (ex-Van Halen and Montrose), bassist Michael Anthony (ex-Van Halen), guitarist Joe Satriani (ex-Joe Satriani), and drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers).
They first jammed together in February of 2008. They released their eponymous album on June 5th, 2009, the same night they performed on the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.
Currently, they are touring Europe. The North America leg begins August 2nd.
Not only does their status as a supergroup spark interest, but it’s exciting that these four musicians, at this point in their careers, joined forces to record an album.
These are four rock legends from three legendary rock bands. What do they sound like? Will they rock? Will they roll? Will they be legendary?
On the other hand, think of the ennui if each of these superstars had decided to peruse a solo project.
Another Hagar album? Sigh.
Michael Anthony on his own? Who?
Joe Satriani solo project? Been there done that.
Chad Smith recording tracks? Eh, he’s a drummer.
But you put them together, you put them into a supergroup, then you have some “fascinating excitement” (kids call it “F.E.”).
Does this “fascinating excitement” last after listening to their self-titled debut? Of course!
Did they reinvent rock? Is their album the Exile On Main Street for the new millennium? Have they forever changed the course of music, pop culture and humanity?
The answer to all those questions is no.
What Chickenfoot did do is record a fun, hard rocking album that will surely become a soundtrack for drinking, cavorting, and other such decadent behavior.
The album’s lyrics oscillate between rock cliché and just plain cliché, but they are easily overlooked by the expert musicianship and Hagar’s stunning vocals. Besides you don’t listen to bands like Chickenfoot for enlighten you listen to rock out.
The album begins with the rollicking “Avenida Revolution,” which is the band’s attempt to sound political. Doesn’t matter, the pounding drums, heavy riffs and catchy chorus get your head banging and that’s all that matters.
“Soap on a Roap” is a funky number with a guitar riff you hope never ends. If this song doesn’t get you moving nothing will. This track is one of LOP’s favorites.
The opening guitar licks for “Sexy Little Thing” are worth the price of admission alone. This is a no holds barred rocker.
The semi-autobiographical and the band’s first single, “Oh Yeah” is one of the album’s weakest tracks. Not surprising, a lot of singles fail to represent the album from which they sprung. Still “Oh Yeah” has enough good stuff, especially Satriani guitar playing.
LOP loves Hagar’s vocals on “Runnin’ Out.” This track sounds like a lost gem from an 80’s hairband. One of the albums best songwriting efforts.
“Get It Up” is a little dark and a little angry. Hagar charms us over with his chants of “arriba!”
Chickenfoot gets down and dirty with “Down The Drain.” Come for the blues influence but stay for the rockin’ coda.
The band returns to the 80’s with “My Kinda of Girl.” It’s a nice hard rock-pop tune that sounds like something from the Hagar catalog. It’s catchy and a real toe-tapper.
Finally, nine tracks into the album, the supergroup slows things down with “Learning To Fall.” It’s an accomplished power balled.
Chickenfoot brings back the funk with “Turnin’left.” Satrani really lets loose in this track and Anthony has the bass thumping. Not the greatest songwriting on the album, but the music rocks.
“Future In The Past,” is a fitting finale for the album. It’s sweeping, complex, dynamic and ambitious. This track is symbolic of the entire project.
Just like each member of the Foot brought something special to this track, each member of the Foot brought something special to the album.
Now, if you believe Sammy Hagar, Chickenfoot is special like Led Zeppelin. In fact, the former Van Halen singer said his supergroup rivals Jimmy Page’s super group. Hagar went so far as to insinuate that Chickenfoot is as good as Zeppelin. He later recanted the comparison saying he was drunk at the time.
That is Chickenfoot in a nutshell and the best description of the band there is.
1. “Avenida Revolution” 5:56
2. “Soap on a Rope” 5:32
3. “Sexy Little Thing” 4:14
4. “Oh Yeah” 4:54
5. “Runnin’ Out” 3:52
6. “Get It Up” 4:41
7. “Down the Drain” 6:17
8. “My Kinda Girl” 4:32
9. “Learning to Fall” 5:13
10. “Turnin’ Left” 5:48
11. “Future in the Past” 6:38
12. “Bitten by the Wolf” (iTunes only bonus track)