Written By: Mike Pelosi
“Super group.” The term invokes excitement among music fans everywhere. Expectations run high and reservations run low when musicians from respectable (and usually fairly famous) bands gather together to take over the world. The newest super group on the hard rock scene is Chickenfoot. The name is a tad ridiculous but the talent behind it quickly over compensates. Sammy Hagar leads the charge with his soulful vocals, Joe Satriani is an equally soulful powerhouse on lead guitar, Michael Anthony grooves on the bass, and Chad Smith hit’s the drums hard. That is the essence of Chickenfoot.
However, you get what you pay for. Chickenfoot’s self titled debut album is rooted in 80’s rock party with a modern day tone. This isn’t necessarily bad, but don’t expect to hear anything original. What you can expect to hear is a previously popular style re-done with finesse and attitude.
Stripped down to its very core, Chickenfoot is a blues rock act…a very solid blues rock act. On a technical level, the playing is near impeccable. If you find faults in musicianship then you are nitpicking. The first track, “Avendida Revolution,” starts with a riff and rhythm that isn’t melodic or all that pretty, but gets the train rolling. It should be noted that Hagar’s vocals are very powerful here, almost to the point where you may say “That’s not the guy from Van Halen!” The rest of the tracks, except for two, are all tightly nit the same way. Their’s a little bit of dirty blues, a little bit of southern depth, and a few solo’s that are signature Satriani minus four minutes.
Song number seven, “Down the Drain,” rewinds from the 80’s and into the Hendrix inspired 70’s. Joe Satriani has frequently been quoted as saying Hendrix was his main inspiration for becoming a guitar king (What musician hasn’t).
There’s also a ballad. Yes, a ballad about a girl that has Sammy falling down for her. The track also happens to be called “Learning to Fall.” How could we have a cool 80’s party without a ballad?
Chickenfoot is exactly what you would expect from four guys who all made their mark in the late 80’s and early 90’s. That being said, it’s a very good album that is worthy of the sticker price. But the question “why?” remains lingering in my head. Why didn’t Chickenfoot attempt to do something new or, at the very least, something that flowed with the current a little bit better? A younger generation probably want’s to know the same thing. Chickenfoot had the potential to make a gourmet steak but chose burger, fries, and beer in the backyard.
But then the light came on. People do what they are good at, specifically if what they are good at has made them relevant in music. Chickenfoot doesn’t have to do anything they don’t want to because there is nothing to prove. And, for the fans, doing what their good at is probably the best route of action.