From Classic Rock Magazine:
Classic Rock Editor Sian Llewellyn and our Editor At Large Geoff Barton run the rule over the 2 brand new Chickenfoot tracks.
We revealed to you earlier on today that Chickenfoot (the super-group featuring former Van Halen men Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith and Joe Satriani) have posted 2 brand new tracks online. Now check out the Classic Rock verdict on these new tracks!
Soap On A Rope: Alright, full disclosure: I’m a big fan of Sammy Hagar when he was in Montrose, but I’m not a fan of widdly ‘muso’ guitarists who invariably sacrifice a tune for flashy you-can¹t-play-this, eight-million-notes-a-second technique, y’know your Steve Vais and your Joe Satrianis. So I¹ve been waiting to hear Chickenfoot with an equal sense of excitement and dread.
So it comes as a great (and very, very pleasant) surprise to report that for Chickenfoot¹s Soap On A Roap, Satch has (mostly) kept control of his widdly tendencies and wrapped his formidable guitar talent around a chunky, syncopated riff that wouldn¹t be out of place on a Montrose record. It¹s good time rock¹n¹roll, with moments of ZZ Top-style genius… Hagar sounds in fine voice, and the quartet just sound like they’re having a lot of fun. I don’t know that the melody will stay with you after just one spin, but that killer riff probably will. First listen?
Colour me impressed. And yes, I was caught out by the false ending too.
Down The Drain: If Motley Crüe¹s Dr Feelgood collided with the Red Hot Chili Peppers¹ Give It Away, the result wouldn¹t be unlike Chickenfoot¹s Down The Drain.
Wrapping itself around a Michael Anthony’s lumbering (and I mean that in a good way) bass riff, it begins promisingly enough with a bit of banter from Hagar, a chunky guitar sound and a suitably catchy Anthony Keidis-style spoken-sung vocal line, but then it all goes a bit wrong. Or should I say it all goes a bit *long*.
Down The Drain is a three-minute song that’s ill-advisedly been stretched out to well over six minutes. The chorus hints at greatness, but it never quite manages to convert itself to brain-scrambling melodic idea, then Satch goes a bit mental on his fretboard for the last two minutes of the song. That’d probably be all well and good live on stage, but it’s a little tedious here.
Soap On A Rope: Listening to these two tracks, it sounds as if Chickenfoot are trying to recreate the loose, fun-lovin¹ vibe of early Van Halen. These ain¹t songs so much as vehicles for a deal of interplay and general pecking around in the farmyard between frontman Sammy Hagar and guitarist Joe Satriani.
Soap On A Rope is a funky strutalong (”Do the funky Chickenfoot,” you could say) that is probably too long at five-and-a-half minutes; nevertheless Hagar¹s vocals are impressive, and Satriani adds some inventive tweaky bits here and there (there are even some doomy twangs that sound like they¹ve been lifted from Black Sabbath¹s Iron Man).
On the plus side, it¹s great to hear bassist Michael Anthony¹s trademark harmonies once again, and Chad Smith is an appropriately pounding presence on drums.
On the downside, there¹s a slight stench of muso-ness about this, which means the spontaneous, loose-limbed approach of classic VH remains tantalisingly out of reach.
Down The Drain: This track is definitely the better of the two, with its mean, loping Satriani riff and salacious hunk of Hagar repartee. There¹s a scintillating Satch solo at just after the three-minute mark, and later some deep-down-and-dirty six-string sounds that recall Billy Gibbons’s trademark tones.
Again, this is very much a Sam’n’Joe affair. After a great start it tapers off, however, becoming something of a fiddlefest. Both these tracks are very promising and hyper-professional, as you would expect, but you can’t help but feel that someone needed to drag Chickenfoot out of the coop and say: “That’s just great, guys, but where exactly are the songs?”
Incidentally, has anyone noticed the similarity between Chickenfoot and a previous Hagar project? The combination of Hagar-Satriani-Anthony-Smith reminds us of another HSAS: Hagar-Schon-Aaronson-Shrieve, the short-lived band Sam The Man formed with Neal Schon (guitar), Kenny Aaronson (bass) and Michael Shrieve (drums) back in 1984.