Day 11 of the new serial “12 Days of the Foot” featuring Joe, Chad, Mike, Sammy sharing some insight on each track on the new album. In this episode: “Future In The Past.“
Chickenfoot CD review from Get Ready To ROCK!
Whatever your views on the merits of a super group, this album rocks.
From the opening Satch guitar squall and Chad Smith’s pounding drum pattern to Sammy Hagar’s exclamatory ‘hey you’ yell, on ‘Crossing the Borderline’ this is an album that bursts at the seams.
And with a stellar line-up of Joe Satriani, Sammy Hagar and a pulsating rhythm section of Chad Smith and Michael Anthony you are never going to get less than full commitment. But misquoted Hagar comments about this band being bigger than Zeppelin aside, this is one powerful combo with enough good songs and collective fire in the belly to impress even the most cynical rock fan.
Indeed it should be noted that Hagar puts in an incredible shift for a 60 year old, while Satriani’s playing is the perfect foil for a band that over the course of 11 tracks quickly forges its own style.
For make no mistake, this is no Hagar and friends album. Sure he and Satch have some priceless moments but this is a collective shit kicking band as evidenced by ‘Soap on a Rope’.
Sure there are echoes of the Plant/Page axis but hey this is a hard rock combo after all, and these guys rip it up as evidence by the powerful playing and poignant lyrics of ‘Running Out’. This is one of a surprisingly high quotient of songs with lyrical messages.
So while the sing-along hooks might be in place there’s more to the album than clichés and virtuoso solos. That said, ‘Running Out’ does let Satch cut lose with a blistering solo and he adds some killer pile driving riffs to ‘Get It Up’.
Perhaps the most significant thing about this album is that Joe has finally achieved a career goal of finding a vocal led band that can accommodate his startling playing and song writing abilities. There is even a moment of priceless spontaneity on ‘Down the Drain’, when Joe works up his most grungiest groove and Sammy yells across to him ‘is that that new thing Joe? It better be’, before concluding, ‘is that it Joe, but that’s cool though’. Sammy then launches into one of his most bone crushing vocals and the tension is broken by the two line chorus. Brilliant stuff.
And there’s even room for ‘Learning To Fly Again’, a cute rock ballad on which Sammy alters his vocal attack as much as anyone with his gut bursting lungs could. And as if to restore a sense of balance, the band subsequently rock out with real vigour on the back of some lightning Satch riffs on ‘Turning Left Again’. Frankly if this track alone doesn’t light your fuse, you are past it! All the ingredients are there from the pounding rhythm section to Satch’s incredible guitar lines – including an occasional judicious scratch – to Hagar’s venomous vocals. Hell, he even affects a Gillan scream three quarters of the way through. Just killer stuff!
The closing track ‘Future in the Past’ finds Hagar slipping into a Pete Townsend style refrain as Satch weaves his magical spell for an anthemic ending to a great album.
As the band name suggests these guys seem to be genuinely doing this for fun with perhaps the accompanying aim of kick starting some fresh creativity. Whatever their motives ‘Chickenfoot’ the album, is a raging success and the live shows should be stunning.
***** (5 stars)
Chickenfoot CD review from Associated Content:
Earlier this decade, when the chances of reuniting with Van Halen seemed remote at best, Sammy Hagar put together a supergroup consisting of himself, former Van Halen bandmate Michael Anthony, and Neal Schon and Deen Castronovo from Journey. The group was called Planet Us and made a few appearances, even jamming with guitar legend Joe Satriani. Then, in 2004, the Van Halen reunion happened and Planet Us was put on the backburner. History tells us Hagar’s second go-around with Van Halen ended worse than the first one and he was back to being a solo artist. With Schon and Castronovo back with Journey full time, Hagar once again called upon Anthony and Satriani and, on drums, Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers — a friend of Hagar’s and frequent guest at his Cabo Wabo Cantina. The band wrote some songs and decided to go into the studio, but they needed a name. As a joke, the name Chickenfoot was thrown out with the intention of a “better” name being picked later. Well, Chickenfoot stuck and the supergroup has unleashed their self-titled debut on the world.
Any band with two former Van Halen members and Eddie Van Halen-disciple Satriani on guitar will naturally draw comparisons to them, and sure enough, there are some Van Halen-sounding cuts on the album. “Soap on a Rope” could easily fit on For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge or Balance with its sleazy riff, big chorus, and innuendo-laden lyrics. “Runnin’ Out” has a bluesy groove not unlike “Finish What Ya Started,” while “Down the Drain” sounds like Roth-era VH, something the band often shied away from when Hagar fronted them.
It’s not all Van Halen imitation going on here. The opening cut, “Avenida Revolution” features a menacing Satriani riff and the driving rhythm section of Anthony and Smith. Smith’s funk chops are all over the disc and Anthony really gets to shine now that he is out of Eddie’s shadow (Anthony played little to no bass on the last several Van Halen releases) as the drum/bass breakdown on “Avenida Revolution” shows.
Other hard-driving cuts include “Get it Up” featuring blistering lead work from Satriani, and “Turnin’ Left” with a sinister funk groove and dark guitar work recalling George Lynch. While Hagar’s post-Van Halen records are fun, party albums, he is at his best when he has something to prove (as on 1997’s Marching to Mars). He sounds inspired to be working with world-class musicians again. Satriani has said in interviews that he always wanted to play in a band situation, but never found the right one. He may have with Chickenfoot, as his playing and tone are positively monstrous throughout.
Chickenfoot is the sound of four veteran musicians having fun together. There’s only one ballad and the band rocks hard through the other 10 tracks. They’ve certainly upped the ante, and one can’t imagine Eddie Van Halen not trying to top this album with his own rumored Van Halen record. Chickenfoot plans to tour and if the live shows are half as thunderous as the CD, fans will be in for a treat.