Below are several reviews of Chickenfoot’s self-titled debut album from music critics. We ask our readers to please write your own review below, in our Comments section.
It’s impossible not to be excited about this ridiculously named super-group, which teams former Van Halen bandmates Sammy Hagar on vocals and Michael Anthony on bass with guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. Chickenfoot’s self-titled debut favors straight-ahead rockers like the single “Oh Yeah” or the blues-fed “Sexy Little Thing,” and “Soap on a Rope” sounds like a Led Zep outtake sent back from the year 2019. There are darker, grungy tones on the heavy “Get It Up” and the driving “Runnin’ Out,” which speak to a nation facing crisis. Co-produced by Andy Johns (Van Halen), the set captures the fun energy of a mind-blowing all-star jam: Satriani’s fretwork is surprisingly raw, loose and gritty, while Smith channels John Bonham more than once. But it’s Anthony’s signature backing vocals — set against Hagar’s tequila-rubbed wail — that make these new songs arena-ready.
Chickenfoot, “Chickenfoot” (Redline). While it has certainly been nice having the original Van Halen back on speaking terms and on the road again, it hasn’t been that nice around here—no Van Halen area date for us. No confirmed new album from that band, either. So this, the debut effort from supergroup Chickenfoot—Van Halen alums Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar, with the considerably able Joe Satriani and erstwhile Red Hot Chili Pepper Chad Smith making like Eddie and Alex Van Halen— will satisfy your VH jones for the time being. The record is exactly what the band’s membership suggests it would be—a big, fat, funky, sprawling riff fest, with killer hard rock/blues wailing from Hagar, those instantly recognizable high vocal harmonies from Anthony, and enough six-string histrionics to satisfy the shredder lurking within us all. Maybe these guys will deem Buffalo worthy of a visit. Play it loud. (3.5 stars)
We’re all in agreement that the comparison is inevitable, yes? Former Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony alongside an established guitar god and a bona-fide powerhouse drummer? Seriously, what did you think it was going to remind everyone of?
And, yeah, sure, it sounds good on paper: Van Halen’s ex-singer and ex-bassist alongside six-string wizard Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. But let’s face it: these types of things usually sound good in theory, but don’t quite gel when it comes time to put up or shut up.
Which makes it all the more surprising that the result here is a fairly stellar rock album by an exceptionally cohesive and surprisingly relevant band.
Of the 11 tracks on “Chickenfoot,” 10 are credited to the writing duo of Hagar and Satriani, and there apparently is something to be said for pairing Hagar with a songwriting guitar virtuoso, because these songs, and Hagar’s vocals on them, are easily the best work he’s done since splitting with the Van Halen brothers. (The 11th cut? “Down the Drain,” a filthy-good blues-rock number that’s credited to all four band members, who played it precisely one time while warming up in the studio; the tape just happened to be rolling.)
And then there’s Satriani. Everyone knows he can work a guitar like nobody’s business, but soloing your way though instrumentals is a very different thing than co-writing and performing an album’s worth of music meant to be sung over. Turns out he’s great at that, too. In fact, he sounds more than comfortable hanging back and pumping out hook-laden rhythm riffs that keep the songs chugging along. An added bonus? When the time comes for him to take a guitar solo, he does so with a combination of skill, flair and tone not heard on a band-oriented rock album in years.
Also key to the success of this studio experiment is producer Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones), with whom Hagar and Anthony first worked on Van Halen’s 1991 set, “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.” As he did on that album, Johns has created with “Chickenfoot” a positively huge-sounding arena-rock monster, complete with a fat low end that places Anthony and Smith as far out in front as Hagar and Satriani.
The icing on all of this, of course, is hearing a batch of new music that features Anthony’s signature background harmonies, a key part of what made Van Halen sound like Van Halen. His and Hagar’s voices always sounded incredible together, and the passage of time has done nothing to diminish that. (Memo to Eddie and Al: What the hell were you thinking?)
Look, either you liked Van Halen with Sammy Hagar, or you didn’t. (And, please, let’s not argue about it; over the past 20-plus years, none of you have convinced the other side to change their mind, so let’s just give it a rest already, shall we?) If you are a fan of the so-called “Van Hagar” era, then listen up: run–don’t walk–to wherever it is you get your music from and grab a copy of “Chickenfoot.”
Key tracks: “Get It Up,” “Turnin’ Left,” “Soap on a Roap,” “Down the Drain” and “Future In the Past.” (Yes, there really are that many key tracks on this album. Seriously.)
OPINION: Silly Name; Super Group
The economy stinks and times are tough, but at least we’ve got Chickenfoot.
Yes, Chickenfoot the new “supergroup” teaming Van Halen outcasts Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony with guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith.
Chickenfoot’s self-titled debut disc arrived Friday, though if you’re hesitant, hop onto YouTube or MySpace to sample full-length tracks “Soap on a Rope,” “Down the Drain” and the radio single “Oh Yeah.”
Those songs really smoke, thanks to the rhythmic stomp and swagger of Smith and Anthony and the groovy guitar interplay between the feisty Hagar and the flashy-fingered Satriani.
Sure, the lyrics might make you wince, not that anyone expects much from Hagar, who reached his poetic peak a quarter century ago with “Go on and write me up for 125/post my face wanted dead or alive/take my license, all that jive/I can’t drive 55.”
But, hey, we look elsewhere for profound statements; Chickenfoot will be handy if it just continues to churn out simple but alluring, old-fashioned summertime rock that sounds fiery and fuzzy blasting from your car stereo.
Catch Chickenfoot’s first Pittsburgh-area show Aug. 5 at Riverplex Amphitheatre at Sandcastle.
What do you get when take half of a hugely successful arena rock band, a mega talented solo guitarist and the drummer from a funk-rock, alternative act? A mixed bag, that was quickly called a ‘Supergroup’. For everyone keeping score at home, supergroups rarely live up to the hype, but this one, called Chickenfoot, has all the appropriate ingredients as each member have all had careers that are the definition of success. But can they make good music together?
When I first heard about this band I was cautiously optimistic. I love Sammy Hagar and everything he does. I also happen to think that ‘Mad’ Michael Anthony is an extremely underrated bassist and possibly the best background vocalist of all time. Once you add Joe Satriani the inevitable Van Halen comparisons begin. Toss in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith and things get interesting, to say the least.
The first two tracks I heard from Chickenfoot were released via their website a month or so prior to the album’s release. “Soap On A Rope” and “Down The Drain” were early indicators that these guys were for real. The good news? The entire album delivers on the promise of these two songs. Highlights include “Sexy Little Thing” (my favorite track from the album), “Oh Yeah”, “Runnin’ Out”, “Get It Up”, “My Kinda Girl”, “Turnin’ Left” and the aforementioned “Soap On A Rope” and “Down The Drain”.
An initial run through the album might leave the listener feeling as if these are some pretty basic tunes. It’s the second and third time that you start to notice how well crafted all of these songs are – truly a sign of the collective experience of the band’s four members. Guys this age are usually recycling their greatest hits, not writing new songs of any significance.
Prior to hearing any of the songs, I wondered how Satriani would function in a band environment. He’s a wildly talented genius whose ability is totally capable of overwhelming the other elements of a song. The entire band sounds as if they’ve played together for years and Satch’s playing, while perhaps a tad understated compared to his normal style, is quite possibly his best. Upon multiple trips through the album you start to notice these subtle, yet brilliant touches that he scatters throughout the songs.
Another highlight of the album comes courtesy of Michael Anthony. His trademark background vocals are, of course, heard throughout the album, but it’s his bass playing that is the real treat. I’ve always thought of him as a very capable musician, but he’s taken his craft to a new level with Chickenfoot. This is the best bass playing of his career.
Confirming my belief that in the last 10 years album production has become something of a lost art, Andy Johns does a superb job of capturing this band’s layers of sound. Lately, it sounds as if every album that is released has passed through the same filter, yielding a very familiar, yet bland computer generated sound. There are so many subtleties to uncover on this album that at some point earphones are required. A sound this warm and three dimensional hasn’t been heard in years.
Sammy Hagar made a statement comparing Chickenfoot to Led Zeppelin, but he later retracted this statement, claiming he was drunk. I’m not sure who to compare the band to because, to me, they have a sound all their own. I refuse to compare them to Van Halen. If anything it sounds like four guys who really like each other got together and made an album. To that I say, job well done and what took them so long?
With a name like “Chickenfoot” I wasn’t sure what to expect from this new supergroup made up of world-renowned guitar god Joe Satriani, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith and ex- Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar and bassist Micheal Anthony.
Do you take the name “Chickenfoot” seriously? The album art does have a distressed look and the “K” is reversed. But at the same time the cover is heat-sensitive and reminiscent of a mood ring. (When touched the black surface become opaque, revealing an image beneath.) Still pretty badass, but definitely fun-loving at the same time.
Which is exactly what their self-titled debut album (it dropped today) conveys. Some might want more serious rock riffs from these four rock legends but Chickenfoot keeps it a bit lighter. The opening lines of “Sexy LIttle Thing” made me want to dance around my room with a hair brush microphone while imagining slightly younger, slightly studlier men singing to me. Despite their age these rockers still pulled me in with hit “Oh Yeah” when Hagar sings “Hey I just want to be your Hootchie cotchie man/To get you in and out of my head.”
But have no fear, the whole album isn’t all slightly cheesy lyrics balanced with some killer guitar solos. Some songs like “Avenida Revolucion” have more serious undertones, “from here there ain’t no turning back/crossing the borderline/into the fire,” which deals with thoughts on illegal immigration.
Ultimately, no, Chickenfoot is not better than Led Zeppelin (like Hagar tried to say in an interview) but they sure have created quite the buzz. The chemistry these dudes created while first jamming at Hagar’s club, Cabo Wabo Cantina, in Cabos San Lucas is evident. While they are still hardcore rockers Chickenfoot clearly doesn’t take themselves too seriously and their debut album doesn’t want you too either (see the ChickenMash montage below, which features clips from “Avenida Revolucion,” “Soap On A Rope,” “Sexy Little Thing,” “Oh Yeah,” and “Get It Up”). So pop this bad boy in the 6-CD changer, roll down the windows, pump the volume and cruise to this perfect summer rock album.