That supergroup known as Chickenfoot (from left, Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony, Chad Smith and Sammy Hagar) are ready to cut album number two this weekend.
We have a huge, six-part Chickenfoot update today:
1) MusicRadar.com has the following Chickefoot exclusive:
Sammy Hagar on recording Chickenfoot’s new album
“It’s time to ‘Zeppelin-ize’ our music!”
Joe Bosso, Wed 26 Jan 2011, 12:05 pm UTC
Chickenfoot begin recording their new album this Friday, but for singer Sammy Hagar, the next 48 hours will feel like an eternity. “I am so ready to make this record,” he says. “I’m beyond ready! The songs we’ve got, the riffs that have been flying around – we’re going deep.”
According to Hagar, “We’ve got stuff planned that we never could have dreamed about when we first got together. We’re talkin’ heavier than ever, bluesier, more emotional – I get goosebumps just thinking about it.”
Chickenfoot (which also includes guitarist Joe Satriani, bassist Michael Anthony and drummer Chad Smith) will track the album at Hagar’s Marin County studio, The Foot Locker, formerly known as Red Rocker. “We did a lot of the first album here,” he says, “and we finished up at Skywalker Studios. This time, I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to do the whole thing here. Five of songs on the first album were all tracked here, and they’re some of my favorites.”
Hagar is particularly fond of the drum sounds the live room in The Foot Locker delivers, and he says that recent upgrades to the recording console will result in “drums that will take your head off. I can’t wait to hear my man Chad in this place now. We’ve fine-tuned everything to an unbelievable degree. Unless I’m totally crazy – and, of course, it’s been said that I am – nobody’s going to say we don’t have enough inputs or the board is lacking this or that. This place is built for speed. We’re gonna stay here till this sucker’s done.”
Which won’t be very long, the singer believes. “The last record took us about three months,” he says, “and I think we’ll knock this one out in half that time. We don’t have these laborious sessions where we go over every phrase and suck all the energy out of the songs. Everybody is so musically capable in this band that we’re able to turn on a dime. We’re almost like a jazz band. Somebody says something, and off we go.”
Whereas Chickenfoot’s gold-certified debut was co-produced with the band by veteran boardsman Andy Johns, this time out Mike Fraser, who mixed that album, will serve as engineer and co-producer with the group. “Andy’s great, but he’s a little hit and miss,” says Hagar. “He kind of wings it. Mike’s a different sort of animal. He’s more of a control guy, but in a good way. Believe me, this band can get out there with the constant flow of ideas, so we need a guy to reign us in.”
Hagar estimates that the band is hitting the studio with four numbers fully written – music and lyrics. Of the 14 or song fragments that Satriani has sent the group over the past few months, the singer says, “I have melody and lyrical ideas to about eight of them. We’ll see what all works and what doesn’t. The music and the songwriting is so spontaneous in this band. I’m sure that once we all get in the room together, other songs will happen and some will fall by the wayside.”
Although Chickenfoot have spent much of 2010 apart (Satriani just wrapped a tour for his most recent solo album, Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards, while Smith has been finishing the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ long-awaited next record), Hagar has no reason to doubt that once the four musicians reconvene, sparks will fly. “All I have to do is tell Joe I’m thinking of doing something kind of like Whole Lotta Love, and he’ll play me a riff that has that spirit. Then I’ll start singing, Chad and Mike will tear into it, and before you know it, we’ve got a song.”
When asked how the new record might differ from its predecessor, Hagar points to a song called Come Closer, which he says is the first time Satriani composed music to the singer’s existing lyrics. “Usually, I write words to the musc; this time we did it in reverse, and it’s amazing.” Hagar also mentions two acoustic numbers that Satriani has been working on. “These things are stone-cold blues,” he says. “I’m listening to my Robert Johnson anthologies to get in the proper spirit. What I want to do is get real authentic with the blues like Zeppelin did. I want to take the blues and really rock it out. It’s time to ‘Zeppelin-ize’ our music.”
On the subject of a release date, Hagar says it’s “a little early to predict that. But I do want to hit the road later this year.” One possible kink touring-wise centers around Smith, who will most likely be performing with the Chili Peppers when they release their album in the summer. “It’s a conflict,” Hagar admits. “But what can you do? Chad is going to make an incredible record with us. If he can’t tour we us, we’ll have to get a temporary replacement.” He names Jason Bonham, Matt Sorum, Vinnie Paul and Abe Laboriel Jr as possible candidates. “Any one of them would be amazing. But like I said, they’d be temporary – I can’t stress that enough. Chad Smith is a member of Chickenfoot, and that’s that.”
2) MICHAEL ANTHONY at NAMM (Video) – Jan. 20, 2011
Rich’s Music Exchange conducted an interview with CHICKENFOOT/ex-VAN HALEN bassist Michael Anthony at this past weekend’s NAMM international music industry trade show in Anaheim, California. You can now watch the chat below.
3) SAMMY HAGAR Joins JOE SATRIANI On Stage In Oakland:
Sammy Hagar joined his CHICKENFOOT bandmate Joe Satriani on stage last night (Thursday, January 13) during Satriani’s headlining concert at the Fox Theatre in Oakland, California to perform two songs — “Foxy Lady” and “Going Down”. Video footage of Hagar’s appearance can be viewed below (courtesy of Eliseo Soto).
4) Joe Satriani interview with Examiner.com:
Q: How far along is Chickenfoot with the second album, and how much of this year will revolve around touring behind that?
A: We’ve got 18 songs in the process of being written. We’re going to meet at the end of this month to record this record. We don’t know how we’re going to finish it or when it’s going to be released. We’re dealing with my touring and Chad Smith’s involvement with the new Chili Peppers record and Sam’s many responsibilities. I’m confident of having a record in the can by March.
Q: Having been used to your own band over the years, what was the biggest adjustment you had to make working with Sammy, Michael and Chad?
A: Having a private jet to fly around (laughs). No one in the band had taken a tour bus except for me. Believe it or not, that was the biggest adjustment — getting used to flying in a private jet.
Q: Before Chickenfoot came to San Antonio in Sept. 2009, Michael Anthony told me that you like to take notes in the studio. What kinds of details are you taking note of?
A: When you’re in the studio, it’s a beautiful opportunity to achieve greatness. Everyone wants to make a record that is great for decades and decades. You don’t want to slack off. You want to rise to the occasion. It’s a special atmosphere, and I don’t want to miss out on it. After the recording session, those guys flew home, Sam worked on some lyrics, and it was just me and the engineer. I played banjo, acoustic guitar, other instruments. I love it. Some people find (record-making) tedious. I think it’s a privilege to be in that situation.
5) Joe Satriani interview with NewsReview.com:
Q: What’s going on with Chickenfoot?
A: Chickenfoot will be in the studio by the end of this month. We’ve got a whole slew of songs we’re working on, and the original lineup will come on, and we’ll see if we can get a record finished up by the beginning of March.
Q: When you go from doing your solo stuff to Chickenfoot, how does your perspective change? What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with a vocalist?
A: Well, you know, those guys are rock stars, so the food is much better when I’m with Chickenfoot. They’re part of that multi-platinum, rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame group of musicians, so there are private jets and celebrity chefs showing up all the time. It’s a little bit more down home when I’m doing my solo work.
Q: The new record [Satchriani’s solo album] is more of a thoughtful record, where Chickenfoot is a party record. Would you agree with that?
A: Without a doubt. There are certain things that a vocal band can do–and since both [bands] are playing rock music–that instrumental bands can pull off. I have the benefit of not having lyrics, so the music is a lot more suggestive because of the absence of direction from lyrics. The burden of having lyrics is that you’ve got to come up with really great ones [laughs]. They really put a face on a band.
Sammy is a feel-good guy. He hates conflict. He loves to lift people up. It’s like if there are two people in a room, he’ll make sure they’re having a party. And when he goes to a concert to play, that’s exactly the way he feels. That’s the sensibility he likes to bring when we’re writing it together. Even when he wants to make a comment about a serious subject, he makes sure there’s a way to do it where he can get people on their feet. It’s a very interesting way that he likes to do that.
6) Chad Smith and Michael Anthony with the Sabian Holy China
Chad Smith (of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Chickenfoot) surprises Michael Anthony (of Van Halen and Chickenfoot fame) with his ultra loud new cymbal. The SABIAN Holy China was inspired by Chad and is the loudest China cymbal SABIAN has ever made.
Chickenfoot & Mad Anthony & Sammy Hagar Swag:
Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock [Hardcover]
FREE Photographic Print when you pre-order now!
Mad Anthony Skull & Peppers Tee, Charcoal
M, L, XL, 2XL
Chickenfoot Longsleeve Shoulder Logo
M, L, XL, 2XL
View all Chickenfoot and Mad Anthony items at Van Halen Store.