Yeah, it’s a supergroup. You got your guitarslinger (Joe Satriani), your strutting vocalist (Sammy Hagar), your rocksolid bassist and angelic backup singer (Michael Anthony), and your slammin’ drummer (Chad Smith). They’ve been in a few popular bands, and one or two have launched pretty awesome solo careers. They have a weird name, and the media seems to dig pointing out that none of them are spring chickens. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Well, screw the haters and the naysayers, because the band’s bombastic debut CD pretty much proves Chickenfoot is a cohesive unit of amazing players who truly enjoy zoning into each other’s musical passions, and having one huge blast churning out rock and roll thrills. Modeled after Led Zeppelin’s riff-and-rhythm propelled onslaught, Chickenfoot evokes the raw, electric energy of ’70s bands expanding the vocabulary of blues-rock, while simultaneously keeping the tones and grooves sharp and modern. (A “hat’s off” to Smith for that, as he pushes the band right to the tip-top of the pocket to keep things from sounding too bluesy.) The guys cut the songs live in the studio—playing together without a click track—and that takes a fair bit of balls in these days of tempo maps and digital editing. You certainly don’t do that unless you dig playing with people, and have the confidence and chops to nail exhilarating performances on the fly.
There’s always a party with Sammy— whose seat-of-the-pants exuberance is more punk rock than he’ll ever get credit for— but GP readers will freak at how being in a vocal-based band again has affected Satriani. Always a brilliant technician and tone connoisseur, Satriani can, at times, seem almost too perfect. But he is absolutely raging with abandon here. You can almost feel a boyish “first band” giddiness in his playing, as he cranks down the overdrive and bashes out rhythm parts with enough attack to topple Galactus. His solos are stunning, of course—little orchestras of astounding beauty and jaw-dropping technique— but it’s his furious commitment to hammering out propulsive rhythms that tags Chickenfoot as the savior of classic riff rock. This is one ass-kicking band. Check out the September 2009 GP for the full story. earMUSIC.