Chickenfoot-Chickenfoot

I’ve now listened to this album long enough to have complaints, so lets rip!

Seriously, that IS my attitude. I hate current film or music reviews, where the reviewer gets caught up in the moment and atmosphere of things, and gives  a review that they’d later regret. I also hate it when shortly after something is released, reviewers withdraw their articles, due to  contrary opinions from the public (Kerrang! and St Anger, I’m looking at you here). As such, I tend to leave all reviews until long since anybody last cared, to get the most accurate result out of it. There’s a method to this crap, you know.

Like most other reviews I’ve done, this is mostly inspired by a new release. I guess it’s retrospective, before the retro really kicks in.  I like to deliver them slightly too late for anything constructive to be taken from it either. That way we don’t have to worry about law suits, and me becoming a millionaire. Nobody wants that.

Soooo… Chickenfoot. I remember hearing about this “supergroup” when it was still a rumour, and I’ll be honest: I was fucking stoked. I’ve seen Joe Satriani about a bazillion times live, I think Chad Smith is a great drummer, and surely Sammy and Michael were going to bring some Van Halen grandeur to the stage… what could be better? Everyone was belly aching about Them Crooked Vultures, or whoever, but for me Chickenfoot was going to be the big deal.

Their eponymous debut went down the garage band jam-session type of route, as opposed to the stadium rock kinda route, which all of the members could pull off without breaking a sweat. This gains a lot of respect for me, as they really are starting from scratch. It’s also the weakest aspect of the album.

This album is as ye-haw American as possible, and it’s VERY Sammy Hagar. He’s singing about the kinda trailer trash women he likes, and about Mexicans (whom he lovingly refers to as “Wetbacks”, although I don’t think it’s supposed to be racist). He’s powering out his drawl, and it makes me wonder how he ever fronted Van Halen. These are VERY different bands, and it’s a bit disappointing.

I think I was expecting stadium rock, with a funk feel, as contributed by  Chad and Joe, who in particular feels like he’s sitting in the background a lot. Perhaps it’s because he’s constantly in the foreground in his own music, but you don’t put Joe fucking Satriani in a band, and expect him to just play by numbers. The one big contribution he makes is the riff for “Down the Drain”, easily one of the best rock songs I’ve ever heard. Another good song on this is Get It Up, or Avenida Revolution… actually they’re all good. Only Down the Drain is really great though.

Straight up, I say if you like rock music, listen to this album, There’s room to grow here, and I think they should concentrate full time on this project.  There’s a live DVD which is far better than the CD, strangely enough. Get that in HD, and watch in awe at Satch’s skills, Chad’s punk attitude, Sammy’s ‘fro and Michael Anthony’s impossibly large neck, complete with mullet.

Where should Chickenfoot go? Here’s a guide by guide step:

1) Better lyrics. Stop Sammy from writing them all.  Or, if he has to, change the smut. They’re all smutty, but smut can be handled so much better. Case in point: Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin. If Led Zep could get away with lyrics like “I wanna give you every inch of my love”, and have the song put as the intro to kid friendly Top Of The Pops, you guys can too.

2) Rub some funk on it. If there was ever a band that could deviate into 10 minute rambling jams, it’s this one. These have needed a comeback since the seventies. Them Crooked Vultures have tried, but just compare the calibre of musicianship here. Do it.

3) Pull the songs out of America. I get it, you guys are American manlymen, but the great rock bands never let that overshadow their lyrics. Make it more accessible, and maybe a bit more topical.

4) Push Joe. Every time he writes something awesome, send him back and make him do it better. He can. He’s Joe Satriani.

5) Glue Chad to the drum kit. He’s going to keep fucking off back to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, like a battered housewife. You guys need to make an intervention man.

6)  Tour this one more, and add festivals to your schedule. Festivals are impossibly popular, and even if you ignore everything else I say, this is a must. There ARE people that will see you, and love you, out of interest, who may not care enough to listen to your cd, or visit an independent show. Tour festivals. You guys know you can command a mid afternoon slot on main stage anywhere, or even a higher slot on a second stage at a rock fest. Do it.

Yeah, this post was pretty light, but I’m still pretty spent from the last one 🙂

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