Rarely has a band come freighted with such expectation and promise than the new outfit that calls itself Chickenfoot.
Yes, you read correctly – Chickenfoot. Say that name again, just to get used to its sound. Chickenfoot.
It's a silly name for a band – – and album – – that kicks a donkey's ass six ways to Sunday and back again. Maybe that's because long before the four men who comprise Chickenfoot came together they already filled the pages of rock history with enough individual mind-blowing chapters to boggle the mind.
[Photo credit: copyright 2009 Bryan Adams]
First, let's consider the stellar line-up. There's Joe Satriani, he of guitar god status, a dream born on the fateful day of September 18, 1970. It was the day Jimi Hendrix died, and it was the same day that Satriani, upon hearing the news, quit his high school football team and decided, at age 14, to devote his life to the electric guitar.
So what about that singer? Well, that would be another guy who needs no introduction; Sammy Hagar, the original "Red Rocker", a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee for his tenure with Van Halen, who made his professional debut as the singer for the much-revered group Montrose during the early 70's.
A great band is nothing without a great rhythm section, and Chickenfoot has one of the best in the two-man team of former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers Chad Smith.
Guitar legend Joe Satriani took time out of a sunny spring day in London to have a chat with me about all things Chickenfoot. Read the full EXCLUSIVE 991 interview below.
I’m guessing you’ve either thought about or been offered band roles before, so how is forming CF different?
Wow. I guess because of the most obvious is that we got Michael Anthony, Chad Smith and Sammy Hagar and I just could not have thought that they would want to get together with somebody like me and I guess that our secret weapon is that we are really an odd collective of guys but something really magical happens when talented people start playing together.
I read one message board where comments were being levelled that the band will just sound like “Van Halen given half the band have teamed up with another guitar wizard”.
Do you think that’s a view many people may have? Or do you think it’s the curse that yourself, Eddie, Steve Vai and Billy Sheehan get labelled with, that you are more style over substance?
Well, when we first set out to do this I told the guys I had a vision of how my guitar would be within the band and I wanted to create more of a rhythm guitar sound to support the songs but because of the sort of player I am and what I am perceived to be there will always be an element of the soloist on display but this set of songs would be sound just as amazing with just the rhythm guitar parts, they are that good.
I listened to the two tracks available on the website; and they charge out of the speakers like a freight train. Chad and Michael sound phenomenal playing together and I suspect on stage is where ChickenFoot really come alive.
It’s amazing to hear those two play together they are just so talented and its always a pleasure to see just where these guys are going to take a song.
We’ve had the chance to do a warm up show and play the whole album in its entirety. It was truly amazing to play an hour of untried, unknown music to a crowd of people who took it all on board and gave us an amazing reaction. Every track just left me with a huge smile on my face.
Have you got a track that is a particular favourite or one you are really looking forward to playing live?
Have you put all of your solo projects and G3 business on hold during ChickenFoot or are you going to become a keen juggler?
We are all committed to ChickenFoot for the foreseeable future but we all have our own careers to be dealing with as well, Chad with the Peppers and all the Van Halen reunion stuff that is going on. We will take a break from ChickenFoot at some point but we haven’t set out a plan for it. But G3 is something that will continue at a later date for sure.
Of all the millions of amazing solos and riffs that are out there other than your own of course. Is there one that you would love to have written?
I would say Voodoo Chile what Hendrix did on that record, sonically and melodically remains the yardstick by which guitar playing should be measured. Its truly awesome statement that one person can be playing and singing live and come out with such an incredible sound that is so pure, natural and beautiful its an amazing legacy.
You’ve recorded, toured and jammed with the biggest and the best that the world has to offer. If ChickenFoot had its own festival (Chicken Stock) who would be on the bill?
I like that; you may have come up with something there
You can have that; I’ll only take 1.5%
I'll gladly give it to you.
On the whole, I find the festivals that work best are the ones with a diverse line up. That why we chose to include festivals on our European tour where we will be playing Montreaux with the likes of Dave Mathews and Mos Def. I guess we could always have the Chili peppers and Van Halen.
Deep Purple featuring Joe Satriani?
Yeah sure why not.
I guess one band who won’t be getting an invite would be Coldplay?
Ha – No I like them as a band and have no resentment towards them at all.
Is the whole libel thing still going on? [Joe, is suing the over claims the band's song Viva La Vida uses one of his riffs. – read more at the BBC]
Yeah it is but all the good stuff I can’t talk about I'm afraid.
I’m interviewing Billy Sheehan in a few weeks’ times. Is there anything I should ask him?
Wow, he’s amazing isn’t he, so cool. That’s a hard one, we’ve toured so many times together I know everything there is to know about him. You could ask him to send me one of your signature basses, Signed of course.
Joe, thanks for taking time out on a glorious Sunday to speak with me and good luck with everything and I hope to see you at the gig.
No problem Saul thanks, make sure you come down.
“Chickenfoot’s eponymous debut album is released by earMUSIC on 8th June.
Chickenfoot play the London 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on June 25th.
Ticket Hotline: 0844 576 5483 or book online at www.livenation.co.uk.
For further info visit www.chickenfoot.us.
For further information about the new album and European tour, click here – http://www.noblepr.co.uk/Press_Releases/earmusic/chickenfoot.htm
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