ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 11, 2009
By Steve Newton
It’s a shame that so-called “supergroup” Chickenfoot—composed of guitar wizard Joe Satriani, drumming ace Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a couple of guys who won’t be featured on the upcoming version of Guitar Hero: Van Halen (singer Sammy Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony)—didn’t put as much thought and effort into the music on their debut CD as they did the cover art.
As explained in the liner notes, “this package is printed with a non-toxic heat-sensitive ink which changes appearance above and below 84 ° F/29 ° C”, so you when you lay your greasy fingers across its front cover, images of the four Chickenfoot members appear out of nowhere. Considering how mediocre the accompanying songs are, it’s quite fitting that when you take your fingers away Hagar & Co. slowly fade back to the black hole from whence they came.
The first track—hang on a sec while I lay my greasy fingers on the back cover to reveal the song title…oh, there it is—the first track, “Avenida Revolucion”, opens with a full seven seconds’ worth of the Satriani’s faster-than-fuck fretwork before the rhythm section kicks into a plodding groove and Hagar hollers “Hey you!” to introduce his overwrought tale of “wetbacks” desperately trying to cross the Mexican border into the States.
It’s cool that the shaggy-haired tequila pusher is tackling some serious social issues, but would it kill him to create an arrangement that isn’t so freakin’ tedious?
Braving the magic ink again I discover that the second track is called “Soap on a Rope”. Catchy title but, again, Sammy and his mates forgot to come up with a decent chord progression, something you might actually want to hear again in the not too distant future. Satriani pulls off his best imitation of Eddie Van Halen’s squealing guitar, making this tune sound like a substandard reject from the 5150 sessions. “Get your soap up, and get your buzz on,” sings Sammy. Well, at least the lyrics are impressive.
Need I continue? No thanks. I’m getting too much of that apparently “non-toxic” ink all over myself, and I’d hate to catch cancer and die from listening to this crap. Let’s just say that Chickenfoot is the sound of four famous rock stars cynically joining forces to offer the world the type of exceedingly safe, formulaic rock music it has no need for whatsoever.