Paging Eddie Van Halen: Sam and Mike need your help. After departing Van Halen, singer Sammy Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony hooked up with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and guitar wizard Joe Satriani to form supergroup Chickenfoot, whose self-titled debut is extremely Van Halen-esque. Of course, it’s hard to fault Hagar and Anthony for doing what they do best, which is make catchy hard-rock party music, but Chickenfoot suffers by comparison to the pair’s other band (to say nothing of Hagar’s public proclamations that the project would rival Led Zeppelin).
- Chickenfoot: Chickenfoot
- Beyond the Weekly
These are talented people, and a few of the album’s songs do match up to late-period Van Halen, especially the catchy “Soap on a Rope” (the only song here with a legitimate monster riff). “Sexy Little Thing,” “My Kinda Girl” and “Turnin’ Left” each have their moments as well, but most of the songs sound like leftovers from Hagar’s recent solo albums, with more guitar solos. Far too many run past the five-minute mark, allowing Satriani to engage in the kind of self-indulgent guitar wankery that makes sense on instrumental albums but is seriously detrimental to economical songwriting. And when the band veers toward the grandiose on turgid ballad “Learning to Fall,” the results are even worse.
As four guys goofing around jamming, Chickenfoot is harmless fun. But as another band for the ages? Not even close.