Chickenfoot - Chickenfoot (Deluxe Edition)
This is a record that sounds like it could have been released in about 1985 which, in metal terms, is a damn good thing. Before the bloated excesses of bands like Skid Row and Poison made it a laughing stock, and before Cobain took a shotgun to rock music, and ultimately himself, metal justifiably was king. As if to reinforce the retro feel the album sleeve is made of some form of Global Hypercolour material which only allows you to see the song titles when it gets hot. Man, as a kid I’d have thought that was the greatest thing ever, but now it just seems a bit inconvenient as I rub it with the hot water bottle. Er, righto then...Let’s RAWK!
So Chickenfoot is more than an unlisted ingredient in a Friday night curry, it is also a group, a SUPER group no less, featuring some colossal heavy rock talent. Sammy Hagar, a man who never really convinced as a replacement for Diamond Dave in Van Halen, is in his element here as he leads a band featuring the rhythm section of Van Halen, (Micheal Anthony) the Chili Peppers (Chad Smith) and the hitherto untamed talent of guitar genius Joe Satriani. This gig must be a dream come true for Satch, a proper band where he doesn’t have to play endless weird stuff at hyperspeed just for the sake of it. The discipline that comes with being part of a gang obviously suits him as he peppers the album with masterful riffs and licks without ever breaking free of the leash and screaming EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME PLAYING REALLY FAST.
No, this is the perfect environment for all four to shine and they sound like a band that’s been playing together for years. The variety of influences that each brings to the party means that the album is relatively eclectic; sure it has an obligatory ballad, Learning to Fall which is Whitesnake by numbers but it also has some drop dead funk in the form of Soap on a Rope which almost outguns Rage Against The Machine. They’ve even thought ahead to the forthcoming tour and included a crowd pleasing chant along called Oh Yeah in which the crowd will undoubtedly be requested to participate.
Come on right side, those guys on the left are kicking your ass! Now, all the laydeeez in the house, 1, 2 ,3.....OH YEAH!...I can't hear you....
This is, of course, what metal is all about. Dumb fun, and this record has it in spades. These guys didn’t need to make this album, they wanted to make it and it really shows - they are clearly having a blast. Satriani eventually gets a proper run out on My Kinda Girl a sleazy groove that builds in a flurry of notes before climaxing in a sustained note which, in its own way, is as poetic as anything Morrissey ever committed to record. As the album grinds to a halt with the epic, continental drift of Future in the Past the overwhelming urge is to do it all again and there’s not many records which trigger that response from me these days.
'But what of those deluxe video extras?' I hear you cry. Well they take the form of a lighthearted DVD curated by the band who present insights, live performances and studio outakes of each song on the album to the format, and tune, of the 12 days of Christmas. It's all great fun and a must have addition to the album - which is a bit of a bugger if you already bought it six months ago but them's the breaks. Here's a taster of what you can expect...
(All Images (C) Paul Bachmann)