Bands are made up of a plethora of characters and sometimes that witches brew creates combinations that leaves everyone (often themselves) scratching their heads. That witches brew can also create a supergroup like no one has seen before but through it all there is one constant that must be achieved: Respect amongst bandmates. Often these supergroups are chastised and are the butt of oh so many jokes, but occasionally its the punchline that helps make sense of it all. For example, have you heard the one about the band made up of a Red Rocker, a Surfin' Alien, the guy with two first names and a hot pepper?
Chickenfoot is the punchline in that little riddle I posed but I suppose "punchline" really isn't the correct word to describe Chickenfoot after all. Its hard to be a punchline when your lineup includes an incredibly successful solo artist (as well as frontman duties in a band to be named later), that artist would be Mr. Sammy Hagar, a guitar legend Mr. Joe Satriani, the bassist of that band to be named later, Mr. Michael Anthony and the drummer for one of the funkiest bands of all time, Mr. Chad Smith.
For a band that is that fully loaded, it really isn't a wonder that their first album went #4 on the Billboard Top 200 (simply titled "Chickenfoot") but the argument can be made that the success was merely sales of fans of the previous bands they were associated. That argument holds less water than a sieve that has been painted with "liquid" rubber. That first album was amazing, and what it provided to their fans was that blossoming supergroup, a group that will take no prisoners (okay that's hokey but its true).
I approached the second Chickefoot offering (titled Chickenfoot III) with some confusion (because of the name) but I quickly overcame that moment of duh. Being able to reflect back to the first offering made the second album something that much better as I was able to compare apples to apples and what was fascinating was the fact that I think this album could be even stronger.
Chickenfoot III is the culmination of four exceptionally talented men that really have fun with what they do and each song felt as if it could be their next single. That statement really isn't indicative to most bands (definitely bands that have "made it") as many of these bands throw in what I would call filler songs. Filler songs are good songs don't get me wrong, but they just don't have what it takes to be fan favorites, thus they are filler songs.
This album also achieves something that I think many bands really don't seem to want to achieve, this band seems to have had fun with the music they put out. The song "Lighten Up" for example, had this '70's arena rock feel to it at the beginning of the song. I swear I heard a little Deep Purple and Uriah Heep in the beginning (let's see Bieber do that) but the song was so much more than that. The song was fun, it was fun for the listener and was also a song that I listened to over and over.
Without going all "Twilight Zone", imagine if you will an album that had obvious touches of the artists from whence they came. The song "Something Gone Wrong" for example had this really groovy, bluesy feel to it and it just screamed Joe Satriani (this song is probably my favorite). The song "No Change", a politically charged song that had that "We Didn't Start the Fire" thing happening BUT it also had this funky, Red Hot Chili Peppers like quality to it, and its just a great song overall.
Other songs within the album had those fingerprints of bands past, "Up Next" had that Sammy Hagar quality to it, while "Dubai Blues" really felt like the "band to be named later", oh okay its Van Halen. Dubai Blues had that Sammy of Van Halen days and musically I think it shows Mark Anthony's influence.
Songs like "Come Closer" with its Carlos Santana type guitar and the bad times song "Three and a Half Letters" which describes so eloquently the battles of America today, add to the mystique of this album. Three and a Half Letters is a very powerful song, it truly is a snapshot of America today and stands as proof of the quality of musicians and songwriters that these gentlemen are.
Chickenfoot and this latest release are not to be thought of as a dysfunctional group of superstars that got together for a few days and put out some crappy album. Chickenfoot has the potential to become the quintessential supergroup and as long as they put forth the effort on subsequent albums as they did this one, they will reign supreme. I have used the moniker "supergroup" many times during this article and there is good reason for it. I cannot imagine what stroke of genius / luck it took to create this band but I will tell you we are the truly lucky ones.
Chickenfoot is not a punchline. Chickenfoot isn't a flash in the pan. What Chickenfoot is can only be described as a remarkable, steadfast force that can and will take all of its fans on a whirlwind. Let's all sit back and enjoy the ride!