Chickenfoot

Chickenfoot

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Supergroups are often motley groups seemingly formed at the end of an after-concert party but few are quite as strange as Chickenfoot, an endeavor featuring Van Halen's Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, guitar legend Joe Satriani, and drummer Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. These four musicians are tied together by their many years playing in the arena rock trenches, a circuit that doesn't necessarily yield common musical ground although it does lend its veterans a certain knack for pleasing crowds. This eagerness is evident on the band's eponymous 2009 debut, which should come as no surprise seeing that Sammy Hagar has never seen a party he couldn't rock, but this mentality doesn't quite jibe with Satriani's immaculate, tightly controlled playing. Satch always seems to want to burst out but can't help leaning on precision, a problem that's the polar opposite to Hagar's let-it-all-hang-out philosophy, and this dichotomy is mirrored in the rhythm section, where Anthony's chugging bass doesn't quite fill the gaps Smith leaves. All this means is that Chickenfoot's big picture is roughly in place but the pieces don't quite fit, but that doesn't stop the group from trying to force it, with Sammy sounding as awkward singing about south-of-the-border drug runners as Satriani does spinning off complicated riffs on party rockers. There's too much professionalism for this to be a trainwreck but the whole thing is rather laborious, with everybody working far too hard to have a good time.

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