Concert Reports



11/02/2011, Avalon Hollywood

Rock supergroup Chickenfoot invaded L.A.’s Avalon Theatre during its "2011 Road Test Tour," a five-city jaunt in support of the just-released album, "Chickenfoot III." The group fronted by Sammy Hagar features Joe Satriani (guitar), Michael Anthony (bass) and Chad Smith (drums) – Kenny Aronoff was hand picked to tour due to Smith’s obligations with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The short tour began Nov. 1st in San Francisco and wraps Nov. 8th in New York. The new album follows the group's gold-certified debut, released in 2009 which peaked at No. 3 on The Billboard Top 100.


  All Photos: Kevin Estrada


Very Special Thanks: Janette Baxa

"Chickenfoot III," despite the title, is actually the group's sophomore effort. The collection hit shelves late last month and debuted at No. 9 on The Billboard 200. Produced by Mike Fraser, the CD features a 3D package with optical illusions and special codes that fans can see with the 3D glasses included in the set. The video for the set's first single, "Big Foot," is currently streaming at the group's website.  

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Having established themselves in record time as one of the earth’s premier rock bands with their Gold-certified 2009 self-titled debut, Chickenfoot – the illustrious, virtuosic supergroup formed by singing legend Sammy Hagar, guitar god Joe Satriani, and the renowned rhythm section of bassist Michael Anthony and drummer Chad Smith – approached the initial stages of recording their new album, Chickenfoot III, with supreme confidence and a firm sense of intention.  


They, of course, had good reasons to feel cocky: There were the high-octane, hook-o-rama singles, “Oh Yeah,” “Sexy Little Thing” and “My Kinda Girl.” Then there were the riveting live shows, starting with a sold-out-within-seconds “Road Test” run of clubs and ending a year later with a sold-out-within-seconds world tour of large halls. The not-so-little engine that could definitely did…time after time.  

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Beyond the obvious, however, something more important happened during Chickenfoot’s rise to the top of the rock: They became a band. A real band. “We went from being a weekend fun-time thing to making a record and touring the world,” says Sammy Hagar. “Our learning curve was fast – even for us. But we went out every night to kick ass and prove that we weren’t resting on our laurels. We earned everything we got, and along the way, we established a trust in one another that happens very rarely in bands. To me, it’s magical.”


“It’s the best record I’ve ever been a part of,” Hagar says unashamedly. “Songwriting-wise, playing-wise, we reached a level I’ve hoped was possible. There’s nothing this band can’t do. I’m convinced of it.”  


Joe Satriani 40.jpgMelodies abound throughout the balance of Chickenfoot III, especially on the aching rock ballad “Come Closer,” which represents a dramatic turn for the band in that Hagar wrote the completed lyrics first for which Satriani then composed the music – on piano. By the time the full band had its way with the number, Satriani abandoned the piano and strapped on his guitar – his solo, a glorious cloudburst of notes, enlarges the scope and deepens the song’s meaning.  


And everybody had a big hand in the infectious, Nashville pop-tinged “Different Devil,” an absorbing tale of tangled relationships, which features Michael Anthony’s strongest singing yet – the ever-dependable background vocalist is practically dueting with Hagar. Satriani penned the music to this sure-fire radio winner, but he wasn’t certain the arrangement was clicking, that is, until Chad Smith took a whack at some chords and came up with a new chorus. “Suddenly the song felt smooth and we just blazed through cutting it,” says Satriani.  


The need for a personal connection is further examined on the bold and brash classic-rock homage “Dubai Blues” – tradition meets innovation, a ‘Foot’ specialty – in which Hagar presents himself as a self-satisfied man who has everything the world can offer, all but that special someone.  


Finishing this stunning set is the Delta-flavored “Something Going Wrong,” which sees the Foot serving up spicy, authentic blues. “Chad and I had a lot of fun wearing different musical hats on this one,” says Anthony. “And Joe was astounding. The guy played Dobro, banjo… He’s not just this shred king that everybody assumes he is. He’s got deep roots.”  


From free-wheelin’ lifestyle rockers (“Big Foot,” a car enthusiast’s wet dream, is the first single) to the myriad nuances of the human heart to unvarnished portraits of the world today, Chickenfoot tackle them all with matchless assurance on Chickenfoot III. “The messages are pure and direct, the playing is the best I’ve ever heard, it’s all right there,” enthuses Hagar.  


Of course, only a band that would call themselves Chickenfoot could title their second album Chickenfoot III and get away with it. Nobody in the group is entirely sure how the name took hold, but Satriani remembers it as “a joke that Chad and Carter started, only they were calling it ‘Chickenfoot IV.’ My attitude was, ‘Hey, as long as the music is great, we can call it anything.”  


Hagar feels the title is entirely apropos. “Sure, it’s funny, and we did back it off a notch from IV to III, but I think Chickenfoot III fits. I feel like it is our third record. The maturity, the depth, the power of these songs, the musicianship – we’ve already jumped over having to make a second record. It’s like we did it already. Our next record could be our fifth!”  

Better mark that down: Chickenfoot V…Up next!  

Bio Courtesy

Very Special Thanks: Janette Baxa

All Photos: Kevin Estrada



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