Rock Greats in Chickenfoot Coming to Atlantic City
Group consisting of ex-Van Halen members, Chili Peppers drummer, Joe Satriani playing House of Blues Friday
Chickenfoot consists of three members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a master guitarist. But don’t call the band a super group.
“We’re a real band that just happens to have to work around each other’s schedules,” bassist Michael Anthony said. “We enjoy playing music together so we’re going to do it whenever we get the chance.”
Chickenfoot — Anthony and singer/former Van Halen bandmate Sammy Hagar (Rock Hall Class of 2007), Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith (inducted in April) and guitarist Joe Satriani – performs Monday, May 21, in Manhattan. Kenny Aronoff is sitting in on drums for Smith, who is on tour with the Chili Peppers.
Chickenfoot’s status as a full-fledged band as opposed to an all-star experiment is backed by its output. The group released its self-titled debut in 2009 and followed last year with its sophomore release, “Chickenfoot III.”
Anthony said Smith came up with the new album’s non-sequential title. “For some reason Chad had the idea to call it Chickenfoot Four,” he said. “We settled on Chickenfoot III. We don’t take anything too seriously — look, we named the band Chickenfoot — except the music.”
Anthony said the band has grown in its short time together. “You can tell we have a Chickenfoot sound now,” he said. “There’s a lot more thought being put into the songs and that stems from the fact that on the first album we were all still feeling each other out musically.”
Anthony’s trademark backing vocal harmonies, an integral part of the Van Halen sound, are featured prominently throughout “Chickenfoot III.” On standout track “Different Devil” he takes a couple of lines solo.
“There’s some really great background stuff on this album,” Anthony said. “A lot of times it’s almost like a two-part lead vocal rather than background vocals.”
Another highpoint, the jarring “Three and a Half Letters,” features Hagar reading notes he’s received from desperate fans seeking help finding jobs. “I didn’t know what to think about [the song] at first, but it turned out pretty cool,” Anthony said. “It gets the point across.”
Chickenfoot took root in 2007 when Hagar called Smith, Satriani and Anthony to join him for an encore at a solo show in Las Vegas. “From the start we tried to put no pressure on ourselves and that was the most important thing,” Anthony said. “We wanted it to be fun and all about the music.”
Anthony was especially excited to record with Chickenfoot. Though he’s performed often with Hagar’s solo band, The Waboritas, Chickenfoot’s debut marked the first time Anthony played on a studio album in nearly a decade.
“I didn’t want to just keeping going out and guesting with Sammy all the time,” Anthony said. “As much fun as that is I was ready to do something in a band setting. Chickenfoot has been great. It’s a revitalization of the fun we used to have in the early days of Van Halen, before it became a big business.”
IF YOU GO: Chickenfoot, 9 p.m. Friday, Atlantic City House of Blues, 801 Boardwalk. Tickets are $49.50, $54.50 and $62.50. Call 609-236-2583 or visit www.houseofblues.com/venues/clubvenues/atlanticcity/