Popdose Roundtable: Streaming Chickenfoot’s “Big Foot” (and Striking Up the VH Debate Again)
Scott Malchus: Now with more COWBELL! This song is tight. I’m bummed that Smith won’t be touring with them.
Jeff Giles: Our friend Matt Wardlaw wrote it up over at Ultimate Classic Rock, and I bought my copy at iTunes this morning. Sammy singing lead, Michael Anthony all over the background. Sounds like summer.
Rob Smith: It’s big dumb FUN, widda capital F.U. and an N, kiddies. Threadbare lyrics (kinda like “Soap on a Rope” and “Down the Drain,” from the last one, both of which drove me nuts until I just learned to reach down between my legs, ease the seat back, and enjoy myself). But man alive, that groove is stompin’. Lessee if dem Nijmegenians down in Pasadena got anything on this. Won’t believe it ’til I hear it.
Chris Holmes: Putting my Sammy biases aside, this sounds like pretty generic hard rock to me.
Jeff: I’m not disagreeing, but I think you have to put it in the context of what AOR has sounded like since 1992. We’re living in Staind and Linkin Park’s world now, so I’m always grateful when someone gets the old Camaro sounding halfway decent again.
David Medsker: Aaron Lewis: “It’s always about you and your Camaro, isn’t it? I’m singing about my feelings over here. Don’t you care about my feelings?”
Ooh, there’s a piece to be had — an imaginary conversation between Aaron Lewis and Chester Bennington.
Dw. Dunphy: Care about my PAAAAIIIIINNNNNN.
Jeff: I’d love to put those two assclowns across a table from Sammy and…I don’t know, Tom Scholz or someone. Let them argue about why rock radio is so horrible.
Chris: I think it’s one of the unfortunate legacies of the rise of the Seattle scene (I refuse to so narrowly lump them all with the dreaded “G” word). By and large, it’s been seen as uncool to be overly musical or showy in the rock world. I don’t think that sense of pure, dumb fun that we lost back then has ever come back.
Dave Steed: Yeah, this shit rocks. You can bet your ass. Chickenfoot III — so good they just skipped right over II. Whooo!
Jeff: That pure, dumb fun hasn’t come back, Chris — and I’m surprised the trend has lasted this long.
Medsker: Well, we had the Darkness for a little while. They were dumb and fun. “English Country Garden”…love that song.
Scott: I loved the Darkness. I wish they could have kept their shit together.
Chris: The Darkness were fun, but everything they did had giant quotes around it. Not quite the same thing.
Jeff: Yeah, I was thinking about the Darkness, too. But remember how the whole narrative around their short-lived success was based on whether or not they were joking?
Plus, they had a really strong glam element. Which isn’t bad, but it always struck me as another layer of artifice or irony on top of the music. Fun denim rock has been dead for a long time.
Dave Lifton: Where does Steel Panther fit into all of this?
Jeff: Right next to Ray Stevens.
Lifton: Dammit, Giles. That was a setup for a mom joke!
Medsker: Steel Panther is just foul. If they weren’t constantly taking the piss in their lyrics, they might be dangerous.
Steed: I thought I loved that Steel Panther record, but after the first week I never bothered getting it out again.
Scott: I’ve listened to the song four times in a row. Sometimes angst gets so tiresome.
Michael Parr: That opening riff is easily the ‘dumbest’ thing Satriani has composed — I say this with love, of course. It’s good to hear Sammy and Mikey singing the big chorus, even if it left me wanting more.
Okay, I’ll admit it … I hit repeat. I really want more chorus, though. And guitar solo. Definitely more guitar solo.
Jeff: I’m not saying it’s a classic, but again: context. And the riff is dumb, sure, but I like that Satriani keeps things simple for Chickenfoot. Shit, the only record of his I really like is The Extremist.
Steed: I love the fact this guitar virtuoso can tone it down in the name of rock and roll. It’s my favorite song of 2011 so far. I can’t wait until someone leaks this thing.
Matt Wardlaw: Yeah, I think that’s what I’ve enjoyed most about the Chickenfoot experiment, is Satriani unexpectedly showing the world that he can be a guitar player in a band and not simply try to jam as many riffs and notes into a song as possible. I’m a Satch fan, but for people who don’t dig his stuff, I certainly understand their objections.
All of that being said, I think he’s consistently been one of the better players in his genre…by comparison, I can barely listen to Steve Vai – too much going on there, nearly always at a million miles a minute.
Jeff: When is Yngwie going to start a band with Dennis DeYoung?
Michael: Think about it, though: take any of the more accessible tunes from The Extremist, add vocals and there is potential for some classic material. I feel like he’s gone too far with the musical dumbing down.
It’ll be interesting to see how this new record stacks up against the upcoming Van Halen record.
Jeff: Well, you guys know where I stand on that issue. I have zero faith in Eddie’s ability to give me anything I want to hear in 2011 — and I’m troubled by the rumors that the band combed through old demos to cobble the new record together.
Chris: If they’re using old demos, it actually gives me more confidence that it will be a good record. Hell, they were mining pre-’78 material for just about all their DLR-era records anyway.
Jeff: Try going back to something you wrote 30, 35 years ago and reworking it. It just ain’t the same.
Matt: It continues to be surprising that Sammy is churning out something that’s not Cosmic Universal Fashion and some of the stuff that came prior to that, which I guess is to be expected when you’re surrounded by Smith, Satriani and Anthony.
We’re judging that second album on the basis of the single, but certainly, it bodes well and I have to think from the sound of “Big Foot,” Hagar was angling hard to smack the Van Halen brothers right in the face with an album that sounds like Van Hagar….and if “Big Foot” is a correct indicator, hopefully he pulls it off. I’m down for it.
Chris: Dave employed the same strategy back when VHIII came out. His DLR Band album totally smoked it.
Jeff: What didn’t smoke VHIII?
Chris: I actually think it was decent, just terribly flawed.
Matt: Although it was hard to imagine VH without Sammy or DLR, I liked VHIII for what it was, minus the truly awful moments provided mostly courtesy of Edward and his “How Many Say I” abomination.
Scott: VHIII was so awful, it made them seem like a Vegas act.
Jeff: I hate that record so much — partly because I think the whole thing has maybe one and a half actual melodies, and partly because I think Cherone is technically the best singer they ever had, and the poor guy just happened to show up when the band was at its lowest creative ebb. And even Vegas acts have too much dignity to tour with Monster Magnet opening.
Chris: That album would’ve benefited from a much stronger producer. I’ll go to my grave believing that a lot of the material was good, it just ended up kind of shapeless.
Matt: Well, keep in mind that you can tell that album was written entirely for Hagar. They can deny that, but it certainly sounds that way. Of course, if they were re-hashing old Hagar riffs, that would explain a lot.
You know who would have been awesome in VH?
Jeff: Goddamn you, Matt Wardlaw.
- Michael Anthony Says Second Chickenfoot CD Is Finished (tsminteractive.com)
- Chickenfoot Reveal Details of ‘Chickenfoot III’ (rollingstone.com)
- CHICKENFOOT Post First Audio Teaser For Upcoming III Album (bravewords.com)