Release date: October 24, 2011 UK
November 1, 2011 U.S.
Supergroups are always a precious thing. Usually the ego-meter is higher than the number of tracks recorded, but lower than the probability that it will crash and burn. Having two ex-members of Van Halen in Chickenfoot always sounded like someone was waving a blowtorch at a short fuse. The explosion would surely follow.
And yet here we are, two years after Chickenfoot’s self-titled debut album for album number two. According to guitarist Joe Satriani in his interview with Geeks of Doom, singer Sammy Hagar named the band’s second album III because drummer Chad Smith and bassist Michael Anthony wanted to call it IV. Well I’m glad that’s cleared that up then.
Chad Smith is not a ‘classic rock’ guy like the others. His day job is playing drums for funk rock mofos Red Hot Chili Peppers. This use of funk brings the songs alive and gets the others bouncing. Michael Anthony has a ball linking up with Smith, bouncing his bass notes around. The fun and funk is spread to inhumanly talented guitarist Joe Satriani. Where he usually is the star of the show on his solo instrumental albums he sounds like he is having the most fun he has ever had; playing with these guys brings out a really playful style. He is devoid of any serious ego and so despite bringing some fantastic guitar work in tracks such as the brilliant “Lighten Up,” he never takes over.
Sammy Hagar’s energy is utterly infectious. His vibrant spirit is impossible not to admire and imagine him singing much of the album with a smile on his face, as you listen along with the same.
As a whole, III is a good album that is maybe one or two better tracks short of being as good as the self-titled debut. However, almost all of the tracks that make up III will sound fantastic in a stadium setting with the band’s hugely entertaining live shows, as observed in the concert DVD Get Your Buzz On: Live.
The album actually gets better on ‘side 2’. Lead single “Big Foot” bounces along on Satriani’s hugely catchy riff, “Dubai Blues” again with great choppy guitar work by Satch contradicted by a humming Anthony bassline, and fantastic blues/folk power ballad “Something Going Wrong” closes the album.
The album is presented in 3D packaging. There are some great postcards to view through the specs and the cover shows either the band name or album title depending on which lens you look through. Far from being a gimmick, this along with their eponymous debut album with its heat sensitive cover is another argument in favor of physical releases. With a collection of music and cool packaging like this, the CD is far from dead.