Get Your Buzz On LIVE
DVD | Blu-ray
Dc3 Music Group
Released date: 26 April, 2010 (UK); May 4, 2010 (US)
Oh no, not another rock band made up of ex-members of other way more famous bands. Not another group of musicians tarred with the ‘supergroup’ brush. Surely the world doesn’t need another bunch of millionaires telling everyone how ‘blessed’ they now feel. But Chickenfoot is a band with a line up of ex-members of Van Halen and Montrose, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Come on — right now it doesn’t get much more super than that.
Chickenfoot released its eponymous debut album last summer to a hugely positive response helping the music and the band to get its beak into most rock award categories at the end of the year. And now, after an extensive tour of America and Europe, lead singer Sammy Hagar, bassist Michael Anthony, drummer Chad Smith, and guitarist Joe Satriani have released a concert DVD — Chickenfoot: Get Your Buzz On LIVE.
I was never much of a fan of Sammy Hagar-era Van Halen (Van Hagar, if you will). Obviously he had a killer voice but when he became lead singer, the whole sound of the band changed and the soppy electro love songs were not my thing. I preferred the more straight-up rock of Montrose and early Van Halen. It would be foolish of me to blame my falling out with Van Halen’s music at that point entirely on Hagar. Michael Anthony was still pounding away on one of his novelty-shaped bass guitars in the band until he was replaced by a spotty teenager (ok maybe that’s a little unfair since the spotty teen calls Eddie Van Halen ‘dad’ and Alex Van Halen ‘uncle’). He can remove his guitar strap and shoulder some of the blame. And despite having half of the reason, I fell out of love with one of my favourite bands, but I was still excited about watching this DVD. And you know what? It’s really, really good!
As soon as the band takes to the stage it immediately feels familiar, like I’ve been watching this band for years. Not just the individual members whose careers I have indeed been following for many years, but Chickenfoot feels like it had a 70s heyday but is still going strong. And I mean that as a genuine compliment. Or like a reunion show but without that palpable sense of bitterness and resentment. It feels like when lead singer Sammy Hagar puts his arm around bass-playing Michael Anthony that he genuinely likes him. They are all friendly and smiley, but not in the forced, creepy, Tom Cruise kind of way.
Apart from a bizarre encore choice, nearly all songs were written by Satriani and Hagar so there is a heavy Van Halen and Montrose feel. But the songs sound fresh and lively — far more interesting than a lot of the new rock that has surfaced in recent years. They have that ‘classic rock’ edge but have a vibrancy to it that all good songs have. The middle duo of swamp-blues tinged ‘Bitten By The Wolf’ and thumping ‘Oh Yeah’ along with romantically titled ‘Get It Up’ are the stand out tracks.
With this amount of experience onstage you would fully expect them to be able to work the room. Despite being a little, erm, heavier than he once was (happens to the best of us), Hagar still exudes a high level of self-assured cool, with a dash of ‘embarrassing dad’ just to give him some grounding. But the guy is 62, give him a break; he’s still more rock n roll than guys a third of his age. Michael Anthony skips about the stage, grinning and fist-pumping into the air like an excitable rock fan. Chad Smith was in Chickenfoot while his ‘real’ band, Red Hot Chili Peppers was on hiatus (band speak for ‘until we don’t feel like killing each other so much’) and his boundless energy behind the drumkit is infectious. Joe Satriani doesn’t move from stage right, but is utterly captivating. He is one of the best guitarists of all time. In fact, his playing is so good it is out of this world! (See what I did there? No? It was a ‘Surfing With The Alien’ based joke. And it was a good one, so shut up.)
This is fun, unpretentious new rock music performed by a band with rock and roll in its veins.
On the disc is also a Photo Gallery, which sadly is a bit boring. It’s basically a slideshow with music. What is interesting and very cool is the documentary. This follows the band on its tour last year. There is lots of backstage footage — some from Satriani’s own video camera — mostly the band warming up before they go onstage. There are also lots of interviews: Hagar interviews The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir — a very nice man and excellent guitar player. Smith goes out onto the streets to ask people if they have heard of Chickenfoot, to which the answer is mostly ‘no’. He also dresses up like Will Ferrell’s Buddy Elf, but you’ll have to watch it to believe it. The very funny radio DJ Adam Carolla interviews Anthony, whilst eating Anthony’s hot sauce. The very best moment of the whole DVD comes at the end when a very special guest interviews a rather bewildered looking Satch.