In his quest to cover music from every era, this month Martin Cooper checks out Joe Satriani’s classic rock approach in supergroup Chickenfoot.
Martin Cooper highlights Joe Satriani’s style with rock outfit Chickenfoot.
ChiCkenfoot are one of the more recent and genuine supergroups. for those that aren’t familiar, they were formed after Van halen singer Sammy hagar and bass player Michael anthony parted ways with the Van halen brothers. hagar and anthony had been jamming from time to time with red hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith at hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina in Mexico. from these jam sessions, the three of them decided to form a proper band, and enlisted the considerable talents of guitar legend Joe Satriani. they released their eponymous debut album in 2009, and embarked upon a world tour that left its mark on some of the band members; at London’s famous Shepherd’s Bush empire, while demolishing his drum kit at the end of the set, Smith threw a drum into the air, hitting hagar on the head, which caused the singer to need stitches!
a second album followed in 2011, followed by another tour with drummer Kenny Aronoff filling in for Chad Smith when he was needed for the red hot Chili Peppers album and tour. there are often rumours of a third album, with Satriani adding fuel to the fire recently suggesting that they would probably begin recording at some point in the future, once they all find the time in their hectic schedules to revive the band.
the group has been a considerable success, with both albums reaching the top 10 in america, and the debut album also breaking into the top 30 in the Uk. Satriani joked that he finally has some commercial success, albeit as a rhythm guitar player!
inevitably hagar has been asked who is the better guitarist between Satriani or eddie Van halen, and although he diplomatically lauded the talents of both, he has stated that Joe finds it easier to fit into a band and leave space for vocal melodies and lyrics, which he prefers.
the songs on the Chickenfoot albums draw influence from the likes of Led Zeppelin, The rolling Stones, Montrose and, perhaps not surprisingly, Van halen.
this month’s track is in the key of G Major (G-a-B-C-D-e-f#) and features some classic rock chords and riffs, with Satch-meets-Vanhalen melodic phrasing on the rhythm part. the solo has typical Satriani traits such as not starting on the first beat of the bar with lead lines, adding anticipation to the phrases and creating space in the same way that Brian May does. there are some bluesy Pentatonic licks mixed in with some fast legato and tapping sections, ending with a hybrid picked line that nods towards C Lydian (C-D-e-f#-G-a-B) over the C chord.
The solo has typical Satriani traits such as not starting on the first beat of the bar with lead lines, and creating space.
Joe Satrianl with Sammy Hagar and 24 fret Ibanez guitar