Sammy Hagar & Friends
Frontiers Records, 2013
Sammy Hagar has a lot of very popular friends ranging in musical styles from blues to rock to country. He has been a part of some great bands—Montrose, HSAS, Van Halen, and Chickenfoot—and has had a very solid solo career. Calling on his friends and bandmates—both current and former—Hagar has come out with an album that should be an instant classic. Unfortunately, what should be and what is don’t always match up.
Hagar sang in 1981, “There’s Only One Way To Rock.” Much has changed in 32 years. The Red Rocker is mellower now, and seems more concerned with bragging about the beach and “Waboritaville” than making quality music. There are three cover songs here; two are very poor choices and the third is a ho-hum effort. Of the new songs, the best is “Bad On Fords And Chevrolets,” written by Ronnie Dunn (of Brooks & Dunn fame) and Ray Wylie Hubbard (who deserves more recognition among music fans). That said, the track sounds basically like any other uptempo mid-1990s country song.
While I am happy to see Hagar making music again with his former Montrose mates (Bill Church and Denny Carmassi) and with Neal Schon, the results are just not very impressive. I kept waiting for a song to really kick it into high gear, and thought Kid Rock might bring it in “Knockdown Dragout,” but it fell short as well. Perhaps Hagar just forgot that there is only one way to rock.
View a live performance of “Knockdown Dragout” (without Kid Rock and Joe Satriani) on The Tonight Show below:
1. Winding Down (with Taj Mahal)
2. Not Going Down (with Bill Church, Denny Carmassi)
3. Personal Jesus (with Neal Schon, Michael Anthony, Chad Smith)
4. Father Sun
5. Knockdown Dragout (with Kid Rock, Joe Satriani)
6. Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
7. Bad On Fords And Chevrolets (with Ronnie Dunn)
8. Margaritaville (with Toby Keith)
9. All We Need Is An Island (with Nancy Wilson, Mickey Hart)
10. Going Down (Live In Studio-Take 1) (with Neal Schon, Michael Anthony, Chad Smith)
The supergroup featuring former Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, and guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani, has a new album on the way. The first single is “Big Foot,” and the band has produced a music video to promote the release.
I’ve got a love-hate relationship with Sammy Hagar. I absolutely love his work prior to joining Van Halen, and absolutely loathe everything after (with the exception of Balance). This song is doing nothing to change my mind, which stinks because Joe Satriani is amazing with an electric guitar.
If you are turned off by Sammy’s voice like me, skip to 2:23 in the video to hear Satch wail for about 20 seconds.
Chickenfoot III is set for release September 27.
What do you get when you combine two of the greatest groups in rock music? If you answered, “A supergroup,” you would be right sometimes. But most of the time what you get is a train wreck. Case in point: Velvet Revolver.
Guns N’ Roses was arguably the best hard rock act of the late 1980s, and their debut album Appetite for Destruction is one of those rare gems that can be played from beginning to end without ever hitting the “skip” button on your CD player. The follow-up, Lies, showcased the band’s ability to rock just as hard without electricity. Then there was Use Your Illusion I & II, with the epic “November Rain” and other timeless classics like “Don’t Cry” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” The last disc the band released, The Spaghetti Incident?, was a commercial flop but a nice tribute to some of the band’s punk influences. Comparing it to some of the covers albums that have been released recently by other bands, GNR’s effort was far superior.
Stone Temple Pilots hit it big in 1993 with “Plush,” a song in which lead singer Scott Weiland sounds eerily similar to Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. The band’s debut Core ended up going 8x Platinum, and several of the songs are staples on rock radio today (“Sex Type Thing,” “Wicked Garden,” “Creep”). Their follow-up Purple was not as strong as their debut, but still contained a few rockers, as did the third CD Tiny Music. This is where my personal knowledge of STP ends, as I did not buy No. 4 or Shangri-La Dee Da, their final two albums of all new material.
Enter internal turmoil, and both bands imploded. Axl fired Slash & Co. from GNR, while Weiland and Dean DeLeo nearly got into a fist fight during an STP concert. After some side projects and solo albums, somehow Scott and Slash got together and decided to form Velvet Revolver. VR wasn’t half the band they should have been, considering the talent, but they did create some buzz initially and had a few good songs. Their second CD wasn’t great, and while Slash is ready to record a follow-up, Scott is looking back to his former bandmates for a reunion.
That’s right, Stone Temple Pilots are reuniting this year and will tour, possibly starting in May at Rock on the Range, a rock festival in Columbus, Ohio. No word yet on what Slash, Duff, and Matt Sorum will do with their newfound unemployment. Maybe Slash and Matt can get Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony to form that other supergroup that was in the works before the Van Halen with Sammy reunion back in 2003.