Tired of the tequila-friendly party shows that he’s been performing for the last 13 years with his post-Van Halen solo band The Waboritas, Sammy Hagar tells Billboard.com his decision to form Chickenfoot with guitarist Joe Satriani, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith was a challenge he desired as an artist.
“I just got to a point where I felt I needed to grow,” Hagar says. “I was feeling stuck and stagnant. And the whole party thing I created, I just got tired of doing that. You need to eat and feed yourself in order to grow and the best way to do it for me is to start new projects, and I don’t want to call this band a project because we’re a band. It’s just getting together with other people for new input that stimulates and inspires you to become better. That’s all there is to it.”
After making its debut at a February 2008 solo Hagar show in Las Vegas, Chickenfoot songwriters Hagar and Satriani started working in earnest last October. The band then reconvened earlier this year to record its self-titled debut effort, which is due out June 9 on Redline Entertainment.
“I don’t think I could have written a record this good by myself in 100 years,” Hagar says. “And by getting together with Joe, I think we wrote some amazing songs. It’s funny he’s in the same place as me. He’s tired of being a solo artist. We’re all on the same page so much in this band it’s scary. And we want to take this thing worldwide. We need to take this to everyone who loves this kind of music. I really think it’s Montrose, Van Halen and the thing Chad brings is a deep pocket. He plays this groove that is kind of Zeppelin-esque. We’re really coming from everywhere.”
Currently finishing up its debut mini-tour playing clubs, Chickenfoot is set to make its national television debut on during the first week of Conan O’Brien’s “Tonight Show” on Friday June 5. The band then starts looking ahead to a month-long European jaunt beginning June 20 in Austria before returning stateside for a full North American run slated for August and September. Hagar says the group will then take a break while Smith returns to the Chili Peppers to presumably work on recording that band’s next studio effort. Chickenfoot may get back together in early 2010 for an Australian tour with another American leg as well.
While the current outing finds the band playing its debut effort in its entirety, along with unreleased new track “Bitten By The Wolf” and covers such as Montrose’s “Bad Motor Scooter” and Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” Hagar hints the band isn’t adverse to loosening up its set list in the future to include material from the members’ star-studded resumes.
“At some point, I think it will be the next album project and tour when we have more songs under our belt, we’ll deconstruct Chickenfoot,” Hagar says. “So it’ll be a little bit of Joe, a little bit of Sammy, a little bit of Van Halen and maybe a little bit of the Chilis. That’ll be a wonderful thing down the road when we’re in an arena and doing ‘An evening with,’ but right now we really want to play all of the new songs. And right now we’re paying almost two hours, so it’s crazy. It’s awesome.”
The album packaging, when heated up by the simple touch of a hand, will change opacity, revealing hidden images on the cover and hidden song titles on the back cover.