Don't get me wrong: unlike most music critics, I've got nothing against Sammy Hagar. He used to seriously rock my teenaged world with Montrose in the '70s, then I thoroughly enjoyed his early solo albums (before he decided he couldn't drive 55), and I even liked a couple of tracks from his mid-'80s stint with Van Halen ("Finish What Ya Started", "Dreams".). I always thought he had a great rock 'n' roll voice.
But enough is enough. Judging by last night's concert at the Commodore with his new "supergroup", Chickenfoot, it's definitely time for Hagar to grab himself a bottle of that premium tequila he so proudly promotes and head off into the Cabo sunset.
The quartet—which includes guitar hero Joe Satriani, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith—showcased all the songs from its upcoming self-titled CD, and there didn't seem to be a strong one in the bunch. They sounded forced, formulaic, and extremely safe; most of them came off as substandard rejects from Van Halen's OU812 sessions. Hagar tried hard to make it seem like he was having the time of his life trotting out these tedious odes to the endless party, but come on, pal. you're 61. Isn't it time you branched out from songs about your "Sexy Little Thing"? Your new tunes make Nickelback seem edgy.
And Satriani is just wasted in this group. The guy's a real artist on guitar, as he's proven via a dozen instrumental albums, so to see him up there grinding through vapid, contrived arrangements is just sad. I predict he's going to get fed up with this misstep of a "supergroup" very soon and go back to being an adventurous axeman of the highest order, the type who'd much rather trade licks with a virtuosic bassist like Stu Hamm than the lowly Michael Anthony.
I got much more of a buzz from the night's opening act, Vancouver's Rich Hope and His Evil Doers. Hope only has one evil doer, actually, ace drummer Adrian "Mad" Mack, but between the two of them they churn out the type of raw, honest, gutbucket rock 'n' roll that Sammy Hagar now seems truly incapable of.