Toronto Sound Academy
Wednesday August 5th
Interview: SAMMY HAGAR
THEIR STUFFÖ. With a mini Club
trek & European tour under their belt
SATRIANI, SMITH & ANTHONY better
known as CHICKENFOOT
are ready to stomp there way across the U.S.A. through the end of
The veteran Rock Ďní Roll outfit is set to take flight with
tour dates beginning this week including a visit to our neighbors
to the North in Toronto. The bands live performances to date
have been an unprecedented success not to mention the talk of the
summer tour circuit.
The bands self-titled debut album had people flocking to
their music outlets of choice seeding
at number 4 on the Billboard
Charts right out of the gate. Quite a feat for a group of old
school Road Warriors with well over a century in the Rock Ďní Roll
The Rock Rapport
had the good fortune once again
to speak with Hall of Fame frontman
from the Rock Rapport
in Buffalo, NY, as
always itís a pleasure to speak with you, how are things in the
henhouse following the tour abroad.
good brother really good as you can imagine. Hey itís not snowing
up there in
Buffalo is it
- No snow, but
it hasnít stopped raining in weeks, believe it or not weíve even
had a few hail storms this summer.
- Iím just pulling your leg, the
reason I ask is I was watching the Food Network last night because
you know I love to cook, I saw ANTHONY BOURDAIN cruising
all the restaurants around Buffalo during a blizzard. I thought
to myself OH
Iím glad weíre hitting the Northeast during the summer
months. I Love the people up north but I can do without the cold &
Congratulations on the overwhelming critical & commercial success
is enjoying with the debut record; not to mention the fact
that the tour is selling out every venue on the schedule.
You took a little criticism
early on about some comments & comparisons you made about the
bands new music, seems you knew this thing had legs before anyone
You know I did take a little flak
about some things I said; I assure you it was out of pure
excitement about this group of guys Iím playing with and the music
It is truly
awesome the response weíve gotten all over the world. My hopes
were that this band would be accepted by the public but you just
never know. Itís a strange and difficult time in the music
industry and weíre playing a somewhat unique style of music, so at
this point in our careers the success is a bonus.
- Itís been a
whirlwind summer thus far as the
tour is set to stomp across
Honestly Iím having the time of my life itís out of sight the
places weíve been playing. Man Iíll play anywhere with this band
we donít even ask how big the venues are itís about jamming and
sharing the energy with the folks in front of us.
- Iím sure you
couldnít help but take notice when you stepped on stage in
Montreux for the Jazz Festival in front of 50,000 people, tell us
about that incredible show?
Yeah that was an amazing festival
to be a part of sharing the bill with
STEELY DAN &
BAND. I said to DAVE MATTHEWS, ďwhat the hell are we
doing taking the stage after a DMB setĒ. He had a good
chuckle over that, after our set I asked him if he wanted to open
for us on the U.S tour. Heís a lot of fun and funny as shit, we
had a few cocktails that day.
- That had
to be quite the 4th of July, Iím sure the Swiss
will never be the same.
That show almost didnít happen as drummer CHAD SMITH
spent a little time on the chopping block during the tour as he
clipped a wing, but he managed to muscle through it.
Howís CHAD holding up as
prepares to hit the road for the second leg of the tour?
he over did it a little, he literally ripped the muscle of his
shoulder, he only took a few days off and finished the tour.
Personally Iíve never played with anyone who plays as hard as
CHAD does. He absolutely exhausts every song that we play, at
the end of each song itís like WHEW lets catch our breath.
Because of the way CHAD plays we take every song to itís
limit, its all about keeping up with SMITH.
I was talking to the longtime respected Bay area critic
Joel Selvin after our show at the Fillmore, he told me the only
guy heís ever heard play as hard & loud as CHAD was
- Another cool date coming up on the
summer tour is a free show at the Rock Ďní Roll Hall of Fame
on August 15th.
Tell us what special meaning that gig will have for yourself
& MICHAEL ANTHONY being forever enshrined in
for your contributions with VAN HALEN.
that is pretty awesome, I Love the fact that we get to go back,
not just to play but to support the Hall. Itís no secret how
& I are to be
members, in my humbled opinion youíd think our other band mates
would be in there as well for what theyíve accomplished in their
Sound Academy show this week will be your second visit to
Toronto. I was one of the fortunate 500 folks to see the ďRoad
Test TourĒ at the Mod Club in May.
Rumor has it that you and CHAD got tangled up with
RUSH guitarist ALEX LIFESON the night before and tore
up the town.
man lets clear that up right hear & now, I blame
for that night; it was my tequila but that boy gave us hometown
tour I wonít soon forget, he can throw down with the best of them.
there any discussion about ALEX taking the stage with
that night for a song or two?
- No, weíre really trying to focus
on this first tour. Every place that we played there were world
class musicians & friends. Man we had some of the best shredders
on the planet in the house like ALEX, BRIAN MAY & STEVE
LUKATHER cominí out to the shows. I told every one of those
guys they have an open invitation to come to
- Lets talk about the new record; you continue to defy nature
with your throat thrashing vocals, holding nothing back on tracks
like ďOh YeahĒ & ďRunnin OutĒ, is
there something in that
Tequila keeping those pipes
ask me itís some kind of miracle, I donít smoke cigarettes so that
certainly has helped preserve my voice. Beyond that I think I
break every rule there is for a singer. I drink, I party, I Yell
& Scream, I donít warm up properly and more often then not Iím
sleep deprived, there isnít much that I donít do thatís for sure.
Just the other day SATCH & I were talking about changing up
the encore a little for this leg of the tour, maybe putting
ďHeavy MetalĒ in place of ďBad Motor ScooterĒ. As
JOE was listening to it on the computer I started to sing
along with it, he looked over at me and said how the fuck do you
still sound the same as you did in 1981.
So far, knock on wood, I can still hit all the notes, I
feel extremely fortunate in that respect.
- Now that the
tour is in full flight did you find the ďRoad TestĒ
club rehearsal shows beneficial to both the band and the new
glad you asked that because it was one of the smartest things Iíve
ever done as an artist in my career. If we would have just jumped
into a bigger venue it really could have been difficult.
The production of this show needed to be built from the ground up,
from sound & lights to the performance of the songs. These
smaller gigs afforded everyone involved the opportunity to see
what this band is all about and were we wanted to take the songs
in a live setting.
We started playing just the
album and a few encores which was about 75 minutes of material in
the first few ďRoad TestĒ shows; at the end of those club
dates we were clocking in at just under 2 hours with the same
amount of material. Those shows really gave us the chance to get
our feet under us allowing us to focus on jamming & stretching out
the songs in the right places.
- Youíve obviously survived some
tenacious times through your VAN HALEN years, tell us how
this group of accomplished musicians manage the ego friendly
environment that is apparent on stage.
Iím just hoping thatís somewhere I never have to go again. When I
joined VAN HALEN the ego thing wasnít an issue, they had
just finished with that shit with the previous singer.
When I joined the band everyone was happy, it was the polar
opposite of what theyíd been dealing with. It really was a
fantastic time in my life & career. For some reason after a
decade of success and what I thought was a lifelong friendship
someoneís ego got in the way and it wasnít mine.
You know Ross, things happen within a band just like any
other relationship because your dealing with more then one
I really donít see that happening with
the older you get you realize that you have to check your ego at
the door if you want to be involved in a band of this caliber.
For me to be able to play with MIKE again at this level and to be
welcomed with open arms as a singer/songwriter by guys like JOE
SATRIANI & CHAD SMITH is truly something I treasure at
this stage of my career.
Both yourself and JOE have
enjoyed tremendous success in your respective solo careers, talk
about what itís like joining forces with someone like SATCH
in writing new songs.
we started to work on this project we wanted to fuse the strengths
that each of us bring to the table as a musician, we tried not to
change each others style.
still writes the same kind of music but he
doesnít have to worry about the melody & chorus or the lyrics, I
can take that off his plate. He can come up with the bare bones
of each song and I try to fill in the pieces. Itís a great
relationship, after so many years of being solo artists its really
a relief to share the process with someone whose had the same
experience of being responsible for every single detail that goes
into making new music.
I really love were this thing has taken us, I knew it was
something special when he was playing the riff in ďSexy Little
ThingĒ and I just started to sing the lyrics.
As an artist its creative moments like those that are
inspirational, to me these new songs have the magic of
PLANT/PAGE, JAGGAR/RICHARDS hell even
EDDIE & SAMMY.
- With the
shows selling out in every market will the less fortunate fans
that didnít get tickets have the opportunity to see these
performances on DVD in the future?
Absolutely, weíve recorded just about every step of the way. We
filmed the Montreux show as well as another great gig at the
Fillmore in San Francisco. I
believe thereís a handful of shows set for filming on the rest of
the summer tour as well.
When this thing is done itís going to be really cool were not
just recording one show, weíre taking songs from a number of
different places to try and bring that
right into your living room.
NOTE: As always the Rock
Rapport would like to Thank
for his valuable time. We would also like to Thank Jessica
Erskine from Rogers & Cowan for taking care of the
tour dates @