Thursday, June 25, 2009

Women and Children First, Part II

Remember the spring of 1980? That was when Van Halen's Women and Children First came out. It was Van Halen's high point. Sure, Fair Warning was pretty damn good, but it was darker. They didn't seem to be having as much fun. Back in 1980 though, they still sounded like they were having fun being around each other.

We all know how things turned out. Eventually, David Lee Roth left and was replaced by Sammy Hagar. I didn't care for much of the VH Mach II or anything else that followed. Hagar just didn't get it done for me. Recently, Hagar was hanging out with VH bandmate Michael Anthony, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' drummer Chad Smith, and shred-god Joe Satriani. They thought they sounded pretty good, so they hit the studio, and the result is Chickenfoot.
And oh, man, does it sound good! On the first listen, all I could think of is how much they sounded like Van Halen. I would never mistake Satchmo's licks for Eddie's, but there's enough of a similarity here to remind you of him. And Joe sounds so good! Chad is a big upgrade on drums and it's noticeable. Hagar? Eh, he does alright. I wouldn't start a band with him, but I think his skills were wasted with VH.

And they're having fun! Listen to the beginning of Down the Drain. The songs are nice and long. There's false endings; there's fooling around at the beginning of songs like on Fools or Loss of Control. My brother says he thinks this is what Van Halen should have sounded like when Hagar joined them, and that sounds about right. I'm calling this the best album of 2009 so far. I'd give you a listen, but my musicshare site isn't cooperating.
BTW, did you catch the new UFO album? Don't know if you can call it UFO with Vincent Moore on guitar and new guy playing bass, but I'm buy into it for now.