Thunder on the Rocks

Redrocks Amphitheater
Morrison, CO
September 5, 2016

img_1966You can say what you want about Sammy Hagar—that he’s a god, that he’s a clown, that he’s amazing, that he’s egotistical, that he’s washed-up, that he’s an incredible person… we all have our own opinion, and I’m going to try to remain objective here, but having had the immense pleasure of seeing Sammy and his latest band, The Circle, perform at Redrocks recently was such a delight that I just had to share my thoughts.

It had been the culmination of a super crazy week for me, having worked 12-hour days for the Labor Day weekend and, not being a spring chicken myself anymore, trying to deal with the agony of my vehemently protesting knees, but when The Circle exploded onto the stage with “There’s Only One Way to Rock”, where I could barely walk just moments before, I found myself dancing (as best I could) and wishing I’d had more space in which to move. Oh my God! The music blew the roof off the building! Oh wait—there was no roof. Or building.

I’ve seen Sammy perform with Van Halen, The Wabos, Chickenfoot and others, and while I never got to see Van Halen in their prime, (I saw them in 2004 during their reunion tour—don’t get me started) and although I love all his previous bands, I have to say that I think I enjoyed The Circle the other night most of all. Maybe it’s because I’m also a huge fan of Led Zeppelin.


Jason Bonham & Sammy Hagar

With Sammy on lead vocals, Michael Anthony (former bassist of Van Halen) on bass, Vic Johnson on guitar and Jason Bonham (son of the illustrious John Bonham from Led Zeppelin) on drums, how could this band be anything but spectacular? And they were. Tight. Loud. Sounding like thunder on the rocks.

I expected to hear some Zeppelin tunes and was thrilled with what they chose to play. I loved “Good Times Bad Times,” but “When the Levee Breaks” and “Rock and Roll” are two of my all-time favorite Zeppelin tunes and when The Circle performed them, I was swept up into a state of bliss and wonder that matched the fog machine’s ambience, and I don’t mean stoned. There was just something magical about all of it—Redrocks—with the stars overhead in the warm summer night’s sky combined with the towering red-hued boulders on either side of the venue like two giant hands holding audience and performers in an intimate setting of sound and soul and rock and roll so mesmerizing that you just had to experience it to believe it.


Hagar seemed to feel it too. “This is the most beautiful venue on earth!” he said, extending his arms. “I wish I could have gotten here while the place was empty, climbed to the middle and just sat there in awe and taken it all in.”

Indeed. If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing a live show at Redrocks, I urge you to go sometime. You won’t be sorry. There is nothing like it.

Michael Anthony was as talented as always—with his high pitched, irreplaceable backing vocals that helped make Van Halen great, and his seemingly sheer joy at performing with his buddy Sam.


Michael Anthony on bass

And although he’s not Eddie Van Halen, on guitar, Vic Johnson, who hails from Colorado Springs, CO, never disappoints. He hammered out those songs as easily as if he could do it in his sleep.


Vic Johnson on guitar

There was a moment during the show that really stood out for me though—Sammy’s guitar solo during “When the Levee Breaks.” I remember talking to Vic years ago and he told me that he’d mentioned to Sammy that he needed to play guitar more, that his fans loved it when he did so, and when I heard that solo during “When the Levee Breaks,” that’s what came to mind—Damn! Sammy! You need to play guitar more! What a treat!

Although I’ve seen Sammy in concert more times than I can count, and yes, I suppose I’m a little biased, I am still impressed that he can perform with as much energy as he does. I leaned over to my son, who was there with me, and said, “Can you believe he’ll be 70 next year? 70!” You’d never know it. Hagar made it look effortless, and it was obvious that he enjoyed every minute of it.


Sammy Hagar on lead vocals

There was a moment during “Runaround” when Mickey’s mic quit working, but it was only a minor distraction. And toward the end of the show, Hagar’s voice grew a bit hoarse, but I’m sure it was due to the altitude. I’ve seen many performers in Colorado have to take hits of oxygen between songs for this reason.

But they didn’t let up. Quipped Hagar, “We’re not going to go offstage and come back on because I don’t want to walk down all those steps to the dressing room and back up them again! So we’ll just do it like we’re in Cabo. We don’t go offstage; we don’t do encores in Cabo. We just keep playing until we’re done playing.”

And they did. The crowd went crazy with applause.


Jason Bonham on drums

The show ended with an etherial rendition of “Dreams,” which is one of my all-time favorite tunes. One year in Cabo, as Sammy was getting ready to perform “Dreams,” he announced to the audience about how I had made my dream come true—to be a writer (the video is on the home page of my website, you can see it here) so this song will forever have special meaning for me. And although he’s lowered the key, with the magic of the evening overpowering my angry knees, it was truly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen Sammy do. Then to close with “Rock and Roll”… Give me more!


There’s Only One Way to Rock
Rock Candy
Good Times, Bad Times
I Can’t Drive 55
Right Now
Little White Lie
When the Levee Breaks
Why Can’t This Be Love
Finish What Ya Started
Heavy Metal
Mas Tequila
When It’s Love
Rock and Roll

**All photos property of Patricia Walker, 2016. No unauthorized duplication, please.

Sammy Hagar announces the sale of DANCE OF THE ELECTRIC HUMMINGBIRD at Cabo Wabo!

October, 2011

During Sammy Hagar’s annual birthday bash at Cabo Wabo in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on October 13, 2011, Sammy announced to the crowd that he would be selling my book at Cabo Wabo. Quipped Sammy,

“Pat has written a book about this whole experience from the beginning. It’s gonna come out very soon and we’re gonna carry it here. She did a great job with that f–in’ book. It’s … a must-read for redheads, okay?”

Although Sammy had already contacted me and informed me of this days before, I was honored beyond words to hear him mention it during his concert because the show was streaming live all over the world.

How many big rock stars would do such a thing? For me, it was the honor of a lifetime and I will never forget it. Thanks, Sammy! You ROCK!

11-7-11 NEWS UPDATE: Here’s a video of the event. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, skip to 7:45 in the video; that’s where he starts talking about me and my book, calling me “Baja Pat.”







Writing Update June 21, 2009



I’m honored and very excited to let you know that I now have three articles published online, one of which is a feature article.

“Chickenfoot Revives Rock ‘n’ Roll” can be found at

“Chickenfoot: Self-Titled CD Review” can be found at

and “Chickenfoot Review and Photos” can be found at

I’m working on sending articles to various magazines online and in print and will keep you posted as to my progress there.

As for my book, “Dance of the Electric Hummingbird,” I continue to send queries to agents. The right one will come along when it’s meant to be. In the meantime, I am revising the text a-gain for probably the seven-hundredth time. It’s a labor of love though.

Thank you for all your support. And thank you to all of you who have left comments here on my blog! Keep them coming!

“The Foot” Comes Down in Denver

Concert Review—Chickenfoot at the Fillmore in Denver, Colorado

September 11, 2009


I am a writer. And when one is striving to maintain professionalism, it is one’s duty to present an unbiased account of the subject matter, is it not?

I tried. I really tried, but I just couldn’t do it. I was swept “Down the Drain” and it was so, so fine…

I first saw Chickenfoot perform at the Fillmore in San Francisco on May 17, 2009. It was their third live performance as a band; their debut CD had not yet been released. That show blew me away.

The Denver show topped it.

Chickenfoot was tighter than ever. And they delivered the kind of rock music that’s timeless and unforgettable.

The thing that continually amazes me about this band is that none of them upstages the others. They are all top-notch musicians in their own rites but they complement one another beautifully and it seems so effortless.

That evening, I had a backstage tour ticket. Our group was escorted into the venue to watch Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam, the band who would be opening for Chickenfoot, do their soundcheck. Davy is only 22 years old, but he has the soul of an old blues man. His music is in the same vein as that of Jonny Lang. Rock and the blues will never die as long as there are talented people like Davy keeping the soul alive.


We were then escorted into Chickenfoot’s dressing area, a room a little larger than a closet, where all the trunks of clothes stood open and waiting for the band. I think Sammy’s trunk had more shoes than shirts! Michael Anthony’s still had the “VH” logo on it from his Van Halen days.

We were then taken to the hospitality room where the band hangs out before the show. There was a small drum set for Chad Smith, guitars, amps and equipment for Joe Satriani and Mikey, including Mikey’s signature Jack Daniel’s bass with two small shooters of JD stuck in it, a portable wine trunk stocked with about two cases of wine for Sammy, and platters of fruit, sweets and snacks. And of course, Sammy’s bottle of Cabo Wabo tequila was chilling in the refrigerator.

They then took us onstage and showed us all the guitars in sectioned crates, the sound board, the snakes of cords, floor lights all in position, amps and Chad’s drums. What a strange feeling being up there and looking down at the empty room which would soon come to life with music and screaming fans. The Fillmore has huge glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling over what used to be its massive dance floor.

I couldn’t help but think about the many people it takes to put on a show of this caliber and how hard their lives must be.

After the tour, those of us who wanted to participate were given a digital recorder to record the song “Sexy Little Thing.” Apparently the band wanted audience footage to use for an upcoming video for their website. What a great way to get the fans involved! I took one but couldn’t figure out how to use it until about half-way through the song. But it was fun anyway.

We were then allowed into the venue to wait for the show.


Joe’s guitars onstage

When Chickenfoot came onstage—with their square peace sign logo lit up above them, lights flashing, their energy tore from them like an avalanche breaking loose. “The Foot” had been unleashed!

“Avenida Revolution” was just as powerful and exciting as it was the first time I heard them play it–thundering, brazenly grabbing you by the throat and never letting up.

After a few songs, Sammy joked about the altitude, saying: “You only have to smoke one joint and do three shots and you’re f—ed up in Denver!” He also said that the last time he was here, it snowed and he and Mikey were hoping that didn’t happen again. You never know in Denver.

This time the setlist was arranged differently and I liked how they changed it up so that it didn’t follow the same sequence as their album.

Chad Smith demolition squad

Throughout the evening, Chad must have thrown out at least six dozen drumsticks into the crowd. He even pulled a woman out of the audience and had her sit next to him during Hagar’s “Bad Motor Scooter,” inserting drumsticks into the front of her low-cut top, pulling them out one by one, playing a few beats and then tossing the stick into the audience. Drumsticks were bouncing all over the stage and landing in the audience. At the end of the show, he kicked his drums over, then grabbed his high-hat cymbal and held it over his head before tossing it to the ground. The man is a maniac! The way he pounds those drums shakes the entire earth. He doesn’t sit obediently behind the drums and keep the beat like all the other drummers I’ve seen. Chad messes with your mind. He’s all over the stage; he gets up and sits on the speakers or his drums, and he teases Sammy: “You’re f—ed up when you come out of the dressing room, Sam, and when you come out of the hotel!”


He also announced that the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) had officially certified that Chickenfoot’s self-titled debut album had gone gold! (Sold over 500,000 copies) 

Satriani outdid himself. He was such a pleasure to watch, as he made his guitars move mountains, sing ballads and erupt in ferocious blazes with ease. Then he just stood there and smiled while Sammy and Chad hammed it up. This man has more talent than anyone I’ve ever heard and yet he remains humble. At one point, Joe took out his video camera and filmed everyone onstage and off.

Mikey was more outgoing than in the past—he walked to the edge of the stage and interacted with people in the audience. He sang an occasional lead vocal—and did a great job of it. His backing vocals and signature bass style are well-known in rock music and that night he did not disappoint. His vocals were spot on and his playing better than ever. Rarely is he as front and center as he’s been in Chickenfoot and he deserves to be! At one point, Mikey brought Sammy a cup with booze in it. Sam took a swig, then Mikey finished it off, and went over and screamed into the microphone. Crazy!

Sammy’s voice never wavered; it was strong and solid, yet melted into velvet for “Learning to Fall.” He delivered a stellar performance from the first note to the last. He jumped, danced, pranced across the stage, reached out and acknowledged the audience and had them singing along, fists in the air and jumping up and down. The Denver crowd really seemed to love his performance of Montrose’s “Bad Motor Scooter,” which he played on his slide guitar, and “Oh Yeah,” in which he had them all fully engaged and joining in.

He asked the crowd how well the Denver radio stations were playing their music and the audience booed. I have to agree–Chickenfoot needs more air time in Colorado.

Their rendition of “My Generation” by The Who and a teaser of Led Zeppelin’s “The Immigrant Song” were a real treat. I wished they would have played the whole thing because what they did play sounded phenomenal. I think Sammy sang “My Generation” even better than Roger Daltry. Apparently these guys can play anything.

Notably absent from the setlist was “Running Out.” Don’t know why they didn’t play this.


I lost it again during “Learning to Fall.” I’d seen them perform this live before, but I just couldn’t help myself. There is something about the music, Sammy’s voice, and the harmonies in this piece that takes over and rips me apart. I couldn’t stop the tears. There was however, a moment where Joe usually plays a note that rises up out of the music like a fast-forward video of a rose blooming, rising out of the ashes into its glory. For some reason, Joe chose to change the notes he played this time; he didn’t take it all the way up like he did before and the impact wasn’t as great. It was still an awesome song and a great performance, though.


“Sexy Little Thing” exploded. The band was so tight on this—I think this had to be one of my favorites of the night. Also “Get It Up,” where the lights flashing on and off accented the sheer muscle of this band, who were all over the stage.

“Down the Drain” was dirty, nasty and solid. It made me feel like I was being sucked into something forbidden, glorious, dark and full of soul. Joe’s guitar solo went over the edge—a wild and wonderful trip into his heart. 

Through this entire concert, I tried to maintain a professional approach, to be able to relate this experience to my readers in a professional manner, (which I’m obviously still not doing) but how can you remain professional when the music is so captivating that it pulls you in and forces you to lose control? (Because that’s what it’s supposed to do!) Where do you draw the line for the sake of objectivity—maintain an equitable distance as opposed to becoming so involved in the moment that you don’t even care who you are anymore?

How can you be disciplined when Sammy is so into the music that he’s standing on his tiptoes, holding the microphone in both hands, bending backward and screaming: “it’s all… down… the drain… Yeahhhhhhhh” and Joe is cranking out sounds on his guitar so fast and furious that you can’t even see his fingers moving over the strings, Mikey is pounding his bass, Chad is owning the night and it’s all blending like one big fusion of music and spirit?



As spectators, we have no ammunition. We are blown to smithereens.

It doesn’t get any better than this.

Sammy Hagar’s Birthday Bash 2009

Oct. 22, 2009

The crowd and balloons

Sammy Hagar recently celebrated his birthday at his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with five days of rock ‘n’ roll, commencing on October 7 and culminating with his birthday “party” on October 13. You’d never guess by looking at him that he’s 62; he looks at least 20 years younger and has more energy than most 30-year olds—still touring around the world with his latest band, Chickenfoot.

The final concert of the birthday bash was almost cancelled due to the rain, which fell nearly every day and flooded the streets. Luckily it held off long enough for the show to take place, resuming its incessant misting (it doesn’t really rain down there, it mists heavily) by the time all was said and done.

I was fortunate to be able to acquire tickets to each show, a feat that’s becoming increasingly difficult to do. This is because the requirement for getting tickets is having to wait in line all night on the cobblestones of Mexico’s cockroach-ridden, dusty sidewalks, and this time there was an added bonus—it was raining.

Each year my body convinces me that I won’t do it again next year. And yet I do. Why?

Because there is something magical about Cabo. And because in Cabo Sammy lets his hair down a little more than he does while on tour. And also because you never know who might show up to jump onstage and join the party. In the past, there have been such music legends as Ted Nugent, Jerry Cantrell, Billy Duffy, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Chad Kroeger, and many others. This year the bash was in full swing as Sammy and Michael Anthony (former bass player of Van Halen) repeatedly snagged other people’s drinks off the trays of passing waitresses and helped themselves to a swig. They then replaced the drinks, but not before refilling them with tequila from the bottles chilling in the buckets onstage.

The first two concerts were laced with some of Sammy’s older songs: “Plain Jane,” “Your Love is Driving Me Crazy,” and “Turn Up the Music.”

Craigs photo Sammy pouring

There was also a nice mix of his more recent work, such as “Cosmic Universal Fashion,” and “Loud.” A real treat was Sammy’s performance of “High and Dry Again.” I had never seen this performed live and for me, it was one of those rare moments where I couldn’t help but let go and become completely lost in it.

They played a lot of Van Halen tunes during the last two shows: “Best of Both Worlds,” “Poundcake,” and “Dreams,” a few tributes to Led Zeppelin and a bit of Sammy’s more famous songs such as “Rock Candy,” “I Can’t Drive 55,” and “There’s Only One Way to Rock.” Of course no Hagar concert would be complete without the performance of “Mas Tequila” and “Cabo Wabo,” and this week’s bash was no exception.


Another highlight for me was “Let Sally Drive.” I guess this is why I also love the music of Janis Joplin—there is something so animal and soul-baring-raw about the screams.

During show #2 on Oct. 8, The Wabos, Sammy’s band consisting of Hagar on vocals, Vic Johnson on guitar, Mona on bass and David Lauser on drums, started out with an unusual version of “Rock and Roll Weekend,” with Dave and Sammy switching places: Dave sang lead and Sammy took up the drumsticks. It wasn’t long before Sammy announced, “I don’t know how you do it!” and Dave handed the mic to Sammy while asking the audience if they wanted to hear the song done right. The Wabos had been on “hiatus” while Sammy toured with his new supergroup, Chickenfoot this summer, so I’m sure it felt good for them to be onstage together again.


The most memorable show of all was when Chickenfoot took the stage on October 10, with Joe Satriani on lead guitar, Sammy on vocals, Michael Anthony on bass and Chad Smith (drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers) on drums. That afternoon, the gift shop suddenly had “Puttin’ the Foot Down at the Cabo Wabo” tee shirts for sale and the fans were asked to wear their Chickenfoot gear because the show was going to be recorded.


Chickenfoot’s performance seemed less passionate compared to the two previous shows I’d seen, (see my concert reviews dated May 20, 2009 and Sept. 15, 2009). Even so, I love the heaviness of their sound and the sheer power it puts forth to the audience. My favorite Hagar songs are like that too, the ones with a darker feel, like “Serious JuJu” and “Psycho Vertigo,” where there’s a deeper, cutting edge. It’s music that bites you in the ass—hard—and leaves its mark on your soul. Chickenfoot accomplishes this with every note.

Between songs, Satriani smiled and sipped his waborita while Anthony chugged tequila straight from the bottle. Chad Smith seemed a bit tired and he didn’t interact with the audience like I’d seen him do in the past, but he managed to pound the drums with the exuberance he’s famous for, and he tossed out a few drumsticks into the crowd.

“Get it Up” was by far the best performance of the night—the vocals and the relentless explosion of the music was a throbbing, intimidating force.

“Oh Yeah” also seemed to be a favorite, as the band had the entire audience singing along, cheering and raising their drinks above their heads.

Throughout the show, Joe just stood there so cool, so collected and cranked out a storm, like Tropical Storm Patricia that was wreaking havoc outside that night. At one point, he started to play Robin Trower’s “Bridge of Sighs.” Mikey and Chad joined in, with Mikey singing lead. They only played a teaser of this, but it sounded magnificent—psychedelic and rich, and I desperately wanted to hear more. I swear Satriani can play  anything; and he makes it look as effortless as breathing.



During the show of the 12th and 13th, drummer Matt Sorum, from Guns ‘n’ Roses, The Cult and Velvet Revolver stepped in, joined the party onstage and played drums for a few songs. Way to go, Matt!

Matt Sorum

On the 12th, as Sammy consulted the six foot long setlist taped onto the stage speakers, Mikey quickly jumped in and began to play the opening bassline to “Runnin’ with the Devil” with his teeth. The Wabos soon joined in, but Sammy didn’t seem too pleased as he stood in the background with his arms folded across his chest, allowing Mikey to sing lead for the duration of the song.


“I think I pissed him off!” Mikey said afterward with a huge grin.

Chef Emeril Lagasse opened the show on October 13 and also played percussion for a song or two.

At the end, as everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and balloons floated down from the catwalk above the crowd, Sammy’s face was shoved into a chocolate cake, which he then proceeded to fling, whole, into the crowd. I was glad I wasn’t within firing distance.

Vinnie Paul, drummer for Pantera was there one night, but he didn’t perform, also magician Criss Angel.

I would like to have been able to provide you with a more comprehensive concert review, but I didn’t take notes during the shows. As it was, Sammy already scolded me for taking pictures while everyone else was clapping to the beat, saying “Put your f—ing camera down and clap your hands, dammit!” with a big smile on his face. So I guess taking notes would have been out of the question. I know, I know, I know, who takes notes during a rock concert? Um, writers…

Great music, great party, as always.


Movie Review: “Chickenfoot Live”

Dec. 2, 2009


I was a bit surprised and embarrassed to see that there were only six of us in the theater. As a matter of fact, the absence of advertising was strikingly apparent. There were no posters in the lobby and no lights or billboards promoting the event. I found this odd—wouldn’t they want as many people to attend as possible?

“Chickenfoot Live” was filmed in high definition with surround sound. It opened with the band in a huddle, bent inward, as Sammy Hagar said his customary blessing.

The next scene showed Joe Satriani, Chad Smith, Michael Anthony and Sammy onstage in Phoenix, AZ, and they opened with “Avenida Revolution.” I expected the sound to blow me out of my seat, the way it did when I saw them in concert, but it didn’t. Maybe the establishment needed to turn up the volume.

The theater also presented the picture with the bottom edge cut off because it overflowed the screen. This was distracting.

The close-ups were one of my favorite aspects of this movie—Chad, Joe, Sammy and Mike sweating and rocking their hearts out. There were a lot of interesting shots here, views the ordinary concert-attendee wouldn’t normally see, such as a shot looking down on Chad and his drums. Nice!

And the vocals were amazing. I don’t know if the film was tweaked to enhance range and singing in key, but the vocals were spot-on perfect. So was the music.

I would have liked to have seen performances from a few of the other shows thrown in though. I also would have liked to have seen the between-the-songs antics the band is known for. Not only are they outstanding musicians, their personal interaction with the fans is something that makes attending a Chickenfoot concert truly a memorable experience. Maybe I’m spoiled, but I felt cheated not having been let in on this important part of the show. While Joe normally just stands there smiling and blowing the walls off the place with his unparalleled guitar proficiency, Sammy and Chad usually ham it up with the audience and involve the fans. Sometimes even Mikey joins in. When Chickenfoot came to Denver this past September (see my post “The Foot Comes Down in Denver” dated Sept.15 ,2009) Chad brought a woman from the audience onstage. He stuck his drumsticks down the front of her shirt and pulled sticks out one by one, then tossed them to the crowd. 

I also didn’t think the movie showcased the incredible energy Chad has. And although it did a good job of portraying Satriani’s talent, I think it could have complimented him a bit more. The film’s portrayal of Hagar and Anthony though, was very well done. Some of the shots of Mikey were phenomenal; it made me feel like I was right there onstage with him. And there was a close-up of Sammy screaming into the mic that made me feel it all the way down my spine.

I loved every minute of “Chickenfoot Live.” And when I went online this morning and read some of the reviews from fans across the nation, I realized they too, noticed only a handful of people in the theaters. I think I know why. “Chickenfoot Live” wasn’t advertised because it was a personal gift from the band to their fans, a kind of “by-invitation-only” special screening, perhaps as a thank you to those of us who have supported them. Of course I could be mistaken, but I don’t think so.

Was the film “almost as good as being there?” Not even close. Chickenfoot explodes live. But if this is as good as it gets for you in lieu of a live performance, you won’t be disappointed.

Wish I was going to Vegas for their final concert on December 5.

Ch-Ch-Chickenfoot CD Review

June 7, 2009

Chickenfoot CD

Recently released June 5, 2009! Click on CD cover above to purchase, or go to to download the MP3 version for only $3.99!

*   *   *   *   *

I can see where many have prejudged this album. Based on the short teasers on Chickenfoot’s website, I was initially guilty of the same. Portions of “Soap on a Rope,” “Down the Drain” and “Oh Yeah” were available before the album was released and I have to admit, when I first heard them, I was disappointed. I thought: “I wanna be your hoochie koochie man?” what kind of lyrics are those? Immediately there came visions of Charro… scary.

And the teaser of “Down the Drain,” caused me to think: here we go again, he’s singing “I need love in the morning and I need love first thing in the evening.” Come on, give me some substance…

It was the same with “Soap on a Rope.” When I first heard it, I thought: oh, no, not another song about sex and drinking…

Well, I was wrong. After seeing Chickenfoot live in San Francisco, I was truly wounded. In a good way. In a fantastic way. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was not the caliper of what I got that night. I wrote a review of the show, so I won’t repeat it here. Check out my post of 5-20-09 if you’re interested.

As for the album itself, I have to say that this is one of the best rock sounds I have ever heard. Yep, right up there with Zeppelin. The surprising changes in these songs are one thing that makes them exciting and memorable. Just when you think this is gonna be a slow song or it’s gonna go this way or that way, it changes and lights up into something completely different. It’s a pleasure to listen to, an  honor, really. The songs showcase each of the musicians to their fullest. They really sing. Each of them, although not always with their voices.

The intro to “Avenida Revolution” slithers like a forbidden snake up your spine. Chad’s drums grab you RIGHT NOW. Sometimes the drums have a Native American feel. This song is an unexpected explosion with a dirty, nasty, dark, heavy rock beat. Sammy’s scream at the end, buries it deep. Satriani, Smith and Anthony all have small solos which highlight their outstanding talents.

The shining moment for me in “Soap on a Rope,” is when Joe’s guitar quakes with riffs reminiscent of SRV (Stevie Ray Vaughan) and is accompanied by a bend uuuuuup that takes you up with it. Also during one of the guitar moments, there’s a point where I can’t tell if the sound is created exclusively by Satch’s guitar or if Sammy is moaning along with it. If it’s just the guitar, I’ve never heard this technique before and it’s brilliant. “Soap on a Rope” bounces with a happy beat. It makes you feel good.

In “Sexy Little Thing,” Sammy will be criticized for his songs about drinking and sex, but it wouldn’t be Sammy without that. Although I was initially guilty of thinking the same, “Sexy Little Thing” is one of those tunes that makes you have to move your ass; you can’t sit still. The guitar starts out sounding a bit like a mandolin and then kicks into gear. It’s a catchy tune and a lot of fun.

“Oh Yeah” has a dark sort of feeling to the middle of it. It tastes a lot like the chord progression in the Beatles song “Because,” which is one of my all-time favorite songs ever. It builds and explodes, then falls back down, rising again with a guitar solo.

“Runnin’ Out” is a political statement about the struggle to hold on to hope. “Long after the mud has settled, you left us with a dirty man…” and “we’re running out of heroes” is a clear message about disenchantment with the Bush administration.

“Get it Up” has a melodic, rolling bassline that really stands out. It’s so full of energy, you can’t escape its impact. I love the repeated references to the word “round.” Even Joe’s guitar seems to convey the feeling of swirling in some places during the song. Chad gets a chance to wail on drums and Mikey can clearly be heard screaming his distinctive backing vocals in this song, giving it all he’s got.

Without doubt, “Down the Drain” captures Chickenfoot’s unique sound from the first note. I love the lyrics “do me when I’m dirty;” that really seems to express the voice of this band. It’s their statement. This is another song I had misjudged based on the small sample on their website. I thought this song lacked substance. I wanted more than what I had initially heard. Well, this song is loaded with substance. Maybe not in the context of the lyrics, but in the music itself. The music here is so phenomenal, it doesn’t lack for anything. Chad and Mikey’s contributions to this band are forefront in “Down the Drain.” And Sam’s scream at the end just seals this song, wraps it up, seals it nice!

My least favorite song on the album is “My Kinda Girl.” It’s not a bad song; it just doesn’t stand out for me.

I already wrote my impression of “Learning to Fall:” “There is something beyond the words here, beyond the melody. It drifts just below the surface and weaves itself with Joe’s guitar and the beautiful flowing harmonies. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Sam’s voice contain so much depth. It reveals something intimate about him that he feels compelled to share and yet wants to guard because maybe it’s just a little too personal to give away—and would they get it even if he did? But it shines through anyhow; he can’t help it, and it glides and caresses like fine cognac slipping down your throat and warming your insides.”

This is by far my favorite on the album. My only criticism is that I wish they would have given me time to recover from “Learning to Fall” when they played it live, before they went into the next song. I missed the first half of “Turnin’ Left” because I was so taken with “Learning to Fall” that I couldn’t tear myself loose from it!

Joe’s remarkable guitar skills are in their glory in “Turnin’ Left.” This is a heavy-hitting, hard-driving rock song that moves fast right from the beginning. Again Sammy and Mikey’s combined screams give this song power, accompanied by the hammering beat and music. Is that a scream combined with the squeal of the guitar or just a perfect blend of musicianship? Great high-energy piece.

“Future in the Past” begins rather funky, then turns the corner and takes on a middle-Eastern flavor. It spins like a belly-dancer’s flowing silk veil, taking you in different directions, then climbs into a hard rock bend. This is another favorite for me. There are a lot of twists here. I think the lyrics contain more meaning than they originally exhibit.

“Bitten by the Wolf” didn’t grab me at first. But when it did, it became another of my favorites on this CD. I heard things in Sammy’s voice I’d not heard before, except perhaps a taste in Van Halen’s “Apolitical Blues.” Sammy can sing the blues. Only a singer with this much depth of soul can pull this off to this height. Some strategically-placed emphasis on certain words like “muddy,” demonstrate his talent beyond doubt. With the gravelly soul sound of a raw blues singer, it goes through me like a jagged shock of lightening.

Sammy said this song was about vampires; I didn’t get that impression–except for the lyrics “we gonna live forever,” which I couldn’t figure out how that had to do with New Orleans.

There is not a bad song here.

Chickenfoot has single-handedly revived rock ‘n’ roll! This album is destined to become a classic.

P.S. Their performance on The Tonight Show with Conan did not adequately convey the authority of Chickenfoot. While they did a good job, something seemed off. Perhaps Joe’s and Mikey’s mics were turned up too loud and it distorted the sound because this was not the raw power of the band I witnessed in San Francisco or the extraordinary talent I hear on the CD!

Chickenfoot “Owns” San Francisco’s Fillmore

May 20, 2009

My body hurts all over; it’s wrung out like a wet rag. My right ear hasn’t quite come around yet either.

Chickenfoot’s performance at the Fillmore in San Francisco, CA on May 17, 2009 was the concert of a lifetime.

I knew I was in trouble when the first song, “Avenida Revolution,” a balls-to-the-wall song about the perils of Mexican immigrants, pounded from the speakers like an iron fist slamming down hard on the stage. Or maybe the biggest erection known to humankind.

I was already overpowered.

Joe Satriani on guitar, Sammy Hagar on vocals, Chad Smith on drums and Michael Anthony on bass came onstage in a burst of sonic boom that felt like the world was splitting open, its internal organs shooting upward to the stratosphere like a volcano OD’ing on testosterone. It bounced off the back walls in some sort of sweet rage/euphoria and rolled like breeding thunder through the audience.

And it never let up. 

This was not Hagar fronting a band, Satriani fronting a band, or even Smith or Anthony fronting.

Chickenfoot has their own sound.They’re not a “supergroup” who will dissolve after one album. God Ihope not. They have too much to offer. Their personalities and talents meld as if they  should have been a band a long time ago.

I expected to be wowed by Satch. And I was. Years ago, after having watched Eddie Van Halen perform live, I described his guitar as being his arm—an extension of him. And I was duly impressed.

But Satriani’s guitar was not an appendage. For lack of a better term, and I hate to use this because it’s cliché, he was one with it. The guitar was Joe and Joe was the guitar. The sounds he created through its body with unparalleled ease were beyond what I’d hoped to see. He added a new vision to the music—quenched a thirst for the extraordinary.

The one who really surprised me was Chad Smith. I had previously thought that the drummer’s job, along with that of the bassist, was primarily to hold the rhythm together, to keep everyone on beat. I was sorely mistaken. Chad did not politely keep time; he was not merely background noise, he was a voice demanding to be heard from the first explosive thud, an integral element. His contribution to Chickenfoot raised the bar many notches.

Sammy’s voice never sounded better. It was full of depth, and yet maintained the huskiness that makes a rock singer great. He looked amazing. He sounded amazing. He demonstrated new techniques with his voice that gave Chickenfoot a fresh and innovative sound.

And Mikey hammered his bass, never missing a chance to make his personal statement with his distinctive backing vocals, the ones that helped make Van Halen famous.

Not one of them overpowered the others, and each gave 200 percent. They were dripping with sweat before the first song ended.

From the moment they took the stage, Chickenfoot commanded the sound with the expertise of professionals who had risen above that title to the point where their art flowed naturally; it was not contrived. They had earned the right to enjoy themselves while allowing us a peek into their secret passions.

The music dumped into me with such intensity and felt so damn wonderful, it was almost agonizing. There’s a fine line between pain and pleasure anyway, isn’t there? Especially in rock ‘n’ roll.

When they played “Learning to Fall,” my body felt like it was being wrenched by some out-of-control dictator. And I couldn’t stop the tears. The music was phenomenal; the harmonies impeccable. It sounded like there was an entire symphony surrounding me.

It is both glorious and infuriating to be manipulated by an outside source like that.

Mikey Chickenfoot cropped

Another highlight was Chickenfoot’s rendition of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star.” It transported me back to my teen years when life was filled with the joy of listening to captivating rock music with good friends. “Machinehead” was one of the first albums I’d ever purchased.

Sammy did a fantastic job singing Ian Gillan’s incomparable lead vocals.

Chickenfoot’s entire performance tore me up bad. And yet, I felt like I was the contender who’d won the match. I knew at the time that I was going to be hurting afterward; I just didn’t care. It was so worth it.

I think the critics who have dissed Chickenfoot have based their opinions on the 30-second snippets on the Internet or perhaps from the teasers on Chickenfoot’s website.  These samples do not showcase the brilliance of their material. Not even close.

If hard rock music is in your blood and you are presented the opportunity, you owe it to yourself to see Chickenfoot.

You’ll regret it if you don’t. Sammy Chickenfoot cropped



Avenida Revolution
Soap on a Rope
Sexy Little Thing
Oh Yeah
Runnin’ Out
Get It Up
Bitten By The Wolf
Down the Drain
My Kinda Girl
Learning to Fall
Turnin’ Left

Future in the Past
Bad Motor Scooter
Highway Star

What a crazy name for a rock band!

May 14, 2009

Maybe their name is crazy, but their music will knock your socks off.

Chickenfoot is the new band featuring musicians already famous for their memberships in other groups: Sammy Hagar on vocals, guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani on guitar, Michael Anthony (former bass player for Van Halen) on bass and Chad Smith, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer on drums. They’ve taken a lot of heat for their name, which started out as a joke and stuck.

I first heard them play in Las Vegas in 2008. The concert was supposed to be Sammy & the Wabos.

Chickenfoot Las Vegas 08

But toward the end of the show, Sammy announced that he had special guests waiting offstage who were dying to come on and play. That’s when Mikey, Joe and Chad made their entrance.

The four of them played a three-song set that included Led Zeppelin’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll” and Traffic’s “Dear Mister Fantasy.” The audience was ecstatic.

Since then, Chickenfoot has recorded its first album, due for release on June 5, 2009.

The band is doing a “Road Test” tour which includes nine small venues around North America before they head off to Europe. They will be back mid-July to play larger venues in the US. For more information, please visit the Chickenfoot website.

True to all the synchronicities that have fallen into my lap since my mystical experience at Sammy’s show in 2003, my husband and I somehow obtained last-minute tickets to the sold-out show in San Francisco on May 17. It was obviously meant to be, for reasons presently unknown to me. But like all the other coincidences on this wonderful journey, I’m sure the reasons will be forthcoming.

Until then, I am honored to be a part of rock music history-in-the-making and will return home with more stories. Stay tuned!

Chickenfoot – Learning to Fall

May 14, 2009

I can’t remember the time I have been so moved by a song.

“Learning to Fall” speaks to every cell in my body as if it were part of me. I can almost feel its spirit rising in my soul like the smoke of sweet jasmine incense.

There is something beyond the words here, beyond the melody. It drifts just below the surface and weaves itself with Joe’s guitar and the beautiful flowing harmonies.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard Sam’s voice contain so much depth. It reveals something intimate about him that he feels compelled to share and yet wants to guard because maybe it’s just a little too personal to give away—and would they get it even if he did?

But it shines through anyhow; he can’t help it, and it glides and caresses like fine cognac slipping down your throat and warming your insides.

You can’t hang a name on that feeling; you just have to allow it to move through you and enjoy its spell.

And listen to the song again.