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Chickenfoot - Best+Live album review

The band that put the ‘super’ back in supergroup

Cover art for Chickenfoot - Best+Live album

Much more than the sum of their parts (and what parts!), Chickenfoot were the band that came, saw and conquered – and then left without saying goodbye.

Born out of jam sessions at Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo club, Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony, Chad Smith and the ever-effusive Hagar made a self-titled debut that fizzed and popped like fireworks over the Thames on New Year’s Eve.

In Satriani, Hagar had found another musical foil to follow in the footsteps of Ronnie Montrose and Eddie Van Halen. With Chad Smith thrashing away and Michael Anthony’s high, keening vocals, it furrowed a path that Van Halen had wandered away from some years before.

As good as their debut was, the 2011 follow-up, Chickenfoot III (an in-joke that got out of hand) was the real thing. Light and shade, more political and socially aware, it was the sound of a band who had found their groove and were happy to ride it all the way home.

Songs like Different Devil and Something Going Wrong were as strong as anything the four members might have done outside Chickenfoot. That they’d chosen to create it as part of their ad-hoc supergroup spoke volumes. And then… nothing. After some stupefying live shows – some captured here – it was reported that Satriani wanted another record, but Hagar was resistant.

Now there’s this collection with one new, unreleased track called Divine Termination. It’s pretty good, punchy and melodic, like Chickenfoot. We could use more songs like it. A whole album maybe.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion. He ghosted Carl Barat’s acclaimed autobiography, Threepenny Memoir, and helped launch the BBC 6 Music network as producer and co-presenter on the Phill Jupitus Breakfast Show. Five years later he and Jupitus fronted the hugely popular Perfect 10 podcast and live shows. His debut novel, Cross Country Murder Song, was described, variously, as ‘sophisticated and compelling’ and ‘like a worm inside my brain’. His latest novel The Death And Life Of Red Henley is out now.