Chickenfoot: Fowl Play
GW So there were no discussions beforehand, like, “Well, let’s make sure this guy isn’t crazy, like so-and-so from my last band”? [laughs all around]
SMITH I don’t think so. Of course, now that I think of it, you’d have to be crazy to be in this band. Nothing about it makes any sense.
HAGAR Joe won’t hang around with me on tour, I guarantee you that. I’m waaaay too crazy for him. When I start bringing naked pigs into my hotel room, brother, he’ll be long gone! [laughs]
SMITH But in all seriousness, I don’t think we had those kinds of talks. We’ve all been in bands with, you know, drama and drugs and stuff like that—all except Joe. But we knew going into this that we were four guys who just wanted to play music. The great thing is, there’s a terrific democracy in this band. Everybody’s involved, everybody contributes equally. It’s not like Sammy’s up there and we’re his backing band.
HAGAR I wouldn’t want that. This isn’t the Sammy show. This isn’t the Cabos. No siree. I’m tired of being the boss. I just wanna sing and be part of something great.
GW Joe, this is something you’ve wanted for quite some time.
SATRIANI I’ve wanted this since I was a kid, basically.
GW When you signed your deal with Sony back in the early Nineties, you made it clear you were intent on being part of a vocal-oriented rock band. Yet, you’ve had this incredible career as a solo instrumentalist.
SATRIANI By accident. [everybody laughs] I kind of fell into it.
GW Now, let’s say Chickenfoot is a smash. What happens to the solo career?
SATRIANI I’m sure I’ll be able to keep it going. I would imagine that everybody in the band wants to keep doing their own thing. From my own perspective, as you know, I did fall into this instrumental career, and it’s been amazing, of course, going all over the world and playing my songs. But this…just in the last six, seven weeks, it’s been amazing. To be in the studio and watch these songs come together, it was like, “Wow, I’m in a band!” And I’m in a band with these guys. Song by song, it was very exhilarating. And we’ve even got a name! [everybody laughs]
GW Chad, last we spoke, you said you had a year clear to pursue other things. Yet, when I spoke with John Frusciante recently… [see Guitar World, April 2009]
SMITH Oh, how did that go?
GW It was…interesting.
SMITH He’s an interesting guy. [laughs] He’s in his own world.
GW He did tell me, however, that there were “no plans” for the Chili Peppers at all. I took that very literally, as in you guys might not be getting back together.
SMITH The status is that we’ve been on a break for a year and whatever. I can’t speak for John; he’s doing his thing. I think when the Chili Peppers are ready to play, we’ll play. I’m not naming names, I’m just saying we’ll do it again when we want to. We have to feel it. I don’t have a time frame. I thought it was going to be a year off, now it looks like it could be longer. Maybe it’ll be two years, maybe longer.
GW If Chickenfoot is a smash, would that make going back to the Chili Peppers harder for you?
SMITH Well, I still love playing with those guys, and I have tremendous loyalty to them. But hmmm, to be in two hit bands at once… wow, what a choice! [laughs]
HAGAR The best karma we’ve created is that we’ve never put any pressure on anybody not to do their thing. If this thing is supposed to happen, it’s gonna happen. Although personally, I can’t see anyone wanting to go back to doing what they were doing without playing this music first—it’s that good! Already, this feels more like a band than Van Halen did in 12 years.
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