Chickenfoot’s Michael Anthony on Overcoming the Supergroup Ego Trip
“The minute the word got out about Chickenfoot, everyone called us a supergroup. But the one cool thing about this band is that we were all friends before got it started. It wasn’t like we said, “Hey, let’s get the drummer from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Joe Satriani on guitar!” It just didn’t happen that way,” says Michael Anthony. The former Van Halen and current Chickenfoot bassist is on the phone discussing his band’s ‘Chickenfoot III’ album when the whole “supergroup” thing comes up. For those of you who have been living under a rock, Chickenfoot also features Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Joe Satriani, and Sammy Hagar (Van Halen, Montrose).
Anthony explained how he and his bandmates became friends. “Chad jammed with Sammy and I in Cabo San Lucas at Sammy’s club, Cabo Wabo Cantina, years before Chickenfoot started. I’ve jammed with Joe before too. So it wasn’t like we went into jam together as strangers. The first time Chickenfoot played together was back in 2008 in Las Vegas on Super Bowl weekend. Sammy’s band, The Waboritas, were scheduled to play a show and Sammy had called Chad and myself before that letting us know that he wanted to do something cool for the encore and he wanted us to join him for some songs. We were like, “Sure!” Then Sammy decided to call Joe to play guitars.
“Without even practicing beforehand, we played Traffic’s ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’ that night. We also did an R&B song called ‘Going Down.’ I mean, we ran through them during soundcheck, but we just got up and jammed that night and it worked. The chemistry between us and the crowd was special. That’s when we talked about making it a more permanent thing. But going back to that supergroup thing and ego, we haven’t had any of that stuff. We’re just enjoying writing and playing together,” says the legendary bassist.
Watch ‘Big Foot’ From Chickenfoot
Noisecreep asked Anthony if making the new album came a bit easier than their debut effort. “For both Chickenfoot albums, Joe came in with a lot of riffs. He lives up in Northern Calif. near Sammy, so they had a chance to get together and work on material. It was cool because they had time to really feel each other out musically. But yeah, Joe would demo out all of these song ideas and send them to us. I would listen to the first thing and go, “Yeah, this one is great.” Then the second thing would come on and I would say, “Right, this one is great too.” It was that easy [laughs]. Once we got into jam the stuff, we all added ideas to things. It was a lot of fun.”
Anthony admits it’s not always easy to find time in their respective schedules to work on Chickenfoot material, but their love for the project is obvious. “Since we all have such crazy schedules, we had to show up to the recording sessions really prepared. So yeah, we all did our homework and knew all of the material inside out. We really didn’t have a choice,” laughs Anthony.
‘Chickenfoot III’ is available now.