Smith, of course, has returned to his duties with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who have a new album on the way at the end of the month, just four weeks before the new Chickenfoot arrives.
“We're trying out at the end of the week on Saturday and Sunday [Aug. 6-7], Kenny Aronoff is coming up and we're going to play with him for two days,” Sammy Hagar tells Sound Spike. “If it works, we're going to go out in November, I think, and do a buzz tour, play small venues in five cities, [like] New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco. Then, we'll make sure that it works and the chemistry is good. If it is, we'll go out with Kenny.”
“We don't want to just grab a drummer just because he's good and find out that we don't have the chemistry,” continues Hagar. “Chickenfoot is all about the chemistry. You pick your favorite bass player, drummer, guitar player singer and you don't necessarily have a great band. It can be a disaster because of chemistry and people don't get along. It isn't just arguing; it's just the music can start arguing and doesn't gel. There's been a lot of "super groups" that people have contrived and put together in the past. That's why we don't like to call ourselves a "super group." We grew together. When you throw these people together you don't necessarily get good music. We have to make sure that Kenny brings a different chemistry that works or the same chemistry as Chad. Chad picked him because he said Kenny's just like him - he beats his drum set to death. He doesn't play them, he beats them to death. At the end of every show you have to buy a new drum set for these guys. We need that power. Chad, he's powerful. [Arnoff will] just be on loan anyway. Chad's handing him the baton and he's going to run for awhile. When Chad can come back, we'll make "Chickenfoot IV" probably with Chad.”
As for “Chickenfoot III” (due September 27), the band worked with producer Mike Fraser, who did the first record; he’s also worked with Hagar in the past – on Van Halen’s 1995 release, “Balance.”
“What Mike brings to the thing that most producers don't: Mike stays out of your way and lets you do your thing,” Sammy says. “He just makes sure that it sounds great and that he's getting the best performance he can get out of you. Other than that, he stays out of your way. With a band like Chickenfoot, we don't need someone in there saying, ‘Maybe if you guys had a hit, you guys could do this.’ We're musicians that just go in there. We know what we're doing. We need a guy who makes it sound great and tells us when it ain't. Mike, he was so good for us. You'll see. The record is fantastic.”
The first single, “Big Foot,” is already out and storming the rock charts, but it wasn’t Hagar’s choice to represent the new record.
“The album, probably, is not as much fun as the last record; this record's a little more serious,” comments Hagar. “’Big Foot’ could have been on the last record. Why we picked that single, it wasn't my first choice. I thought it was too typical of what people would expect from Chickenfoot, and it is. It's kind of like an extension of the first record, and our personalities -- fun, fun fun. The rest of the album is much more musical. It's not like heavy, 'Woo, we have to listen to this.' We got down. It's really good. It's not to be messed with. This being the most typical song, the record company and some of the people said, 'Let's make that the first single.' I said, 'I don't care, every song on the album's great. You can throw a dart.' When they kept saying to me, 'What song do you want?' I 'm going, 'I don't care, every song's great.' It's the first time I could ever say that on a record. Usually, you have two or three songs that you know are your best songs. This time I don't know what the best song is. I have very high hopes for that CD.”
Check out the full Sammy session at Sound Spike here.
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