Monday, June 8, 2009
I'm sorry to do this to all of you, but take a moment to listen to the song played on the video above. I saw this song performed live (via Youtube) on Conan O'Brien the other night, and while that particular clip is embedding-disabled, this one should give you a pretty basic idea of what "Chickenfoot", nefarious harbingers of the coming Apocalypse, are all about.
Chickenfoot (Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony from Van Hagar, Joe Satriani, and Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers) have redifined Dad Rock in one fell swoop, churning out some of the most flavorless, ambivalent, depressing "rock" music ever produced. Seriously, can you even hum a single part of that song immediately after listening to it? It seems to dissipate into thin air upon contact, a musical disappearing act seemingly indigenous to the Dad Rock genre. Despite treading water with predictable rock conventions (such as Hagar referring to himself as a "hoochie koochie man", vague references to Jesus, and ho-hum shouts of "Oh yeah"), this song just ISN'T THERE. It's a ghost, much like the careers of its respective members.
And while Chickenfoot suffers from an immediately recognizable lack of staying power, the comments section (at least on the Conan link provided above) tells a completely different story. People are STOKED on Chickenfoot, hailing them as rock saviours and visionaries. It seems that the "star power" brought to the table here has eclipsed the actual music, and that the buying public has been sold on the image of the band (encompassed by their brilliant, creative logo, shown at right).
The "rock supergroup", from Cream to Emerson, Lake and Palmer to Bad Company to Damn Yankees to The Dead Weather (and beyond), has been a well-worn tradition in popular music since time out of mind. Unfailingly, the "supergroup" is ALWAYS much, much less than the sum of its parts, such as the recently-shuffled Velvet Revolver (below), which featured members of Guns N' Roses fronted by That Heroin Guy from That One Band. Same deal. Hum me a bar from a Velvet Revolver song. Go ahead. I'll wait.
All of which leads me to my second doomsday prediction (the first, involving the rise of "Tigger Slam", can be viewed here). With the 2012 firestorm upon us, another fevered vision has appeared to me, and this vision is as follows: By late 2010 or early 2011...
ONE OR MORE ROCK "SUPERGROUPS" WILL RELEASE AN ALBUM CONTAINING NO ACTUAL MUSIC.
It's completely true and I will stand behind my claim to the bitter end. Rock supergroups are just getting worse and worse, but while the half-cooked musical concoctions of these brainless heroes becomes thinner and more transparent, their actual fan base seems to remain intact. People aren't buying MUSIC. They're buying the IDEA of music, false promises of a return to former grandeur.
Recognizing this, yesterday's rock stars can feel free to "phone it in", to the point that one or more major supergroups will skip that whole "music" part on their major releases in 2010, 2011, and 2012. As long as there are a couple band photos, a flashy album cover, and a fellatingly-written piece in Rolling Stone, NO ONE WILL EVEN NOTICE.
Above: Another apocalypse-signalling "supergroup", Tinted Windows, featuring members of Smashing Pumpkins, Cheap Trick, Fountains of Wayne, and HANSEN. Yes, Hansen.
Though they had plenty of time to get together for a band photo and the budget to get a custom "Tinted Windows" kick drum made, they have yet to produce any recorded material.
An early entry in the End Times Supergroup arena was Eyes Adrift (above, right), active from 2002-2003 and featuring members of Nirvana, Sublime, and the Meat Puppets. I'll give a shiny nickel to any reader who can name ONE SONG by this band (without Googling).
Maybe I can't predict who exactly will be involved or when exactly said release will appear, but the "music-less" album IS nonetheless on its way. Mark my words, fuckers. Mark my words.