We had an old series of columns called versus that pitted two bands, artists, songs, albums, etc against each other in an attempt to justify if one is better than the other. They have proven to be very popular with you so Surdus put his foot down and told me we are going to make it a weekly feature. I couldn’t be more pleased.
For our first Friday Faceoff we are going to see who stands taller: the modern super group Chickenfoot or the resurging and Roth filled Van Halen. Both have new records and both have a long history. This should be a good one.
In the categories of time in the business and record sales it’s obvious that Van Halen is going to take it hands down. Having officially founded in 1972 and selling over 80 million records it is hard to compare them to the relatively new Chickenfoot from 2008, but they do have an impressive 3 million records sold in a much different industry.
I think the only thing we can do is take a look at the key players as individuals:
Chad Smith – Chickenfoot – Chad is on his way to the Hall of Fame for his time in the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Rolling Stone Magazine has named him the 87th best drummer in the history of music and he is in demand on multiple projects including John Fogerty, Dixie Chicks, GlenHughes, George Clinton, Pharaoh, kids projects, and many more.
Alex Van Halen – Van Halen – Alex has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame for his work in Van Halen and many look to his aggressive drumming as a major influence for stars that came after him. The only issue I have when compared to Chad Smith is the lack of other projects or genres.
Winner: the more well-rounded drummer – Chad Smith
Michael Anthony – Chickenfoot – known at this time as the bass man and back-up vocals for Chickenfoot and other Hagar inspired bands; Anthony will forever be known as the bass carrying maniac of Van Halen. Being unceremoniously kicked out of a band he helped found has done nothing to slow him down as he still got his HOF induction and song writing royalties from every Van Halen album, except the new one A Different Kind of Truth
Wolfgang Van Halen – Van Halen – no offence to the kid, but I refuse to compare him to a legend.
Winner: for obvious reason – Michael Anthony
Joe Satriani – Chickenfoot – has worked with multiple people like Mick Jaggar, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, and has a very successful solo career that saw instrumental music reach new heights on mainstream radio. The word virtuoso is thrown around a lot when talking about Joe and many consider him one of the best in the world.
Eddie Van Halen – Van Halen – if many consider Satriani to be one of the best in the world those same people will tell you EVH is the best in the world. What Eddie has done for guitar in all genres is quite simply incomprehensible. His mastery has influenced every star that picks up the axe today whether they know it or not.
Winner : clear cut winner on legacy alone – Eddie Van Halen
Sammy Hagar – Chickenfoot – going from Montrose to a very successful solo career highlighted by “I Can’t Drive 55,” Sammy was riding a very high wave when he went into Van Halen replacing the wildly popular David Lee Roth. Sammy changed the landscape of Halen and what most people don’t seem to realize is with Sammy on vocals Van Halen had 4 number 1 platinum selling albums. Something never reached with Roth at the helm. The later reunion with Halen was a massive success and Sammy has never stopped working including branding himself around the world with his party boy attitude.
David Lee Roth – Van Halen – Roth was named the 19th best heavy metal singer of all time by Hit Parader and his range is something that most female artists could only dream of. The onstage act of Roth is legendary with the high kicks and ass-less chaps. After leaving Halen he went on to a short but very successful solo career. From that point forward things got a little ugly for Roth as he was a lounge lizard and even worked as a fully accredited EMT. The reunion with Halen in 2007 was massive and lead to the new album and tour that people seem pretty excited about.
Winner: he was never a lounge lizard or one trick pony – Sammy Hagar
Chickenfoot III – Chickenfoot – a more refined and intricate piece of work than their first self-titled album, but at the same time it keeps the feel of four friends having a good time, doing something they love. The lyrics are party oriented and never take themselves too seriously while at the same time the individual talents of each member are allowed to shine.
A Different Kind of Truth – Van Halen – most reviews including mine used the same wordage. Classic Halen with a clear vibe of their earlier stuff. There is nothing earth shattering, but at the same time the songs are catchy and it`s great to hear EVH in fine form knocking out solos that leave you drooling. It’s great to have VH back on the scene and this album is a sign that they still have plenty of life in them.
Winner: none – both are great albums.
So if we tally up the scores we have:
Chickenfoot: Drums, Bass, Vocals
Van Halen: Longevity, Sales, Guitar
With no clear winner in the categories I will leave it up to you to decide. Does the legacy of Halen win, or the fresh hard rock vibe of Chickenfoot?
I hate ties so let me go on record as saying: CHICKENFOOT!!!
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