Chickenfoot ‘III’ Almost Turned Into A Punk Album, Says Producer
Veteran producer Mike Fraser certainly had the right resume on paper to produce Chickenfoot, having worked with the band on their first album in addition to partnering previously with Joe Satriani, not to mention his production work on the final Van Halen album with Sammy Hagar, ‘Balance.’ But Fraser peels back says that it was more than just history that got him the gig.
“The whole combination of doing those helped, but the reality was that they wanted to go into the studio and create and have fun and they thought I could help with that,” Fraser told Classic Rock magazine in a new interview.
The studio atmosphere was lighthearted, and Andy says that the biggest issues with the material on ‘III’ came down to getting the right tempos. “Some of the songs would take off and be way too fast and almost turn into a punk version because of the absurd energy in the room,” he recalls.
‘Different Devil’ was, appropriately enough, a wild animal of a song that proved to be difficult for the Chickenfoot team to cage. After moving through a number of different configurations for the track, the band decided to knock off work on the song for the day – or so they thought.
Fraser took one of Chad Smith’s drum takes and hacked together some of his recorded parts using a drum machine, which ultimately gave Hagar and Satriani the guts of the idea that would become ‘Different Devil.’
As Fraser remembers, “I think it was Sammy who came up with the ‘Different Devil’ lyric and really sparked something and we got Chad back in to add some more drums to it and then the song really came to life.”
From there, the band would reconvene for an extremely productive span of writing and jamming together. “Suddenly, we had an album” and as Fraser notes, it’s definitely more of a “band” album than the first Chickenfoot release.
“I think that’s more to do with the idea of them getting used to being together” he notes, going on to add that “after touring, they knew each other so much better.” With the members of Chickenfoot indicating that they’re in this for the long haul, Fraser says similarly that when the call comes around for album number three (which we can only assume will be named 'Eight'), he’ll be there “in a heartbeat.”