LOS ANGELES >> Sammy Hagar is hoping his supergroup avoids a sophomore slump.
The former Van Halen frontman, guitar legend Joe Satriani, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony skipped calling the follow-up to their 2009 debut "Chickenfoot II" and instead named it "Chickenfoot III." The album, which is set for release on Tuesday, features 10 new tracks from the seasoned rockers.
"I feel a little pressure," said Hagar. "I didn’t feel anything on the first record because there were no expectations. We were doing it for fun. We knew it was going to be good. We just wanted to play together. There was no business involved or tour planned. It was so organic that we never looked back. The next thing I knew, we had done 50 shows."
Hagar said fans can expect more of the same classic rock sound from Chickenfoot. One of the most emotional tunes on the new album is "Three and a Half Letters." Hagar transformed about 20 letters from down-on-their-luck fans into three lyrical letters read — and screamed — by Hagar. Each letter is punctuated with an explosive guitar solo by Satriani.
"My manager, (John) Carter, who died earlier this year, kept telling me to write a song about people needing jobs," said Hagar. "I told him, ‘Sounds country.’ But it all came together for me when I got this letter from a guy in Afghanistan and at the end of it he wrote, ‘I need a job, brother. Can you help?’ All of sudden, I realized there was a song there."
Chickenfoot will embark on a "road test" tour in November, stopping in San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago and New York with drummer Kenny Aronoff because Smith is touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Hagar said the truncated tour will allow the band to try out their new material live, so they can "learn how to jam together" in front of a crowd.