Sammy Hagar of Chickenfoot Talks "Chickenfoot III" and "Three and A Half Letters (I Need A Job)"
Mon, 17 Oct 2011 07:08:36
On Chickenfoot III, Sammy Hagar pushes himself immensely both vocally and lyrically.
The singer didn't play it safe at all. Instead, he utilized every bit of his impressive range and challenged himself with writing stories across the landscape of the songs. He does that especially effectively on "Three And A Half Letters (I Need A Job)" [Watch the song's music video premiere here!]. Hagar reads through letters from those in need of work and going hungry, shining light on this problem and calling for change and hope. It's powerful in so many ways…
Chickenfoot singer Sammy Hagar sat down for an exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about Chickenfoot III, lyrical evolution, the story behind "Three And A Half Letters (I Need A Job)" and so much more.
Chickenfoot III has some of your best lyrics ever, especially on “Three and a Half Letters”. What encouraged your lyrical evolution?
The untimely, unexpected death of my manager, Carter during the recording of Chickenfoot III was not only an inspiration, but a motivation for me. Carter was always pushing me to write better lyrics. Being a lyricist himself, he would always try to inspire me. However, not having him there for most of the writing, I realized no one can make you do something; you have to want it yourself. That being said, I was very motivated to write the best lyrics of my life to the great music that Joe had presented to me. I've always tried to write lyrics about life: The way I see it or the way I live it.
What’s the story behind “Three and a Half Letters” in particular?
I've received letters over the years from lots of people, mostly fans, but some people just needing help, looking for work, knowing I have liquor companies, restaurants and employ a lot of people. It wasn't until recently that Carter had told me to write a song called "I Need a Job" six months prior. The idea didn't dawn on me until I read the letter I received from the guy who just returned from Afghanistan... and at the end of his letter he wrote "Can you help? I need a job." And the song came together.
Is it important for you to paint visual pictures with the song and tell stories?
Yes, whenever I write lyrics I either try to tell a story that people can relate to, or I paint an abstract picture of images that allows them to make up their own story... sometimes both in one song.
Did you get to try anything vocally this time around that you hadn’t on any previous records?
Absolutely. First off, spoken word—second time in my career I've done it. It's a very interesting way of communicating to music. I feel it can be very powerful. For the song "Come Closer," Joe and I discussed what we wanted from each other on this record, and Joe said he wanted to hear me sing some way I'd never sung before. I said, "Write me some music that allows me to do that!" And we wrote "Come Closer" which for me, feels as much R&B as it does rock. Last, but not least, I really feel that Mikey and I did a lot of two-part harmony and brought it way in front, instead of always being way in the back. I love how Michael Anthony's voice sounds up front with mine.
What's your favorite Chickenfoot song?
Watch the music video premiere for "Three And A Half Letters (I Need A Job)" here!
See our interview with Joe Satriani about Chickenfoot III here!
See 5 reasons to buy the album here!
People from all walks of life are facing hunger. Please help your local Food Bank: Feeding America