Battle Of The Supergroups | Chicken Foot Vs. Them Crooked Vultures Vs. Monsters of Folk

Right off the bat you might be asking yourselves what the hell is Monsters of Folk doing in this head to head… to head? Well, there have been three major Supergroups to produce an album this year, Chicken Foot, Monsters of Folk and the latest Them Crooked Vultures. One of these just happens to be less metal/rock oriented, and the title of this band might have given away their style of choice. This should not exclude the Monsters of Folk from being involved in this battle, they stand a fighting chance. By the numbers alone Monsters of Folk has a head start as a foursome, albeit a foursome of thin, pasty skinned banjo wielding folk artists. One of the bands, Them Crooked Vultures is for all intents and purposes a threesome (if we omit Alain Johannes who is only featured and not a member of the band), a threesome of glass eating, fire breathing legends of rock/metal. Luckily, for the members of Monsters of Folk, there will be no actual physical confrontation between the groups. And the physical description of them, that was so delicately crafted, bares little resemblance to the members that constitute Monsters of Folk, just so we are clear.
Supergroups seem to be all the rage these days and why not? The effect of Supergroups are obvious and economical, musicians like to play and perform with their peers, it’s what they do, they perform, and the better the group is as a whole the better they feel about their individual performances. The Monsters of Folk is a variation on the whole super group idea. And Bands like Them Crooked Vultures are made up of some of the most prolific figures in the music industry and rock world. The Monsters of Folk and its’ members are cut from a different cloth. Made up of some very talented men, the guys that constitute the Monsters of Folk are much less prolific than the men who make up the roster for Them Crooked Vultures. Jim James of My Morning Jacket was very much responsible for the eclectic and richly performed tracks off of My Morning Jacket’s last album Evil Urges, (the track Librarian is especially odd and enjoyable, highly recommended). He and Matt Ward of M. Ward and She & Him make up the notables of this group. There is of course Conor Orerst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, they round out the foursome, though they are lesser known by most. But the principle that gathered these men together also brought the members of Them Crooked Vultures together, the effect of musical collaboration, and most likely the thrill of performing with musical peers and in the case of John Paul Jones, a living legend. Though, Monsters of Folk is an impressive assembly of musicians the end result does not propel then as a group above anything they have done on their own. Some of the tracks off of Monsters of Folk self-titled album just fall flat keep that in mind while listening to the Them Crooked Vultures’ album and you will realize the difference.
Them Crooked Vultures, a Supergroup comprised of vocalist and guitarist Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal. As the drummer Dave Grohl famously of Foo Fighters, Nirvana, fills that position and bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, the band also features Alain Johannes another member of Queens of the Stone Age as the rhythm guitarist. The self-titled debut album starts off with a bang, with No One Loves Me & Neither Do I, Grohl’s drum work is one of a kind and may make you have Nirvana flashbacks. Grohl isn’t a one trick pony among this collection of apex musicians, he also pulls out a little Phil Collins action on Mind Eraser, No Chaser. Let’s not forget the rest of the band though, it’s the whole package that makes the album work so well. Homme’s voice is one of the best in the music industry, the highlights of which came out of his Queens of the Stone Age album Lullabies To Paralyze. John Paul Jones is a living legend, and at 63 years old Jones’ fingers still work just fine. So many bands these days try and recapture the visceral bass power riffing of classic bands such as Led Zeppelin, with Them Crooked Vultures there is no need to emulate because they posses one of the sources. Combined, the group sounds like a supercharges version of Queens of the Stone Age, a band that has always managed to find great talent to fill the band’s roster, but never the likes of Zeppelin alum. That’s a whole other bag of peanuts boys and girls. Of course we could be mistaken, the associate contributors to Queens of the Stone Age stands at thirty-five, who knows maybe Robert Plant slipped in for a couple of tracks without anyone noticing…doubtful.
What about Chicken Foot and how does that band measure up against Them Crooked Vultures? Well, Chicken Foot is comprised of big name musicians too, Sammy Hager, Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith. Essentially that band is made up of the bones of Van Halen and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their self-titled debut album consists of numerous tracks that are easily identifiably as Hager’s brand of rock. That is both the best part and the downfall of this album. At first is seems that the failure of Chicken Foot is in its inability to do something different, even with great tracks like Oh, Yeah littering the album. In reality, the track My Kind of Girl acts as kind of a touchstone for the whole concepts of Chicken Foot, with lines like “she’s broken down, broken hearts, broken fool, out of touch in a modern world. But she is my kind of girl.” It is interesting that a band filled with such lotharios would choose the image of a spend woman with a tattoo on her ass as a representation of themselves. The sentiment though, is one that is shared by many followers of Hagar and the genre alike, in that, even though Chicken Foot’s style of music is out of touch with the modern world it’s still what they love and they are not going to turn their backs on it. On that basis alone you have to respect the members of Chicken Foot and what they produced. In contrast, Them Crooked Vultures managed to expand on the style of music the band members have been made famous for and taking it in a new direction. For diehard fans of Hagar, in particular, the Chicken Foot experiment will no doubt be added to their music libraries.
Where does this leave us? Perhaps a tie is in order between Monsters of Folk and Chicken Foot but when you get right down to it (as a personal preference) Chicken Foot comes in third in this ranking. As for Monsters of Folk it turned out that the sum of the band was not as great as the parts it is made out of. Even though some of the tracks off of this album are less than spectacular, the originality of others redeems the album and places it above Chicken Foot’s. That is it then. Them Crooked Vultures take the battle of the Supergroups of 2009 due to the records overall quality.
What order would you put them in?

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