Posted on Apr 2 by Steve
Sammy Hagar obviously didn’t read my earlier post about the dangers of over-hyping.
The former lead singer of Van Halen, famous as well for his solo hits like “I Can’t Drive 55″, is now working on a new project. This “supergroup” features former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, guitar wizard Joe Satriani, and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. The band is Chickenfoot, and their debut album comes out in June.
Sammy Hagar’s marketing plan for Chickenfoot seems to be to hype the project to the point where our expectations are beyond high. Although the Chickenfoot project isn’t taking the 18 years and $13 million it took Axl Rose to produce “Chinese Democracy”, Hagar is talking tough about how groundbreaking their debut album will be.
Here’s a direct quote from Sammy: “When people hear the music, it’s Led Zeppelin, I know that’s a bold statement, but it’s as good as that.” He also took a swipe at his old band, saying “It’s ten times Van Halen, because it’s functional – we all like each other.”
As good as Led Zeppelin?
Ten times Van Halen?
Maybe it is. You can listen yourself to two advance tracks on their website. My analysis isn’t about the quality of their music, it’s about branding.
By building expectations that this album will be as good as Led Zeppelin and ten times as good as Van Halen, Sammy Hagar is building up our expecations to the point where we have no choice but to be let down. Wouldn’t it be infinitely more brilliant to let the tremendous reputations of the musicians involved speak for the project? Having such incredible rock pedigree working on one album raises expectations high enough. A comparison to one of the greatest rock bands of all time isn’t really necessary!
I engaged the brilliant Roy Williams on the topic of over-hype. I asked Roy why the Wizard Academy website downplays their on-campus accommodations. Frankly, the on-campus student mansion, Englebrecht House, is a fantastic and rather luxurious pad. But there are no interior pictures posted on the Wizard Academy website, and based on the description on the site I expected something slightly better than camping out.
Roy said that he wanted to leave something to “discover” when students arrived on campus. He was well aware that the student mansion was likely to exceed expectations, not only because it is very nice but also because it has not been over-hyped.
By the way, if you ever have the chance to attend the Magic Worlds course at Wizard Academy you should definitely do so.
And if you have ever have the chance to vist Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina in Mexico, you should probably do that as well. Sammy says it’s pretty good.