Different Devil

Album: Chickenfoot III (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • When guitarist Joe Satriani created the original demo for this song it was just on acoustic guitar. He thought it was quirky and artistic but the rest of the band took to it - much to his surprise. Satriani recalled to Musicradar.com: "The guys really loved my basic demo for the song and wanted to record it. It sounded very commercial, so of course, I wanted to try to make it a little more artsy - Sam (Hagar, vocals) is always kidding me about trying to be a cult artist. It was so funny: the guys were all excited about its accessibility, and meanwhile I'm bumming the whole day."

    After the session, drummer Chad Smith took a JSA acoustic guitar back to his hotel and worked on it over night. Satriani recalled to Artist Direct: "He shows up to record the next morning and says, 'I've written another part to the song. Let's try it out.' It turned out to be really good, and Sam was like, 'I bet I can sing a chorus over that part.' We re-cut the song. We had to edit Chad's part down to about 50 percent of its original length, but it actually functioned really well. After a while, I started to see the light on this particular song. The guys are always making fun of me because anytime a song looks like it has commercial appeal, I'm always running the other direction [Laughs]. They say, 'No, no, accessibility is good, Joe!'"

    After the band left, Satriani listened back to it but felt it that as Hagar was singing the chorus his melody was over another chord progression, so the guitarist had to come up with some method of making it work. He told Artist Direct: "As I was listening to the vocals, I started to imagine the chords he thought he was singing over. Then I had to see if somewhere in the recording we played those chords. I found them. I had to sort of borrow the chords and past them in order to work with the vocals. Once I did that, I emailed it around to everyone. They all loved it, so we went in and added all the other guitar parts. Mike and Chad liked it so much they re-did the drums and the bass. During that session, I added another guitar and Sam did the vocals. It's the strangest way of recording a song. It started from a little acoustic demo and went through all of these trials and tribulations. It arrives at a spot that puts a smile on everybody's face. We're all proud of it just a little embarrassed at how strangely it was written and recorded."
  • Having penned the song's melody and arrangement, Sammy Hagar was struggling to come up with suitable lyrics to accompany them. He was about to dump the tune when he run into a 70-year-old married friend of his who has a young girlfriend. "There's an older gentleman I know," Hagar explained. "He's in his seventies and he's got this young girlfriend and she's hot. But he's been married for his whole life and he lives with his wife part-time. I don't know what's going on. "But I say, 'Why don't you just move in with this chick, man? She's hot!' And he goes, 'Same hell, different devil.'"
  • The song actually contains a positive message about long-term relationships. Said Hagar: "Maybe some of the heat's gone out, and you start looking around and thinking, 'I wonder what it would be like with that person?' But that's the different devil, pal – you're going to wind up in the same place."

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