Guess you haven't listened to Joe much....
From Sammy himself:
"I've made this statement a million times -- some people don't like it, some people do -- but Joe is the best guitarist I have ever played with," Hagar said during a recent phone interview. "That's a strong statement. I realize that. You've got to give Eddie (Van Halen) a lot of love for his innovation of what he did as a stylist with the guitar," Hagar added. "He broke a lot of ground.
"But Joe is a master. He can play anything and everything -- folk, blues, jazz, hard rock, soft rock, fusion, you name it. As a guitar technician, Joe is the best guy I've ever stood in the same room with on any instrument. And he's so soulful when he solos. He puts more feeling into a solo than any other player I've been with."
I agree with Sammy 100% on Joe. I've been following him for years, and even bought a guitar off him back in...'93 I think it was. Hand painted one of a kind...crap I wish I had that today, I could buy a house for what it's worth today.
Eddy...wow, what a guitarist, but his inventiveness is gone. Every long hair with a whammy bar has taken what he's done and pushed it further, while the only thing Eddy's pushed is a needle in his arm. Even with Diamond Dave fucking things up for them, the original Van Halen is just the best "rock" of that era there is.
there's no doubt that joe is a great guitarist. I have 2 or 3 of his albums and they're great. the problem is that he's typically the focus of the music, but playing in a band with a vocalist, he tends to get masked as the vocalist is the main focus. sure he shines in some solo work on each song, but it's just not the same, IMO.
Joe being Joe, IMHO, he doesn't *have* to be the focus all the time. He's played with Deep Purple and other bands on tour, and can keep the music the focus rather than jumping up there and taking the spotlight. He can play music to match what it sounded like originally, or inject his own spirit into it. Joe seems to have his intentions in whatever he does, and is able to pull it off exactly as he intended (for better or worse). If that makes sense.
All that said, I've heard of Chickenfoot (I'm on Joe's mailing list), but not had the time to buy and listen to Chickenfoot. I have mixed feelings since I don't care for Hammy Sagar much, though Hagar on his own is pretty good (just not my style)