I'm one of those guys that loves albums! I love the creativity, and focus that goes into a collection of songs. It has a purpose. Tons of bands can have a hit, but to fully keep a listener engaged for the entirety of an album takes so much more than talent! It takes risks, and stress, and a complete shredding of all fucks given at the moment in time to make the music that you want to make at that very f'ing moment!
For me, The Foo Fighters take us on that journey every f'ing time the start creating, and Dave Grohl has always shared the creative process behind his albums. I love that! I feel like getting to know the writer of the songs, and the vibes, and chaos going on around them during the process gives the listener sooo much more than just releasing an album. Take the people on that journey with you! IF every band did that, I'm sure people would buy more records, cd's, whatever, instead of downloading a single. BS! But we've all done it.
In a recent interview with Louder Sound, Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, and Taylor Hawkins take us behind the scenes of the first five Foo Fighter albums. From their Grohl only, self titled debut to their dynamic double album, In Your Honor, take a look inside chaos @ Louder Sound! You can find a portion of the interview below....
Via Louder Sound
Foo Fighters – 1995
“After Nirvana, I wasn’t really sure what to do,” says Grohl, who was 25 when Kurt Cobain’s suicide brought that group abruptly to an end. “I was asked to join a couple of other bands as the drummer, but I just couldn’t imagine doing that because it would just remind me of being in Nirvana; every time I sat down at a drum set, I would think of that. And other people would think of that as well. I thought, what do I do? Do I even play music any more? I don’t know. Maybe that was it. Maybe it’s time to do something else. Maybe real life starts now. Because at that point I had been touring in bands since I was 18 and I’d seen the world and got to be in this huge band.” As Grohl contemplated his next move, he was well aware that anything he did was going to be overshadowed by his association with Nirvana whose influence only grows with the passing years.
“When I was young, someone played me the Klark Kent record that Stewart Copeland had done. I thought how cool that he could make a record and people can listen to it objectively because it wasn’t Stewart Copeland from The Police, it was Klark Kent. That’s kind of what I wanted to do. There were some songs I’d recorded in my friend’s studio while Nirvana was still a band and an independent label in Detroit wanted to release something.”
It wasn’t the first time Grohl’s compositions had been the subject of outside interest. In 1991 he’d released a 10-track cassette called Late on the Washington-based Simple Machines label. Initially contractual restrictions prevented him from releasing any more new material, but with the demise of Nirvana in April 1994, multi-instrumentalist Grohl was free to pursue a solo career.
The reaction to the tape was swift. “I’d get calls from Virgin, RCA, MCA, Columbia or Capitol or whatever.” In the end Grohl signed with Capitol after being courted by President Gary Gersh who, as an A&R man with Geffen, had signed Nirvana.
Recording all the instruments in the studio was one thing, but even the talented Grohl couldn’t play them all live. For that he would need a band. After securing bass player Nate Mendell and drummer William Goldsmith from the recently defunct Sunny Day Real Estate he gave a tape to guitarist Pat Smear, a man who had also played with Nirvana.
“He said, ‘God, this stuff is really poppy!’” squeals Grohl in his best Smear impersonation. “I’m like: ‘Really?’ He goes: ‘I love it.’ ‘Wow, thanks. We’re looking for a guitar player.’ He’s like: ‘I’ll do it.’ I’m like: ‘You will?’ No shit, because he’s like the coolest fucking guy in the world. That guy was in The Germs. He was great in Nirvana, and I thought he’s way out of this league; this is just a stupid demo.”
With a band assembled they began rehearsing. But the role of frontman was a new and uncomfortable one for Grohl: “Standing up and singing a song with a guitar with shredding volume did not feel natural. It still doesn’t.”
He also found the experience of performing his own material in distinct contrast to that of playing with Nirvana: “It’s a different feeling when you’re singing words you’ve written and playing songs you’ve written. It’s so much more personal.”
When the Foo Fighters’ self-titled debut album arrived on shelves in July 1995, its cover depicted the band’s name above a photograph of a gun. Considering Grohl’s former bandmate had shot himself to death only 15 months earlier, the choice of cover image might appear to some to be tactless. “Yeah, people kind of freaked out on that,” admits Grohl, whose love of sci-fi had led him to choose the picture of the Buck Rogers toy gun. “You know, honestly, that never came to mind once. Obviously it didn’t, because if I thought people would associate that with that, I would never have done it.”
The cover aside, reaction to the album was positive. It reached number 23 in the Billboard chart. The Foo Fighters had arrived.
The Colour And The Shape - 1997It was almost as if Foo Fighters had evolved accidentally but now, as a fully fledged group with a hit record and tour behind them, it was clear the approach to the second album would be different.
“Going into making The Colour And The Shape I knew it had to be good,” says Grohl. “It couldn’t be a basement demo. It couldn’t be that second raw album that most people were doing at the time.”
Grohl, though, was still uncertain about exactly what it was he’d created. “The foundation of the band was that demo tape recorded by one person and at times it could feel flimsy. It would make you question: Are we a band? Or ‘How does this work?’ So we immediately started writing new songs like My Hero, Enough Space and My Poor Brain. We hired Gil Norton to produce. He’d produced some of our favourite records: Pixies and Echo & The Bunnymen, stuff like that. Gil is awesome in that he fucking wrings you out. He wants every last drop of performance and song. It was intense. I learnt more from that guy than anyone.”
But by the time they’d nearly completed the album, it had become obvious all was not well. “We’d finished like 12 songs,” recalls Grohl. “We’d recorded Monkey Wrench, Wind Up, Doll and My Poor Brain and everyone knew that it wasn’t really happening. William, our drummer, wasn’t really gelling. It didn’t sound powerful. It just didn’t sound how I’d imagined it to sound.”
The group took a Christmas break, during which Grohl went into a friend’s studio and started recording new material, playing drums himself. He played the songs to Norton: “He’s like: ‘Those are good. I like those’. So I started recording newer songs, playing the drums, playing the guitar and William was bumming out. That turned into a breakdown and then I realized he wasn’t coming back, so I recorded all the drums on the record myself. It was basically Pat, Nate and I for that album. We did it pretty quickly. We re-recorded the record in about four weeks. When we were done, I knew we had a fucking great album.”
In addition to the personal differences within the group, Grohl was also in the midst of domestic upheaval. “Oh, I was getting a divorce too,” he adds nonchalantly. “You know what’s funny? People come up to me – it’s usually men – and say: ‘Man, that album, it helped me through my divorce’. I’m like: ‘Really? It caused mine.’”
If contentment is artistic death, then at least Grohl’s woes were having a positive influence on the music. “I was living out of my duffel bag on this cat piss-stained mattress in my friend’s back room with 12 people in the house. It was fucking awful. Made for a good record though.”
Get the rest of article at www.loudersound.com/features/foo-fighters-their-first-five-albums-in-their-own-words