Dave & Taylor talk
Your first single came out almost exactly 10 years ago. Looking back, which of your singles are you most proud of?
Taylor: Obviously ‘Everlong’, obviously ‘All My Life’. But I joined the band after the second record – so, to me, the whole first album was a highlight of singles. I love that record so much and it will kind of always be my favourite in a way, because I was on the outside.
Dave: To me, the songs that I love are the songs that make the audience sing along when you play live, whether it’s ‘All My Life’, like ‘Everlong’, or ‘My Hero’, or ‘I’ll Stick Around’, or ‘This Is A Call’, or ‘Times Like These’, or ‘Learn To Fly’, or whatever. When I play those songs live, you can hear the audience over the PA singing. And that, to me, is just the greatest form of flattery. It’s just my favourite thing in the world.
Did you expect the band to last this long?
Dave: Well the history of the band is kind of strange. I had always recorded music by myself, but I never let anybody hear it because I didn’t like my voice. It was just something I would do in my basement for fun. And then, after Nirvana was over, I really didn’t know what I was going to do - go and play drums for someone? Or just stop playing music altogether? And then I thought: “I’m gonna down the street and record these 12 or 13 songs that I had written in the past four or five years. And I’m going to release it on my own label and not put my name on it, and I’ll call it Foo Fighters.”
So it was supposed to be a one off?
Dave: Yeah, but then it all snowballed and turned into a band. If I had known that we would be here 10 years later talking about a double album to cduk.com then I would have a) spent more time on the first album and b) not called it something like the Foo Fighters! Such a stupid name, but we’re stuck with it!
Were you nervous about being a frontman?
Dave: At first I was really nervous, because I had been a drummer for so long. I’d never been a singer before; this is the first time. Being a drummer is so much fun, ‘cos you have your big, bad-ass instrument in front of you, and you can sort of hide behind your hair or the drums! But becoming a frontman? It’s a weird responsibility, ‘cos you’re supposed to reek of personality and star quality, and I’ve never felt like I have that. I’ve never felt like David Bowie or Marilyn Manson or Freddie Mercury. I’ve always felt like a geek.
Speaking of Queen, did they ever offer the frontman job to you when they were casting about for a singer?
Taylor: There was a time when Brian May was saying they were going to do a Queen show with like lots of different singers. And they were, like: “We’d like you and Dave to come along and do some stuff.” But we wouldn’t really have time to do anything like that.
Dave, you’ve played drums for Queens Of The Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, Garbage and loads of other acts recently. Was there ever a time when you came close to breaking up the Foos and going back to full-time drumming?
Dave: You know everybody in the band does their own thing. Taylor made a record by himself. Taylor plays with other people. Nate has a band, Fire Theft. Chris has Jackson United. I go out and play drums for other people once in a while. But we always come back to the Foo Fighters just because it’s like our family and it’s where we feel at home.
So, the new album. It’s a big one…
Dave: Yeah, it’s a double album and they’re two completely different CDs: one CD that’s all aggressive rock stuff, and another that’s all acoustic. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever done before - not to mention that we did it in a studio that we built for ourselves. Eight thousand square feet - it looks like Abbey Road! It’s beautiful.
Do any of the construction work yourselves?
Dave: We did some construction for the studio yeah. Taylor slapped up some glue, got the fibre glass up on the wall, stained some doors. Yeah we got our hands dirty a little bit, but not serious construction.
So we’re not going to see you in some kind of DIY reality show?
Dave: No, I will not re-make your home. I will not give your home a makeover. I could paint it, though - I used to do that when I was a kid. And I did masonry for a while when I was younger…
How are we supposed to listen to the album? In one sitting, or CD by CD?
Dave: I’m not really sure. I always assume people will want to listen to the rock one first. It’s better than any rock album we’ve ever made - a lot more aggressive, way more authentic and more beautiful than anything we’ve ever done. But the acoustic record? That’s really new territory for the band and the listener.
Has it made anyone blub?
Dave: I get choked up sometimes.
Taylor: I’ve gotten choked up listening to stuff that he’s done. ‘Cos Dave for me has these two sides. He has one side that’s really rock: “I like hard rock! I like hardcore bands!” But then he’s also got the sweetest pop side.
You have a lot of female fans for a rock band.
Dave: Yeah, and I’m glad. But, for the first five years, it was just sweaty dudes, beating the hell out of each other! Nowadays, when you come to one of our shows it’s weird man, I mean the audience is like young and old, and there’s… like, moustaches, and there’s chicks and there’s rockers and there’s little punks! And it’s just kind of weird!
Norah Jones guests on the acoustic CD. How did that come about?
Dave: Well, I wrote this song, ‘Virginia Moon’, about eight years ago. It almost sounds like Brazilian jazz, and we’d tried to record it for an album before but something like that just didn’t make any sense in the middle of a rock record. So, when we had the idea of doing the acoustic album, I thought: “Oooh, man! Maybe now we’ll get a chance to record this thing!” I knew I wanted it to be a duet with a female vocalist, so I started thinking of people that I knew. Just some friends who had beautiful voices, who could sing with us…
Taylor: Diana Ross…
Dave: Yeah, you know people like that. Mariah Carey... So I called Norah up and she came into the studio. I swear to god, she’s probably the most talented person I’ve ever seen in my life. Musically she’s a genius, man. Her piano playing is great; her timing, her ears are awesome; the way that she plays; her voice is beautiful; her pitch is perfect. She was awesome.
Taylor: Great chef…
Dave: She makes a killer fry-up.
Does she have a secret death metal side to her?
Dave: Well, apparently she does have a rock band! I think it’s more along the lines of Tenacious D though. I don’t think it’s like Slayer or anything.
The album’s called In Your Honour. That’s Honour with a ‘u’. Why the UK spelling?
Dave: Well, actually, I think we were talking about doing two different spellings at one point - the UK’s going to get a ‘u’ in their sleeve, and then America and the rest of the world will have the proper spelling! Ha ha!
Chris Martin once said that you should run for president. Would you?
Dave: He’s crazy. I love Chris Martin. I love Coldplay. Everybody digs them. Their songs are just… you know, their songs are great. Actually I think that Will the drummer is probably one of the best English rock drummers around. He actually gives it to the drums. A lot of English drummers take it easy on those drums, but Will doesn’t and I love that about him. And do you know who else is a great drummer? That Kaiser Chiefs man - he’s a cool drummer. I haven’t seen them play, but their album, man! I think it’s really cool.
You wrote 40 songs for this album, and you’re using 20. Can Rooster have the ones you didn’t use?
Taylor: For a fine price, let me tell you!
Dave: We’re going to have a yard sale, sell off B-sides.
Taylor: We’re gonna have a riff download site where you can buy spare riffs.
Dave: It’s gonna be called spareriffs.com - hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of riffs we’ve got left over. If you need a riff, you go to spareriffs.com and take one for free! But, after you record it, you have to send it back so we can hear all these different bands playing the same stupid riffs in their own way, turning them into songs. It’s kind of an experiment. We haven’t done it yet, so please nobody take the domain name, ‘cos we still want to do spareriffs.com.
How much for a TV theme tune?
Dave: I’ll go dig in the vaults. I’ll see what I’ve got. CD:UK spare riffs theme song. There’s a lot in there. You’ll dig it.
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