Expect this summer to be a dichotomy of rock! Foo Fighters' fifth album, 'In Your Honor', due out in June, is a double album, presenting the band's prolific adventures in volume. Having spent almost a year writing, re-writing, recording and creating their latest offering, there was also the added distraction of the Foo's own studio being constructed thrown into the mix. As Dave Grohl admits, "It is by far the most ambitious project I have ever had anything to do with in my entire life."
Catching up with the band at Studio 606, their impressive California base, the band expound on the advantages of a personal HQ. "We can put our own pictures on the wall," drummer Taylor Hawkins proclaims. "Well, we don't have to leave at a certain time," adds Dave Grohl, a little more serious. "Before it was built," guitarist Chris Shiflett says, "Dave was saying, 'Yeah, we can store the gear there, we can rehearse there, make the albums there, we can do press there, photo shoots... blah blah blah' and it's really actually turned into that. It is the all-pupose Foo Fighter hub."
The studio's first birth will be 'In Your Honor'. The double album will be one half rock and the other half acoustic. Dave insists even Foo fans will be surprised by the acoustic side: "I think some people have heard the acoustic versions of our songs like 'Everlong' or 'Times Like These', but this record is much more elaborate than just an acoustic guitar and a vocal. And the songs were written to hold more orchestration. We've never had accordions and pump organs and cellos and stand up bass."
Having diverted from the Foos for a while, Dave lent a helping hand to Queens Of The Stone Age, Tenacious D and Killing Joke, while also writing for his own side-project, Probot. "I think playing with other people always inspires you to do something differently, because everyone plays music differently, and It's nice to experience other people's... vibes," Dave says, explaining the effect they had on the new album. "I mean, you know, our chakras are aligned, but if you go jam with another band, who knows, it might be a total mess. So you fucking down dogthat ass until you've got yourself fucking greet the sun position." Um... okay. Speaking of famous friends, appearing on 'In Your Honor' is one or two of the band's rather well known acquaintances. John Paul Jones, ex of Led Zeppelin features on the acoustic side, Norah Jones also shows face. The Wallflowers' keybOard player Rami Jaffee "tickled some shit", while Petra Hayden supplies a little violin. OOTSA's Josh Homme plays on 'Razor' a beautiful song that Dave debuted acoustically at the January Tsunami benefit at the Wiltern in LA. Also appearing at the benefit were Beck, Eddie Vedder, Josh Homme, Jack Black, Will Farrell and Chris Rock. Dave Introduced the track by saying he'd just written it that morning- "I wasn't lying," he confirms, "I wrote it that morning."
"I suppose we just wanted to make the best album we've ever made," Dave responses when asked what provoked its creation. "And it's musically mature. I think that lyrically it's some of the best stuff we've ever done. The fact that we recorded like 40 songs has nothing to do with anything. I guess that was the motive I suppose, to make a GREAT double album." So how would they answer any accuSations of a double album being indulgent? "AbsolUtely true," is the unanimous answer. And what's the most self-indulgent experiences they had? "We've had some great BBQs," says Chris,before Dave admits, "I drink.cotfee past midnight. And last night, I had strawberry shortcake."
The album is produced by Nick Raskulinecz, whom the band have nicknamed "Kick-Ass". "He's the best rock producer in the world because he's fun to hang out with and he understands how music should be made right;" says Dave. "You always gotta do it right." Taylor concurs: "One of the good things about a producer is getting you to feel good about what you're doing: but at the same time pushing you further. He has to be your cheerleader, but also your coach."
Aside from the previously heard 'Razor', the album will also feature 'The Deepest Blues Are Black' on the rock side and 'Miracles' on the flip, both of which Dave claims to be the best songs they've ever written. "When we're working on a record, all we're trying to do is get the music right," explains Taylor. "We just try to get it right. Whatever that means. It's all about doing the right thing." Dave agrees: "Always do the right thing."
Words & Pics: Lisa Johnson
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