"Touring the UK? It Feels Great Every Time!"


Foo Fighters hit Britains arenas this week. Expect lasers, mosh-pit carnage & 'wacky shit'....

Dave 2005 HAS been, in the words of guitarist Nate Mendel, 'really fucking chaotic' for the Foo Fighters. First, there was 'In Your Honour', recorded in a new studio, which they built themselves (606, hidden out in the scrublands of California, and designed after Abba's legendary Polar studio in Stockholm, where Led Zeppelin recorded 'Presence').
  Then there was their harshest mistress, the road. 2005 saw Foo Fighters tear across the globe promoting 'In Your Honour', As you read this, they are touring Australia and New Zealand, before swooping into the UK to play stadium shows across the country, and returning to Europe in the New Year. After that there's a planned acoustic tour featuring songs from the second disc of 'In Your Honour'.
  So what do the Foos like to do on a rare day off?
  Well, guitarist Chris Shiflett can be found cruising the LA freeway, listening to avowedly liberal talk radio station Air America, and getting gouged at the petrol pumps because there's no cheap gas. Drummer Taylor Hawkins is hanging in the jam room at his house, setting up his drum kit for a session this afternoon with his band, Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders (their debut album drops next February).
  Bassist Nate Mendel is enjoying the peace of the sun room in his new house in Oregon (there's precious little sun in the North West state this morning). And Dave Grohl is, for reasons we're not entirely clear on, sitting in the bathroom at his home, which he promises us is "the size of a fucking gymnasium".
  Miles apart, they've all patched a call through to their friends at Kerrang!, to clue us in on their slow, willing descent into arena rock, the way they party on the road, and their favoured method of wiping their asses ...

CHRIS: "For the first time in our illustrious career we actually have production values! We'll have lasers and wacky shit, things projected on screens .. ,"
NATE: "We've been at this 10 years, on the slippery slope to 'arena rock'. We've accepted it now, and to declare that we've 'arrived', we're trying to outdo Pink Floyd!"
DAVE: "These will be our longest shows, too, I'm looking forward to playing two hours a night, so we can play the deep album cuts. I'm aiming for at least three or four songs from each album, every night."

DAVE: "It's just still fun. I might not relish leaving my house today to go off on tour, but I know that when I get to Australia, there's going to be 20,000 screaming kids singing their hearts out to 'Best Of You' or 'Everlong'. That's something to look forward to every night. It doesn't matter how bruised you get, doesn't matter how thrashed your voice is, or how hungover you are, it feels great every time."
TAYLOR: "It's still always a little bit scary. Which is a good thing, I guess, even though I'm thinking, 10 minutes before the show, 'Why do I do this to myself?'. We stretch out. we jam a little. You have to be careful not to do the same thing every night. You take chances, walking the tightrope."

DAVE: "They're supporting us in Perth, Australia, so I guess we owe them a favour."
TAYLOR: "We don't mind helping out our buddies in Oasis every once in a while (laughs). I'm a fan, sorta - they've done some good stuff, some crap stuff. Do I listen to Oasis every day? Hell no. But you have to respect them, they write great pop songs."

CHRIS: "It's as well organised as a rock 'n' roll band can be, by which I mean it's not organised at all."
NATE: "It's five star all the way, baby! I love the luxuries of a good hotel, a nice bottle of wine, a bowl of fresh fruit in your room ... We could afford to buy this stuff, but because they give you this for free at the hotel, it's like Christmas! It's so stupid....'Yay! Fruit in the room!',"
DAVE: You've gotta understand, we're approaching our late 30s now. The most important thing to me now isn't getting obliterated with (Josh Homme side-project) Eagles Of Death Metal every night - although I'm sure I will - but that the shows are good. I've been on the road since I was 18 years old; I'm about to turn 37, I've had a lot of parties out there. Now it's time to get out there and sing along with the crowd."

CHRIS: "DVDs. Last time we toured Europe, we had all the box sets of 'The Sopranos', while Taylor and Nate watched lots of 'Family Guy' on their bus. I love that show 'Extras' with Ricky Gervais. Dave should guest-star on that, he's super funny and could totally work without a script."
TAYLOR: "It's all about 'Lost' on our bus. God! That show is fuckin' insane. It's TV crack. it fuckin' is, we're so addicted to it. Me and Nate would watch five or six episodes in a row, literally for like three fuckin' hours."
DAVE: "The one thing that keeps me entertained is the other dudes in my band. Spend an afternoon with Taylor and you'll never touch an Xbox again."
NATE: "I'm the not-funny one, and the other guys are fucking hilarious. Chris has a kind of out-the-side-of-his-mouth sharp sense of humour. Taylor's wacky the guy who'll say something that's not funny three times, each time progressively louder, until it actually is funny. And Dave is just crafty. They don't hold it against me that I'm the weak link in the comedic chain. What're you going to have, four guys funny? That's just too much comedy. I'm the studio audience."

CHRIS: "We really don't come into contact with the commoners... Just kidding! People who like band, when we meet them they're pretty nice and respectful. Recently, somebody gave me a teddy bear to give to my son. But I forgot to bring it home with me. We're gonna send it to the crime lab, have 'em check that shit out, subject it to a controlled explosion."
DAVE: "I get fans who draw portraits of me that are totally distorted, that make me look like a monster And I'm always a little freaked out by the kids who spend all their time on messageboards, debating whether or not I looked better with a beard, wanting to write our fuckin' set-lists for us. The weirdest thing, though, is when you start seeing the same faces crushed against the barriers at gigs. Like, you swing into Hawaii and you swear you recognised that blue-haired kid from the Toronto show...."
NATE: "Somebody asked me how I wiped my ass, do you fold or do you wad? Excuse me? What the fuck? It took me a while to work out what they'd asked, because of the way they phrased the question, and then I refused to answer because of how stupid the question was. And then I told them what they wanted to hear. Everybody was happy. I'm a folder, obviously. I like to fold my toilet paper before wiping my ass with it."
TAYLOR: "You know what's weird? when a fan says something like, 'How's your new dog Mali doing?', And I'll be, like, 'Aw, that's creepy'. At the same time, I understand, cos when I was a kid, I was a Police fanatic, a Queen fanatic I knew stuff like that. When I was starting out playing drums, about 10 years old rock stars were like superheroes. I just made a clean transition from Star Wars and Superman to rock 'n' roll."

TAYLOR: "Aw she's just fuckin' awesome ... She's our rich bitch from Malibu (laughs). She's fucking cute. She's a puggle, which is a pug beagle mix. You'd freak on my dogs, they're lovely... "

TAYLOR: "I met Dave because I used to play drums with Alanis Morissette, and we did a couple of shows together in Seville, with Neil Young. Nirvana were my favourite band in the world at that time, and I was convinced Dave would think I was a dork. But he came up and introduced himself to me, and was really fucking nice, really complimentary, just a really nice cat.
  "Then I read that Will (Goldsmith, original drummer) was quitting Foo Fighters, or being fired or whatever. So I got hold of Dave through another friend, and I said him, 'Yo I heard you're looking fora drummer', and said, 'Yeah, you know anybody?' (laughs) Cocksucker! He made me ask ... Actually, in his mind, he thought since Alanis was one of the biggest things in the world at the time, and Foo Fighters were still just kinda starting out he was like, 'Why would you want to bail on someone who's selling 30 million records?'. But I wanted to play rock music, and I loved the Foo Fighters, they were my favourite fucking band."
DAVE: "My first impression of Taylor was that he was just this fuckin' crazy partying surfer, which was absolutely correct."
Nate; ""I first met Dave either backstage at a Sunny Day Real Estate show, or when I went over to his for Thanksgiving. My girlfriend and his wife were good friends at the time. He's just a genial guy. you know? He really went out of his way to make people forget he was in this really huge band. I thought that was really cool, really admirable."
DAVE: "My first impressions of Nate were that he was very frank, very direct, and polite. He was a very nice guy."
CHRIS: "I first met Dave at the auditions I attended when I first joined the band. That's when I first met all of them. I remember thinking Dave was much taller than I imagined him to be. I walked into the room and thought, 'Wow! He's big ....' He's about six foot. I joined the band, and we were bonded on on tour a week later ... I was just wide-eyed. I jumped in with both feet."
DAVE: "My first impression of Chris was entirely wrong, I thought that he was this mellow, soft-spoken guy. And once he joined the band, he turned into one of the biggest partiers I've ever seen in my life. He's since mellowed considerably, but I remember when he started out thinking, 'My God, are you that same guy who tried out with us three and a half weeks ago? Hey! Wow!'."

CHRIS: "I don't know, we don't really map things out that far in advance. As I'm sure you've heard. Dave and his wife are having a baby, so we're gonna have a bunch of time off in the spring. And we've talked about doing an acoustic tour next year."
DAVE: "One of the great things about this record is that there's two sides to the band. There's the rock side, and then there's this acoustic thing that we're still discovering. We're gonna take the acoustic show out on the road and do something different. With this extended band. To me, the most Important thing is trying to find a way to open up the next 10 years.
  "I love being in a rock band, but I don't know if I necessarily wanna be in an alternative rock band from the 1990s for the rest of my life. It might be nice to broaden our range, open up the dynamic. so we can go out and just make music. I think that next year's gonna be the bridge to that. And I look forward to the next Foo Fighters record, you know? I look forward to all the projects I'm gonna do next year. I've already sat around the house writing tons of new music, to just stay productive."

DAVE: "I think so, in a way. The most important thing to me is health and happiness and family. There's a lot more in life that's way more important to me than going out on the road and making rock records. That being said, I can't wait to go back out and keep on doing it. It's just figuring out how you make it last a lifetime. I had this conversation yesterday with some people we work with, about trying to imagine the next 10 years. Not just imagining the next tour or album, but what's going to happen in 10 years time? How does that work? Thinking about that, I realised that the most important thing was to not think about it like that. to just focus on the music. I know I'll never stop making music, but...(sighs) I don't know. I think that 2006 is going to be a huge year of discovery."

Words: Stevie Chick

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