NME 2001

Why hasn't Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl been answering his phone? 'Cos he's got everything turned up to 10! NME asks how it feels to be emissaries of rock to V2001

Hello, is that Dave? How are things?
"Sorry I've been so elusive. I sat at home for ages and now I've packed five projects into one month. It kind of bit me on the ass - there's too much on my plate, thats for sure. I'm a little rough right now.
'We're joking about how we can't wait to get on tour to have a vacation. God forbid that we go one festival season without playing the fucking things. It seems as if every summer of my life is spent in a field in the middle of nowhere in England."

It doesn't sound like you enjoy them too much...
"No, I love 'em, man. We always have fun. But when every time we go back I think, 'Wow, I'm 32 now - I remember being here ten years ago and preee-tty much every year since.'"

How do you feel about V2001's reputation as the most civilised of festivals?
"I remember playing there with the Prodigy and it sure didn't seem very family-orientated then. Are we the 'heavy metal' band? We never really know what to expect when we go onstage because we either try to stick to the setlist and be cool and concise about everything or it just turns into a keg party. I know the Red Hot Chilli Peppers are on after us - it seems like they left the two American party rock bands for the end of the day.
When I was talking to Josh and Nick (Queens Of The Stone Age) last night they said they were doing Reading and Leeds with Eminem and Marilyn Manson. (laughs) I thought, 'Why can't we be on that fucking bill?'""

How did you end up on the new Queens Of The Stone Age album?
"I've known those guys for a long time. I was a huge fans of the first Queens album and jokingly, when asked what was my greatest disappointment of 2001 I said that I hadn't been asked to play on their record. So they were nice enough to ask when it came time to make another record. One thing we have in common is a love of early Black Flag. In one of the songs that we recorded - I think it's called 'Song For The Dead' there's a nod to an early Black Flag record: the drum riff is me paying tribute to Bill Stevenson"

Tell us about the Foo Fighters next album..
"We demo three weeks at a time then take a couple of weeks off. I had to get all this other shit out the way before I could focus on making the Foo Fighters record. But now we've done the demoing I really don't think it's going to take long. the 18 or 19 songs we have are so close to being finished. the last album we practically wrote in the studio - this time we're a lot more prepared. I figure we'll come home from the festivals and begin recording the first week of September and hopefully have it finished by the beginning of November. the last album was written lying on the bed in front of the television with an acoustic guitar - there wasn't a lot of tension or volume. So even songs like 'Stacked Actors' or 'Breakout' were written on an acoustic guitar and then translated into high volume rock noise. But the songs we're working on now have been written and rehearsed with amps at 10. There are a few that could go the way of the ballad, but we're trying to avoid that. It's a lot more fun to go out and play a festival with your amps blistering at 10 than to sing some sleepy ballad about one more heartbreak. With the touring last time, we realised how capable we are of being the rockest live ridiculous experience and we're trying to incorporate that into the next record."

What's the inspiration behind Probot?
"After making 'There Is Nothing Left To Lose' we've finally become comfortable as a band and with each other as players - and I think we had to get that musicality out of our system.
Probot happened because I was sick of hearing 'Learn To Fly' and feeling that was my life direction. It just seemed funny to me that a person who grew up listening to hardcore punk rock and death metal was writing Top 40 pop songs."

You've been busy mixing a Nirvana song, too. Were you disappointed that the box set was delayed for legal reasons?
"This time, I really can't talk about it. usually it's just me - but now I just really can't say anything. (laughs) But we did mix the song and it sounds great. I can say that much."

With the tenth anniversary of Nevermind looming, it's hard not to look at Limp Bizkit et al and wonder where it all went wrong...
"I can appreciate something about those bands - I really can - whether it's their musical prowess, or their dynamic....I have a hard time hating any music just because I figure that if someone has the balls to go up and make music of their own, that's almost enough for me. But I think what distresses me the most is the lack of compassion. I know that sounds ridiculous but there's something about the sensitive side of a person that should balance the agression and you don't really see that any more. But there are things about bands like Limp Bizkit that I like."

How did you and Andrew WK hook up?
"Andrew WK is a true American hero. He's our saviour from the Midwest. It's hard to explain Andrew - only because you've never really seen anything like it before. You know, all i got was the demo and the promo shot which was Andrew with the worst bloody nose you've ever seen in your life and, in some bizarre way, it was the sexiest photo I've ever seen of a man in my life. My girlfriend immediately had the biggest crush on him. So it was a love hate relationship with Andrew.
"We had him do a few shows with us and it's just Andrew with a CD player and a microphone jumping around like a teenager in his bedroom singing along to Sweet songs. There's no gloom and doom - it's all about partying until you puke. (A buzzer sounds) Wait, can you hang on a second? My Chinese food is here. (Pause, shuffling Mmmm, Chinese food for breakfast..."

Finally, what's your opinion of the Strokes?
"I've never heard The Strokes. I've just seen their fucking picture everywhere I go. If they're as good as their pictures then I'm sure they'll be huge. Pictures of them with bloody noses? I'm sure we can arrange that.

Words:Victoria Segal

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