OTTAWA SUN, February 2022

Dave Grohl drums up scares in Foo Fighters' fright flick Studio 666

When Dave Grohl got the pitch for a Foo Fighters horror movie, he had one thought: "That's fucking ridiculous. Why would we ever do something that stupid?"
The founder and frontman of the group that began over a quarter of a century ago is laughing in a video call from his mother's house in Virginia as he recounts the genesis of Studio 666, a horror comedy that features the group starring alongside Whitney Cummings, Jeff Garlin, Will Forte, Jenna Ortega and Leslie Grossman.
But what started as a joke slowly turned into a possibility when the band convened to record Medicine At Midnight in 2019.
"There was just no way we were going to do it," Grohl says. "What do we care about making horror films? Then we started writing, demoing and recording our new record in this old house in Encino. I was there by myself a lot of the time working on lyrics and melodies and song structure, and I thought, `We're in a spooky old house right now. Why don't we finish making the record, take a couple of weeks off and then shoot some silly little horror film.'"
Grohl came up with the story, which finds the lead singer possessed by a demonic entity after the Foos move into a haunted house. He eventually starts offing his bandmates one by one in gory fashion. "I thought we would do it in true Foo Fighters fashion, `Call our friends with cameras and we'll just make a (Night of the) Living Dead, Run & Gun kind of movie,'" Grohl says.
  But the film, directed by BJ Mcdonnell, ballooned into a fulllength movie, as Grohl and screenwriters Jeff Buhler (Pet Sematary) and Rebecca Hughes (Cracking Up) dreamt up hilariously dark ways for the former Nirvana drummer to kill his bandmates - Nate Mendel (bassist), Pat Smear (rhythm guitarist), Taylor Hawkins (drums), Chris Shiflett (lead guitarist) and Rami Jaffee (keyboards).
  "It really started with the basic, simple premise: a rock band moves into a house, without realizing it's haunted. The singer becomes possessed, kills everyone and goes solo," Grohl says breaking into a grin. "That was it."
  Studio 666 was originally slated to open in theatres alongside last year's Medicine At Midnight to help usher in a new Foos world tour. But the pandemic scuttled those plans, along with a planned 25th anniversary run of gigs in 2020. With the film opening this Friday, the band recently returned to the live stage playing a virtual concert in the Metaverse on Super Bowl Sunday. They'll also head out on tour this summer and fall, with shows planned for Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
Speaking to the Sun over Zoom on a recent Friday evening, Grohl spoke more about how the film came about, why he isn't afraid of ghosts and reflected on the Foo Fighters' 27-year history.

There hasn't been a band movie in a long time. How did this come about?
It started about three years ago when a friend of mine who works in the entertainment industry texted me one afternoon and said, `Man, I just came out of this meeting with a bunch of people and they want to make a horror movie with Foo Fighters.' ... I thought it was the stupidest fucking thing ... But when you present someone with that idea, it becomes, 'Oh shit, this is a rock 'n' roll movie' and we haven't had one of those in a long time. Name me a band that has done one of those in the last fucking 20 years. So that was the hook. It's a fun, gory slasher film ā€” but it's Foo Fighters. You're not used to seeing us like that. You see us on stage and in music videos, but give us some fake teeth and a stupid premise, and all of sudden you've got yourself a horror film.

I remember when Medicine at Midnight came out and reading interviews with you guys where you said the house you recorded that album in was haunted. Was any of that true?
That was a total fucking lie. You have to remember this was all pre-pandemic - the writing of the album and (production on) the movie. We were on the movie for about four weeks before everything shut down. So, the plan was to tell everyone we made an album in a crazy haunted house, and not talk about the movie. Then, the day the record came out, we were going to drop this fucking film as well. We were trolling everyone when we said the house was haunted. Then the pandemic happened, and it all went out the window. Now we're doing interviews and we're basically having to answer to those stupid fucking lies we were telling two years ago.

Have you had any ghostly experiences then?
I have. I never really thought about that stuff - it's not that I didn't believe it, I just hadn't experienced it. I never had any weird paranormal experiences until I moved into a house in Seattle in 1993. I lived there for two-and-a-half years and without a doubt there was some shit going on in that house that I had to live with. I moved in and immediately stuff was happening in the kitchen. I had recurring nightmares about the same woman. I'd be downstairs and have this feeling that someone was right behind me. I'd be in bed and feel someone's face right in front in mine. Shit like that. It wasn't just me. People would come over and say, `Every time I'm downstairs it feels like there's someone right behind me.' So I legit lived in a haunted house. But I wasn't going to leave. I wasn't going to get forced out because there's a ghost opening cupboards in the kitchen.

Studio 666 has some pretty over the top kills. Which is the craziest?
I mean, when people see the film, they'll know which one is going to get the biggest cheer. One of them is so over the top, I don't know how you can make it anymore ridiculously disgusting. You're laughing and gagging at the same time it's so fucking stupid. But it was fun to come up with all of those scenarios with our special effects guy, Tony Gardner, who worked on Chucky and so many fucking horror movies. You'd never know because he's the sweetest, nerdiest, kindest man. But then we were walking around the property and saying, `How should we kill Chris?' And he was the one who said, `Take his head and slam it into a barbecue so his face starts melting off and then stab him 50 times.'

In the movie, the Foos are recording their 10th album and finding it a slog. Which album has been the hardest for the Foos to record?
The second record, The Colour and the Shape, because that was the first one we did as a band. The first Foo Fighters record was just a demo where I played all the instruments. I didn't think it was going to be a band or a record, it was just something I did for fun in six days. It was after it was released that we become a band. When we went in for our second record, which a lot of people think is our best album ā€” it's got Monkey Wrench, My Hero, Everlong on it ā€” that was really a slog. We had a hard-working producer (Gil Norton) and we were doing 30, 40 takes of a single song. The end result is amazing, but it did take its toll on the band. Other than that, I swear to you, we walk into a studio and we can't wait to hit the red button and go. Every album. We love recording. We've never had that writers' block that you see in the film. I've never walked in and said, `Fuck, I've got nothing.' We always have something, and that's the chemistry in the band.

I remember seeing the band at the Molson Amphitheatre in 2005 and at the time you said it was the biggest headlining show the Foos had ever played. What was the moment you knew the Foos had made it?
Oh God, I don't know that I've had that moment yet. I'm here in my childhood home in Springfield, Virginia, right now. I grew up here and my mother was a public school teacher. This is a tiny house outside Washington, D.C., and I watched her work so hard her entire fucking life. You have to treat every cheque as if it's the last one you'll ever make. That work ethic was instilled in me, and I think keeps me from saying, `We've made it.' Still, to this day, it doesn't matter how big the venue, how many records we've sold or any other sā€”. I still feel like, `Goddammit, I hope someday we can sit back and relax.' That hasn't happened yet. We still work our fucking asses off.

So after 27 years what was the key to the Foo Fighters' success?
Just being authentic and keeping it real. One of the big keys to our success was, from early on, we've always been on our own label. We own our whole catalogue. We partner with a major label to distribute stuff and we work with a lot of other amazing people, but at the end of the day, it's the band that calls the shots on fucking everything. Because we've had that security and control for so long, we've never been in a situation where we think, `God man, I hate that I have to do this.' In the Foo Fighters' world, you don't have to do anything. If you don't want to do it, don't fucking do it. If you're not into it, fucking just say the word. That's why we've lasted so long. Also, we genuinely love each other. There is bottom-line no question about that. We run not so much like a gang, but like a fucking family. It really is that way.


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