With the Foos and Queens between albums Dave Grohl finally has time to play strip twister with Jack Black or whatever it is he does with his leisure time. Instead he's released his long-awaited metal super collaboration, Probot. He grudgingly put down his instruments to talk to us.
Why are you releasing Probot on such a small label?
It was really important to me that it wasn't just dumped with some massive, major label because it's not so much the size of the label but the ideas and the ethics of it. At one point there was this major label that was willing to give me a crazy sum of money and I honestly told them that it wasn't worth that much.
Was it Geffen?
I didn't imagine this album to be a money-making project and I can't imagine that there are masses of people around the world who are going to become die-hard Mercyful Fate fans because of this album - although that would make the world a better place. It is for a specific audience. My agenda was to please die-hard fans like myself. I can't imagine it becoming a big album. It was actually never intended to be an album. At first it was just me spending three days sitting in my basement playing riffs and having fun. The focus was mainly on lower level dynamics. Then I went playing with the Foo Fighters on tour for five or six months and when I got home I thought, "What am I doing with my life? I love hardcore and underground metal and here I am playing music that sounds like the fucking Eagles."
So this was a creative release for you?
I don't know about that but I never imagined these songs being on any album - it was just me messing around and playing some heavy shit. After recording the songs I wrote the word Probot on the reel just so I remembered what it was. Then one afternoon I was with some friends and we were talking about how insane it would be if we got Cronos from Venom to do one of the songs. Or how fucking crazy it would be if we got Snake from Voivod - people we had never met before but we were huge fans of. It was kind of a wish thing, it was a fantasy for us. We made this list of people from a specific era: 1983 to 1989 in underground metal, and then a friend of mine started making some calls. One by one people agreed to do it. So we'd send out the tapes and then I'd have Max from fucking Sepultura on one of my fucking songs. I didn't set out to make the quintessential death metal tribute record I just made some heavy jams in my basement and got some of my favourite vocalists all on one CD.
And the videos?
We made a video for Shake Your Blood with Lemmy. Originally I wanted to make a video that incorporated all the vocalists. I thought as it was Lemmy's song it would either have to be done at the Rainbow Barin LA or some titty bar - I'm not going to put that guy in some fucking hip-hop video, I want him to be in his element. So I thought let's have Lemmy and I in a cab and we are driving to a strip club and Eric Wagner from Trouble is the taxi driver. When we get to the club Cronos from Venom is the doonman. And King Diamond from Mercyful Fate is the bartender. I wanted it to be that kind of video.
How did the Suicide Girls get Involved?
Someone gave me a Suicide Girls sticker after a gig and I put it on my guitar. Someone saw it and told me that they wanted to give me T-shirts and passwords and all that kind of shit. Then I thought, 'OK, I know what we will do, we'll have me playing drums, Lemmy playing bass, Wino from The Obsessed playing guitars and we will be surrounded by 70 Suicide Girls making out with each other, whipping each other, you know, just getting off on each other.'
So you're now a fan?
The great thing about the Suicide Girls is that finally there is a website with all the girls I had a crush on when I was a teenage kid. I never really went for the Califonian blondes. I never really went for the fucking Pam Andersons. I used to go for the tattooed punk chick with a little spike in her tongue.
Really? I read an interview you did with Jennifer Aniston and I thought I sensed some tension...
Jennifer Aniston is an incredibly beautiful woman; she is smart, she is physically beautiful, she's funny. Brad Pitt is very, very, very lucky to have her but at the end of the day if I had to pick Jennifer Aniston or a Suicide Girl I would probably pick a Suicide Girl. I can't imagine Jennifer with a fucking whip.
I can, I have, but more importantly: what is it with you and dressing up as a woman in your videos?
To me there is nothing funnier than a man trying to be a woman. I mean, a funny looking geek like me dressed up as a woman. And I'm not really one for making serious videos because bands that try to sell themselves with their image before their music miss the point. Videos are kind of ridiculous if you think about it. I would rather make fun of making videos than make a video where I look like a fucking Adonis. We made a video that we spent a lot of time and a lot of money on and turned out to be a piece of shit, it was a fucking crime, it was ridiculous. With the next video I decided that I wanted me and Jack Black - when it comes to making hilarious videos you can't go wrong with Jack Black - dressed up as women on the floor of a hotel room, doing coke and drinking whiskey, getting dressed up in lingerie and beating the shit out of each other. We did it with a fucking video camera and we didn't spend more than $40,000. Honestly I thought it was awesome, I thought it was the video of the year.
I heard somewhere that you wanted to direct a Celine Dion video.
She is an acquired taste. I am not so sure if Celine's husband would want her throwing a dildo around the room with a line of coke on the table. She does look like she has been in drag for years, although she has finally blossomed.
Did you really shit in a park in London?
Unfortunately I had a nice curry that evening - so I had to wind up in one of your beautiful neighbourhood parks where I relieved myself. It was a long walk home.
That's no excuse.
I got away with it though.
Is Jack Black the special secret vocalist on the Probot album?
There is speculation that it is Jack but I can tell you that it is not Jack Black.
Can you tell me off the record?
To me there is no such thing as off the record if I have a secret then I keep it to myself.
You seem like a great guy and I love your magazine - it is fucking insane, it's like a metal, titty, gore mag - but you'll find out soon enough. If we said it was Jack Black we'd probably sell a few records but I can't say who it is right now.
words: James Doorne
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