Straight Down The Line

Melody Maker 1999

Dave Grohl on the line from LA to talk about the Foos' return, 'Kurt & Courtney' and a Nirvana box-set

Can ypou tell us how the third Foo Fighters album sounds?
"I always felt with the last album that we seemed like a hardcore band trying to make melodic songs or a punk band that wanted to sing someting beautiful. With this album, it's happend and we feel comfortable making beautiful music."
"We're not concerned with breakneck speed, smashing guitars or the insanity that went with hardcore. There is definitely some on the record, but we've got to the point where we feel perfectly comfortable playing a song that sounds like calypso."
"We spent months rearranging these songs until we found the perfect arrangement. Coming up with melodies isn't the hardest part for us, it just comes, it's a matter of finding the dynamic, correct direction and the perfect purpose."

Has signing to a new record label had any influence on the new album?
"No because we signed the deal with RCA after we finished the record, which was wonderful. While we were making the record we had no outside influence at all, it was just us in the basement of my house for four or five months."
"It's the first time we've ever made an album where I wouldn't change a thing, and I've never felt like that before. I've always wished I could have done something better, but this time I really feel that I did exactly what needed to be done and what I've dreampt of doing for so long - building the studio."

Will the forthcoming shows reflect a more liberated Foo Fighters?
"I think so, as the music we are making now sounds more natural. You'll probably see four people who are far more comfortable with themselves and their surroundings than ever before. This means we can take it way further than it has ever been...Touring and playing live becomes part of your personality. When you haven't had that for a year, you do start craving it. In the last couple of weeks, we've been rehearsing and it's opened up something that we are very familar with and it sounds good."

You're auditioning for a new guitarist since Franz left in July. Hows that coming along?
"It's a bizzare process. We do a couple of people a day and everyone has been geniunely excited about doing it. Out of the fifteen people we've played with so far, I think there are three serious contenders."

Anybody we might have heard of?
"Yeah, but some of them are still in bands, so I don't want to make it look like they're cheating on their girlfriends."

Can you shed any light on why Franz left?
"Franz is a great old friend, I've known him since I was 15 or 16, and we hoped and wanted it to work out. But when it came down to writing stuff for the new record, we were moving in one direction and he was going in another. Taylor, Nate and I are very tight and Franz didn't know where to go with it. He is an amazing guitarist, but it didn't work out. I cried when he left the band, I was fucking sad, but it all came down to the music."

Did you see 'Kurt & Courtney' when it came out last year?
"Fuck no. Why would I want to see something like that? That is a whole can of worms that no one wants to open up, I cant do anything like that. You're supposed to sort of get on with life, aren't you? I'm into my own personal reflection, I'm not into some exploited creation of a legend that was a person. I have my very fond memories and I have my own precise idea of what is real and what is not."

Is any new Nirvana material likely to surface soon?
"Yeah, they're working on a box-set but I don't know exactly whats going on with it. Someone else is compiling all the material and rounding up some pretty obscure stuff that I didn't even know existed."
"Nirvan were a band three or four years before I ever joined and I think there is a lot of really weird old shit that people would be very entertained to hear. I know that the last song we ever recorded will probably be on there. I don't know what they are calling it, I don't know if there was ever a title. I think it might be called 'I Know You're Right'."