What do you do in Them Crooked Vultures?
I'm the drummer. It's a nice place to be. I love being the singer in the Foo Fighters and being the frontman, getting arenas full of people to join the party, but to sit back behind a drum set without a microphone - other than to sing back-up vocals - really feels good to me.
You're playing drums again. Have you regressed at all?
What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Do my knuckles drag on the floor now, is that what you're saying?
Just that it might be a little simpler than being a frontman...
You think my fucking job is simple, man? If it's so simple maybe you should try it. You go up there for an hour and a half, you do what I do and see if your knuckles are dragging.
So who called who about Them Crooked Vultures?
Well, Josh and I have known each other for a long time. For the last couple of years we've talked about doing a project together. Then, after working with John Paul Jones a few times, I said to Josh, "Dude, why don't we just call John Paul Jones?"
You just called him and he said he would do it?
What happened was I gave Zeppelin an award in London about a year ago and at the end of the night I sort of whispered in his ear. He seemed interested so he flew over for my 40th birthday and I sat him right next to Josh. I put them on a blind date. Then we met over at Josh's studio, plugged in and within three minutes I realised that this was going to be the best fucking band that I've ever been in.
That name: whose idea?
I don't remember. We wanted to name the band Caligula but seven other people had that. Every time we'd come up with something we'd go online to see if it'd been trademarked. I swear to God, every fucking name is taken.
Three big rock stars in a room together. Is it a democracy?
I think so. There are things that you leave to other people - things that I'm just not good at. I just throw my hands up and say, "Whatever, I don't care."
Is it strange working in that sort of environment after being the boss?
No, it's a relief. We're four pretty simple people in the Foo Fighters but our organisation is a complicated mess and I'm the fucking boss of that. At the end of the day it's my name at the bottom of that cheque. So to be the drummer of Them Crooked Vultures is a really good thing.
Are the Foo Fighters worried you might not come back?
No. I've just built the studio at my house to start work on another Foo Fighters record. They understand they're my family and I love them all so much but I have to be a drummer. In order for me to be comfortable and happy doing that I have to be the singer of the Foo Fighters, too.
Them Crooked Vultures in five words...
We sound like we should.