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Foo Fighters ‘In The Studio’ feature – Q, November 2014

September 29th, 2014 Comments off

Q magazine’s November issue arrives on shelves tomorrow and inside is a small ‘In The Studio’ feature focusing on Sonic Highways:

qsonichighways

Chris Shiflett talks to Kerrang!

September 18th, 2014 Comments off

THE WEEK THE FOOS TOOK OVER
INTIMATE SHOWS, A RUN OF WEMBLEY DATES AND… OBAMA?! FOO FIGHTERS STRIKE BACK! 

Last week saw the Foo Fighters return to the UK… and what a return – holy shit! Or should that be The Holy Shits?
Under their alter ego, the Foos crammed themselves into Brighton’s Concorde 2 for the sweatiest gig of all time, blasted the fresh paintwork off London’s House Of Vans and totalled the Islington Assembly Hall. Not content with all that and playing the Olympic Park, Dave Grohl also called the smaller shows a “chance to see [fans’] faces before we play that week at Wembley Stadium”. That’s a potential week of Foos Wembley shows in 2015!
And, just as exciting as that, new album Sonic Highways’ November 10 release is looming ever closer. Yet still all we know about the record is what we’ve seen in a star-studded, three and-a-half-minute trailer for the accompanying HBO documentary series (hello, Obama, Dolly Parton, Pharrell and loads of others).
So, in the midst of their week that rocked the UK, we hung out with Foos guitarist Chris Shiflett to talk about the new album, billed by Dave Grohl himself as “a love letter to the history of American music” and the coast-to-coast journey they took to make it…

HI, CHRIS! HOW DID THE CONCEPT OF RECORDING IN EIGHT DIFFERENT CITIES START?
“Dave [Grohl] had that idea; what evolved was how many cities. We were even planning Europe, South America – we wound up sticking to the States.”

DID YOU GET TO KNOW ANY OF THE PLACES YOU VISITED?
“Yeah, we explored the cities, made friends and figured out where the good restaurants and coffee places were. It was great!”

WAS RECORDING THE TRACKS ON LOCATION A LOT OF PRESSURE, THEN?
“It never felt like that. Dave would write the lyrics the day before, based on his time in the city and the interviews that he did.”

THE TRAILER FOR THE ALBUM’S HBO DOC IS AMAZING – DID YOU ALL MEET OBAMA?
“Only Dave met Obama; we didn’t go this time. It was in a secure location – you’re not high-fiving the president (laughs)!”

SO, HAVE YOU SEEN ANY OF THE HBO EPISODES YET?
“Yeah. the HBO show is turning out really fascinating. Being on the show will make it so even people like my mum’s friends will know the Foos!”

YOU’RE STILL BREAKING NEWGROUND ON ALBUM EIGHT…
“Yep. Every time we put out an album I think to myself, ‘How are we going to top that?’ Maybe next time we’ll record in a city all over the world.”

Foo Fighters tell NME about their 3 secret club gigs

September 17th, 2014 Comments off

dgnmesecretgigs“Please let me be your plus one!” cries a desperate fan by the guestlist queue as hundreds of ticketless neck-craners gather outside
Brighton’s Concorde 2 venue, struggling to get a glimpse of The Holy Shits. Their singer, one David Grohl, spotting them from the stage, thinks there’s “like, 2,000 people trying to listen to the show” and suggests, “I’d rather be out there than in here, motherfuckers, it is hot as shit.”
The Holy Shits, of course, are none other than Foo Fighters, who kicked of the first of a handful of UK club shows in advance of their headline set at the Invictus Games Olympic Park show on Sunday (September 14) with a hot and sweaty gig at the Brighton venue. After this show, they travelled to London’s House Of Vans and Islington Assembly Hall on a mission to “play gigs like this pretty much every night we’re here until we have to go home,” yells Grohl from the stage.
We caught up with the band to find out how this mini tour came about…
You haven’t played in this country for over two years. What made you decide to start of with some smaller shows?
Dave Grohl (vocals): “Well, when we decided to come over and do the Invictus Games closing ceremony, I thought, ‘God, we haven’t even been [in the UK] in for so long, we’re only just going to do one show?’ So I thought we really needed to fill up the week with some club gigs. So we picked three little venues and started rehearsing.”
How did you choose the setlist?
Dave: “We just blasted out as many songs as we could in rehearsal – things that we don’t normally play came up. And so the setlist was a lot of stuf from the first and second records that we don’t normally do. It was great. More than anything we just miss playing. It’s been a while. We’ve been making this record for the past year, but we’ve only done maybe, like, three or four shows in, like, the past two or three years and we will enjoy doing this so it’s hard not to [choose old songs].”
Why did you pick Brighton for your return?
Nate Mendel (bass): “We’re doing a bunch of warm-up shows and we didn’t want to do them all in London. We played at the Concorde 2 before, when we put out ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace’ [in 2007].”
Why call yourselves The Holy Shits?
Taylor Hawkins (drums): “We did a show at Firefy Festival in Delaware in June. After the set we came out and did an encore as a cover band called The Holy Shits. It’s from that.”
What was it like to be back playing live again?
Pat Smear (guitar): “I like that point in the touring cycle where you haven’t played your songs in a long time so even a song like ‘Monkey Wrench’ you’re like, ‘Hang on, what’s that next chord?’ You really have to be on your toes. In a few months or whatever it’ll be a whole different thing. It was a mini glimpse into being on tour. I mean, we got on a bus – it’s been literally years since we were all on a bus, you know! It’s great.”

A round-up of Sonic Highways studios & guest musicians

September 16th, 2014 Comments off

As press interviews for Sonic Highways start to appear, more details are beginning to emerge about each specific track. Here’s a round-up of whats been revealed so far:

Track Studio & City Guest Musician
1. “Something From Nothing” Electrical Audio – Chicago Rick Nielsen
2. “The Feast and the Famine” Inner Ear Studio – Washington D.C Rd Gld Grn
3. “Congregation” Southern Ground Studios – Nashville Zac Brown
4. “What Did I Do?/God as My Witness”  Austin Gary Clark Jr
5. “Outside” Rancho De La Luna – Los Angeles Joe Walsh
6. “In the Clear” Preservation Hall – New Orleans  Preservation Hall Jazz Band
7. “Subterranean” Robert Lang Studios – Seattle Ben Gibbard
8. “I Am a River” The Magic Shop – New York Chuck D *

* pretty unlikely but it’s who Q pegged as a guest & there hasnt been any confirmation either way yet.

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Nate talks to NME about Sonic Highways

September 10th, 2014 Comments off

As a band fronted by one of rock’s biggest polymaths, it’s no surprise that Foo Fighters are doing things a bit differently on their eighth album, ‘Sonic Highways’, which will be released on November 10.
Instead of just hitting a single studio and getting stuck in, Dave Grohl and co travelled to eight cities in the US, including Nashville, New Orleans, LA, New York, Chicago and Seattle, honing in on the story of a local studio and then recording a song there alongside local legends such as the Eagles’ Joe Walsh, Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
The stunt will be made into a documentary series, to be released before the album, in which each episode ends with a finished song. The result is a rare, intimate and entertaining insight into the making of the record.

Nate Mendel

Nate Mendel

“It was Dave’s idea,” Foo Fighters bassist Nate Mendel tells NME. “I think there’s a pretty clear line of inspiration from the Sound City documentary he made last year. It’s time to start to think about ways to make an album more interesting than just a grouping of songs. That’s really important to our band and probably for anybody who is serious about producing music now. You’ve got to be creative.”

You visited eight studios to make new album
‘Sonic Highways’. Which were your favourites?
Nate: “The most perspective-altering experience for everyone was New Orleans. It’s not really a rock’n’roll city at all. People just do not give a shit about rock music there. So instead of trying to create that out of thin air, we went and recorded at this Preservation Hall Jazz Band venue right in the heart of the French Quarter. It was a total education playing with this huge collective of jazz musicians who are part of a larger culture that’s unique to that town. Being there even just for a week really brought the city to life [for me] in a way that I’d never seen before.”

You recorded a track in each city. Did the
songs take on the character of each location?
“That was the idea. We wrote the bulk of the songs back in Los Angeles, so it was more a matter of experiencing each place,
learning about the studio and then bringing in guest musicians. In Seattle we had Ben Gibbard from Death Cab For Cutie; in the desert outside Los Angeles it was Joe Walsh from the Eagles for a classic southern California feel – and, sure enough, suddenly our song has layers of ‘Hotel California’ in it. That’s where the local character came from.”

What was the weirdest studio you went to?
“Chicago was cool because Steve Albini runs his Electrical Audio studio like an autobody workshop. They dress in overalls. He very much looks at it as a craft. He’s detailed about how it was constructed, and really gets into the science of sound. It’s like, to him, the music that’s put out in the end is secondary to the scientifc experiment of how sound operates within a physical structure.”

Did any musicians take you out on the town?
“Ben Jafe, who runs the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, took us all over New Orleans. The coolest thing was on a Sunday morning, we
were drinking beer and watching a parade.”

How does ‘Sonic Highways’ difer from your previous albums?
“They’re fairly straightforward Foo Fighters songs and almost every one of them takes a left turn and goes of on some psychic
odyssey with the guest musician in the middle. Sometimes there’s an awkward transition back into the song. You catch on with a few of them, where we go ‘oh fuck!’ and we’re back into the final chorus. There are a few elements that are looser than traditional Foo Fighters moments.”

How did the diferent studios and cities inspire Dave Grohl’s lyrics?
“Dave took a creative leap on this one and decided to incorporate into his lyrics things that actually happened in the cities, and
conversations he had with the various musicians. So ‘I Am A River’ was inspired by the fact that under one of the studios we
found there was an actual physical river. ‘Something From Nothing’ was inspired by Buddy Guy’s story of moving up from the South, not a button to his name, moving to Chicago as a young blues guy, meeting Muddy Waters right of the bat, being the young buck in town and making his way in the blues scene there and becoming a legend after walking into town without shit. The song ‘Congregation’ was a play on how a lot of the folks in the Nashville country music scene came together in church, in a sort of gospel environment, to learn their craft.”

Any plans to tour the album?
“We’re planning on doing a pretty unique and cool idea for our 20th anniversary. It’s something that’ll be fucking cool – plus all of the usual things like festivals.”