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December ’14 Q feature – points of interest

October 24th, 2014 Comments off

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The newest issue of Q hits newstands on Tuesday & carries a 9 page feature on the band by Keith Cameron (who’s been interviewing Dave since the Nirvana days) with pics by Ross Halfin.

The bulk of interviews took place during the run of  Holy Shits gigs in London, so thanks to HBO embargoes the band found themselves unable to talk as freely about the series as they’d like, despite that it’s still a great read.  Here are the points I found of most interest:

 

  • Dave is planning on a 20th anniversary re-enactment of Foo Fighters first tour supporting Mike Watt.  Visiting the same venues and insisting the band will even use the same tiny van.
  • The Seattle Sonic Highways track ‘Subterranean’ is in Taylor’s words “Dark and sad, it’s about the end of something.” and contains the lines “I’ve been diggin’ in down inside/Nothing left within, I’ve been mined” and “You might think you know me but I know damn well you don’t.”
  • Chicago, Seattle, and Washington DC were chosen as venues for Sonic Highways due to the band’s personal history with the cities, while Nashville, Austin and New Orleans were chosen because the band have no connection to them.  LA was a no-brainer as the band all live there but Dave’s original plan changed and the pivotal figure in the episode is Pat Smear; “We walked around his old neighbourhood and he told me about going to see The Runaways… how he and Darby Crash met through a mutual speed dealer… chasing Freddie Mercury around the Sunset Marquis… his life is so extraordinary.”

 

You can download the issue or order a physical copy from Q’s website: http://www.qthemusic.com/6108/q341-on-sale-now/ and over the next few weeks Q will be uploading video interviews with the band at QThe Music.com

 

‘The Feast & The Famine’ – annotated lyrics

October 24th, 2014 Comments off
Seeing how the whole concept of  Sonic Highways was to record songs inspired and shaped by the studio and city it was recorded in, I thought after each episode airs I’d try and piece together the meaning behind the lyrics.

“The experiences I had here set the foundations for the rest of my life as a musician.” – Dave Grohl

THE FEAST AND THE FAMINE

That night they were burning for truth
Down on the corner of 14th and U

The epicentre of violence for the 1968 Washington Riots but these days the centre of DC’s music scene – The Black Cat & 9:30 club are both nearby.

They took your soul and they took you for fools
Took all the windows from prisons and schools
Now what’s a poor man left to do?

One heart now broken in two
You start untying the hands of the youth

New kids hear the sound of the drumming
Mother Nature your Summer is coming
Yesterday and today
Revolution on its way

The Summer of 1985 was nicknamed ‘Revolution Summer‘ in Washington D.C – where activism and melody stripped punk of its machoism.

Amen
It was the feast and the famine

Crossroads with nothing to lose
Out of the basement and in to the news

Scream were from Bailey’s Crossroads & could this also be a reference to Foo Fighters recording There Is Nothing Left To Lose in Dave’s Virginia basement?

Come change, now shit getting heavy
Salvation at the ready

You look when I walked by
Still screaming ’til I die

Still Screaming is the title of the 1983 album by Scream on Dischord Records

You can’t find peace if you can’t find a home
You can’t survive as an island alone

Black heart with a gaping wound
Put back together by a troubled groove

Dave explains in the Sonic Highways episode that this is a reference to Trouble Funk.

Check yourself
Wreck your brains
Where is that P.M.A?

Positive Mental Attitude. As sung about by Bad Brains in their song Attitude.

Amen
It was the feast and the famine

Hey, where is the monument
to the dreams we forget?
We need a monument

The Washington Monument is in DC, as is the Lincoln Memorial which was the site of 1983 The Rock Against Reagan show that Dave attended.

And dreams will come
And change will come
Is there anybody there?
Anybody there?

Amen
It was the feast and the famine

Hey man, where is the monument
to the dreams we forget?
We need a monument
And change will come
And change will come
Is there anybody there?
Anybody there?

 

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‘Something From Nothing’ – the annotated lyrics

October 17th, 2014 Comments off

Seeing how the whole concept of  Sonic Highways was to record songs inspired and shaped by the studio and city it was recorded in, I thought after each episode airs I’d try and piece together the meaning behind the lyrics.

“The episode is basically about these people and how they all started with nothing. They were just inspired to follow their dreams.” – Dave Grohl

SOMETHING FROM NOTHING

The songs whole sentiment seems to be about carving your own path & rising to the top – from a broke and hungry Buddy Guy getting his break, to the young punks growing a scene in the face of hostility.

Give me the flammable light
I’m cold as a match
Ready to strike
So here I go

Here lies a city on fire
Singing along
The arsonist choir
Now here I go

It started with a spark
And burned into the dark
Now here I go

While 1871 saw the Great Fire of Chicago, these lines probably reference the fact Chicago’s first punk club La Mere Vipere closed  after less than a year thanks to a suspicious fire – the first of many clubs in the city to suffer such a fate.

There is a river I’ve found
Into the wild
Under the ground
So here I go

The Chicago River stretches for 156 miles throughout the city and runs adjacent to Electrical Audio where this song was recorded.

A button on a string
And I heard everything
Now here I go

Guitarist Buddy Guy made his first instrument from wires, nails and a screen door.  In the episode he talks about taking a button and string and getting a sound from it.

Oh sweet ignition be my fuse
You have no choice you have to choose
Bid farewell to yesterday
Say goodbye I’m on my way

But in the end we all
Come from what’s come before
So here I go

Oh sweet ignition be my fuse
You have no choice you have to choose
Bid farewell to yesterday
Say goodbye I’m on my way

I threw it all away because
I had to be what never was
Been so hungry I could lie
You took my word I took your wine

And held you in my bloody hands
These rattled bones and rubber bands

Rubber bands were another item used by Buddy Guy to make music.

Washed them in the muddy water

A nod to Blues legend Muddy Waters.

Looking for a dime and found a quarter

A direct quote from Buddy Guy’s interview in the episode.

But you can’t make me change my name
They’ll never make me change my name

Buddy talked about the record industry pressure to change his stage name.

Pay no mind now ain’t that’s something
Fuck it all I came from nothing

I’m something from nothing
You are my fuse

Rick Nielsen also talked about pressure to change names – his band The Grim Reapers were advised to change their name to Fuse.

I’m something from nothing
You are my fuse

It goes oh, oh, oh

All rise!

All Rise is the title of the 1985 album from Chicago’s post-hardcore band Naked Raygun – the band who played the first ever punk gig Dave Grohl attended at The Cubby Bear & it’s possible the line preceding is a reference to their song ‘Home Of The Brave’ and it’s chorus of  “oh, oh, oh, ohs”.

No you can’t make me change my name
You’ll never make me change my name
Pay no mind no wait that’s something
Fuck it all I came from nothing

I’m something
From nothing
I’m something
From nothing