The band pre-recorded tracks for the show @ Maida Vale and Dermot caught up with Dave
Dermot O'Leary Firstly Dave, how was Reading?
Dave Grohl Reading was great man, it was so much fun. I love that festival so much. It's crazy because I think it's getting bigger. I remember the first time I played that festival the stage didn't seem as high and the audience didn't seem as far away. It was enormous. Getting out there on the lip of the stage this time there was like a sea of people. The audience were singing so loud.
DO Is the UK audience as good as you lead us to believe.
DG Y'know, England, Australia, Canada, America, Japan...those seem to be the places they sing along loudest to our songs. The UK, I don't know what it it - people just go absolutely beserk when we play. I dig it.
DO I remember once when you played at V you stopped the whole set and said 'There's some pushing down the front and if anybody sees any pushing to tell security'....
DG It's tough. It was the same thing at Reading this year, you get so many people crushed down against that barrier. Everybody has heard the horror stories about people being trampled or people being squished and it is my responsibility to make sure everybody is alright. I look down at the security guys and you can tell when things are going OK and you can tell when they're starting to panic. When the security guys start to faint that's when you know it's time to take a little break. Actually, at Reading about 5 or 6 songs in I started getting really concerned about the crowd because most of our setlist runs pretty quick where we just go song after song after song after song and we don't let up so the audience can get tired and they start to fall and I tell them to pick someone up if they see someone go down. In the corner of my eye I saw this body lying inbetween the barrier and the stage and it didn't have any clothes on and I though 'Oh my God, this person is dead' and I looked down and it was a blow-up sex toy doll that someone had brought with them.
DO There's a lot of lonely campers out there. How do you work out which song will be a single? Do you play single bingo? Paper scissors stone? How does that work?
DG I don't know. I'm not very good at that type of thing. I have my favourites and the guys in the band have their favourites but I guess our manager is good at picking the singles. He's the one that knows what most people will enjoy. I listen to everything from pop music to death metal to reggea to blues, I'll listen to anything because I love listening to music. So it's hard for me to decide which one song will represent the album best - picking singles is a weird thing.
DO You're a singer but drumming is in your heart so surely you want to pick one that's loud.
DG Yeah, but at the same time I like disco, I like the Gap Band, I like Chic. So sometimes I'll hear a song that's so simple and so obviously acceptable that I think that should be the single. It's usually our manager who says 'No, no. We should choose something that's not that obvious.'
DO He's bad cop isn't he?
DG Like 'Best Of You'. I din't think it would be as much as a success as it was because there were songs that seemed more obvious choices for singles but he though 'Best Of You' would work and it did.
DO Some music - you're going to do 'DOA' for us.
DG Yeah. Lets do it.
The band play 'DOA'
DO You had an insane wishlist for guests to work with on the acoustic album and you really hit paydirt there didn't you?
DG Yeah. We'd never really down the guest appearence thing before, we had Brain May play a guitar part on our last record but I guess that was pretty much it. We hadn't had many guests on our records and so never having down something like the acoustic record before I thought maybe it'd be a good opportunity to call up a bunch of friends and have them contribute to the record to make it even more special. So we made up a list that was long, man. I wanted to have a different guest on each every song and some of the guests were unusual for us, like Norah Jones, nobody ever thought we'd work with someone like Norah Jones but then some of them were more obvious like Josh from Queens Of The Stone Age - he's a good friend. But we recorded the acoustic record so quickly, we finished it in about two weeks, and we listened to it and it was finished. We didn't need a lot of people on the album so we just picked the people we thought we needed, or the people we really thought would contribute to the record.
DO As big as you are it must be an absolute buzz when John Paul Jones picks up the phone and says 'I'll do it'.
DG That's one of the great things about being a musician, I feel sorry for the guys in U2 they're the only people they've played with for 30 years or something, one of the great things about being a musician is playing with other musicians. Whether I'm playing drums on a NIN record or John Paul Jones is coming in to jam with my band it's great to experience that 'thing' with other people. And when you get someone like John Paul Jones coming into your studio to play on your song and I'm sitting there showing him how to play a song I've written - it doesn't get any better than that.
DO Sure. 'Do the whole album - do as much as you like!'
DG Yeah. It was funny because we kept throwing songs at him. He's on 2 songs on the acoustic record but after about 3 hours I had to stop throwing songs at him. I felt so guilty that I was taking advantage of the fact I had John Paul Jones in my studio.
DO Is this the first record you've recorded after building the new studio?
DO In my head I have an Amish feel to that studio. I like the idea you built it in a day with the whole band there, Nate and Chris with their spirit levels....is that how it worked?
DG Well, it came together really quickly. It's not the basement where we made the last two records the basement of my house in Virginia is a basement studio - cigarette butts on the floor, it smelt like old beer....it was a basement. It was nasty. This place is like Abbey Road - it's unbelievable. When I tell people we've built our own studio they go 'Aw, that's cute - can we borrow it for a week', they walk into this place and they're blown away because it's one of the nicest studios I have ever been in in my life. So, it's not really like the clubhouse...
DO Awww. There's a bit of dissapointment there, I was hoping it had a nice club feel to it.
DG Well, I guess it kinda has a boys club feel to it. It's fashioned after the studio ABBA used to record all their records in Sweden.
DO A lovely Swedish feel to it then. One thing I like about the Foo Fighters is your dress always conforms to type, your guitarists and bassist are always wearing t-shirts and so forth. Like I said, I am an air-drummer, so what is drummer protocol when it comes to wearing clothes?
DG I think drummers are kinda free to....I've played drums in a dress before, I've played drums with a bra on - that's not comfortable.
DO That's left field.
DG Yeah. Drummers usually go with as little clothing as possible just because if you're really giving it to the drums it's like exercise.
DO It's a sexual thing too, right?
DG It can be. Sure. It's that primal, sweating, po-po dance.
DO Thank you so much for joining us, you're going to play us out with 'My Hero'.
DG Yeah, lets do it.