As the band's session was scrapped due to Dave's bad throat, Dave and Taylor previewed 'One By One' instead.
Steve Lamacq Dave Grohl is the enviable man with the ability to fall asleep at any moment, wherever he goes.
Dave Grohl I usually do that on planes.
Taylor Hawkins A lot of the time though, you just act like you're asleep so that you don't have to talk to me.
DG That's what I do. Rather than put my firing-range headphones on, I pull my jacket over my head and pray that he won't say anything to me.
SL It looks like you're having a lot of fun at the moment. You certainly looked like you were having a ball at Reading.
DG Reading was great man.
TH It was probably the funnest show I've ever played in my life.
DG I'm more proud of that, than anything I've ever done. We've been a band for 7 or 8 years but we've never really tried to make the leap from being the band third on the bill to being the headliners.
SL Is that part of a necessary challenge this time round?
DG You gotta move on at some point. You have to move in one direction, fortunately we're not going backwards. So in that sense, it did make sense, it was time for us to do this. Starting off the (new) album with a headline slot at Reading - it had to be good!
SL At the end of touring the last album, nobody in the band looked very well. Even Dave Grohl, the Peter Pan of rock.
TH 'The Peter Pan of Rock'. I like it!
DG We're known for burning ourselves out. We always work ourselves pretty hard and we love playing. Sometimes being on tour is more like being at home ... than being at home. We end up working ourselves to the bone. We're the last people to say stop.
Where I decided it was time to go home, was when I noticed that our road crew was beat. I thought, wait a second, these guys are horses, man. They never go down and all of a sudden the road crew was worn out? Shit man, we gotta go home.
SL Is here a hint of picking up the pieces in this record?
DG I don't think so. I think with the lyrics on this new album, it's a newer, more direct approach. A lot of times, I'll write lyrics and I'll take out something that might have too much meaning to it, because I never really like getting too personal with interviews or anything. But with this album it sort of made sense.
SL Is there any particular track that's like that on this record?
DG Oh God, there's a lot of 'em. Songs like 'Have It All' or 'All My Life' or 'Tired Of You'. Things like that, or 'Comeback', where I'm revealing all these dark, shitty sides of myself ... laying out all my faults. Like, this is how I can be an asshole, these are the things I do to hurt people or here are the things that I do that I wish that I didn't. In writing, when you let that stuff out, it helps you - it's kinda therapeutic.
SL So what drives this album, was there a particular mood? It's a driving album. It's one thing that connects you with Queens Of The Stone Age in a way.
DG We were demoing these songs about a year and a half ago. We were still doing some shows for the last record and we'd been playing some of the songs from the last record but not all of them because a lot of it was really kinda subdued and a lot more laid back than we were used to.
TH We pumped them up a lot live usually.
DG Yeah, something like 'Learn To Fly' didn't really sound like the record, it was twice as fast and I was screaming my balls off through the whole thing.
It seems natural to us to turn up, play fast and jump around. The last record was more of an experiment in songwriting for the band, just writing on an acoustic guitar. So when we went out to play live there were like 5 or 6 songs we just didn't like to play live so we started demoing songs with the live thing in mind. Sometime you write a set list and rather than pick all of your favourite songs, you're just picking the ones that rock the most because you want to have a really great, up, energetic night. So we thought we should write a whole album like that.
SL We'll play a track then talk some more. Is there a particular track you'd like us to play?
TH Play 'Low'.
DG Yeah, give 'em that one to chew on.
SL Going through this record, there are things that make you think that there is a re-evaluation going on.
DG The approach that I took to the record was of starting over. Basically what happened was that we spent about three and a half months making the album and everything just fell apart. Towards the end of it we realised that half of the album we were very proud of and the (rest) was just like....the other half of a good record.
SL What does that feel like?
DG It was weird because we were about to go out on a press tour and talk about it, and I'm like 'I'm not even proud of this shit'.
TH The technology, especially for a rock band like us, can manipulate the feeling so much that...
DG It looses the feeling.
TH And so it doesn't feel like a record but just pieces pasted together.
DG Having gone into this record thinking - this has gotta be huge and have that energy and that fire ... we basically sucked it all out in the process of producing.
SL Do you get a crisis of confidence at that point?
DG Oh Yeah, you think - 'oh my God what are we doing?' 'Are we meant to make another record?' 'Could we be one of those bands that takes 5 years between this album and the next?' 'Are we doing this too soon?' We just kinda stopped. I went off with Queens Of The Stoneage. Never in the last 7 years had we taken a substantial break. We didn't know what it was like to be without the band for a month, without a schedule.
TH We never dared utter the words 'break up'. And we never really felt like we would have ... or could have ... because I think that there's too much of a family vibe with us. But we definitely didn't know how it was all gonna shape up. It didn't look terrific at that point.
SL That must've been scary.
TH Well it was.
DG It was weird because we'd always been so happy and so proud and that was when we started realising that maybe we weren't as good as we thought we were. Maybe we weren't capeable of doing something better...it was a tough time. The best thing seemed to do was to just get away from it, so you could step outside. So I had this two week period....
SL You were unfaithful. You went off and cheated on the rest of the band. You joined another band and rubbed it in their faces.
TH Can you believe that?
DG Everybody has their mistress. It happens!
TH Believe me, I would be a liar to say there was not a bit of mystery and sadness in the whole thing. Like wow, maybe he should be playing drums, maybe that's what he's happier doing. Maybe he's not as comfortable being the lead singer and writing and having that responsibility of being the leader of a band. It took me a while to go see 'em, because at first I wouldn't go I was like, 'I'm not gonna go watch'.
SL It's a bit voyeuristic almost.
TH Yeah, I honestly just couldn't deal with it. When I did watch, I felt so much better because it was great what he was doing and I understood because he's a drummer and I'm a drummer, so If I was the singer in a band I'd want to go play drums on the side too. And then we played the next night, and we played really well and Dave did his thing and were really great, natural. So I thought 'we're gonna get through this'.
SL Then you walked back in with the new songs did you?
DG Yeah, well we had such a short period of time I didn't think we were gonna do much, I thought we'd demo a few songs and maybe record a couple to put with the ones we liked that were already on the record. But when Taylor and I got in there we were so excited to be back in there and just function that we went in and just re-recorded the whole album in 12 days.
SL Wow. We could talk all day and all night about this record but I'll finish with 'Comeback' and the line right at the very end: "I will come back for you" - is that a threat or a promise?
DG I feel that one of the great things about our band is that we're reliable. I like to think that our road crew can rely on us, that our friends can rely on us, and that our fans can rely on us. No matter how tough it gets within the year and a half of touring for a record, no matter how tough it gets in the middle of a press tour, I always know that we'll come back. We'll come back from it.
SL It's a great pay-off. Want to play another track?
DG Play 'Disenchanted Lullabye'.
TH It's kind of a departure from the album, as is 'Tired Of You' but I really like this.