oneclick / future
Natalie Jamieson caught up with Dave at Studio 606 to talk about podcasts, retro computer games and technophobia
"Hey Natalie, welcome to the Foo Fighters studio. My name is Dave Grohl and I'll be giving you the tour today. Well, we built this place a year and a half ago or something and then we spent about 5 months making the record here and then we hit the road. Now I live about 5 miles from here. I live really close so I just kinda come down and check my e-mail and watch other people record. That's it really!"
This is kind of your den, you've got all your fun stuff here.
"Yeah, it's ridiculous. It's dumb - I'm almost 40, I shouldn't have videogames....but I do!"
So what are you playing at the moment?
"Well, unfortunately the 'Tempest' game is down. 'Tempest' is kinda like an old-school, stand-up, video game, it's bad old-school graphics and it's just a cone. It's one of those games you play so much that you go to bed at night, you close your eyes and every time you blink you see it. Y'know?"
So you're kind of a bit more retro - you're not into Xbox 360 or anything?
"No, not really. I'm more about ping-pong and skeet-shooting and stuff like that. Real physical stuff y'know?" [laughs]
I did hear you were a bit of a ping-pong champ.
"I don't think I'm a champ. I'm alright but there is always someone better than you I swear. And it's the weirdest people, like if someone asks you 'I hear you're a ping-pong player?' and you go 'Yeah, kinda.' You have to downplay it because you never know. Like, Clive Davis came in here and he smokes man. That guy is a real ping-pong player but you'd never know."
So music-wise what are you listening to at the moment? What are you loving?
"I recently discovered the iTunes thing and I started getting into that. If I get up really early and have too much coffee like today, my shoulders already feel super-tense.... I woke up this morning and immediately started listening to Motorhead. I was listening to 'Bomber' at like 7 in the morning with coffee. Just like 'Yeah!' 'cos they're playing tonight. So, I'll make these little mix things. Y'know, I like the Arctic Monkeys stuff man, I really like it. It's tough when you hear about a band that's getting so much hype it makes you suspicious and it's unfortunate because it gives you this pre-conception that sometimes is kinda hard to get rid of unless they can really deliver. I'd heard so much about this band, read about them and last time we where over there I saw a live performance on TV and they were badass man. The drummer is killer and they seemed like they were having a good time. So I've been diggin' that and it's actually getting play on the radio here too which is refreshing because it's actually something you wanna listen to."
Are you going to go see them because they're touring here in a couple of weeks time.
"Well, I read that I was trying to get tickets in something. It was like; 'Arctic Monkeys are coming to America and Dave Grohl and Charlize Theron are dying to get tickets!' I was like 'I am? Ok, I'll go. That'll be fun!'
So then, the next Foos record. Any kind of time frame?
"No. Y'know, the one thing we did with the last record, which was great, is we didn't release it until it was done. Until it was ready. And I think a lot of bands....it's a scary thing when you're making a record and you get that fax with your tour schedule on it. While you're making the record! You're like 'Damn!'. We made a record once that we threw away and one of the reasons why we threw it away is because we got that fax.
And you're teaching yourself piano?
"I got a piano for my birthday and that's usually the kiss of death for any rock musician but I swear to God, I'm really into it. I haven't learned a new instrument since I was 15 so I've been writing a lot of music - I don't know what it's for.
So have you played the piano at all ever?
Well, I just kinda started figuring it out, 'cos I used to look at it like; 'What do the black ones do and what do the white ones do?' And someone said 'This is the middle C' and I immediately knew that if that was a C then that's a D, that's an E.....and I kinda looked at it and started finding chords then I worked out the rhythms and the co-ordination of left hand right hand. 'Cos I taught myself to play every instrument that I play and in doing so I'm not Liberace and I'm not Eddie Van Halen but I kinda do things the way I do them which is differently than other people do them. I try to steer away from conventional chording. So they way I play guitar is almost like the way I play the drums - I look at the guitar like a drumset, the lower strings are kinda kick drums and snares and the higher strings are kinda like cymbals that wash out here and there. So I started thinking 'God, I should probably take lessons. I can't read music so I'm like 'Maybe I should take lessons to play piano', and then I thought 'I don't want to'. I was sitting around playing and I thought for a second 'I wonder what a pianist would think if they were listening to me playing piano. I wonder if they would if they think I was any good?' And then I realized that didn't really matter, that it's all relative, that really it's just the way that you do it that counts and if you do it the way you do it then there ya go. And I just started writing all this music that's really beautiful..... but I still love Motorhead too!"
So you're into iTunes, are you into podcasting at all?
"No. I'm technically challenged man. I can't go too deep with anything. Like, a computer, I understand that a computer has a lot more uses than just downloading people getting hit in the nuts with a baseball bat videos and burning Slayer CDs. But I never go that far. I'm bad with instruction manuals too, that's the first thing - out of the box, into the trash - I'll sit there and....that's why I love Ikea, it's so easy! It's just glue and little wooden pegs."