Dave Grohl Sets Out to Reinvent the WheelBy: Brian Powell - July 11, 2014
Much like fans of the book series A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones), every musical fan out there knows how painstaking it is to wait for their favorite band’s next album. However, fans are also usually understanding toward the process – the band has to take time off from touring and making money; they have to sit in a studio for hours upon hours each day, searching for any sort of inspiration; once inspired, the band has to send the samples off to have the CD produced; then the entire thing has to be marketed and finished so it can be released for sale. After years and years of doing this laborious process over and over, bands have a tendency to get burned out, and each album takes longer to make than the one before.
Perhaps that is why, after 20 years of being a band, Dave Grohl decided to create the next Foo Fighters album in a much different fashion.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association panel (and showing his inexperience by letting his phone ring and dropping his mic), Grohl discussed the process behind the Foo Fighters latest album, yet to be named. The entire experience is documented in Grohl’s second documentary, Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, which is set to air on HBO in October.
The documentary shows the Foo Fighters traveling around the United States to eight different cities with rich musical heritages – Austin, Texas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tennessee, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington, D.C. At each stop, Grohl and his bandmates speak with local music legends, such as Buddy Guy, Dolly Parton, Chuck D, Gibby Haynes, Allen Toussaint and Gary Clark Jr., in an attempt to understand why each city developed its own musical stylings and influence.
“I don’t want my kid to think that the only way you can be a musician is to stand in line at a song contest audition, and then wind up having a bazillionaire tell you if you’re not a good singer. Don’t get me started. To me, that’s not what music’s about,” stated Grohl.
For Grohl, this particular album was about attempting to connect with his music in a different way and to showcase the rich history of American music:
To me, it’s all about reinventing the process. We could just go and make another record in the studio, hit the road and sell a bunch of T-shirts … but wheres the fun in that? We’ve been a band for 20 years now. Let’s go to tiny studios all over the country, tell the story of music from that city. What is it about that each one of these cities that influences the music that comes from there? Because there are real reasons, cultural influence from each one of these places. There’s a reason why jazz came from New Orleans. There’s a reason why country went to Nashville, and why the blues went to Chicago.
Each of the eight episodes of Sonic Highways will focus on one individual city of the band’s tour, with the show culminating in a live performance of the songs Grohl wrote at the end of his stay in each city.
While Grohl thoroughly enjoyed the process of creating both a documentary and a new album at the same time, fans shouldn’t expect the trend to continue: “It’s not like anything I’ve ever done. It was so exciting. Like, I couldn’t sleep, because I didn’t want to. That’s just how I roll. And I will never, ever do it again. Because it was a pain in the ass.”
The Foo Fighters will release its eighth studio album this November.
Image via YouTube