Dave Grohl: Sonic Highways Has Opened a “Whole New World” For Foo Fighters
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Dave Grohl took on critics of the Foo Fighters' new album and corresponding HBO series Sonic Highways and discussed the future of the project with the group's next album. "I never questioned [the reception of the show]," Grohl said. "I thought, 'This is something that people will appreciate whether they like the Foo Fighters or not. This is something that will hopefully inspire people to fall in love with music just as all of these people [on the show] did.' So I wasn’t nervous or scared, but I had no fuckin' idea how much work it would be."
Grohl recounted the intensive interview process with all of the artists, which he said produced around 1,300 hours of footage that didn't make the final eight hours that would become the Sonic Highways series. Among the things he learned were that all musicians are "music nerds." "It begins with this spark of inspiration that snowballs into a passion and life direction," he said. "Everyone is connected by that same feeling."
The frontman also touched on a familiar theme, which is inspiring the next generation of musicians. "People should realize," Grohl said, "That you can’t do it on your own and that your neighborhood or high school or garage band or local music scene is important. That’s support. The idea of people coming together and doing something together is really important. You can’t just walk up to a microphone and get berated by a bunch of celebrities because you’re not good enough to sing. It doesn’t work that way. "
He added, "I don’t want to sound like a nerd, but that farm-to-table concept is fucking cool."
As for the criticisms that the album didn't incorporate as much local flavor as advertised, he said, "First and foremost, we have to make a Foo Fighters record. That’s it. And I really fought to retain that. At one point in Nashville, I walked in the control room and everyone was wearing fucking cowboy hats. I was like, 'Guys! Don’t! Stop! Wait! We are still the Foo Fighters. Don’t forget that.'"
"I think maybe people misunderstood the concept and thought that we were going to incorporate all of the different flavors or genres from each city, and, to me, it didn’t make any sense because the last thing I want to do is chase something that’s not real."
When asked if it would've felt inauthentic, he added, "Well, fuck, dude, are we a jazz band? Are we a country band? Fuck no. We are what we are." He also mentioned that he did read some of the negative reviews. "I was just like, 'Aw, man, they didn’t get it. They thought we were going to fucking play some traditional New Orleans jazz.' Imagine those fucking reviews, oh my God."
Additional highlights included discussing his interview with President Obama ("He loves Paul McCartney, he loves Bob Dylan, he loves the Rolling Stones, and he's knowledgeable") as well as calling Gary Clark Jr.'s playing on "What Did I Do?/God As My Witness" "the most soulful blues lead ever." Clark will open up several west coast dates for the band next year and perform at their 20th anniversary show in Washington, DC.
On the future for the Foo Fighters, Grohl has previously stated he's already planning the band's next recording excursion, which will be "bigger" than the current project. "Sonic Highways has just opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the band and for me."