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Foo Fighters

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FooTry as he might, Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl just can't write a song without a strong melody. "That's the bain of my existence," he says with a laugh. "I'd love to write Motorhead and Slayer songs all day long. I love writing riffs and coming up with heavy patterns, but at the end of the day, I'm a sucker for a sweet melody, whether it's the Beach Boys or ABBA."

Melodies abound on "In Your Honor," a two-disc set due this week on RCA. When Grohl started writing the music, he envisioned composing a film score. Then it morphed into an acoustic album of songs, and then, he says, "I realized I couldn't live without rock'n'roll," and the double-album was born. Guests include Norah Jones, Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme and Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones.

With the rock album, Grohl says he focused on "general themes that everyone can get their hands on." But for the acoustic set, he wrote lyrics that are "vulnerable and revealing. I never get specific about anything, but a lot of the lyrics are things that I wouldn't say out loud, wouldn't even admit to myself."

Grohl knows that listeners always believe that he is mining his Nirvana past for material, and he freely admits that "Friend of a Friend" (which he wrote 15 years ago and is on the acoustic album) is about the first time he met Nirvana bandmates Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic. But other than that, he laughs at the interpretations fans make. "People imagine that there are only two or three people in my life I write songs about; there are a lot of people that I love and hate," he says.