Dave Grohl wasn't planning to watch the March 15 premiere of his band's new documentary, "Foo Fighters: Back and Forth," at Austin's 1,200-seat Paramount Theatre during South by Southwest (SXSW). But he couldn't refuse his better half.
"We made our speech at the beginning of the film, and as we walked out I stopped to get some popcorn and Twizzlers. Then my wife said, 'Why don't we stay?' " They ended up watching from the balcony. "It was a trip to see people's reaction to the good things and bad things, and to hear the laughter and uncomfortable silence."
The James Moll-directed film (produced by Spitfire Pictures in association with Allentown Productions) covers the Foo Fighters' 16-year history, from Grohl conceiving the group following the abrupt ending of Nirvana in 1994 to the making of the Foos' new set, "Wasting Light." It includes candid interviews with all five current members of the band, as well as former members William Goldsmith and Franz Stahl.
The documentary will be shown at 80 U.S. theaters on April 5, and immediately be followed by a live performance of the Foo Fighters playing their new album front to back. On April 8, the film will air on VH1, VH1 Classic and Palladia. Spitfire and the group are hoping for a more traditional theatrical run, and a DVD with extras will likely come in May, according to producer Nigel Sinclair.
Moll says he was given full creative control of the film's direction and compiled more than 1,000 hours of historical and new footage. "After meeting the guys, I knew right away that I wanted it to be their story as told by them," Moll says, noting that the process took about six months.
"Once I started getting into the meat of it and finding out the history of the band and the interaction," he adds, "it was fascinating to see the dynamic in the marriage that takes place within a band like this. And when it does work how great it is, but when it doesn't work how devastating it can be."
Sinclair believes "Back and Forth" will play a large role in helping bring awareness of "Wasting Light." "Because the album is so heavily featured in the film, this album has become inextricably identified," he says. "So the album helps the film and the film helps the album."
But back at SXSW, Grohl had a different takeaway. "It was like watching a movie," he says, "but with my face the size of a blimp, and that scared the shit out of me."