Time Off Re-Energizes Foo Fighters

Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

"These guys are my family and my best friends, and the band is my baby. Everything is more fun with [bassist] Nate [Mendel], [drummer] Taylor [Hawkins], and [guitarist] Chris [Shiflett]," Dave Grohl says of the grueling five-week European press trip recently taken to promote the Foo Fighters' fourth set, "One by One," which is due Oct. 22 in the U.S. via Roswell/RCA.

Aside from touring and performing alongside his bandmates, Grohl enjoys gushing over the new record and all things Foo Fighters.

"I love the new record, and I love to brag about it," he says. "Right now, we're just gearing up to hit the road for the next year. We like to play as many shows in as many places as possible. We'll release a record and hit the road for a year or a-year-and-a-half, and then come home, collapse, and swear that we'll never do that again. Then after a week, we miss each other, so we head back into the studio."

While Grohl's unbridled enthusiasm and love for the straightforward and relentless "One by One" is certainly refreshing, he also freely admits that recording the album wasn't initially marked by spontaneity or a unified creative vision within the band.

"At the time, we were making an album that wasn't working," Grohl says. "We'd started in October of 2001. After about three-and-a-half months, I realized it didn't sound familiar. It didn't sound like the band does live; it didn't feel right. With our band, the most important thing is that the songs feel right and the recordings feel good. It's more about the feel than anything. We were so focused on production because our intent was to make this big rock record. But your energy tends to wane after three months. Spontaneity and energy have a lot to do with rock, and rock records shouldn't take long to make."

To remedy the stasis clogging the Foo's songwriting creativity, each member ventured off on individual, temporary musical sojourns, which included Grohl touring behind the kit with Queens Of The Stone Age. He later reconvened with Hawkins at his home studio in Virginia, where the pair worked to clean up and strip down "One by One" to its barest essentials in a matter of days.

"We did all the basic tracks in about 10 days," Grohl says. "Then we called up Chris and Nate and said, 'I think we just made the record.' They came back and put their parts on it, and it was done. That's the way we should've done it in the first f***ing place," he says with a laugh.

"One by One" marks Shifflet's recording debut with the band, and its tone and mood share little in common with Foo Fighters' 1999 album, the subdued and pop-sounding "There Is Nothing Left to Lose." Where the band chose the bouncy and light "Learn to Fly" as the first single from that release, with "One by One" the relentless, gut-punch of "All My Life" shows Foo Fighters' current agenda to kick out visceral, driving jams that are big on volume, speed, and airtight drum, and guitar salvos throughout.

Prior to an international tour -- set to begin Nov. 16 in Manchester, England, and culminate in February 2003 in Australia -- the Foo Fighters will play an eight-city U.S. tour. Each show will be announced as tickets go on sale, with confirmed stops scheduled in Minneapolis (Oct. 18), Los Angeles (Oct. 22), Mountain View, Calif. (Oct. 26), New York (Oct. 31), and Philadelphia (Nov. 2).

The band will also be featured on an upcoming MTV2 Dollar Bill show, which airs Nov. 2.

Excerpted from the Oct. 19, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

For information on ordering a copy of the issue, click here.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.