Leave it to Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl to find the perfect way to get viewers interested in the band’s upcoming docu-series, Sonic Highways.
“Cameras rolling at all times — when we were hungover, hungry and whimsical moments. Me and my four husbands, the Foo Fighters,” he told a crowd at the Ed Sullivan Theater during the New York premiere for Grohl’s HBO series on Tuesday night — followed by a high-octane, 11-song concert from the band.
Directed by Grohl and featuring the members of the band, Sonic Highways not only takes fans inside the making of the their next album, Sonic Highways (out Nov. 10), but on a musical journey. It follows the Foo Fighters as they travel the country, looking for inspiration to record the songs for this next release. Along the way, Grohl interviews the musicians who make cities like Chicago, Austin, New York and five others iconic music towns so special and unique.
That includes getting candid with Mike D of the Beastie Boys, Willie Nelson, Public Enemy‘s Chuck D, Dolly Parton, Queens of the Stone Age‘s Josh Homme, Coldplay‘s Chris Martin, Kiss‘ Paul Stanley, the Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach, Pharrell Williams, Buddy Guy, Joan Jett, Carrie Underwood, Heart, Slash, and James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem, just to name a few. President Obama also made the cut.
“This has been like two years in the making. We started putting this together a long time ago,” Grohl, who previously directed 2013’s Sound City documentary, shared.
“We had a blast doing this. It started on paper, it looked great. And then we actually had to go f–king do it, and it worked,” he said. “The idea is that we really want to inspire people to fall in love with music, just as we did when we were young. At this point I feel like you have to inspire people to be inspired. So, music is great. Music is this beautiful sound. But when music becomes this story, this person, this artist and you get deeper into it, then that’s when it gets its hooks in you as a human being. And I think the world needs a lot of that right now.”
The Chicago episode features Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, Buddy Guy, as well as iconic music producer Steve Albini, who, of course, worked with Grohl during his Nirvana days.
The episode is particularly personal thanks to an appearance from Grohl’s cousin, Tracy, who introduced him to the city’s punk rock scene when he was a kid. “There’s a line there, a story,” Grohl says in voice-over. “This is a music map.”
The Chicago episode culminates in the recording of the first single off Sonic Highways, “Something From Nothing” (out Thursday, Oct. 13), at Albini’s studio, Electrical Audio.
As the episode wrapped up, the band took the stage to perform.
It was a career-spanning set that included “Big Me,” “All My Life,” “My Hero” and “Learn To Fly.”
But the group never looked happier than when Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson joined them to perform the their track, “Kick It Out.” “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my rock n’ roll fantasy,” Grohl shared.
It was a night that not only celebrated the band, but also the power of music. That energy was especially felt when the Foos performed perhaps one their most recognizable singles, “Everlong,” as the final song of the evening.
Sonic Highways premieres on HBO this Friday (Oct. 17).