Fans of the Rock, take heed — the Foos are back in fighting mode.
On 1999’s There Is Nothing Left to Lose, Foo Fighters turned down the noise and focused on hooks, creating a finely crafted pop album with plenty of heart but not a lot of edge. And while “The One,” the band’s new single for the “Orange County” soundtrack, is cut from the cloth of Cheap Trick power pop, singer/guitarist Dave Grohl swears the band’s next record, due this summer, will be a return to the thunder and gristle of the group’s first two discs.
“I’m just screaming my balls off the whole time. So there’s no real melody [like there was on the last one],” Grohl told MTV News. “And for [drummer] Taylor [Hawkins] this album is just the new 2112 (a classic Rush album showcasing the skills of drummer Neil Peart). There’s drums all over the place.”
“We’re gonna love this record artistically, for sure,” added Hawkins. “We may have to sell our houses after this record, but we’ll love the music.”
As turbulent and aggressive as it ultimately may be, the still-untitled record will be a far cry from the grinding metal Grohl holds dear to his heart — the kind that will eventually wind up on his long-overdue Probot album, a collaboration with glass-gargling vocalists including King Diamond, Motörhead’s Lemmy, Wino from the Obsessed, Cronos from Venom and others (see “Dave Grohl Preps A ’Death Metal Supernatural’ With
As for the songs Grohl writes for Foo Fighters, “even if the riffs and songs are harder, Dave always writes good melodies,” Hawkins said, “and there’s always a poppiness to his songs that’s inherent.”
“They’re not just heavy for the sake of being heavy,” Grohl explained. “They’re heavy because of all the energy that went into them, and I think a lot of that came from all the touring we did in the last year and a half. We did five months with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in arenas, which is something we had never done before. And that’s when I went, ’OK, I get it. People like the hard rock stuff.’ I want to make an album where I can stand out and see thousands of people barreling all over each other. That would be great.”
The new Foo Fighters songs were mostly written early last year and demoed in Grohl’s home studio in Virginia. Then late last year, the band convened in Hawkins’ studio near Los Angeles to work on more demos and record the album, which is the first Foos disc the band has self-produced. So far the group is about two-thirds done with the record. Taylor’s drums are in the can, as are Grohl’s guitars, and the singer is in the middle of laying down vocals. When he’s done, bassist Nate Mendel will record his bass parts, and then guitarist Chris Shiflett will add the finishing six-string touches. The album will be the first on which the musicians have all recorded separately.
“It’s not all of us standing around the drums sweating and grinning at each other,” Grohl said. “And it’s pretty wild when you do it this way because I don’t even know what a song is gonna sound like until it’s done, and that’s exciting to me.”
Similarly, Grohl is taking a spontaneous writing approach with his lyrics. To keep himself mentally stimulated, he’s completing the vocal tracks for one song before he even starts writing the words for the next.
“After I finish a vocal, I’ll go up to my room and sit there with a blank piece of paper going, ’All right, what the hell am I gonna say this time?’ And I’ll just go for it. I can kind of hear it in my head the way I’m gonna sing it, but it always comes out different. And that’s exciting. And everyone’s on the edge of their seat going, ’Wow, Dave’s gonna f— this one up.’ ”
The next Foo Fighters record will contain “The One” as well as “Walkin’ the Line,” which Hawkins describes as “sort of simple and B-52’s-y, but heavier” and a song that he says is “similar to prog rock, with lots of time signature changes.” Other tentative tracks include “Attica!” and “Get Up, I Want to Get Down” (see “Foo Fighters Send ’The One’ Out To Fans” ).
Fans can expect a lengthy tour to follow the release of the album, but don’t plan on seeing Foo Fighters open for a stadium rock band, as they did with the Chili Peppers.
“I’ve always said to other bands, ’Before you do anything else, play your own tour. Don’t open up for anybody.’ That way, the people who really dig you get to see you in a place that feels comfortable. But last time we waited a year before we did that. We were all over the place. That definitely won’t happen again.”