Dave Grohl has never been shy about his intentions for In Your Honor, the Foo Fighters album that hits stores Tuesday (June 14). Basically, he wanted it to be the best thing his band has ever done.
At last month's HFStival in Baltimore, Grohl pointed to Led Zeppelin's epic Physical Graffiti as the main inspiration for Honor, pointing to the album's "wide dynamic" of music and emotion (see "Foo Fighter Dave Grohl Says Physical Graffiti Was Model For New LP"). And "emotion" is certainly in no short supply on Honor, especially on the first single, "The Best of You."
When MTV News caught up with Grohl during last weekend's "24 Hours of Foo," which found his band taking over MTV2 programming for an entire day, he was plenty tired — so tired that he took a nap immediately following our interview. Still, he had more than enough energy to talk about the Foos' anthemic first single.
" 'Best of You' is a song of resistance. It's about the refusal to be taken advantage of by something that's bigger than you, or someone you're in love with. It's the fight in the face of adversity," Grohl said. "I didn't really think of an interesting melody; I just wanted to scream the whole way through. And the first few times we rehearsed it, I thought, 'There's no way I'll be able to play this live. There's blood in my throat.' But now it's great, it's a release. When you go out and sing words from the heart, you scream twice as hard."
There's definitely a whole lot of screaming on "Best of You," and the band needed a video that would match all that emotional outpouring. They got exactly that from director Mark Pellington, who rose to prominence more than a dozen years ago with his moody video for Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" (see "Foo Fighters Get Serious With Director Of Pearl Jam's 'Jeremy' ").
In fact, it was Pellington himself who contacted the Foo Fighters about working on the video, feeling an attachment to the song that stemmed from the loss of his wife in 2004.
"His wife had just died like nine or 10 months ago, and he had a real emotional attachment to the song," drummer Taylor Hawkins explained. "At first he said that he couldn't even do it, because it hit him so hard. And with anything you do, you want all the people working for you to be passionate, whether it's the guy coming up with the lighting rig, the sound guy or the guy coming up with your video. And he really showed the most passion, whereas all the other treatments we had read were sort of, like, 'OK, this treatment had probably gone to Limp Bizkit before us, and they passed on it, so it was just revised for us.' "
Though "Best of You" anchors the album's heavy disc, there's a whole other disc full of somber, acoustic tracks (see "Foo Fighters Album Preview: Grohl Gets Grand On In Your Honor"). But just because the songs are quieter, that doesn't mean they don't pack the same emotional wallop of their hard-rock counterparts. In fact, it's pretty fair to say Honor is the darkest, moodiest album the band has ever made. Which, Grohl said, was definitely intentional.
"When you're writing songs that have a sort of anthemic quality, you can't really go lighthearted and sing about bullsh--. You have to dig into a deeper place to find the words," Grohl said. "On this record, the whole band — not just me — showed ourselves what we're capable of doing. We've created this whole new territory. And it's a beautiful thing."