By now, you probably know all about how the [artist id="986"]Foo Fighters’[/artist] decided to make their brand-new Wasting Light album, in stores Tuesday (April 12), but you might not know why. After all, it’s not every day that a globally famous rock band decides to ditch the comforts of the studio for a cramped garage and trade in computers for a reel-to-reel tape machine. But, as Foos frontman Dave Grohl explained to MTV News, that was precisely the reason they did it. After all, the Foo Fighters aren’t your average globally famous rock band.
“There’s some sort of nobility in being that band that can sell out a stadium, and then you make your record in a garage — like, to me, that’s badass — and to tape,” he said. “Because I’m sure most people would go and get the newest stuff and work in the nicest studio and spend a trillion dollars and just, like, try to make these computer hits. I like that we’re a band that, when we play live, we don’t have, like, computers and stuff behind us making half of what you’re hearing. And you know what? Sometimes we suck. Sometimes it sounds like, ‘Oh, wow, that guy’s not singing in key,’ or, ‘Whoa, that guitar’s out of tune.’ And I like that, because to me, that’s rock and roll.”
That rough-around-the-edges spirit can be felt coursing throughout much of Wasting Light, the Foos’ rawest album to date. From knotty first single “Rope” and the neck-snapping pace of “White Limo” to the aching “I Should Have Known,” it’s an album that lets everything bleed — much to the dismay of the team of engineers brought in to helm the production.
“It was my idea to do it to tape, which nobody does it to tape anymore, everyone uses computers, and computers are rad and whatever, but tape, you have to actually play, and you have to be good. You can try to make it sound as good as it can, but at the end of the day, you get what you get on tape, that’s it,” Grohl said. “When I first brought it up, I said, ‘Hey, I want to do this to tape,’ and everybody was like, ‘Well, can you do that?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s the way we used to do it,’ and Butch [Vig], the producer, he produced Nevermind, like, 20 years ago, and that was tape. …
“But the first song we recorded, they were editing the tape, and as they wound it back, the tape just fell apart,” he continued. “And everyone was like, ‘Oh, we can’t use tape, we’ve got to go to computers.’ And I basically said, ‘If I see one computer in my house, you’re fired.’ Why go 99.9 percent of the way? If we’re going to do it, let’s go all the way.”
Then again, Grohl will be the first to admit that, despite all the noble aspirations, there was another, deeply selfish reason he decided to record the album in his garage — one that had everything to do with his own comfort.
“The making of this album was kind of the most fun we’ve ever had making a record, because it was so laid-back,” he smiled. “I wish every album was like this, where I didn’t even have to get out of my pajamas. Dude, it was in my house. … I liked doing it this way. Let’s leave it at that.”
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