In May 2008, one month ahead of his band’s brace of sold-out shows at London’s Wembley Stadium, Foo Fighters’ mainman Dave Grohl was asked to look ahead to the next phase of his band’s career.
“How could it get any bigger or better than it is?” Grohl responded. “We’ve never had a Number One record in America, and I remember Pat Smear saying once ‘I never want a Number One record because, after that, what do you do?’ So thankfully we’ve never had a Number One record in America.”
Three years on, in April 2011, Foo Fighters’ seventh album, Wasting Light, debuted at the top of the US Billboard chart.
So what next?
Speaking to UK radio station XFM last summer Grohl promised “We are going to make this album in a way that no one’s ever done before, and we’re pretty excited about it.”
In mid-January, Grohl posted a photo of five reels of two inch analogue tape on his band’s Instagram accounts with the words “3, 2, 1…and we’re rolling.” Sessions for the new album began at Grohl’s own 606 studio in Northridge, California under the supervision of producer Butch Vig, who’d reunited with Grohl for the recording of Wasting Light, having previously helmed Nirvana’s sessions for Nevermind at Sound City studios in the Spring of 1991. By late January, the Foos had shifted operations to Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio in Chicago: Albini, famously, also had ‘previous’ with Grohl, having taped Nirvana’s In Utero album in 1993. The following month, the party decamped to Washington DC, to revisit producer Don Zientara’s Inner Ear studios, a facility Grohl had utilised when recording Scream’s final studio album Fumble, and again when prepping his very first solo album, the cassette-only Pocketwatch release.
Now the band plus Vig are at Rancho De La Luna studios where Grohl has previously worked with Earthlings? And Vig has declared the record “almost halfway done.”
So where to next? Well, given that Grohl has been retracing key points on his own musical journey, a trip to Robert Lang’s studio in Seattle – where the first Foo Fighters record was recorded – is surely on the cards. The same logic would suggest a trip to Rio, where Nirvana demoed much of their In Utero collection.
We’re going to stick our neck out and predict that the whole magical mystery tour will climax in London at the legendary Abbey Road studios. Grohl learned to play guitar from listening to The Beatles ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ compilations, and his own band sneaked into the facility on July 4, 2007, ahead of their appearance at the Live Earth concert at Wembley Stadium, to record a version of Wings’ Band On The Run, which surfaced later that same year on a compilation tribute album to BBC Radio 1 entitled Established 1967. The track later appeared on the Foo’s own Medium Rare covers compilation. Steve Albini also remixed In Utero at Abbey Road in 2013. So if you’re getting a souvenir snapshot at that iconic studio any time soon, keep your eyes peeled for some hirsute American gentlemen with world traveller tans…