Dave Grohl thinks the latest concert-fad run of nostalgia trip full-album shows are stupid. In nearly the same breath, the Foo Fighters nucleus (whose new album Sonic Highways comes out next week) admits that he considered committing one of the prime offenses of rock: re-recording Foo Fighters’ debut album to “piss people off”.
Foo Fighters’ eponymous debut was released in July 1995, the year after Kurt Cobain’s suicide as Grohl was piecing together the next steps of his life. Back then, it was just a skinny, live-wire drummer piecing together a passion project. Now, tens of millions of albums later, he’s tempted to re-record the album with his bandmates to mark its 20th birthday.
Thankfully, as Grohl shares in a new interview with NME, Foo drummer Taylor Hawkins told him it was “the worst idea ever”.
“At one point I thought, ‘You know what would be really funny? To re-record the first Foo Fighters record as the band we are now’ – ‘cos the first record isn’t the Foo Fighters, it’s just me. So what if, for the 20th anniversary, we went in and re-recorded the first record – same songs, same arrangements, in sequence – but as the Foo Fighters 2014? Taylor was like, ‘Are you out of your fucking mind?! That’s the worst idea ever! People would fucking hate it!’ And Pat [Smear, guitar] said, ‘That’s exactly why we should do it!'”
Yet, somehow, the idea of simply playing an album from start to finish at a concert is a condemnable offense to the man of a million projects. Don’t expect to see the Foo debut record laid out in live performance.
“Fuck, man! I don’t like it when a band’s tour is just to play one past record. I fucking hate that. I don’t like it when bands do that. It’s presumptuous. It’s lazy. But going in and re-recording an album, just to piss everyone off? I think that’s a shitty idea! I don’t get why people do that. We’ve already written that one off. I mean, I don’t mind playing a lot of those old songs just to revisit. But the best way to celebrate our 20th anniversary isn’t to focus on 20 years ago, but to focus on the last 20 years, meaning two years ago and six years ago and eight years ago.”
Interestingly enough, most of Grohl’s peers are prime offenders in the act of retrospective album shows. Josh Homme, seen up top as the unusually meek-looking leaning post for Grohl, is a dear friend and bandmate in the incredible Them Crooked Vultures – and has done entire tours in support of Queens of The Stone Age’s self-titled 1998 debut. Even Grohl has called QOTSA the most badass band in the world. Just last month, Pearl Jam played their landmark 1998 album Yield in its entirety, only days after a full-album run through their excellent 1996 record No Code. By all fan accounts, both occasions were jaw-droppingly amazing experiences, and it’s a hard-money bet that Grohl would’ve been dancing his ass off at these shows. If not, he’d have to deal with Eddie: