That’s understandable. It was a monumental time in American Rock music. Something had to be done — in metal as well as Foo Fighters.
I went on tour with the band the day after Cobain’s suicide and was lucky enough to get a studio tour with Grohl and the rest of the band. I walked in on the band doing some rehearsals in September 1994, nearly three years before an album was ever recorded, and couldn’t believe it.
Here they were, me and some strangers (and bugs) behind the scenes, on a recording studio teeming with Grohl and his crew. The sound man ran through a slew of demo tapes or outtakes laying around the studio walls. There was even a reel of the notoriously difficult “Footsteps,” the first song on the album that went from a self-titled concept, to the band delving deeper into a previously left untouched album.
Sure, recording in a live environment is different than recording in a studio. But, look, Grohl is Grohl.
“Footsteps” is a great song. It certainly helped land the band on Top of the Pops. It’s iconic.
But might as well welcome Dave to the arena with us. Who doesn’t love a little “Hail to the Chief” by hindsight?
You have to hear the studio outtakes to believe it. The band menaced mastering engineers with their single-kick drums of judgement. The band manage to speak into the mic breathlessly and drive it home with a string section. This was just too much. And YES, TEARS.
Other highlights from Grohl’s studio tour ran through a garage setting contrasting Dave’s energetic excitement with the psychedelic adventure the band had hoped for. Yes, they came close to not doing anything at all on the mix, though I’ll take what I can get.
Inside the control room, Dave verbalized his take on making the tune:
“It is a song about just blasting through and not worrying here about what other people are doing around you. Mike (Dennis Lyxzén) wanted something that had a chugging jolt and the vocal line is like sort of a zit on the forehead of what was going on with me at the time, so I said, fine. This is what we had.
“What you hear is a fuzzed up pedalboard. That was it, yeah. That was the main thing.”
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Croak out loud and buckle up on White Pine River! People to watch for include Thurston Moore, Andra Day, Chris Douglass, Phil Lesh, Lindsay Buckingham, Warren Haynes, Scott Weiland, and local rock hero, Anthony Phillips (real name: Phillip Drayton).
David Crockett is the founder and editor-in-chief of Crockettlander.com.
Crackhead is a proud member of the Chicago music scene and a published member of the Viceroy and several other underground dance and electronic music magazines and festivals. He is the co-founder of Audiohammer Productions, a modern music publishing company who received three nominations for Best Artwork in 2012 and won with Phantasmagoria. Records by Genix, The Rejects and Webster X hold a special place in his heart.
Crackhead’s Books are published by Audiohammer Productions. Check out The Rejects record label, the label of legendary punk virtuoso Michael Angelo, legendary Deep in the Heart of Alaska artist John Navarro, and the Great Battles record label to name but a few.