The Foo Fighters want latest album to be simple and huge

The Foo Fighters jokingly blame their children for their late return here to stage a concert and talk about their upcoming album

Acclaimed American rockers The Foo Fighters wanted their upcoming latest album Concrete And Gold to be simple and huge.

It was recorded conventionally in one studio, unlike their previous two albums, Wasting Light (2011) - which was recorded in a garage - and Sonic Highways (2014) - which was recorded in eight iconic studios across the United States over the course of a year. Wasting Light won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album.

Band leader Dave Grohl says: "With those previous albums, we wanted to see how the atmosphere would inform the sound. But after doing that for so many years, it was almost experimental to just go back into a studio."

He and the rest of the band - guitarists Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett, bassist Nate Mendel, keyboardist Rami Jaffee and drummer Taylor Hawkins - were talking to the local press recently before performing here last Saturday.

Concrete And Gold marks the first time they have worked with Grammy-winning American producer Greg Kurstin, who is best known for producing chart-topping pop records such as Adele's Hello and Sia's Chandelier.

The band are more accustomed to collaborating with rock music producers such as Butch Vig and Gil Norton over the years.

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl remembers their first concert here in 1996, where he almost had to stand in for the drummer as well as sing.
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl remembers their first concert here in 1996, where he almost had to stand in for the drummer as well as sing. PHOTO: UNUSUAL ENTERTAINMENT

Grohl, 48, says: "We knew that (working with Kurstin) would make us sound different.

He further acknowledged that the album had to be "sonically bigger than anything we'd ever done". "It's been 22 years (since we started), it's time to change."

The new album will be released on Sept 15, but the local press were given a preview of the new songs before last week's press conference.

Kurstin's influence is pronounced on the 11-track album, which sees dynamic peaks and troughs. A track called Dirty Water, for instance, builds slowly before exploding in a raging guitar fury.

The music videos from the new album have also started rolling out, with Grohl taking on directorial duties on the first and second singles, Run and Sky Is A Neighbourhood.

The latter, which premiered just days before their Singapore show, features his 11-year-old daughter Violet and eight-year-old daughter Harper; the celestial-themed video sees the band performing on the roof as the girls read a storybook with the song's lyrics.

Grohl says in jest: "They should've charged me $10,000 a piece (for appearing in the video) because I would've gotten the money."

With his tongue also in his cheek, he says with a mock eye roll, "those kids ruined our rock 'n' roll", by way of explaining why The Foo Fighters took more than 20 years to return to Singapore for a concert after their first show here in 1996.

In fact, most of the band members had children in the past 10 years and their priorities shifted.

Grohl, who had visited Singapore in 1992 while on a promotional tour with grunge icons Nirvana, still remembers his maiden concert here with The Foo Fighters.

And that concert at the nowdefunct WTC Harbour Pavilion almost did not come to pass.

"We were going to cancel it because our drummer at the time wasn't feeling well," says Grohl.

Grohl, who was also the drummer of Nirvana before starting The Foo Fighters, even offered to play drums, since the Foos' then-drummer William Goldsmith could not decide if he was well enough to play or not.

"I'll play drums and sing, but we've to play everything really mellow," he recalls telling the rest of the band.

Thinking that the show was no longer on, Grohl remembers going to the "outdoor seafood market" for a meal, walking back into the hotel only to be told they were still going to play the show, alongside fellow American rockers Sonic Youth.

As for Goldsmith? "He's not in the band anymore," deadpans Grohl

• Concrete And Gold will be released on Sept 15.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2017, with the headline ''Kids ruined our rock 'n' roll''. Print Edition | Subscribe