We're the band who actually like each other, says Foo Fighters star Dave Grohl (2024)

FOO FIGHTERS front-man and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl is no stranger to rock ’n’ roll strife.

But the stadium veteran says 2020 has been an agonising disruption to his decades of touring and performing.


And for the Foos — who have new single Shame Shame out now but have delayed their tenth album Medicine At Midnight until February 5 owing to Covid — the time out has been particularly hard to cope with.

That’s because after the band’s 25 years on the road, Dave, guitarists Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett, bassist Nate Mendel, drummer Taylor Hawkins and key-board player Rami Jaffee remain the best of friends.

In an exclusive interview, Dave tells me: “It has been really weird because we are the band who actually like each other.

“It’s true what you hear. A lot of groups, after months on the road, can’t wait to head off in different directions. But we still want to hang out, whether we’re working or not. It’s a miracle after all these years. We’re still really close.”


Dave adds: “We’ve never spent anything like this kind of time apart before. It might seem rock ’n’ roll and exciting but actually going around the world in a band like ours means being totally organised. Usually we know what is happening months and months in advance.

“So when everything shut down in March, I was nervous. I can’t relax, I’m always looking for the next thing, I’m a naturally creative person. For the past two decades I have been completely used to seeing the same guys almost every day — and suddenly we’re apart.

“If I wasn’t on tour, I was doing something else for the band. So it has kinda freaked me out. I’ve been totally set in my ways and, like I said, these guys are my closest friends. We’re a family. We’ve never been apart before.”

Despite the unprecedented break, the band have still managed to complete work on their new album, which marks a dramatic departure from the Foos’ usual rock-inspired stadium anthems.


They have sold 26million albums and 12million concert tickets, have four UK No1 albums to their name as well as five Brit Awards and 11 Grammys, and in 2017 headlined at Glastonbury.

But Dave believes it is vital for the band to continue reinventing themselves despite their enduring success.

He says of the new album: “There didn’t seem much point in just doing the same again, that’s not really what we’re about and it isn’t how I want to work.

“So this record borrows from some new ideas, different inspirations, and has a unique, new vibe about it which I hope will sound fresh and interesting when fans get to hear it. There’s no such thing as normal right now, so I guess for our fans we are trying to create a new one and give people some happiness — let them experience something new.


“It’s one of the reasons why we wanted to put this album out. We can’t go on tour to play those big festivals or stadiums right now. But I hope we can bring joy by giving our music to the people who have supported us and let them party at home for now, until we can get back out there — and we can’t wait.

“Just for now, if that’s what it’s gotta be, then that’s what we will do. But real soon we will be back doing what we’ve always done — and I can’t wait for people to hear this.

“I’m proud of what we’ve done. I don’t think people will recognise it straight away — but we love it.”

A cymbal of change

NEVER mind moshing, the new album will have you dancing. Medicine At Midnight takes the group’s sound in a completely different direction, which was a surprise for drummer Taylor especially.

Frontman Dave introduced drum loops – an electronic repetition of the same percussion pattern more often used in dance music – for their new tracks, which left Taylor questioning his place in the band.


He explained: “It’s the first time we’ve ever utilised stuff like that, which was a shock to my system. I never imagined that we would ever go down that road.

“We’ve always been touting the purity of rock and music, and when we were born there weren’t computers. We just did a 180, to be honest.

“It took me a little while to get comfortable with the idea. It’s like, ‘I’m the drummer, what do you mean you need a drum loop?’. I had to get out of this frame of mind that this had something to do with my lack of ability to keep a good solo drum beat for a song.”

But Taylor is now on board with the new sound, which is inspired by iconic Eighties music.


He continued: “I realised that Dave’s looking for something different. He wants to find some new territory. He has been going through listening to Prince’s Purple Rain and David Bowie’s Let’s Dance.

“Dave’s the songwriter for the band and he sets the tone for wherever we’re going, always. He wanted to do something dancier and different, a little more groovy.”

Cat of the bag

IF he wanted to keep his reputation as one of the coolest men in music, Dave maybe should not have let this cat out of the bag.

He told Radio X: “We got a new cat but where I live you can’t really have cats roaming around because I’m up in the hills and there’s coyotes everywhere. So I walk this cat on a leash.

“Cats don’t like leashes. It’s a Bengal cat, so it’s basically a wild cat, and it hates the leash and I hate walking it.”

Gagging for pics

THE lads are desperate to tour the new album, with Taylor telling me: “It’s gonna happen, it f***ing has to.”

On Saturday they play a full set streamed live from The Roxy nightclub in Hollywood, which fans can buy tickets for on the band’s website.


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The video for their new single Shame Shame was released last night, and to whet fans’ appetites even more, Taylor says the album is rated their best – by an unlikely fan.


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He told me: “My wife Alison, she ignores most of the stuff we do, but she said, ‘This is the best record you’ve made in a long time. It’s really fun’. And it is kind of a fun record. I think there’s some dark themes.

“But there’s lightness to the record too, a joy to the gloom, and the funness of the record, and I hope that will bring people some pleasure.”

'Crazy sh** happened'

THE band hope the album will free fans from the Covid “prison”. Taylor said: “Nobody’s really listening to new music right now.

"People want to go back to the time before this crazy s*** happened, when people were free. It’s like everyone’s in jail.

"Everyone’s unable to just be free, and part of that is about being able to watch music.”

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We're the band who actually like each other, says Foo Fighters star Dave Grohl (2024)
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