The Foo Fighters album Dave Grohl created to make Lemmy proud

Dave Grohl

Every artist wants to create something timeless whenever they enter the studio. It may be difficult to find inspiration every time they step behind the glass. But the goal is always to create music they will be proud of years later. It’s whether through dense lyrical content or by creating the most outlandish musical pieces of their career. Dave Grohl may have already established himself as one of rock’s greatest songwriters. But one of the Foo Fighters’ later albums was written with a specific person in mind.

By the 2010s, Grohl’s band had already begun to experiment with the traditional method of recording albums. Grohl had been interested in pushing the band outside of their comfort zone since 2005‘s In Your Honour. It combined the electric and acoustic sides of their sound on Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace, and eventually recorded their 2011 album Wasting Light on analog tape in his garage.

Grohl decided to travel to various studios across the United States for their album Sonic Highways. But the best way to get the band out of their comfort zone was to put them back in a traditional studio. The band had found a musical soulmate in Butch Vig. Pop superstar Greg Kursin would produce the band’s first album, Concrete and Gold.

Kurstin first caught Grohl’s attention through his work with the duo The Bird and the Bee. He quickly rose to prominence in the production world, working with artists as diverse as Sia and Adele. The band found it perplexing that Grohl wanted to produce their album. But they eventually settled on a sound that blended their stadium rock with their punk roots on songs like ‘La Dee Da‘.

The album would feature guests such as Justin Timberlake singing backup vocals and Paul McCartney playing drums on the track ‘Sunday Rain’. The title track was a watershed moment for Grohl while working on the album. Being one of the longest tracks on the record, the song is split in half. It started with a dirty punk song reminiscent of Black Flag before exploding into an angelic finish with multiple harmonies stacked on top of one another.

Grohl also called in the big guns to create complex harmonies. He addresses Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men in the studio parking lot and persuades him to lend his voice to the song. The track sounds fantastic in the second half. Grohl was looking for Lemmy’s approval when working on the first track.

Grohl, a lifelong Motörhead fan, wanted to create something that would have made his fallen idol proud. He describes the song as “The Beatles colliding with Motörhead.” I just want to make Lenmy proud. He’d understand, like on the 50 guitars in ‘Make It Right‘. I believe we pulled it off.”

No one has ever caught Lemmy singing choral harmonies in his songs. But Grohl’s point is clear. Rather than using the same rock guitars on every song, Grohl continued to push rock and roll into new territory. He did just as his idol had done in the late 1970s.


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