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Dave Grohl Reveals Foo Fighters Discarded Plan to Record Studio Album in Front of Live Audience

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Foo Fighters have shown a knack for keeping things fresh, pulling out the unique idea of hitting a bunch of iconic music scenes and recording songs based on their experiences in each city for the Sonic Highways album and documentary. But according to Dave Grohl there was another interesting recording experiment in the works for their new album — that is until someone sort of beat them to the punch.

While guesting on Lars Ulrich’s Beats 1 show It’s Electric!, Grohl revealed that the band had planned to record their latest studio album live in front of an audience at Los Angeles’ iconic music venue, the Hollywood Bowl. The singer revealed plans to erect a makeshift studio on the Bowl stage where the audience could watch as the album came together.

“[We were going to] build a recording studio onstage … with isolation booths and a control room with tape reels and the whole deal,” said Grohl. The vocalist added that they hoped to have the concert/recording session broadcast live on HBO, the network he previously partnered with for the Sonic Highways series.

But eventually the band backed off the idea when PJ Harvey did something close to what the Foos had planned. Harvey created her 2016 disc The Hope Six Demolition Project during a 45-minute live session at the Somerset House in London as part of an art installation. “I was like, ‘That’s sort of similar, now I can’t do that other thing,'” said Grohl.

Though an audience wasn’t involved, it doesn’t appear as though Foo Fighters were at a loss for interested parties in their new recording. Grohl has spoken openly about their studio experience and it opening the door to all sorts of collaborations. Producer Greg Kurstin pulled in his Bird and the Bee cohort Inara George, while Paul McCartney, sax great Dave Koz, The Kills’ Alison Mosshart and Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman also make guest turns on the disc. And there’s also the much hyped “giant pop star” that Grohl had been teasing, which was recently revealed to be Justin Timberlake.

“We’d drink whiskey in the parking lot. He was really, really cool,” said Grohl of his hangouts with Timberlake. “Then the night before his last day, he says, ‘Can I sing on your record? I don’t want to push it, but – I just want to be able to tell my friends.'” After some last minute “la la la” backing vocals on one track, Timberlake became part of Foos history as well.

Look for Foo Fighters’ Concrete and Gold album arriving on Sept. 15, and hear more of Grohl’s interview with Ulrich below.

Dave Grohl Speaks With Lars Ulrich on Beats 1’s It’s Electric!

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