As the 11-time Grammy-winning, 25-million-plus-selling Foo Fighters ready their as-yet-untitled eighth album for November release, Dave Grohl, the band’s frontman — and accomplished director of the acclaimed feature-film documentary Sound City – delivers Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, an unprecedented eight-part documentary series that digs deep into the heart and soul of America’s musical identity.
Directed by Grohl, each one-hour episode is devoted to a different American musical landmark, chronicling the history, cultural environment and people that define each city’s unique musical identity. With episodes set in (in alphabetical order) Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington, D.C., Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways features appearances from local legends who have become the musical and cultural ambassadors of those cities, including Buddy Guy, Joe Walsh, Dolly Parton, Rick Nielsen, Bad Brains, Chuck D, Gibby Haynes, Allen Toussaint and Gary Clark, Jr., among others.
Described by Grohl as a love letter to the history of American music, the HBO series debuts in October.
“I’ve pulled up the family tree of American music and exposed its roots to find inspiration for the next Foo Fighters album. This is a musical map of America,” says Grohl of the band’s most ambitious effort to date. He further describes the album and series as the “chronicling of a journey to unravel the fabric of our musical identity, not only the making of our most ambitious album. This is ‘Sound City’ on steroids.”
For the album and series, Grohl and bandmates Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear, along with producer Butch Vig, based themselves at a legendary studio integral to the unique history and character of each of these great American musical capitals. One song was recorded in each city, with Grohl, the band and the Sonic Highways crew delving deep into the local musical currents, discovering how each region shaped these musicians in their formative years, and showing in turn the impact those people had on the cultural fabric of their hometowns.
“I’ve pulled up the family tree of American music and exposed its roots to find inspiration for the next Foo Fighters album.”
As with his 2013 film Sound City, Grohl’s unequaled passion for both the music he creates and the music that inspires its creation fuels the type of honest and trusting musician-to-musician exchange represented on the new record and HBO series.
All songs feature local legends sitting in, with every lyric written in an unprecedented experimental style: Grohl held off on putting down words until the last day of each session, so as to be inspired by the experiences, interviews for the HBO series, and other local personalities who became part of the process. Some of the other artists who participated include Charlie Gabriel, Nora Guthrie, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Trombone Shorty, Carrie Underwood and many more.
Dave Grohl made his directorial debut in 2013 with the critically acclaimed, Grammy-winning feature film Sound City. A celebration of the human element in the creation and recording of music, it centered on Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, Cal., where Grohl experienced his first major recording experience as drummer of Nirvana, in sessions that yielded the generation-defining album classic Nevermind.
Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways is directed by Dave Grohl for Roswell Films, a division of Roswell Records, the label that releases Foo Fighters’ music; written by Mark Monroe and Dave Grohl; executive produced by Dave Grohl, James A. Rota, John Ramsay; produced for HBO by Roswell Films and Therapy Content, in association with Worldwide Pants.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.