Photos by Nathan Dainty and Ben Kaye
Foo Fighters’ forthcoming new album, Concrete and Gold, was recorded at the busy EastWest Studios in Hollywood California. The block party atmosphere of the sessions and the populated studio led to a number of surprising collaborations, including ones with Justin Timberlake, Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman, The Kills’ Alison Mosshart, and Paul McCartney. As awesome as that all sounds, it’s likely none of it would have ever happened if Dave Grohl’s original idea for the recording process had come to fruition.
During a Beats 1 interview with Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, Grohl revealed that he initially booked a night at the Hollywood Bowl with the intention of building a recording studio “with isolation booths and a control room with tape reels and the whole deal” right on the iconic stage. He’d hoped to record the new record live in front of 20,000 people.
It was a pretty neat idea, but Grohl soon discovered that someone had beat him to it: PJ Harvey. “Maybe eight months later, PJ Harvey sort of did something similar where she set up a recording studio — I think it was an installment in an art museum where you could come and watch,” Grohl continued. “And I was like, ‘That’s sort of similar. Now I can’t do that other thing.’”
The project he’s referring to was Harvey’s art installation at the London museum Somerset House, where she built a full studio behind one-way glass. Harvey, her band, and producer The Flood set up shop there in 2015 to record the ambitious The Hope Six Demolition Project and patrons could watch the whole process. Once Grohl heard about the way the album was made, he knew he had to switch gears; it sounds like it worked out just fine in the end.
Here’s Grohl and Ulrich’s whole conversation:
This isn’t the first time PJ Harvey has gummed up Grohl’s plans. Just a year earlier he revealed that the remaining members of Nirvana had wanted Harvey to participate in their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance, but she couldn’t fit it into her schedule. “Kurt loved PJ Harvey,” he said at the time. “We had always imagined playing our song ‘Milk It’ from In Utero with her.” Unfortunately, they still haven’t gotten the chance.
One idea that the Foo Fighters are definitely going through with is a recently announced pop-up pub located in London. Dubbed The Foo Fighters Arms, the temporary bar will be open for one week to celebrate the September 15th release of Concrete and Gold. After hosting an invite-only launch party on the 14th and a release day shindig the next day, the pub will be open Saturday the 16th through Wednesday the 20th. Monday will feature a Foo Fighters themed pub quiz with exclusive prizes, and “Foo Fighters beers and exclusive merchandise” will be on sale throughout the week.
More info, including hours and location, can be found here, while the band also advises fans to keep an eye on their social pages for future announcements.