Dave Grohl has unveiled Play, a new self-directed mini-documentary centered around his one-man recording of a 23-minute instrumental played live on seven instruments.
The film celebrates “the rewards and challenges of dedicating ones life to playing and mastering a musical instrument,” according to a press release. “Part one opens with narrated behind the scenes footage featuring discussion of the love of playing music and the lifelong relationship with an instrument, and detailing the process and challenges of recording and filming this unique performance.”
Play then segues into the titular 23-minute instrumental recording. “The entire song was played by Grohl, each time on a different instrument, live for 23 minutes. Beginning with the recording of the entire drum track purely from memory, with no sheet music or guide tracks, followed by guitar, then bass, then keyboards, and so on… Grohl tasked himself with a one-man-band recording session that was forced to start from the very beginning of the 23-minute song any time the slightest mistake was made or if Grohl felt he could do a better take.”
Adds the Foo Fighters frontman in a statement: “Watching my kids start to play music and learn to sing or play drums, it brings me back to the time when I was their age listening to albums, learning from listening… and when I take my kids to the place where they take their lessons, I see these rooms full of children that are really pushing themselves to figure this out. And even now, as a 49-year-old man, I’m still trying to figure it out… it’s not something that you ever truly master. You’re always chasing the next challenge, and you’re always trying to find a way to improve on what you’ve learned.”
The film was self-directed by Grohl alongside Sound City/Sonic Highways collaborator Mark Monroe, with assistance from cinematographer Brandon Trost (The Disaster Artist, This is The End) and engineer Darrell Thorp. It is presented as an online interactive experience where fans are given the options of watching the mini-doc and Grohl’s performance as is; focusing on one particular instrument; and/or downloading the corresponding sheet music. The website also includes a list of organizations “where time, money, and instruments can be donated to the cause—and places where musicians young and old alike can have the opportunity to play live music.”
Watch Play in full below.