DAVE GROHL: Why FOO FIGHTERS Decided To Release 'Medicine At Midnight' Album During Pandemic
December 15, 2020
FOO FIGHTERS will release their tenth album, "Medicine At Midnight", on February 5, 2021 via Roswell Records/RCA Records. Frontman Dave Grohl told New York's Q104.3 radio station about the band's decision to put out new music during the coronavirus pandemic (hear audio below): "We started writing this record almost two years ago — a year and a half ago. We were writing it while we were still on tour. We moved into this funky old house in my neighborhood; built a studio in the upstairs bedroom; recorded the drums in the living room; the guitars were in the bedroom. I did the vocals in the bathroom next to the toilet. We started [recording] this, I think, in maybe September last year, and we were finished by January, February. We were totally done — mixed, mastered, ready to go. Artwork was done; t-shirts were being made; equipment was on the trucks — we were good to go. And then everything just kind of shut down. Then it was months and months of trying to decide when we would release it. 'Okay, do we just put it out now?' 'No, let's wait. Maybe we'll see what happens.' A month later, 'Do we put it out now?' 'No, let's wait.'"
He continued: "So, six or seven months went by, and I'm, like, we make this music for people to hear. We don't just make it so that we can go hit the road. We write these songs so people can enjoy them and sing along, whether it's in their kitchen by themselves with a bottle of Crown Royal or in a stadium bouncing around, singing the choruses. So, I was, like, right now, more than ever, people need something to lift their spirits, something to give them some feeling of relief or escape. I was, like, 'We've gotta put it out. Let's put it out right now.' I don't know when we're gonna hit the road, but we need to give the music to the people, 'cause that's why we make it."
The first single from "Medicine At Midnight", a song called "Shame Shame", was released last month. FOO FIGHTERS performed the track live for the first time during their November 7 appearance on "Saturday Night Live".
Grohl told Planet Rock about FOO FIGHTERS' musical approach on "Medicine At Midnight": "I started thinking about the direction that we should take for the next record. And I looked at our back catalog, and I thought, okay, we've covered a lot of territory in 25 years. We've made acoustic albums; we've made noisy rock records; we've made sort of midtempo singalongs. And you look back, and you can use it as reference, but you don't necessarily wanna revisit these places that you've already been. And so of all the things that we've done, I thought the one album we haven't made yet is sort of a groove-oriented party album. I mean, if you were to hear the rest of the record, a lot of it is rooted in these grooves that come from SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE and disco and two-step shuffle sort of thing. As a drummer, I always think about that as a foundation, because that can really create the aesthetic or the vibe of an album. So I thought, okay, a lot of our favorite rock and roll bands over the years have that one record that's a rock and roll record that you can really dance to — whether it's THE ROLLING STONES' 'Tattoo You' or David Bowie's 'Let's Dance' or a POWER STATION record; things like that. I thought, 'We haven't really done that yet.' A lot of our albums are really driving and sometimes kind of morose and melancholy, introspective. I was, like, 'Fuck that! Let's have a party. Let's make that record where you can bounce around.'"
Regarding why FOO FIGHTERS chose "Shame Shame" as the first single from "Medicine At Midnight", Grohl said: "It's hard to decide which song you present to the people first. You usually want something that will represent the direction or the tone of the album, but you don't necessarily wanna do something that's immediately recognizable as your band; you want something that sort of shows some kind of movement or progress or whatever it is. And when we recorded this song — it was maybe in the middle of the session — it was clear that we hadn't done something like this before, and it inspired us to keep moving in that direction for the rest of the record. I thought if it were up to me, this would be the first thing that the audience would hear. 'Cause this album is unlike anything we've done before. Though it's still the band, and it's still recognizable as the FOO FIGHTERS in some aspects, it's definitely sonically and tonally different than something we've done before."