A beautiful studio full of instruments is like a playground
August 9, 2018 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Stop me if you've heard this one: seven Dave Grohls walk into a studio... and record a 23-minute instrumental track. Be sure to watch the lead-in mini-documentary featuring kids talking about their experiences learning an instrument, then check out the charts, multi-track audio (and video), and a list of organizations supporting and providing music education.
posted by uncleozzy (24 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
The music is standard Foo Fighters arena-rock fare (you'll notice a few of Dave's usual tricks, I think, well-executed), but I really posted this because the kids -- girls! PoC! -- talking about learning an instrument hit me right in the feels.

(Also because LISTEN TO THAT ROOM, seriously those drums you guys)
posted by uncleozzy at 11:28 AM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sheet music? WTH am I supposed to do with that? Guitarists don't read sheet music.

(Old joke: How do you confuse a guitarist? Hand them sheet music.)
posted by General Malaise at 11:34 AM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

I like the "how do you make them turn down" setup
posted by thelonius at 11:49 AM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Per mefi custom, shouldn't that be "seven Daves Grohl"?
posted by ITheCosmos at 12:04 PM on August 9, 2018 [13 favorites]

I thought the kids were gonna get to play with him.

I really wish someone would have a studio like that for adults who wanna play with people but who get intimidated by "real" musicians.
posted by bondcliff at 12:19 PM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

bondcliff: I have heard that the "School of Rock" franchises around here have adult programs, basically for that sort of thing. (Although truthfully I would guess they're mostly full of asshole dentists playing $4,000 guitars... but maybe I'm wrong.)
posted by uncleozzy at 12:28 PM on August 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hey, now, I can read sheet music. Not, like, when I play, mind you. (I can sight read for vocal and piano. Not so much for guitar.)

I think some of Dave's Foo Fighters work is very good, and some of it is fairly mediocre, but I think watching the Foo Fighters play is a fantastic experience. I don't know that I've ever seen anybody who really enjoys what they do as much as him. He LOVES music, he loves to make music, he loves to play live, he loves playing for people. It's awesome. I recommend it.

Also I love watching kids learn to play thing. My two have decided that they both want to be drummers (Eris help me), and though that proves to be both loud and inconvenient when it comes to starting a family band (two drummers and a guitar?), it's a joy to see them progress.
posted by curiousgene at 12:32 PM on August 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

Love those kids. This whole thing is great.

Didn't Grohl famously play all the instruments on the first Foo Fighters record? Or at least he did for the original demos?

If you want to hear a mellow, 7 minute track of drums, bass, and keys, that's played by Grohl, and um, Josh Homme, and um, Trent Reznor, this exists.
posted by gwint at 1:43 PM on August 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

Not bad, but it had the same annoyances that I find in most Foo Fighters tracks, which is too many guitars playing the same chords. One rhythm guitar sounds better than three, Dave.

That said, you can really hear some of his influences in there. There was a definite Rush section, a Queens of the Stone Age section, a Radiohead-inspired section, a Metallica section, and at least one other that I recognized as a familiar style but not quite place. The rest, of course, just sounded like Foos.
posted by rocket88 at 2:22 PM on August 9, 2018

Didn't Grohl famously play all the instruments on the first Foo Fighters record? Or at least he did for the original demos?

Yes, and he re-recorded drums and damn near everything else on the Foos second album and it nearly killed the band. The Foo Fighters doc is a great watch if you like Dave and the band. Sonic Highways is a fun series as well and goes into all of the bands influences not just Dave's.
posted by photoslob at 2:35 PM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

One rhythm guitar sounds better than three, Dave

Hard disagree. I’ve always liked the way (post-first-album) Dave layered different voicings (and usually also the octave guitar noodling along with the bass).
posted by uncleozzy at 2:44 PM on August 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

[coming back in after having actually had a chance to watch it]

Agree with the sections that felt like homages to influences. Also: the second section definitely had an Explosions in the Sky feel to it, although not sure if that was in any way intentional. Although, it was followed by a section that had a guitar part that sounded almost exactly like the lead single off their last (?) album (the one the HBO series was about). Took me out of that section of the song (I very much dislike that single).

Also, dang, recording a long track by yourself is hard enough: Did he really need to add so many meter changes (4/4 to 3/4 to 10/8(?), to 4/4 to 3/4 to 4/4...what its this, prog rock? Oh wait, it definitely is).

The kids were great. Interposing them with Dave's frustrations was great narrative-wise.

Now, about the Foos, since we're talking about them too. So weird. I love their "sound." I love what they do. They are some of the best rock musicians ever assembled, and their production is second to maybe none. So much guitar, so much bass, so much drum, and I'm here for it. I even really like Dave's voice. I even really liked the HBO series (a must-watch for anybody who's really into rock music imho). The thing is: I really dislike every single one of their songs. I have no idea why; see above. Every time they put out a record, I just think "I should like this but I don't." Nothing catches, even though they're remarkably popular albums that by that metric are catchy. I have no idea. And I have absolutely no antipathy for popular music at all. It's a mystery I guess I just have to live with.

However, this track? I can see myself listening to it a lot while working, reading, etc., like I do with bands like Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed You Black Emperor, etc.
posted by General Malaise at 4:37 PM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes, and he re-recorded drums and damn near everything else on the Foos second album and it nearly killed the band.

Billy Corgan did this too, except for drums. It's apparently bad for band morale.
posted by thelonius at 4:58 PM on August 9, 2018

The thing is: I really dislike every single one of their songs

Yeah, I love The Colour and the Shape, but basically everything after I can take or leave, despite it basically ticking all the boxes for me.

As a pure hard rock musician, Dave is shockingly good. I don’t know how much of the arrangement on later albums is his alone — I suspect he’s a bit controlling, so probably a fair amount — but for arena rock that has a clear purpose and knows it can’t get too cute, it’s very good.

I am 100% certain I couldn’t nail any of those parts, any of them, for a 23 minute take, no matter how many times I did it. Hell, 2:30 can be tough sometimes.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:05 PM on August 9, 2018

Meant to add: Dave has the best rock scream ever. For real. Don’t @ me.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:07 PM on August 9, 2018 [4 favorites]

That’s my boss—I’ve worked for him on two different projects. Great guy, and he gave me my desk chair to take home!
posted by Ideefixe at 7:30 PM on August 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

Seconding, thirding, etc. all the takes about kids learning to play. My two middle schoolers have been taking lessons for a couple of years now -- one piano, one guitar -- and they're now at the point where they really *get* it, they have enough mastery to sit down and just play.

I'm seeing this post after bringing them home from practicing with our church's contemporary music band (which btw is a great, supportive environment for kids to spread their wings and perform in a band with a guaranteed appreciative audience). They're playing with and learning from guys 30 years older then them, who play professionally. Some of the "praise Jesus!" songs are actually pretty good and fun to play, but the high point of the night for me was when they were warming up, and spontaneously started jamming a version of Tom Petty's "Free Falling." Just golden.

PS- the kids can't wait for school to start because this year they're old enough to join band and are excited to start new instruments -- clarinet and trombone. They're hooked!
posted by martin q blank at 9:03 PM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

The eighth Dave Grohl quit during early rehersals, citing artistic differences.
posted by nickzoic at 9:05 PM on August 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

Did he really need to add so many meter changes (4/4 to 3/4 to 10/8(?), to 4/4 to 3/4 to 4/4...

One of the most profound things I ever worked out behind the drum kit is that if you're playing by yourself, and you skip or add a beat by accident, then by the time you've noticed that sounded kind of cool you just have time to instruct the autonomous bodymachine to do it again on purpose next time around and see if you can make a thing out of it.
posted by flabdablet at 9:07 PM on August 9, 2018

Also, playing with people who will happily slide back and forth between 11/8 and 12/8 is the bomb.
posted by flabdablet at 9:21 PM on August 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

There goes my hero...

My uncle, bound by urban apartment noise rules, gave me his drum set when I was 15, right about when The Colour and the Shape came out. For the next 3 years, every afternoon after school was a play-along session in the basement to Color/Shape, Rage Against The Machine, and whatever Midwest Ska/Punk bands' 45s I was able to pilfer from my older brother. Whichever of my parents came home first and grew tired of the banging would flip the stairwell lights on and off until I noticed someone else was home and I needed to stop. Years later, when the "10,000 hours" theory became commonly acknowledged, I was not surprised in the least. I really REALLY miss all that time I had in private to keep making mistakes, and just grind until I could replicate and master a technique or sound. That 70s-era Ludwig kit is sitting behind me right now, in a room with guitars, a bass and a few midi-controller keyboards - all neglected for the sake of raising young kids. I would feel guilty, but I know I will be back to them all in time, and with the kids in tow, once (and if) they're interested.
posted by onehalfjunco at 10:43 PM on August 9, 2018 [6 favorites]

Seven Dave Grohls walk into a bar.

Bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve your kind here. Only Heineken.”

posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:12 AM on August 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Foo Fighters is a great rock band because any band that inspires this is a great rock band. (Previously.)
posted by straight at 11:18 AM on August 10, 2018

This song is a fine piece, but the best part of the whole thing was the kids interposed with Dave's frustrated complaints. (I mean, really.. "At the end of this, i'm going to be able to play ONE of these damn instruments" is the truest thing ever said in music)

Anyway. Wether you like his music or not, Dave Grohl continues to be an inspiration for those of us that strive to not suck as bad tomorrow as we did yesterday. And with that, I'm going to get off Metafilter for a few hours and go down to the basement studio. Thanks, Dave.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:03 AM on August 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

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