Dave Grohl admitted to ripping off Bob Mould in a new radio interview. Ultimate-Guitar transcribed his comments.
“As a musician, that’s what I respected about the bands that I love – a band like Led Zeppelin, a band like The Beatles, bands that didn’t just stay in one place. They actually stretched out and did other things.
And Bob Mould [of Hüsker Dü and Sugar] is a lyricist – he was writing these lyrics that I connected to personally and emotionally, so I am still, to this day, I’m a lifelong fan and their music means so much to me that I’ve referenced them in Foo Fighters songs.
“I remember the first time I met Bob – I jumped up on stage and stage-dived in front of him plenty of times when I was young, but the first time we were formally introduced I was nervous because he’s one of my heroes.
“And I had to say, ‘Oh, man, you’re such an inspiration, I’ve been ripping you off for years.’ And all he said was, ‘I know…'”
I read that this time around you wanted to make a party record. What was behind that?
“We only do what feels right at the time. We don’t have anyone else making decisions for us, we always do that, we follow our gut. And so knowing that this year was our 25th anniversary and this was to be our 10th record, I did sort of take stock.
“I looked back at what we had done and all the different types of music we’ve made, the range of the dynamic, and I realized that the one thing that we hadn’t really done was make this groove-oriented, almost danceable record – we hadn’t done that before…
“If you look back to Little Richard and Elvis Presley, you go back that far, those songs were meant to make you move, they were meant to make you dance. Zeppelin songs, Rolling Stones songs, Beatles songs, David Bowie songs…
“So I thought, ‘OK, maybe we should try doing something like that.’ Now, as a drummer, I’m always interested and appreciate a good beat, a good groove, so that was kind of the intention. It was like, ‘Alright, let’s do this.’ I talked to Omar Hakim, the drummer that played drums on David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance,’ and I would sort of ask him about it.
“Like, ‘How did you guys do that? How did that work?’ He was like, ‘Well, we sat in a room, we played the song, we hit ‘record,’ and that’s David Bowie.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, god, I wish we could do that.’
“But I did think – because this is something we’ve never done, that’s why we should do it and we should do it now; not only to just explore but also to find something new, to surprise ourselves, to find some new reward, like, ‘Oh, we can do that? We’ll take that off the list.’
“The first song we recorded was the song ‘Making a Fire,’ which is actually the first song on the record; we felt like that was the perfect place to start. I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah!’
“I mean, the groove in that song, it’s almost like a DJ sort of break-beat. I’m like, ‘Cool.’ I mean, it’s Taylor [Hawkins, drums] playing, but let’s do that, and then the backup singers…
“We had touched on something we hadn’t necessarily done before. Then there were other songs that sounded, I thought, too familiar, too much like the Foo Fighters, so we threw them away, and we kept moving, and it was really exciting.
“We would sit down to record something, have no idea what we were going to end up with, and at the end of the day, we would look at each other and just smile or laugh, like, we had surprised ourselves. So that was the intention.
“And I told everybody, ‘Listen, before we go in there, let yourself go. Let’s just think about the album or the song or the music.’ There are 45 people in the Foo Fighters at this point – if a song doesn’t need you, you don’t need to be on the song.
“If it doesn’t need 17 guitars, then it doesn’t need that, and everybody agreed. Greg Kurstin, Greg’s a genius producer, I can honestly say he’s the most brilliant musician-producer I’ve ever met in my entire life.
“When you’re working with Greg, you can do anything, and so if you have an idea, even if it’s just conceptual, not even like a specific riff and you say, ‘I’d like to try this,’ you can try it.
“And of course, he’s famous for making records with like Sia and Adele and Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson, and things like that, but he’s a jazz musician that grew up loving punk-rock, so if you throw him a bone, he’ll run away with it.”