Jon Heller, Beach 119 Music licensing can cost a pretty penny, and oftentimes…
- Posted on Apr 19th 2011 12:00PM by Lonny Knapp
Jon Furniss, WireImage
But Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl warns that this reliance on technology is only homogenizing music.
"Human personality has been sucked out of popular music; it's become so synthesized that it is hard to believe it is made by people," he tells Spinner.
For their latest effort, Foo Fighters wanted to bring the human element back. The band boycotted computers and recorded their just-released seventh disc, 'Wasting Light,' in Grohl's garage using old–school analog technology.
"What you can do when recording digitally is just crazy; the possibilities are infinite. Ultimately, it just robs the performance of personality," says Grohl. "I wanted the record to sound human so it would sound different. I wanted it to sound like us."
With producer Butch Vig at the helm (he last worked with Grohl on the seminal grunge record 'Nevermind') and a guest turn by Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, 'Wasting Light' resonates with a retro feel and is the fiercest Foo Fighters disc in years.
It debuted at the top of the UK album charts and, according to Billboard magazine, is on stride to become the band's first number one album in the States. Fans are connecting with the old-school approach, but does Foo Fighters' success signal a swing back to more authentic and guitar-driven popular music?
If there is a rock resurgence waiting in the wings, Grohl knows it won't be Foo Fighters leading the charge.
"We were never cool, but now that we are this big band, we are certainly not cool at all," he says. "I meet kids in these underground rock bands; I'm like Bon Jovi to those people."
He may have embargoed computers on this album, but Grohl doesn't have a problem with technology. In fact, he credits a new wave of underground bands for exploiting modern tools in the same way bands such as Nirvana used fanzines, independent labels and D.I.Y networks to create vibrant scenes in the late '80's.
"20 years ago, everything was ruled by these major labels, but there was this really cool underground scene flourishing in its independence. We didn't need the big labels, radio and MTV to tell us it was cool," he says. "There is something about the independence that the Internet has given musicians that makes me feel hopeful for the future."
Nirvana emerged from the underground and turned the recording industry on its head. But before you could say flannel pajamas, the mainstream media co-opted that cool underground scene, repackaged it, and sold it as a commodity to the masses.
So as the underground scene starts to rise up again, Grohl has a suggestion for the mainstream music industry.
"Leave it be. We f---ed up an awesome underground scene 20 years ago, maybe we shouldn't f--- up the next one."