Interview with Foo Fighters – Dave Grohl talks about “Medicine at midnight”


For Foo Fighters, 2020 had to be the year that would deliver a defining victory lap of their entire career. To mark their 25th anniversary, the band had completed a tenth album that would expand the dimensions of their sound, and they were preparing to take it to stadiums around the world.But then the pandemic struck and their best plans went wrong. Now the engines at Foos HQ are roaring again. This weekend, they tore SNL apart and released the new single “Shame Shame” – a scorching, searing epic that explores their darkest recesses. This is the first track from “Medicine To Midnight”, which will be released next year.

We had a quick chat with frontman Dave Grohl to talk about what to expect from the record, birthday plans, the constant fear of the end of the world, and releasing their inner David Bowie.

Grohl: “That was the time! It’s been a really strange year, to say the least. We finished our new album in February, it was mixed, mastered and ready to go. Our tour itinerary also spanned 18 months, with shows all over the world to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We were ready to implement our routine of world domination, and then it all stopped.

Must have been a first for you guys?

“The whole band broke up and this was the first time we had a substantial break with the Foo Fighters in ages. Whether we’ve recorded, filmed, or directed documentaries, we’ve been there for fucking years! Making him stop was really strange. But, still optimistic, I found many beautiful moments in things that were calming down. First and foremost, everyone went home and made sure their friends and family were safe.

Rick Astley and Dave Grohl performing together at Club NME in August 2019. Credit: Jenn Five / NME

And why did you choose to come back now?

“Well, we settled in for the long haul and the months went by when we just wondered when we would give the music to people. After five or six months, we realized that our normal routine no longer applied. Right now no one is going on the road, so how do we connect with our audience and deliver the music we were so excited to give to the world? A few months ago we just restarted the machine and decided it was time! The most important thing is that people can hear the songs. I love playing live and all the other bells and whistles that come with being in the Foo Fighters, but these songs were made to be heard. It’s time! “

What can you tell us about your mission statement for “Medicine At Midnight”?

“Since this is our tenth album and 25th anniversary, we decided years ago that we wanted to do something that sounded fresh. We’ve done a lot of different types of albums, we’ve done acoustic stuff, we’ve done punk rock stuff, mid-tempo Americana-type stuff. We have a lot of albums to fall back on, so just go with our instincts and I thought instead of doing a sweet adult album, I was like ‘fuck, let’s do a party album’.

What kind of party?

“A lot of our favorite records have these big grooves and riffs. I hate to call it a funk or dance record, but it’s more energetic in a lot of ways than anything we’ve ever done and it was really meant to be the album for the Saturday night party. It was written and sequenced in a way you put it, and nine songs later, you’ll just put it back. You know, songs like “Making A Fire”. For me, this is rooted in the grooves of Sly & The Family Stone, but amplified like the Foo Fighters do. “

So everything is pretty “over there”?

“Waiting On A War” is the album’s most recognizable song as Foo Fighters. It came halfway through the recording process and came from a feeling I had as a child, when I was terrified that we were heading towards nuclear war in the late 70s and early 80s. 80 with all the political tension and the arms race. I was really worried that we were going to die in a nuclear holocaust. And then last year I was taking my daughter to school and that was around the time the US and North Korea were increasing tensions between them and she had seen it on the news.

“She just asked me, ‘Dad, are we going to war’? It reminded me of how I felt when I was his age and I was just like, “What a fucking slut! How depressing that childhood can be deprived of this beauty and innocence by this dark feeling of dread. So that is what “Waiting for a War” is. “

Heavy! Are there any other big surprises on this?

“Then there’s ‘Medicine At Midnight’, it’s our David Bowie ‘Let Dance’. It’s a fucking fucking rock song that I imagine opening every festival from here to Melbourne! every song is a little different but they all have something fresh and I love that!

With the state of touring right now, would Foo Fighters ever play gigs at social distance?

“First and foremost, our main concern is that everyone is safe. Our group wouldn’t just be on the road to have an audience. Look, we really care about the people who come to see the band, so until we get to a place where everyone is safe, we’ll just have to adapt and find new ways to connect with the audience. Our band is rooted in live performance more than anything. I love making records and everything that goes with being in this band. But being on stage is where we really shine. Until it can safely happen, we’re just going to have to knock him out in the rehearsal room.

Must be frustrating?

“To be honest, being away for six or seven months, not seeing the guys and having instruments in our knees, going back to the rehearsal venue and playing together in no one was just the best feeling in the world. When we come back and once we take the stage in front of an audience, I have a feeling it will be the best show and the best feeling the band has ever had.

Foo Fighters will release “Medicine At Midnight” on February 5, 2021. Check back soon for more on our interview with Dave Grohl.


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