Dave Grohl On Foo Fighters' New Party Album, 'Medicine At Midnight' The release of the band's 10th album, and a world tour in support of it, had to be put on hold thanks to you-know-what. But there's only so long folks can wait before needing some release.
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Dave Grohl Talks Foo Fighters' New Saturday-Night Party Album, 'Medicine At Midnight'

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Dave Grohl Talks Foo Fighters' New Saturday-Night Party Album, 'Medicine At Midnight'

Dave Grohl Talks Foo Fighters' New Saturday-Night Party Album, 'Medicine At Midnight'

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERLONG")

FOO FIGHTERS: (Singing) If everything could ever be this real forever, if anything could ever be this good again...

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

2020 was supposed to be a huge year for Foo Fighters. It was their 25th anniversary. They had a massive tour planned and a new album. But when the pandemic shut everything down, they decided to delay the album's release and wait it out. For almost a year, it just sat on a shelf.

DAVE GROHL: Yeah, that's not what music's for (laughter).

MARTIN: In the end, Dave Grohl decided this music couldn't wait.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHAME SHAME")

FOO FIGHTERS: (Singing) Shame, shame, shame, shame...

MARTIN: Grohl, of course, is the frontman for Foo Fighters, a band he originally started as a solo project after drumming with Nirvana for five years. "Medicine At Midnight" is what he's called the Foo Fighters' Saturday-night party album.

GROHL: I took a look back at all of the work that we've done over the last 25 years. And, you know, the one thing that I realized we had never done was, like, an up-tempo sort of boogie rock party album.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF FOO FIGHTERS SONG, "MEDICINE AT MIDNIGHT")

GROHL: I thought instead of making some acoustic record where we're riding off into the sunset of our career, as you know, distinguished gentlemen of rock 'n' roll...

MARTIN: (Laughter).

GROHL: ...I was like, no, no, no, let's open a bottle, and let's get down.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MEDICINE AT MIDNIGHT")

FOO FIGHTERS: (Singing) Say a prayer. Close the light, thumb upon the scale. The pillow is cold. That ship has sailed.

GROHL: I imagined an arena or a stadium full of people dancing to this music and singing these big choruses...

MARTIN: Right. Not happening.

GROHL: ...And I'd close my eyes. Yeah. I would close my eyes and think, this is perfect. This is going to work. This is going to set those festivals on fire, man.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

GROHL: And then it just shut right down. So...

MARTIN: But, Dave, we are in our homes. We're, like, locked in this isolation. We also - here in these little bubbles, we need to move, and we got to groove.

GROHL: Well, that's what I eventually realized - that that was the most important thing. One of my biggest revelations this year was in the summer, I wound up having this drum battle with this 10-year-old girl from England named Nandi.

MARTIN: I know. It was awesome.

(SOUNDBITE OF NANDI BUSHELL COVER OF NIRVANA SONG, "IN BLOOM")

GROHL: Nirvana's producer Butch Vig actually introduced me to Nandi online. He said, oh, man, you have to see this kid play this Nirvana song "In Bloom." And her energy was just - she was like a supernova. I mean, she was - she attacked her drums and would scream as she did drumrolls.

(SOUNDBITE OF NANDI COVER OF NIRVANA SONG, "IN BLOOM")

GROHL: It blew my mind, and then months and months later...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NANDI BUSHELL: Dave Grohl, I challenge you to a drum-off.

GROHL: And at first I thought, oh, that's adorable, you know?

MARTIN: Right.

GROHL: Isn't that cute? But after 57 texts from my closest friends saying, dude, you have to respond - like, you have to respond to this girl, so I eventually come back with something that she can play, as well.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEM CROOKED VULTURES SONG, "DEAD END FRIENDS")

GROHL: Little did I realize that she just is so far outside of my abilities. I mean, this kid can really play, you know?

(SOUNDBITE OF THEM CROOKED VULTURES SONG, "DEAD END FRIENDS")

MARTIN: Are you being real? I mean, you're not exaggerating?

GROHL: What? No.

MARTIN: You weren't throwing it for her?

GROHL: Oh, absolutely not. I cannot keep up with this person. I mean...

(LAUGHTER)

GROHL: But the thing that I realized in that exchange - it was bringing people happiness. And in a time where people desperately need something to lift their day, they could go to their phone and have four minutes of happiness. That, to me - its currency was huge.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO)

NANDI: (Cheering). Checkmate.

MARTIN: Nandi Bushell wasn't the only young musician in Dave girl's life this year. Two of his daughters also seem to be getting interested in performing. His oldest, Violet, even sings on the new Foo Fighters album.

GROHL: She's 14 years old. She has absolute perfect pitch. She has a photographic memory, and when it comes to any sort of arrangement or composition or pattern, she can memorize them immediately. And she sings from her soul. She sings from her gut. I mean, she's been singing like Etta James since she was 8 years old, so it's kind of crazy.

One day, my daughter Harper comes up to me, and she says, Dad, I want to be a drummer. And I looked at her, and I said, drummer? You know, that's an entry-level position...

(LAUGHTER)

GROHL: ...Of any band. And she said, yes, and I sat her down at a drum set. You know, by the end of the day, she was playing along to an AC/DC record. So they are musically inclined.

MARTIN: Where do we hear Violet most prominently on the album?

GROHL: Well, Violet wasn't formally invited to be on the album. We didn't record this record in a studio. We recorded it in an old house down the street from where I live. You know, so I would pick up Violet on the way home from school. We'd come to this house, and she'd sit on the couch and do her homework. And one day, Greg Kurstin, our producer, knowing her ability, said, hey, Violet, do you want to put a vocal on something? And she said, yeah, sure. So she stepped in front of the mic and did a couple takes, and that was a song called "Making A Fire."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAKING A FIRE")

FOO FIGHTERS: (Singing) Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na...

GROHL: The funny thing is, you know, I just looked at it as some sort of, like, casual occurrence until a few months ago, when my accountant called me and said, what do you want me to do with this money for Violet since she sang on the record? And I said, what?

MARTIN: (Laughter).

GROHL: They said, well, you know, she sang on the record, so she has to be paid. And I said, OK, well, you know, we're not giving a 14-year-old that much money right now, so let's put it in an account that she can have when she's 18 years old.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAKING A FIRE")

FOO FIGHTERS: (Singing) Are you afraid of the dark? I know a place we can start.

MARTIN: That's Dave Grohl. Foo Fighters have a new album out. It's called "Medicine At Midnight." Dave, thank you so much. It has been so fun to talk to you.

GROHL: It's been great to talk to you. I'll see you around.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAKING A FIRE")

FOO FIGHTERS: (Singing) I've waited a lifetime...

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