Dave Grohl = Legend. I mean, the man could’ve stopped working twenty years ago and nobody would’ve debated his place near the top of the rock demi-god hierarchy. I’m not actually the biggest Foos fan. I like them a lot, but there is a lot of stuff I like a lot more. When it comes to Dave Grohl, it’s when he does his ‘other stuff’ that I think he comes into his own. There surely can be no other living artist that has the same kinda pull to get various people on-board when it comes to a new project, maybe with the exception of Josh Homme but he’s like his brother from another mother and where one goes, the other tends to be around somewhere sticking their fingers in the pie.
So what’s Dave’s latest project I hear you all cry? Well actually it’s a film about Sound City Studios in L.A. It’s a place that DG liked a lot and where a whole bunch of legendary artists have played through the years, but which closed down in 2011, with Grohl sneaking inside like a naughty schoolboy just before the doors were locked to steal the mixing desk, which he has put to good use in making the soundtrack for his rock-u-mentary about the very same place. And that actually is rather sweet, because we all love a bit of sentimentality in music, and it’s places like Sound City, albeit dusty, rusty, and a little bit crusty, that have provided us with the sounds of our lives.
Ok so which rabbits did he manage to pull out of the hat to play with this time? It’s a long list of the great and the good and the never heard of before, some who have passed through the doors of the studio over the years and a couple who haven’t, but McCartney is one name that’ll spike interest, not mine necessarily, but he is who he is. Stevie Nicks is another, along with names like Homme, Reznor (both far more interesting than the first two in my humble opinion), Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Kris Novoselic of Nirvana, Rick Springfield, Chris Goss, Rick Nielsen, Lee Ving and Scott Reeder, the latter formerly of Kyuss fame, plus the rest of the Foos, Alain Johannes and a whole bunch of others. So it’s a pretty stellar cast.
What about the music? Well it’s pretty fucking good. I’ve read a couple of reviews, neither were that complimentary, but neither could see past the two biggest names on the credit sheet, which as predictable as it is from the run of the mill music press, it is nonetheless a little bit frustrating. There’s an eclectic mix here, naturally, just look at the players, but it isn’t too random, not in the least. Grohl has managed to pen tunes that fit perfectly with the people he has playing on them while at the same time making sure it doesn’t just sound like a bunch of random songs tossed together to make a tribute record. There isn’t actually a bad track on the album, and it all works together rather well, kicking off with the opener ‘Heaven and All’, featuring Robert Levon Been and Peter Hayes along with DG, (Grohl is the common thread on every track) a fast paced swirling, bluesy rock track that sets out the stall for the quality of things to come. Next up is ‘TIme Slowing Down’, with Chris Goss and Tim Commerford, a track with Masters Of Reality stamped all over it – no bad thing. Then comes ‘You Can’t Fix This’, with Stevie Nicks. Described by somebody as the best track Fleetwood Mac never recorded, it’s fair to say that that somebody, whoever they were, was probably right. Although Mac did get crap when they kicked Peter Green out of the band for being a bit loopy but that’s just a personal opinion, and one their respective bank managers wouldn’t agree with. Well ok I don’t mean crap, they just had a change of direction but now I’m rambling. So next up is ‘The Man That Never Was’, with Rick Springfield and the Foos, and it basically sounds like Rick Springfield playing with the Foos. I gotta be honest, I don’t really know much Springfield, but it’s a really good track that sounds like the Foos, just a little bit different. I guess a lil bit Springfieldy? Then comes ‘Your Wife Is Calling’, with speed punk supremo Lee Ving. I really like this track. It’s fast, it’s punky, it’s catchy, it’s irreverent, it’s about a bloke getting pissed (that means drunk for my american readers) while his missus is looking for him. I love everyday lyrics like that. Zappa was the undisputed master of those kind of lyrics. Ok, so after getting pissed in the pub we get ‘From Can To Can’t’, this has got Corey Taylor singing on it and its a blinder. It’s the slow build power ballad but really, we never get sick of those when done right and this one delivers with a head nodding crescendo that you just can’t resist. Really good track. Next up ‘Centipede’ with the Homme. Oh yess everybody loves the Homme because he too is a legend and this track is why. Like a lullaby that becomes a riot in a whorehouse (I don’t know why that springs to mind but whatever). It’s a track that could’ve been ripped from any recent QOTSA record, it is unsurprisingly, a cracker. And then comes ‘Trick With No Sleeve’ which is Grohl, Homme and Alain johannes with Johannes taking up the vocals. It’s another strong track with QOTSA overtones, and Johannes undertones, melodic, sprawling, not a track that smacks you around the face right away but one that demands attention and rewards you for it every time you listen to it. ‘Cut Me Some Slack’ follows, this is the NirMacca track, (that’s um Nirvana/McCartney, yeah I know it’s not funny when you have to explain it) and it’s alright actually. I mean who really would have thought it? It’s the best thing McCartney has done for a while or maybe like ever and it genuinely sounds like he had fun making it. I can just imagine his wobbly lil head as he’s singing it. Then comes the penultimate track ‘If I Were Me’, with Jessy Greene, Rami Jaffee and Jim Keitner, and it’s a stellar number. No real headline names, well, as far as I’m concerned anyway, but it’s a quality piece of music and Dave Grohl at his very best. The whole thing is then topped with the best line-up and therefore unsurprisingly the best song on the record, Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and Trent Reznor with the song ‘Mantra’. They are a super-group made in luscious music ear-snog heaven and this track tells you why it must happen, and even if it doesn’t happen for a full length album it does here for 7 minutes and 43 seconds and it’s yummy! Very very extremely yummy! This is the track you’d hope for when you see those three names together. And because I’m nice, I’ve posted it below.
Ok so to sum up, I really wasn’t intending to write a full on review, I was just gonna tell you about it. If you like Dave Grohl and come on who doesn’t, you are gonna like this. If you like high quality rock music you are gonna like this. If you want something new to wear out on repeat for a couple of weeks you won’t go wrong in buying/uploading/downloading/ripping (however it is you get your music?) this.
So I will end just how I started and that’s like this :-
Dave Grohl = Legend