The "Foo Fighters'" ninth album was released on September 15, 2017, and this time we decided to share with you some stories behind the album "Concrete and Gold". Like previous albums, this time too Dave Grohl tried to make the creative process something more interesting and different.
Who said you can't combine Pop with Rock?
If you remember, the band's previous album "Sonic Highways" released in 2014 was recorded in eight different cities, with each song recorded in a different city and hosting local artists while the song was influenced by the local musical style. This time Dave decided he wanted to give the album a different vibe, something sticky, something catchy, something... Poppy!!
He really liked the work of writer/producer Greg Kurstin with his Indie-Pop band "The Bird and the Bee" from 2014 and decided to pick up the phone and call him. Over the years Greg has become a talented and famous pop producer. He released singles such as "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" by "Kelly Clarkson", "I Wish You Would" by "Taylor Swift", "Cheap Thrills" and "Chandelier" by SIA, "Hello" By Adele, the album "25" by Adele and many others. He had never worked on a Rock album. The two saw the challenge as something very interesting and appealing and Greg decided to accept Dave's request.
Dear guests, please enter the main studio
So we hired a terrific pop producer and now we'll move to the studio... The previous album was recorded in all sorts of cities across the US, the seventh album "Wasting Light" was recorded at Dave's home and this time Dave decided to record the album at the famous "EastWest Studios" studio located on the famous Sunset Avenue Boulevard in Hollywood. The studio, which consists of three different studios, is very popular mainly among artists from the Pop genre. During the recordings of the album, different musicians were present in the studios for the recordings of their albums and this created a small commune, where everyone meets everyone, eats together, drinks, and spends time together.
Dave has even been seen several times near the BBQ preparing meat for more than 40 people !!
It turned out that Dave, who really liked the atmosphere in the studios, invited different and varied artists to be a guest on the album. This may sound strange, surprising even untrue to you, but this album featured the following artists...
The first is the poet Taylor Greenwood whom Dave saw in San Francisco and just fell in love with her poetry and writing. He actually courted her to work with him and said that when he meets artists with huge talent, it is very exciting for him. Taylor performs background vocals in "T-Shirt" - the song that opens the album.
Now, don't show your dissatisfaction, and don't look at the amplifier but rather at what is inside of it. Even if one artist only contributes background vocals, for example, it does not mean that behind the scenes he had no influence. sometimes the actual presence of a featured artist in the studio during the recordings has a lot of impact on the final result.
The other guest musician is Justin Timberlake who worked in the next studio during the recordings and visited often. Justin performs background vocals on the third song "Make It Right". One of the biggest pop stars in the world performs background vocals for the Foo's. It turns out that Justin did not visit the studio only once but hung out there a lot. There are rumors that he actually sat in the studio for several hours each week and sometimes even was part of some ideas in the album.
The third is Alison Mosshart, singer of the band "The Kills" and one of the founders of the blues rock supergroup called "The Dead Weather". A talented writer and singer who has known Dave for several years perform background vocals in the fourth song "The Sky Is a Neighborhood" and in the fifth song "La Dee Da".
The fourth artist is Shawn Stockman from "Boyz II Men". During the recordings of the album, Shawn's band was in another studio and he occasionally met Dave in the hallways and the parking lot. In one of their "meetings" in the driveway, Dave asked Shawn to help him with the singing harmonies. Shawn of course did not refuse and contributes his voice to the theme song "Concrete and Gold".
The fifth is saxophonist Dave Koz who is one of the most talented and well-known jazz musicians in the United States. He makes his contribution in the fifth song "La Dee Da".
There are a number of other talented string players who have worked with the band in the past, most notably in the "Skin And Bones" show.
But the highlight guest artist in this album is the walking legend Paul McCartney, who participates in playing drums!! Paul is a longtime friend of Dave and Dave doesn't miss any opportunity to work with him. Paul came to the studio (he also visited other artists in the studios), Dave played him a song on acoustic guitar, and Paul immediately knew what to do. With no preparation nor rehearsals, he recorded the song "Sunday Rain" with the rest of the band, playing the drums. It's the only song on the album that Dave is not the lead singer but drummer Taylor Hawkins.
By the way, this is the first album in which the keyboardist Rami Jaffee participates as a permanent member of the band
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump
We think this time the words speak more than the melody. In each album, Dave writes about his experiences, feelings, and emotions. This time too it happens just like before, but now he is a father to three daughters and he begins to see the world looking through different eyes. Eyes that are very concerned about his daughter's future. The US presidential election and its aftermath greatly affected Dave and his perception of American freedom, the future, and the environment. He said he felt it was hard for him to see a good future, hard for him to see how his daughters “survive” in a greedy reality that ignores human rights, gender equality, and caring for the environment.
“I watched the infamous press conference in the East Room – the one that turned into a screaming match. The fucking WWE one. All that gross ambition for power and control freaked me out. I was like, ‘Oh, my God. This is what we’ve become”.
And the verse that opens the album with the surprising piece is:
"I don't wanna be king
I just wanna sing a love song
Pretend there's nothing wrong
You can sing along with me
I don't wanna be queen
Just trying to keep my t-shirt clean"
The name of the album represents exactly what Dave is talking about, originally the name was supposed to be "Hope and Desperation", but as a metaphor for this he decided to choose other words, "concrete" for despair and "gold" for hope.
A Success story !!
Of course, the album immediately took first place on the Billboard 200, it is only the second album by the "Foo Fighters" to do that. At a time when everyone is talking about that Rock is dying and being buried, pop dominating an absolute dictatorship in charts and sales. The Foo's and Dave as the band's leader have long become Rock ambassadors of the modern world, they represent all sub-genres and as if keep the Rock genre floating, waiting for the right opportunity to conquer the world again !!
It's not a coincidence that on the album cover, the background is concrete and the gold is the band's letters...