I have been watching the Foo Fighters “Documentary” series for five weeks now with a certain degree of amusement. The premise is that they go to a new city every week, unload all their equipment into a recording studio, and Dave Grohl go off to discover local musicians, interview them, and then on the fifth day, he sits down and writes a song, using quotes from the interviews. They then record the song, and play it live in the studio to end each show. They include one of the musicians from the interview sessions, to add some local color. In Chicago, it was Rick Nielsen (not really from Chicago, but close enough). In Austin, it was Garry Clark, Jr., turned down in the mix so you couldn’t hear him. In Los Angeles, Joe Walsh added an amazing guitar solo, while the Foo Fighters stood around with their mouths open in amazement. All of this is accompanied by Dave Grohl screaming into the microphone, singing his mostly inane lyrics.
This week, the city was New Orleans, possibly the greatest musical city in America. They interview all of the right people- Dr. John, Allan Tousaint, Cyril Neville, George Porter, Jr. Most of the show centered around the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Preservation Hall (Where they were going to record). The drummer of the PHJB even invited the Foo Fighters to his house for dinner and a jam session in his living room. Finally the time came for the band to play their song at the end of the show. All of these amazing musicians, and not a single one was playing on the song!! I think I saw Dan Auerbach, guitar player for the Black Keys, playing. I guess he was hipper than some of the hippest guys on the planet. It would have been really cool to see Dave writing with Allan Tousaint, or Dr. John playing piano on the song, or the cool PHJB rocking their tubas and other brass instruments with the Foo Fighters! Maybe then the song would have been GOOD.
Dale Ernhardt Jr. Jr.
Friday night I was hanging with Dale Ernhardt Jr. Jr., a couple of cool guys from Detroit. During our interview with them, they were asked what has changed in the music business since they started. They pointed to one of my cameras and said “The music business is like the photography business. You don’t need one of those heavy cameras any more- Just an iPhone. In music you just need a computer and a few microphones.” Pretty depressing, but true. When the interview was over, I told them the story of Peter Frampton asking to see someone’s iPhone who was sitting in the front row taking pictures all night long. He then wound up and pitched it into the balcony. They though that was hilarious!!
So…toward the end of their set, one of the guys asked someone in the front row if he could see the pictures he had been taking all night. The guy proudly handed his phone over, and Josh put it in his pocket and told him he would give it back after the show! Pretty funny.