I recently gained access to HBO programming…brace yourselves. My first discovery? Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways. I’m completely addicted. If Dave Grohl didn’t already have “rock god” status, he attained it when he broke his leg during a show and still finished it…then created a Foo Fighters guitar version of the Iron Throne (Two guesses what I discovered next). Watching the Foo Fighters national tour of these music-rich cities to record their album inspires me to do…stuff.
The premise for the show intrigued me from the beginning. The idea that the albums released from artists are influenced by the city in which they’re recorded is interesting. I mean, no artist creates in a vacuum, right? Our perceptions are constantly being filtered through all this…stuff, and the stuff we’re surrounded with just gets bigger and bigger when you throw in the Internet and social media. So in the midst of this barrage of stimuli, how much does the energy of a place even register?
Touring the country to create an album and pay homage to the musical history and traditions of the cities without losing the quintessential quality that makes them the Foo Fighters is a tricky thing. There’s a fine line to walk, and they’ve done it well. Lyrically, they reference the rich history of their locale and, they keep the sound their own. You can still hear the influence of all the music they’ve been listening to in order to get ready for their arrival in each song
Before the Chicago episode, if you’d told me Cheap Trick was influenced by the blues…well, I don’t know if I’d believed you. Now, I can hear it in Rick Nielson’s guitar. I can hear the DC punk scene in The Beastie Boys and know they’d listened to Bad Brains, and it opens up a new level to the music I already loved.
Watching the stories of the founding of Dischord Records, Inner Ear Studio, Rancho de la Luna, Steve Albini’s philosophy, and more…it is inspiring. You do what you think is right. If you love it, and no one will help you get there…do it yourself. Keep true to your vision. Do what you love.
How could I not be inspired? As the credits were rolling on the DC episode, I grabbed my guitar…struggled through some truly awful sounding chord progressions (which I KNOW will never get better unless I practice), because I was inspired to create, to make something. After my hands got tired, and my lack of calluses made my fingertips scream, I got down to writing this. Maybe I struggle sometimes with balancing responsibility with the stuff I love, but if I stay inspired, or hell just open to inspiration, and climb out of the depths every time I get bogged down…shit gets done.
‘Til next time,