The pandemic has delayed until today the release of the expected new album by the Foo Fighters, a volume baptized Medicine at midnight (Sony) and from which several very well received singles such as Shame, shame O Waiting on a war. The iconic band led by Dave Grohl, a reference to grunge and who participated in the virtual party Celebrating America after the inauguration of Joe Biden, he offers in this work a very remarkable stylistic opening. The excellent guitarist Chris Shiflett recounts from his home in Los Angeles the genesis and content of a work that is witness to a troubled moment in his country.
They played their hit Times like these to celebrate Joe Biden’s arrival at the White House. What did you feel when you saw it?
Our performance was virtual because due to the pandemic it was very difficult for us to all be there together and we had previously recorded the song in a studio in Los Angeles. I didn’t know exactly what our performance was going to broadcast, and when they did I was giving a virtual guitar class and I found out that we were dating because … everyone who participated in that class disappeared from the computer to see it … hahaha. Then I watched it quietly with my wife and children and I really liked it.
Was it an honor for you and the rest of the band to participate in that act?
It is interesting to see that after these years of pure hysteria in my country, the horrible things that Trump has done during his presidency, I think that for a lot of people watching Biden’s inauguration ceremony had a great emotional impact.
Are you optimistic about the next four years?
I am quite cynical when it comes to politics. Joe Biden was not my candidate, because I am from Bernie Sanders. I am consciously optimistic, although the political reality is what it is and there are many things to do, starting above all by recovering the spirits of the people who are at a very low level after the passage of Trump. Then there are the deeper issues, such as anti-trust legislation, seeing what can be modified in the economic structure so that there is not so much social unevenness or the situation of justice. What I don’t want is to fall into pessimism in the face of the enormous task that must be done.
The title of the album, Medicine at midnight, does it have a double meaning in this context?
I don’t know why he got this title, but it’s the title of one of the songs on the album and it’s one of my favorites, by the way. It seems to me that it is a great choice because that song reflects the spirit of the album, where many different sounds, styles, rhythms and arrangements are collected.
Dave Grohl [líder y alma mater de la banda] said a few months ago that the sound of the new Foo Fighters album was related to the Let’s dance by David Bowie. Do you agree?
It’s a good clue; we are fans of Bowie and in particular it is a great album, where he introduced many elements, some new ones as well. And it also had a couple of incredible guitarists like Steve Ray Vaughn, for me the best of all time, and Nile Rodgers.
The new songs
“This album is not a radical break, but it does have a lot of pop and is the most danceable”
Soundly, can some of the Foo Fighters fans find this album shocking?
It might be a nice surprise. Those who were expecting something very rocky may not like it; I would say that it is our most open work, and in this sense I think there is a lot of pop. But it is not a radical change with our line; maybe it is our most danceable album. I love the rock era of the late seventies and early eighties where creators did a little bit of what they wanted, like Bowie.
In any case, a work to dance and enjoy as Grohl says. Something very timely.
On the one hand, yes, because given the anxiety that the Trump presidency has left, the confinement and the change of chip, these songs can be a good remedy. But on the other hand, everything has been disarming and very strange. We had just made the album just before the covid broke out. It was scheduled to come out in the summer and for us to start a tour that was going to last more than two years, and everything had to stop. And the album has been in torpor for a year; We will have to learn the songs again.
Is the direct one what is most noticeable?
We do, without a doubt. Playing live is the fundamental part and this has left us a bit KO because we have had to radically change our day to day. But the serious thing is for all the people that Foo Fighters move when we do tours that last two years. We have made a live stream and a little more. Now that is dramatic.
The Foo Fighters are 25 years old now, and you joined the band in 1999. Do you usually remember that time?
It was unlike anything he had ever known. The band was different, there was a lot of movement within it and people consumed music in a different way than now. Everything has changed now, well … it also depended on the countries where we moved.
I remember the first European tour we did, and in the same way that Foo Fighters were well known in Great Britain and reasonably well in quite a few European countries, when we arrived in Spain and Italy we were playing in some very small clubs, because we were very unknown. .
What’s left of grunge? Does Foo Fighters have any grunge yet?
No idea, that was never my world, I came from other scenes; For me I see grunge as a subgenre of rock and roll and that’s it.
Will they be seen this year live?
Maybe in summer, not before.