I wondered what David Growl would come up with in this show on HBO released in conjunction with the Foo Fighter’s 8th studio album of the same name. In fact, I listened to the album and found it interesting, but when I started watching the 8 episodes (one per disc track), I was blown away. The Foos go from Chicago to DC, Nashville, Austin, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Seattle and end in New York City in an insightful and fascinating road trip across America’s musical heritage. It is eye-opening (I had never heard of gogo, have you?) and moving (the footage of Katrina and ESPECIALLY the various reactions to the suicide of Kurt Corbain) and kickass (the original piano from the original Austin City Limits studio). There are loads of guest musicians and at least one featured on each track of the CD. The episodes are structured around the city they are visiting and typically a producer or a studio where they will record the track. All the tracks were written and recorded in each city and the interviews and anecdotes we see on the screen are reflected in the lyrics of the songs at the end of the episode. David Grohl directed and produced everything here – is there anything he can’t do? I loved the textures of each of the documentaries and how they weaved in history and current scenes each time (I kept thinking of the Ken Burn’s Jazz series and saying to myself how much I preferred the David approach to documentary). I felt that it was incredibly brave for David to go back to Seattle and bare his soul a bit in terms of the heart-rending reactions and his own healing process which led to the creation of the Foo Fighters two years after the suicide. Obama makes some amazing statements on the last episode which prove once again how erudite and cultured he is. If you love music, you need to watch these episodes. They are absolutely amazing. Oh, and the CD is also excellent.
[UPDATE] Be sure to listen to Dave Growl co-host the All Songs Considered Podcast from Nov 12, 2014 which is available on iTunes. Great insight into how both the TV show and the album were written and produced.