During the three decades that Dave Grohl was a rock star, he made his mark with artists like Stevie Nicks and Paul McCartney, directed documentaryperform for the president and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice.
But this month introduces the first: On February 25th, Foo Fighters will release “Studio 666” a horror comedy film directed by BJ McDonnell (“Hatchet III”) and starring Foo Fighters.
“Just for fun,” Grohl said in a recent video interview. As he explains, “We never intended to get into the Hollywood game with this big horror movie. It just happened.”
Also in the film, which also stars Whitney Cummings, Will Forte and Jeff Garlin, the band moves into a mansion where Grohl used to actually live, to work on their 10th album. But composing is a challenge. Hoping to break out of his creative habit, Grohl roams the house and discovers a secret that infuses him with creativity – and the blood of lust.
The film has been in the works since 2019, with production halted because of the coronavirus pandemic. It doesn’t have the ability to raise awards — “We don’t order Oscars gowns,” says Grohl — but it does deliver grit and gore.
Chatting from his home studio in Los Angeles over coffee, Grohl discusses making the film, his thoughts on rock ‘n’ roll and a new album. These are edited excerpts from the interview.
Why did you decide to make a movie?
Three years ago, a friend went to a meeting at the movie studio, and our names popped up. They said, “We always wanted to create a horror with Foo Fighters.” He texted me, and I said, “That’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard,” and thought nothing of it.
We’re writing music for our final record. Usually, when we’re recording, I’ll go into the home studio or demo studio myself and just write the tunes and instruments. So I started looking for houses to rent where I could build a makeshift studio. Also, my landlord from 10 years ago emailed me and said, “Do you want to buy some properties?” I said, no, but if I could rent it, that would be great.
I started writing and was sending demos to our producer, and he said, “This sounds great. Make a note there”. So I started thinking, can we make a horror movie in this old, creepy house. I came up with this idea, showed it to the band, and they just laughed. It rolled from there. We never imagined that we would create a feature.
Are you a horror fan?
I’m not a fanatic. Although I grew up loving a lot of the classics. I remember reading the book “Amityville Horror” in 1979 and then going to the movies. And I grew up outside of Washington, DC, where they filmed “The Exorcist.” I’m obsessed with the house and those steps. That’s where all the punk rockers used to hang out in the ’80s. We’d sit at the bottom of those stairs and have a beer.
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“Studio 666” is also a movie about the band, there don’t seem to be many movies out there. Why do you think that?
I do not know. Growing up I watched rock ‘n’ roll movies. “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park.” Ramones in “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.” It used to be something that went hand in hand with a mass cast.
I think the band must not only be willing to do that, but also have to be able to create fun for themselves. We have been doing for 26 years, so this is just a long-term version of our mockery of being a rock band.
We talked about the sequel and how [“Studio 666”] can be passed from band to band. Does Coldplay make horror movies? Wu Tang? That would be great.
You wrote in your memoir that you have lived in a house that you believe is haunted. Did you think about that when making the movie?
I don’t think it overtakes this idea. But that house was definitely haunted. Before that, I had never been interested in paranormal activity. Then I believe this kind of thing can happen. But I also remember thinking about sharing a house with ghosts. Will it kill me? Is not. Do the lights stay on sometimes and do you hear footsteps? Yes. I’ve had worse roommates.
Like most groups, the Foo Fighters have had tensions in the past. Did that inspire the plot?
No, that’s not it. But the scriptwriter came to hang out with us while we were filming [“Medicine at Midnight,” the band’s 10th album,] to get a sense of dynamism. She’s just overplaying.
Like any band, we’re like a family. It is a relationship that has the potential for disaster in every creative situation, because there is always vulnerability and insecurity. It’s not easy to stay in a band for 26 years. In all that we’ve been through, I don’t think anyone wants to kill another member. We love each other so much.
The movie is generally fun about rock, but also makes you laugh: you can’t write new songs; Lionel Richie screams at you. Is that fun?
There are a lot of clichés in this movie. It was part “The Amityville Horror.” It was part “The Shining.” It was part of “The Evil Dead.” On the musical side, there’s the lead vocalist who is torturing the band, the writer’s block.
In my opinion, the funniest cliché is the clapping in the living room. Whenever an engineer or producer walks into the room before you record, they always clap to listen to the sound. I’m here to say it’s [expletive]. That makes no difference.
Do you have a favorite scene?
I love the round table scene with Jeff Garlin. By improvising, you feel like you are in “Control your enthusiasm”.
There have been allegations that Jeff Garlin behave inappropriately on “The Goldbergs.” How was working with him?
Jeff is really passionate about music. So most of our interactions off-camera are just about our favorite bands. I don’t know about any of those. We just sat and talked about Wilco all day.
There’s a scene where your manager says rock music hasn’t been relevant for a long time and it needs to get in. Do you think that’s true? If so, what could revive it?
I believe it is partially correct. I don’t think rock music needs more Satan, but I think it needs another revolution driven by youth. My oldest [daughter] almost 16 years old. I watched her discover music and write songs, and this is where [the action is].
I think the next rock revolution won’t be like the one we’ve seen before. And I’m not entirely sure what that is. But it is coming. There are many things to appreciate. I find a new favorite artist once a week, so it’s not like a dry well.
In 2021 alone, you’ve released two albums, a documentary, a documentary series, a memoir, a few singles, and you’re on tour. What motivates you to do so much?
The coffee. [Smiles.]
No – I just appreciate all the opportunities that I have. I appreciate the people who helped facilitate these absurd ideas and surround me with like-minded people. And I hate vacations. I just fidgeted. I feel this strange guilt when I do nothing. I’m like a shark. If I stop swimming, I will die.
You know what I’m doing now? I’m working on the band’s lost album Dream Widoware from [the movie]like the “Blair Witch” tape.
Will the main song of the movie be played on it?
That is. It’s this crazy opus stuff. I grew up listening to metal music, so I started taking my favorite bands as an influence. For a metal recording, it’s really good.
So you went from including Bee Gees to metal.
Listen, what do you get when the guy has everything?
It’s correct. Is there anything else coming up?
Yes… you will see.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/movies/foo-fighters-studio-666.html Foo Fighters made a horror movie. For Why Not?