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The Chosen Foo

By: Andy Greenwald

The road to Studio 606, the new, multimillion-dollar Foo Fighters headquarters, isn’t paved with gold. Rather, it’s paved with common asphalt, marred by rush-hour traffic, and dotted with all the symbols of suburban sprawl: take-out chicken joints, chain drugstores, a drive-thru Starbucks. On the heels of the band’s 2002 backfrom-the-brink-of-breakup album, One by One (like all Foo releases, certified platinum), singer/guitarist Dave Grohl could’ve set down roots anywhere. After all, Foo Fighters are that rarest of breeds — a remarkably consistent, long-lasting rock band — and their global success, not to mention Grohl’s net worth from his tenure in a certain grunge trio, afforded the band the opportunity to build their playground wherever they fancied. So they chose a shady (in both senses) street in Northridge, California, nestled in the heart of the much-mocked San Fernando Valley, the porn capital of the world.

Like, what?

“Dude, I love the Valley!” says Grohl with a laugh, as he lounges in the complex’s upstairs kitchen. All of the fixtures are gleaming and the walls still have that Benjamin Moore scent. He and the other Foos (drummer Taylor Hawkins, guitarist Chris Shiflett, and bassist Nate Mendel) recorded their recent double album, In Your Honor, in the studio just beneath our feet. Grohl lights the first of many cigarettes and continues: “I grew up in suburban Virginia, and I’m no stranger to strip malls, but I love the Valley mostly because of the stigma. The Valley is not cool. I made a point of wearing an ENCINO T-shirt that I bought at the drugstore to the MTV Movie Awards, because I want Lindsay Lohan and fucking Hilary Duff to hate me because I live in Encino.”

Still, why choose to live in such an uncool place? Grohl shrugs. “There are some really good delis out here.”

SPIN: Taylor said the biggest difference between recording here and recording at your house in Virginia is that he didn’t have to worry about spilling shit in your kitchen.
GROHL: It’s true. It makes a big difference when you don’t have to clean up barf from your carpet. I puked in my office once and there’s still a stain. That’s a nice souvenir. I look at it now and go, “Awww, our third record!”

The hallway that leads from the 606’s entrance to its massive, high-tech studio isn’t paved at all, but it is lined with gold — not to mention platinum. Every inch of wall space is covered with framed plaques and citations, millions of records sold in what seems like nearly every country on earth, all of which feature the musicianship of 36-year-old David Eric Grohl. Each Foo Fighters record is represented, as are discs by Queens of the Stone Age, Tenacious D, and of course, Nirvana (but no Probot, his metal side project from last year). Grohl has had more rock’n’roll success in 15 years than most Hall of Famers have had in their entire careers, and here it’s all on display, enough bling glinting off the track lighting to make Jay-Z jealous. The whole thing seems ridiculously daunting — one can almost imagine the tremors felt by the three other Foos every time they show up for work. Dude, don’t let me be the one that fucks this whole thing up!

To read the rest of the Foo Fighters interview, pick up the August issue of Spin on newsstands everywhere, or click here to subscribe.