What Foo Fighters Learned From Nashville

Band Will Preview Sonic Highways Doc During Halloween Show at Ryman Auditorium

Foo Fighters ’ Halloween night show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium is going to be the hottest ticket in town this week. Tickets, which go on sale Wednesday (Oct. 29), are priced at just $20, and the Ryman seats less than 2,400 people.

Prior to the 11 p.m. concert, the band will screen the Nashville episode of Sonic Highways, the HBO documentary series directed by frontman Dave Grohl. The concept finds the band visiting eight U.S. cities with rich musical histories. Along the way, they meet local musicians and write and record a new original song. Earlier this year, Grohl filmed a surprise solo acoustic set at the Bluebird Café, which is even smaller than the Ryman.

On Sunday night, 60 Minutes ran a story about the band and the documentary. And since one of the episodes of Sonic Highways focuses on Nashville, I had to hear what they had to say about Music City.

“Everybody knows Nashville is the country music capital of the world,” Grohl said. “But then I start to realize, ’Wait a minute. The foundation of a lot of these musicians is in the church.’ Whether it’s Dolly Parton or Carrie Underwood, they started in church. I never knew that.”

(By contrast, Grohl said that the roots of Seattle’s music are more weather-related. “In Seattle, it rains all the time, so people stay in their basements and write songs,” he added.)

Other highlights from the show included Grohl and his bandmates talking about what makes up the heart of the music:

American Idol
“Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks,” Grohl said. “Don’t let someone say, ’Sorry, you didn’t win the song contest. Go home.’ Who’s to say who’s good or not? Imagine Bob Dylan standing there and singing ’Blowin’ in the Wind’ in front of those judges. ’Sorry, it’s a little nasally and a little flat. Next.’ I would never make it, ever in a heartbeat. People need to appreciate their voice. I don’t want to sing like someone else. I wanna sing like me.”

Country Music’s Influence
“It’s just such a big soup, American music,” said guitarist Chris Shiflett who also fronts a country band on the side, Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants . “It’s all connected. It’s not like what we do is drastically different from what a country band would do.”

A More Peaceful America
“If music were more a part of our daily lives, this country would be a better place,” Grohl said.

Benchmark of Success
“The reward of playing music should be playing music,” Grohl said.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.