When the Foo Fighters set out to record their eighth album, Sonic Highways, they wanted to do something special. Rather than barricade themselves in a studio, the band hit the road, making stops (and recording songs) in eight American cities with deep musical roots. Being the Live Music Capital of the World, it was only natural that Dave Grohl and company would come to Austin.
The eight tracks of the album, each recorded in a different city, celebrate different aspects of our country's musical history. In an interview with Billboard, Grohl says the Foo Fighters' Austin stop was to explore how our city's musical landscape gave birth to America's first psychedelic band, Thirteenth Floor Elevators.
In addition to Austin, the band recorded in Chicago, Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, Washington, DC and New York. "It’s basically the history of American music broken down to the cultural roots of each place," Grohl told Billboard.
During their time spent in Austin, the Foo Fighters and producer Butch Vig hooked up with hometown hero Gary Clark, Jr., who is listed among the guest stars on the new album. The band also paid homage to the 40th season of Austin City Limits with a cover of Roky Erickson's "Two-Headed Dog," which they performed on stage in the show's original KLRU studio.
Austin will also be the subject of one episode of the band's HBO eight episode documentary series likewise called Sonic Highways. A teaser for the trailer reveals Willie Nelson among the interview subjects along with Dolly Parton, LL Cool J, Macklemore, Bonnie Raitt and even President Barack Obama. Adding an interesting dimension to the series, Grohl interviewed many of the subjects himself, including the president.