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Dave Grohl Talks Foo Fighters Record Store Day Release, ‘Songs From the Laundry Room’

Dave Grohl
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Record Store Day is just around the corner on April 18, and its official ambassador, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, is taking his role in the event very seriously. Accordingly, he went way back into his own private archives for the band’s 10” RSD release, Songs From the Laundry Room, which features an assortment of demos, including the Foos’ “Alone + Easy Target,” “Big Me” and their previously unreleased “Empty Handed.” It will also include a cover of Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America.”

The release required Grohl to return to demos that date back to his time spent in punk bands in his hometown of Arlington, Va., including outfits called Freak Baby, Scream and, later on, Nirvana. Laundry Room lifts its name from the fact that Grohl often recorded the songs in his friend’s — you guessed it — laundry room.

“There was a kid that lived not too far from me that had a four-track studio in the laundry room in his parents’ house, his name was Barrett Jones,” Grohl told Rolling Stone. “He was the guy who bought the equipment and started figuring out how to record all of his friends’ bands. So the first time I ever recorded anything was with Barrett.”

Grohl adds that his time with Barrett — whom he calls the “Quincy Jones of Arlington, Virginia” — was the beginning of the Foo Fighters.

“It was just something to do in between tours when I was playing with Nirvana,” he continued. “By the time Nirvana was over, I had, I don’t know, 20, 30, 40 of these recordings that no one had ever heard. There’s a lot more than just those [Laundry Room 10”] songs. I think the songs that we picked for the Record Store Day album were maybe picked out of 15 or 20 others that no one’s ever heard.”

The Foos leader says he largely recorded the songs for fun, because he wasn’t necessarily confident in his singing or songwriting abilities back then.

“When you’re in a band with the greatest songwriter of your generation, you don’t want to be the guy saying, ‘Look at my songs, too,'” he said. “So I would record them and put them away. But it was fun to do. I’ve recorded stuff and just erased it. Sometimes it’s just fun to flex that muscle and record. It feels good.”

Grohl expressed his excitement to be the ambassador for this year’s RSD, saying he has a sentimental relationship with vinyl. He reflected on one of the very first punk records he ever bought, which was from the band D.R.I. at a “Rock Against Reagan” concert in D.C.

“That show, I think, was in 1983 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial,” he recounted. “It was a 22-song 7”. I bought it from [D.R.I.’s singer] out of the back of his van. I still have it. To me, that’s what vinyl represented: the tangible, romantic experience of holding something in your hands that someone put a lot of time and effort into.”

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