This week, Foo Fighters releases its latest project, Sonic Highways. Why "project" rather than album? Sonic Highways is more than just eight new songs. It's also an eight-part documentary currently running on HBO. Together, the album and film series look at the intersection of geography and music. It's what Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl calls a love letter to the history of American music. The band wrote and recorded each song in a different city. Grohl interviewed local musical icons in each place and wove the stories he heard and the history of each location into his lyrics.
The first stop in the band's musical journey was Chicago, followed by Grohl's former hometown, Washington, D.C., then on to Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Seattle and New York.
When Dave Grohl stopped by the NPR studios in Washington, D.C. to talk about Sonic Highways with us, he reflected on growing up in the area, on what it was like to see his favorite bands play the 9:30 Club and how the city's complicated and controversial history shaped his world view and the song "The Feast and the Famine," which was recorded at Inner Ear Studio in the D.C. area. Grohl also explained how some of the other songs for Sonic Highways came together and talked about the local musicians that inspired them.