*Eight songs. Eight cities. Eight episodes.
Dave Grohl’s HBO series “Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways,” premiering Friday Oct. 17 at 11 p.m., follows the musician as his band records eight different tracks in eight musically-fertile cities across America for their forthcoming eighth studio album, also titled “Sonic Highways.”
Below, Grohl explains more about the show’s concept and what viewers will see in each episode:
The second episode of “Sonic Highways” was filmed in the Nation’s Capital – the birthplace of go-go music and the city where Grohl spent his formative years immersed in the local punk scene, mostly at D.C.’s famed alternative music venue, the 9:30 Club.
“I went to the 9:30 Club hundreds of times. I was always so excited to get there,” said Grohl, who was born in Ohio, but grew up in the DMV – Springfield, Virginia to be exact. “I spent my teenage years at the club and saw some shows that changed my life.”
As a destination for alternative bands, the 9:30 Club also opened its doors to go-go, the percussion-driven hybrid of African, R&B and jazz rhythms first forged by Chuck Brown in the late 70s and carried on by such bands as Trouble Funk, Rare Essence and Experience Unlimited (EU).
The 9:30 Club would regularly feature local punk and go-go bands on the same bill, which didn’t always go over so well with their respective fans.
But Grohl was one of the exceptions.
Not only was he inspired by go-go as a young teen (his high school band Mission Impossible once opened for Trouble at a prom), but on May 5, 2014, he returned to the 9:30 Club with HBO cameras and threw a birthday bash for Trouble Funk’s legendary bandleader/bassist Big Tony, who is interviewed for the episode. The group performed some of their classic hits, including “Pump Me Up,” “Let’s Get Small,” and “Drop the Bomb.”
Grohl brought the Foo Fighters as a “surprise guest” that night and the band performed for two hours following Trouble’s set. They eventually recorded their D.C. contribution to the album at Inner Ear Studios, where such local punk legends as Minor Threat, Rites Of Spring and Fugazi have all made records.
“It’s a tiny place in Arlington, Virginia, just over the bridge,” Grohl told us during interviews for the series in July. “This studio created the soundtrack to my youth. It recorded every punk rock band in Washington, D.C. Its influence is immeasurable. It changed millions of people like me.”
Grohl, who also directed the series, taps fellow Virginia native and collaborator Pharrell Williams to explain the influence of D.C.’s go-go scene. “My earliest memories of D.C. was Trouble Funk,” he says in the trailer.
“D.C. is go-go,” adds Big Tony. “I would assure you that even Obama’s got a go-go tape somewhere up in there.”
Yes…Grohl also sits down with President Obama for the D.C. episode.
Watch the trailer below:
“Sonic Highways,” filmed in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Nashville, Austin, Seattle, and, of course, D.C., premieres Friday, Oct. 17 at 11 p.m. on HBO. [The premiere takes place in Chicago and features blues icon Buddy Guy.]
Immediately following the premiere at midnight ET, Facebook will host HBO’s “Foo Fighters Sonic Highways: Live From the Cubby Bear,” a live stream of the premiere party concert from Chicago.
Band members Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear will play their first in-concert performance of the new single “Something From Nothing” from the band’s forthcoming album, also titled “Sonic Highways,” set for Nov. 10 release.