June 15, 2010 16:25

Foo Fighters' Chris Shiflett speaks about new side project

Guitarist forms new band for Americana/classic country driven debut album

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Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett has announced details of a new side project.

Like drummer Taylor Hawkins, who has been touring with his own band the Coattail Riders, the star is fronting his own collective The Dead Peasants.

The band's self-titled debut, which is due out on July 12, is driven by the guitarist's love for Americana, classic country and rockabilly.

"One of my favourite kinds of music is old country and old rockabilly and modern Americana like Sun Volt, Wilco and Ryan Adams, I love all that stuff," he told NME. "There's really no real big loud Les Paul pumping through a Marshall amp kind of moments on this record. It is so far from anything I've been a part of with Foo Fighters and it was just really fun to do."

Late Clash frontman Joe Strummer was another major influence, to the extent that Shiflett even slotted in a cover of the rare track 'Burning Lights', which featured in the 1990 movie 'I Hired A Contract Killer'.

"I'd never heard that track before but I instantly fell in love with it and thought that would be a good cover because no-one is going to know it," Shiflett explained. "I never referenced the original when we were recording it and I recently went back and listened to it and there were a couple of parts where I totally fucked up the melody. I was like 'Argh I didn't do that, I should have done that, it sounded so much better the way Joe did it'."

Recorded in Foo Fighters' California Studio 606 between December 2009 and January 2010, Shiflett recruited The Mavericks guitarist Eddie Perez along with a rolling roster of bassists.

"I started doing some Americana shows with some friends and that kind of evolved into recording some demos," he revealed. "We did that and I thought, 'Well I've got this studio at my disposal, let's go make a record and see what happens'.

Despite its Americana roots, Shiflett said lyrically, the album, which includes the tracks 'Death March', 'Not Going Down Alone' and 'An Atheist's Player', is closer to a "goth record". "I always write from personal experience so there's a lot of love songs on there and there's a lot of songs about death because a few friends and relatives of mine have died over the last few years," he said. "Melodically it is not dark but lyrically it's pretty sad."

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