When bands hit the big screen, it can go one of two ways. There’s your silly, so-bad-its-good guilty pleasures (see the Ramones’ Rock ‘n’ Roll High School), and then you’ve got the rubbish rock star vanity projects (like Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park). Studio 666, Foo Fighters’ new gross-out splatter horror, is thankfully the former.
Set almost entirely at a creepy LA mansion where the Foos are recording their 10th album, Studio 666 opens on a flashback to the mid-’90s. Then, a troubled metal group called Dreamwidow were holed up in the house – and met a grisly end at the hands of their possessed, red-eyed frontman. As you can expect, the ghastly ghoul responsible eventually takes over Dave Grohl (now the nicest psychopath in rock and roll), who goes on a similarly bloody rampage, picking off his mates one by one.
We caught up with a now de-possessed Grohl, along with Foos bassist Nate Mendel, to find out what it’s like when you snort up a succubus.
Hey guys, where’d the idea for a Foo Fighters horror film come from?
Dave Grohl: “Hey! A friend of mine put the idea in my ear, and my initial reaction was that it was terrible. It wasn’t something that we’d ever do. But the studio we recorded the last record, ‘Medicine At Midnight‘, at was in an old and creepy house. So I started to think: ‘We could just bring some cameras in here and shoot something quickly, very low-budget, that our audience might get a kick out of!”
Give me a one-line teaser for the movie
DG: “It’s kind of like Scooby Doo meets Spinal Tap meets The Evil Dead.”
Nate, how did the band react when Dave pitched the film to you?
Nate Mendel: “We loved it because it was so audacious. We’re so unqualified to make a movie, but we never took lessons to know how to play music or be in a band and that turned out OK, maybe we could be in a movie too!”
How much prep did you all do?
DG: “One of us went and took acting lessons without telling anybody. I’m not going to say who it was. You’ll have to watch the film and judge for yourself. It clearly wasn’t the two of us!”
Have either of you ever had real life supernatural experiences?
NM: “Oh I wish. I’m just waiting for a ghost to appear but it hasn’t happened yet.”
DG: “I have…”
Go on, Dave…
DG: “I moved into a house in Seattle in 1993. It was a new house built at the edge of a forest and little things started happening: noises, motion detectors going off. That soon ramped up into doors opening on their own or I’d feel like someone was right behind me at all times. Then I had these recurring nightmares where this old woman would be standing looking at me. She was barefoot in a grey sweater and this weird, dirty blue skirt. She was covered in mud and her hair was all fucked up. It got to the point where I’d hear footsteps in the kitchen…”
DG: “Yeah. It wasn’t so bad that I wanted to move though. I just sort of stayed there and felt creeped out for two and a half years.”
Who was in charge of getting Lionel Richie in the film?
DG: “Well Lionel‘s scene was written into the script by the screenwriters without them realising that I actually know that dude. And so when I read the script, I laughed hysterically at that particular scene and picked up my phone and texted him. I said: ‘Hey man, we’re making a horror film – do you wanna be in it?’ and he said: ‘Absolutely my brother.’ I think he was on the set of American Idol when I was texting him. It was pretty fucking hilarious.”
And what about John Carpenter?
DG: “Our lighting guy Dan, who’s been with us for a million years, once went on the road with John Carpenter. So when Dan found out we were making a horror film he said: ‘Hey I know John Carpenter, you should email him and find out if he’ll make a cameo!’ And of course I thought there’s no way that he would ever be involved with something on this level. But he emailed back and said that we had taken his kid’s [Cody Carpenter] band on the road like 15 years ago. And so to return the favour, he was not only in our film but he wrote the theme song too. He’s a stand up dude. We hit the jackpot.”
Dave, we wouldn’t be NME if we didn’t ask you about working with Liam Gallagher on his new song ‘Everything’s Electric’…
DG: “Well, unfortunately we didn’t do it in person but I love being in the same room as Liam. It’s like putting a fucking quarter in a juke box and just turning it up with that guy. It’s fucking great. Obviously, he’s an amazing singer and he’s a fucking rock star. He is one of the few last remaining rock stars.”
How did the collab come about?
DG: “He was making a song [‘Everything’s Electric’] with the producer Greg Kurstin and they needed a beat which I think was described as something ‘Sabotage’-esque [Beastie Boys] and so I fucking served it up. I served up the beats. And the fucking single turned out great. I love that song I honestly do. I was dancing to it the other night..”
What did you make of his new hat?
DG: “I did not see the hat. Oh I did see the hat! It’s like an Elmer Fudd hat?”
NM: “Yeah dude but don’t say anything about the hat or it’ll end up in a pull quote and you’ll have a fucking battle on your hands!”
DG: “There you go, alright. I love it! Great hat!”
And what about new Foo Fighters music – is there any in the pipeline?
DG: “Not at the moment. We’ve been too wrapped up being movie stars to write rock songs.”
OK, then tell me about touring – you’re coming over here in the summer right?
DG: “We’re gonna be bouncing around the planet for the next 10 months. When everything shut down in 2020 [because of COVID], I think we all felt the sting that we’d been on the road pretty much our entire career. But when it was taken away from us, everyone wanted it back even more and we begged for a tour. We begged for shows and then we got this itinerary through and I was like: ‘Oh my god what were we thinking? Holy shit that’s a lot of shows!’ I think there’s 70 or more coming up. But hallelujah brother I can’t wait.”
‘Studio 666’ is in cinemas now
This Q&A has been edited for brevity and clarity