Sonic Highways

REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways – summary

The Meat Man was always pushing.  “Watch this, listen to this.”  To his credit, he introduced me to a lot of music this way.  He wasn’t so open to my suggestions, but Roky Erickson is a personal favourite now that I discovered through Meat, by watching the Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highways series.  Most of things he pushed me to watch or listen to never stuck.  A few, like the Moody Blues and Roky, did stick through multiple years.

Over the Christmas holidays of 2014, he pushed again and we spent an entire day watching the Sonic Highways series.  I took down his comments, and wrote eight reviews on the fly in a single day.  Eight hours of viewing, eight hours of writing.  I resented a lot of his pushing, but this time, the push was really worth it.

I wanted him to return in the new year to help me finish and get the series posted.  What he realized then, and I did not, was that the series was already finished.  It didn’t need any polishing.  Sure, it could have used some more connective tissue but the key words were all there.  I waited and waited for his return, but he was simply not interested in revisiting.  So the reviews sat there unpublished for nine years, until I finally decided to post them now.

I’ve never written a song by song review of an album before so this was something that only ever happened once.  I’m grateful that I did it and I hope you enjoy it.  I owe Meat a thanks for pushing me this time.  I haven’t played the album since.


Sonic Highways 1 – Chicago “Something From Nothing”


Sonic Highways 2 – Washington – “The Feast and the Famine”


Sonic Highways 3 – Nashville “Congregation”


Sonic Highways 4 – Austin – “What Did I Do?/God as my Witness”


Sonic Highways 5 – Los Angeles – “Outside”


Sonic Highways 6 – New Orleans – “In the Clear”


Sonic Highways – 7 Seattle – “Subterranean”


Sonic Highways 8 – New York – “I am a River”


4/5 stars (album)

5/5 stars (series)


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REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways 8 – New York – “I am a River”

FOO FIGHTERS – Sonic Highways 8 – New York – “I am a River”

New York City.  The end of our journey, and the very last song on Sonic Highways.

We’ve had a hell of an education so far.  New York is the final stop, the “greatest city in America” according to Grohl.  If you make it there, you can make it anywhere, says LL Cool J.  Every style of music could be heard just by turning the dial.  Tin Pan Alley, Billy Holiday, Woodie Guthrie, Lou Reed, New York Dolls…the scene was eternal and endless.  The streets, and the recording studios, were tight and crammed with people.

CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City, the folk singer-songwriter scenes all formed a potent mix of styles.  The Ramones and Dead Boys emerged, as did the hip hop scene.  Hip hop started in New York, in the Bronx, but soon spread to Brooklyn and Queens and Long Island.  Guys like the Beastie Boys made the jump from punk rock to hip hop, because the attitude was the same.  “Rap seemed like a party, and then Public Enemy came out,” says Grohl.  They introduced a militancy that hadn’t existed in rap before.  Chuck D was influenced by the things he saw around him in the aftermath of the Vietnam war.

Woodie Guthrie did something similar.  He “wrote what he saw” which is something Dave Grohl tried to do, for a change, on “I am a River”.  Dave noticed that things are all connected, the stories and the people.  “I am a River” also refers to an underground river that runs beneath Electric Lady studios.

Jimmy “Shoes” Iovine became one of the most powerful men in music, and he was right there recording John Lennon and Elton John in the late 70’s.  Electric Lady studios, built by Hendrix, was the place for artists like Kiss, Bowie and Zeppelin to record.  But Dave chose the Magic Shop, in Soho.  Owner Steve Rosenthal has a collection of vintage keyboards to use (and bands like Coldplay did use them).  So did Norah Jones, Arcade Fire, and David Bowie.  The Magic Shop isn’t in the nicest part of town, but it does have an incredible sounding drum room.  Butch Vig recorded Sonic Youth’s Dirty there.  The room even has a Neve board.

When MTV stopped playing rock and roll, the Magic Shop had to do something to survive.  Now, the main income in made in another room, restoring old classic recordings for permanent storage.  The future, says Steve Rosenthal, is “cloudy”.  He doesn’t know if recording studios are obsolete in the face of laptops and easy home recording.  The final interview presented is with President Obama, who thinks it’s more important to produce art than to consume it.  “It’s all about the garage band, the juke joint, the jazz club.  It’s about people rejecting what’s already there to create something entirely new.”  It’s the American dream he says.  Play some rock and roll, take a chance, and make it.  Obama refers to “musical rivers” that connect us, bringing us back full circle.

Finally, “I am a River” closes the Sonic Highways series and album.  It has a long, slow and meandering Floydian intro, and a pleasant easy melody.  Dave mentions the “water” beneath the “subway floor”.  It’s your typical Foo Fighters closer. It builds from quiet to more epic, with choruses of shimmering guitars.   It’s nothing new for Foo Fighters, but it is basically everything you expect for a closer.  A youth string section joins them to end the album in style.

As an album, we applaud the Foo Fighters for the concept and vision of what into making it.  Without the TV series, however, we would have no inclination about what makes each song different.  Sonic Highways would remain “just another Foo Fighters album,” all but interchangeable with the last two.  That’s unfortunate.

Episode 4.5/5 stars

Song 3.5/5 stars

Album 4/5 stars

Series 5/5 stars

REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways 7 – Seattle – “Subterranean”

A HUGE thank you to Uncle Meat, who found the original writeup for this episode of Sonic Highways in his email.  Now the series is posted complete.  Thank you!!

FOO FIGHTERS – Sonic Highways – 7 Seattle – “Subterranean”

Seattle. The home of Nirvana and the birthplace of the very first Foo Fighters demos. It’s a place Dave is intimately familiar with.

Low black clouds, rain and long isolated winters really informed a lot of the gloom Seattle was known for. Dave didn’t know anything about the city before he moved there. “It’s really cold,” a young Dave says on an old home movie. Today, it is a place for both bright and dark memories. It’s become more commercialized, too.

Robert Lang studio is a weird, stone building that a killer drum sound. No walls are parallel and all surfaces are uneven. Robert Lang would trade studio time to help pay excavating costs, and he’s still not done building it. It has rooms deep underground. He almost got buried alive a couple times. A neighbor’s wall collapsed. It was also the last place Nirvana recorded. Since Nirvana, Death Cab for Cutie, Dave Matthews Band, and the Presidents of the United States of America recorded there for the vibe. Foo Fighters returned a few times.

Seattle didn’t have much going for it in the 1970’s except for Heart. Even Heart weren’t really associated with Seattle, because they were always out touring. A new wave/punk scene started bubbling under, as it tends to. But rock bands didn’t tend to stop in Seattle; it was too far out of the way. The scene had to create itself, because that was the only way for live music to exist there. Sub-pop records put out records by the Melvins, Green River, Soundgarden, Mudhoney and more. There was no thought of commercial success.

The bands were sloppier than what was on MTV, and the scene was typified by small sweaty shows with loads of audience interaction. Nirvana were actually latecomers and didn’t even have a name with they started recording. They weren’t expected to go anywhere, but they quickly found their footing. Meanwhile, bassist Nate Mendel was playing with Sunny Day Real Estate, who later became 1/2 of the first Foo Fighters lineup. Dave Grohl recorded about 40 songs towards the end of Nirvana, by himself, which were not meant for public consumption. The songs range from hilarious crap to future Foo Fighters hits. They weren’t meant for Nirvana either, since Kurt already wrote songs so naturally.

Nirvana exploded. So did Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. Seattle became the place to be, and grunge became the fashion. It became a commercial business. When Kurt died, Dave had to discover his love of music. As for Seattle, new people and new scenes soon took the place of the old, though the old still persists and inspires.

“Subterranean” was recorded in that studio deep underground. Hawkins played the drums, and Dave the cymbals, in order to get better separation. Dave makes a great “lead cymbalist”. Regardless of the setting, the band make recording look like a shitload of fun. Ben Gibbard from Death Cab joins them on guitar for this Beatles-vibed ballad. There’s also some Floyd in the grooves. It’s good to get a slow song at the stage of the album, and it fits the gloomy mood of Seattle. You might even read some Layne Stayley influences into the lyrics about being “deep in the dirt”.

Episode 4.5/5 stars

Song 4/5 stars


Sonic Highways 1 – Chicago “Something From Nothing”


Sonic Highways 2 – Washington – “The Feast and the Famine”


Sonic Highways 3 – Nashville “Congregation”


Sonic Highways 4 – Austin – “What Did I Do?/God as my Witness”


Sonic Highways 5 – Los Angeles – “Outside”


Sonic Highways 6 – New Orleans – “In the Clear”


Sonic Highways – 7 Seattle – “Subterranean”


Sonic Highways 8 – New York – “I am a River”


REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways 6 – New Orleans – “In the Clear”

FOO FIGHTERS – Sonic Highways 6 – New Orleans – “In the Clear”

New Orleans.  Streetcars, paddlewheels, big brass and the Foo Fighters.  Let’s rock!

The city is alive with music, all day and all night.  It starts with the jazz, Louis Armstrong all the way down to Harry Connick Jr.  Little Richard transformed it into rock and roll.  Dr. John was born there, and was mentored by Louis Armstrong.  Preservation Jazz Hall was the historic place to be, but could it stand up to the full blast of the Foo Fighters?  The streetfront venue picks up all sorts of crowd noise, from horses to passing musicians.  It’s all part of the charm.

In this installment, Dave speaks to Allen Toussaint, born and raised in New Orleans, in a segregated city.  It was actually illegal for black and white musicians to share a stage together.  “It just seemed jive to me,” says Dr. John, who played with who he wanted to play with regardless of the consequences.   Allen Toussaint wrote one of his biggest hits, “Summer Nights” which was directly inspired by the New Orleans sky at night.  Also from New Orleans came the “first family of funk”, the Meters.  The funk they produced was a new form for New Orleans – the Meters sound.

The Foo Fighters were invited to play the Jazz Festival, an historic event that couldn’t even happen until the end of segregation laws.  Until then, a jazz festival in New Orleans was simply not possible.  It’s an honor to be invited.  New Orleans was a cultural mecca, rich with distinct influences from around the Gulf of Mexico, and Africa as well.  Dave’s also invited to the Hall’s piano player’s house to eat and jam with his family.  It’s a really old fashioned traditional way of life.  Music is more important to the people of New Orleans than any of the other cities they visited.

When Katrina hit, seven of the eight members of the Preservation Hall band lost their homes.  It had a devastating effect but also brought people together.  The people learned to appreciate music just a little bit more.

It’s hard to get Grohl back into the Preservation Hall to work on the chunky, Motley riff of “In the Clear”.  The French quarter has its charms, and he’s busy hanging at the bar across the street with Nate Mendel!  Once they get their shit together, “In the Clear” emerges as a singalong hard rock track.  The lyrics reflect the perseverance  of the city, but the music doesn’t have any of its rich cultural sheen.  For a song inspired by New Orleans, and jamming with these local musicians, it would have been nice for them to shed a bit of the rock.  You can’t hear any influence of the old.

Episode 4/5 stars

Song 2/5 stars (Meat)

Song 3/5 stars (LeBrain)

REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways 5 – Los Angeles – “Outside”

FOO FIGHTERS – Sonic Highways 5 – Los Angeles – “Outside”

L.A.  Home of Pat Smear and the Germs.  Pat wouldn’t live anywhere else.  It’s Hotel California!

Lots of people went to L.A. to make it.  Very few did.  The first that did in the 1960’s had sunny, California sounds.  Then came the excess and rock and roll stylings of Motley Crue.  To a young Duff McKagan, straight off the bus from Seattle, it was “the wild west”.  The desert itself attracted the artist types and a hippy mentality.  Foo Fighters recorded The Color and the Shape there, but on a day off, Dave went into the desert to find an obscure studio called Rancho de la Luna.  It was home of the “desert scene” there.  Daniel Lanois helped set it up.  It’s the weirdest studio you’ve ever seen, loaded with weird, creepy and quaint nicknacks.  It’s tiny. How the fuck are the Foo Fighters going to fit in that room?

That little room necessitates all five players to be in close quarters.  No room for pianos this time, so it has to be a bare arrangement.  In the desert, there is nothing to distract the artists.  Except Joe Walsh, who shows up to lay down a quintessential solo, blowing the mind of Taylor Hawkins, who just gushes.  “That was so fuckin’ RAD!”

Meanwhile, guitarist Pat Smear is eager to hit his old home town.  Rodney Bingenheimer was the DJ you wanted to impress back then, if you wanted to make it big.  He was the first to play Pat on the radio.  He was known as the “mayor of Sunset Strip”, knowing everybody and owning the coolest clubs.  Iggy Pop played there.  Paul Stanley would check it out to see what bands were coming up.  Joan Jett and Lita Ford were regulars.  They formed the Runaways in L.A., and struggled with the sexist assholes and persevered.  Pat Smear ended up as one of their groupies.  Pat formed the Germs with the very disturbed Darby Crash, who influenced Nirvana’s frontman (and Smear’s future bandmate) Kurt Cobain.  They were also the band who convinced Duff McKagan to play music.

As a footnote, Darby Crash purposely overdosed on heroine, in order to be remembered as famous.  Even this backfired when John Lennon was killed the following day, meaning nobody would ever remember the death of Darby Crash.

Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age was born in Palm Springs, “on the edge of civilization”.  Mario Lalli, Scott Reeder, and other cornerstones of the stoner rock scene would take a generator out into the desert and play concerts by word of mouth.  They’d take mushrooms and put on a show.  According to Scott Reeder, “there was nowhere for you to play, where you could get that fucked up.”  The environment was “lawless and free”, and that was the beginning of Kyuss.  They were the antithesis of what was happening in metal at the time: the precision and speed. This was more about making a big, heavy detuned noise.  According to Grohl, Kyuss “blew my fucking mind.”  He bought extra copies of Blues for the Red Sun just to give to people.

“Outside” doesn’t sound as much like Foo Fighters as much; Grohl’s voice has a thinner sound this time.  The lyrics recall the openness of the desert.  “There’s a long straight road, out of the cold.”  The chorus is really memorable.  There are certain guitar licks that sound like they were lifted from past Foo Fighters songs such as “Everlong”.  It’s really special on that Joe Walsh solo, where he makes two notes sound more important than any others in the whole song.

Episode 5/5 stars because Kyuss

Song 4/5 stars

REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways 4 – Austin – “What Did I Do?/God as my Witness”

FOO FIGHTERS – Sonic Highways 4 – Austin – “What Did I Do?/God as my Witness”

Austin.  Classic riffs such as “Smoke on the Water”, “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Stairway” ring out from the studio hall.  “Just something new I’m working on!” somebody says.  Time to record another new Foo Fighters song in another city.

Austin is a little pocket of “different” in Texas.  Gibby Haynes from the Butthole Surfers is not the kind of guy you expect to come out of Texas.  Willie Nelson, though, seems like a natural.  He returned to Texas from Nashville to become an artist in his own right, and in turn he helped but Austin on the music map.  It was now OK to have long hair, and cowboy boots.

Austin City Limits was their version of Grand Ole Opry.  It was the stage you had to be on.  It was one of the few TV shows that made bands sound good instead of weak and thin.  Artists from all genres have played it.  Though Austin City Limits have since moved to a new facility, the old one is still there, and that’s where Grohl wants to set up and play.

Austin was home to the Moving Sidewalks, which housed Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.  It was also home to the 13th Floor Elevators, adding a psychedelic edge to the music scene.  Roky Erickson of the Elevators invented it, and was behind numerous aggressive spaced-out rock songs.  Townes Van Zandt was another cornerstone of the scene, and Steve Earle went to Austin looking for him.  Jimmie Vaughan formed the Fabulous Thunderbirds there, even though he was told there was no point in forming a blues band.  Stevie Ray came along at age 17 to play with Albert King.  Gary Clark Jr. started out as a kid who started hanging out at Austin City Limits, but could play the blues like devil hisself.

As always, punk came alone.  The Big Boys, the Jesus Lizard, the Butthole Surfers presented an unorthodox but creative front.  These guys listened to both punk and funk, and tried to combine both.  South by Southwest (SXSW) became a critical music festival that gets 10,000 applications from bands a year, to play in only 2300 slots.  The challenge now is that since the scene has grown so much, and got so commercial, how do you keep Austin weird?

Grohl is psyched to find an old piano under a tarp in the studio that had been played by everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, and Tom Waits.  He had to have it on the album.  Indeed, it’s right there at the beginning of the song, which soon transmutates into something more typical for Foo Fighters.  There is a lyrical reference to the “13 floor”, and the urethane wheels of the skateboards that were central to the Austin punk scene.  Regardless, “Where Did I Go?” is pretty stock, coming to life a bit more in the second section, “God as my Witness”.  The structure is not unlike “Layla”, and ends better than it starts.  It’s almost gospel at the end, as if the Nashville carried over into the Austin.  Gary Clark Jr. throws down a great classic rock lead on a Gibson SG.

Episode 4/5 stars

Song 3.5/5 stars

REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways 3 – Nashville “Congregation”

FOO FIGHTERS – Sonic Highways 3 – Nashville “Congregation”


“Wow, Kevin Costner has played the Grand Ole Opry.  Rad.” – Pat Smear

Dave sits down to play an acoustic at the legendary Bluebird Cafe.  It’s a daunting task for a rock drummer, to sit and play bare acoustic songs by himself on that historic stage.  He was admittedly a fish out of water, but in a “refreshing way”.  Nashville, according to Foo Fighters, is the coolest city in America.  Dolly Parton says Nashville is all about the songs.  It was the “Hollywood of music, for the south” according to The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach.  Steve Earle, who arrived in 1974, says Nashville is “university for songwriting.” However some artists like Willie Nelson had to leave Nashville in order to find solo success.

It’s big, big business; a country “hit factory”, from Dolly Parton to Carrie Underwood.  Johnny Cash to Kenny Rogers and Lady Antebellum.  By the time you get to Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift, it doesn’t sound much like what it used to anymore.  Zac Brown is an exception.  Dave Grohl thought it was pretty cool that Zac would barbecue food for his audience before the show.  Brown on the other hand really wanted Grohl to produce them.  And Dave had never even heard one song before, but grew to love his “outsider” stance and lightning guitar licks.  He could be in Slayer, says Grohl, he’s so fast.  He started out picking intricate classical lines on a nylon string guitar.

Grohl became such a fan that he decided to record at Brown’s own studio, one of the oldest in town.  It is a huge beautiful building; a church built in 1901.  The wood paneling inside lends it a cottage-y feel, but it’s also wormy wood that has great acoustics.  The drum sound is once again massive and deep, but the band didn’t have the song ready until they got there and Dave figured out the arrangement in the studio.  Dave was inspired by a beam in light through one of the old church’s music — no shit.

It’s a suitable inspiration.  Cash sang gospel, so did the deeply religious Elvis.  Blues was also an influence to later Nashville artists.  Jukeboxes were a big inspiration.  Pianist Tony Brown first turned on to country via a George Jones song on a jukebox.  Emmylou Harris told him to check it out; the song brought him “to his knees”.  The single was an important format.  An album was essentially just a compilation of previously released singles.

Foo Fighters lead guitarist Chris Shiflett is a country-head, and he had the best time in Nashville.  The barbecue food looks incredibly succulent.    “Congregation” is surprisingly Journey-like, but with Lizzy harmony guitars.  Arena rock: it’s the choice of notes.  The middle section then goes into an odd, jazzy guitar part played by Zac Brown.  “Open your eyes, step into the light!”  This is definitely a hard rock anthem.

Episode 4.5/5 stars

Song 4.5/5 stars

REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways 2 – Washington – “The Feast and the Famine”

Back in 2014, Uncle Meat asked me to sit down with him and write up Dave Grohl’s series / album Sonic Highways episode by episode, song by song.  Eight hour day at minimum.  I said OK.  I took meticulous notes.  Then we never finished it.  So I’m posting them all now, nine years late, as-is and unrefined.

FOO FIGHTERS – Sonic Highways 2 – Washington – “The Feast and the Famine”

Washington DC.  Home of the Bad Brains.  PMA: Postive Mental Attitude.  Time to record another song.

The episode begins with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.  Dave grew up in nearby Virginia, a place that feels like home.  The stark poverty surrounded by the upper crust is the inspiration for “The Feast and the Famine”.  It’s an ugly reality that cannot be ignored.  There was also racial segregation.  The only white people that the kids in Bad Brains saw were their school teachers.

DC didn’t have much of a rock scene in the 70’s, but it did boast some pretty wicked funk.  “The art form that should have been popular instead or rap.”  It’s based on something called the “pocket beat” which switches up the hits to make something new: “Go Go music”.  Pharrell is on hand to offer his perspective of growing up with Go Go funk.  It’s repetitive but irresistible.

Grohl goes to Inner Ear Studios in Virginia, a studio responsible for some early classic Black Flag records with Henry Rollins.  Don Zientara was the producer who was responsible for virtually every punk record to come out of Washington.  Bad Brains bassist Daryl Jenifer says that speed was the key for their brand of punk rock.  Faster and more aggressive, says Rick Rubin. Mike D from the Beastie Boys says that Bad Brains were the best show he’d ever seen.  The original Inner Ear studio was in a house in the suburbs, a crazy juxtaposition of the punk and the normal.  The records were released on Dischord records and other indi labels.  The labels started out of necessity; they cut, folded and glued the record sleeves together themselves.  Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat/Fugazi) has many great stories about the scene at the time.

Virginia band Scream attracted young Dave as a highschool kid.  When they needed a new drummer, Dave gave them a call.  To his surprise, they actually hired him.  He went on to record the pretty crap album No More Censorship, but he was doing it!  When he wasn’t doing that, he was protesting apartheid in Washington.

The new Inner Ear doesn’t seem much bigger inside, but the drum sound that Taylor Hawkins gets is a killer.  It’s the studio that bassist Nate Mendel was most looking forward to, because of all the records he loved that were made there.  The band start working on a stuttery, syncopated riff.  It’s rhythmically interesting, but the melody reeks of punk rock.  It combined the punk/funk relationship in Washington DC.  It has the speed and melody of punk, but with the rhythmic chops of funk.  It’s not a basic, straightforward punk song due to the interesting stuttering rhythm.  To Meat, it sounds like Foo Fighters.

Episode 4/5 stars

Song 4/5 stars

REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways 1 – Chicago “Something From Nothing”

Back in 2014, Uncle Meat asked me to sit down with him and write up Dave Grohl’s series / album Sonic Highways episode by episode, song by song.  Eight hour day at minimum.  I said OK.  I took meticulous notes.  Then we never finished it.  So I’m posting them all now, nine years late, as-is and unrefined.

FOO FIGHTERS – Sonic Highways 1 – Chicago “Something From Nothing”

Chicago.  20 years.  Time to do something special. Something they’d never done before.

The assumption is that the environment in which you record, affects the finished recording.  The history of each city resonates in the grooves.

Buddy Guy, Joe Walsh, Bonnie Raitt, Rick Neilson, Jimmie Vaughan, Billy Gibbons, and more are all on hand to talk about the Chicago blues.  It all started with Muddy Waters – “Muddy was the magnet.”  The blues clubs in Chicago grew into a phenomenon.  Buddy Guy came to Chicago “looking for a dime, but found a quarter”.  These blues roots later influenced the guitar work of Cheap Trick’s Rick Neilson.  Coming up, he played with all the greats before finding his own fame.

The Foo Fighters enter the Chicago studio of producer Steve Albini, a tenacious bastard of a producer clad in coveralls, to see what will happen.  Dave Grohl is a big fan of his drum sound, having worked with him before on In Utero, and he knows he will get a huge drum sound here.  Butch Vig is the producer for the sessions. Albini, though, was initially attracted to Chicago for its infant punk scene.  He was an “annoying kid” who hung out with the band Naked Raygun, who really kicked off the scene.  Even Dave Grohl’s Chicago cousin Tracey had a punk band called Verboten.  Punk was coming up in Chicago.  The record store Wax Trax was critical to the growing scene.  Grohl himself bought records there when visiting his cousins in town.

“Something From Nothing” begins to emerge from that funky “Holy Diver” riff.  Chris Shifflet lays down a noisy, fast guitar solo with the raving encouragement of his bandmates.  Rick Neilson lays down some thick chords, even though the Foo Fighters already have three guitarists!  Lyrically, a lot of the song comes from Buddy Guy’s own story coming up in Chicago.  The record company wanted him to change his name.  “Buddy Guy isn’t a stage name.”  How wrong they were!  Buddy Guy used to make rudimentary musical instruments with buttons and strings, and that made it into the lyrics.

The result is a powerful, epic song of massive proportions.  It snakes its way through multiple riffs and sections, but it’s that “Holy Diver” riff that first hooks you.  “Funky Diver”, maybe.  It’s a clear sonic assault.  This is, by far, Uncle Meat’s favourite Foo Fighters song.

Episode 4.5/5 stars

Song 5/5 stars

Tom and Meat’s Top Whatever of 2014

For my Top Five of 2014, click here.

For Dr. Dave’s Top Ten of 2014, click here.

For the Top Whatever of No Pre-Determined Amount from two of Canada’s most knowledgeable rock gods, stay tuned right here.  From Meaford Ontario, weighing in at XXX lbs, it’s Iron Tom Sharpe, who turns it up to 11.


Tom’s Top Eleven of 2014

BEN WARD11. Various ArtistsRONNIE JAMES DIO: This Is Your Life
10. JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE – Single Mothers
9. MASTODON Once More ‘Round the Sun
8. EARLY MAN – Thank God You’ve Got the Answers For Us All
7. OPETH – Pale Communion
6. JOHN GARCIA – John Garcia
5. ST. PAUL & the BROKEN BONES – Half the City
4. sHEAVY – The Best Of sHeavy – A Misleading Collection
3. DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS – English Oceans
2. BRANT BJORK and the LOW DESERT PUNK BAND – Black Power Flower
1. ORANGE GOBLIN – Back From The Abyss

Saving the best for last, here’s Uncle Meat.  For added rocket sauce he’s also given me his top movies of 2014.


Meat’s Top Eight of 2014

Copy of IMG_20140706_0857128. MASTODONOnce More ‘Round the Sun
6. FOO FIGHTERSSonic Highways
5. “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC – Mandatory Fun
4. FLYING COLORSSecond Nature
3. BRANT BJORK and the LOW DESERT PUNK BAND – Black Power Flower
2. DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS English Oceans
1. ORANGE GOBLIN – Back From the Abyss

Meat’s Top Twelve Movies of 2014

11. X Men : Days of Future Past
10. St. Vincent
9. Interstellar
8. The Lego Movie
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel
6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
5. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
4. Guardians of the Galaxy
3. Get On Up
2. Birdman
1. Whiplash