Beverly Hills, Calif. — When Dave Grohl packed his bags to film Foo Fighters: Sonic Highway, he set out to tell the story of American music.
“The idea is to inspire the next generation of musicians to fall in love with music just as we did,” said Grohl Thursday during the TCA Summer Press Tour panel for the eight-episode series.
The musician, whose music career has spanned more than two decades with bands such as the Foo Fighters and Nirvana, visited eight cities across the country to explore the studios and people that make each region’s sound unique.
“You tell the stories of these unsung studios and these unsung musicians and that’s when people start feeling inspired,” he said.
Many know about Dolly Parton and the poverty she grew up with, said Grohl, “but then there’s someone like Tony Joe White that a lot of people don’t know about and his story will blow you away.”
The seed for the series, Grohl said, was germinated even before he began working on his 2013 documentary Sound City, which chronicled the history of Sound City Studios in California.
“I started to realize the power of music and documentary together,” he said, adding that by filming the band viewers could see the humanity behind the music.
In many cases, that music is not made in glamorous productions but garages or tiny studios, which Grohl described as “hallowed ground.”
“History’s been made in these sh*tholes all over the country,” said Grohl. “…We gotta tell this story because it’ll humanize the whole process and make it something that people could really connect to.”
Other highlights from the panel included:
—On the last day of Sonic Highway sessions, Grohl said he would sit down with the interview transcripts and work on finale music to air at the end of each segment. “The finale of each episode is a performance of the song where you realize all of these lyrical references are from the show that you just watched,” said Grohl, adding that the process was a challenge and a pain in the a** but fun.
—Grohl said it was hard to pick eight cities to showcase. “The challenge is you could give a history of music from every city in America.”
—The musician said the response to Sound City, which came out in 2013, was incredible. “It didn’t matter if you were a musician or not the message of that movie was something a lot more human…It was all about being inspired to follow your passion and that anything’s possible really if you really want to do it.”