Dave Grohl Q&A: The Story Behind ‘Studio 666,’ Fake Vomit and the Foo Fighters Bringing Back the Rock & Roll Movie

Rock Cellar Magazine

Leave it to Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters to bring back the concept of the “band movie.”

Once a popular career move for acts like the Beatles and the Monkees, it seems to have been lost to the sands of time, a relic from a different era.

But in 2022, the “band movie” is back once again, a direct result of the latest offbeat endeavor from Grohl and his fellow Rock & Roll Hall of Famers. Studio 666 hits theaters on Feb. 25 and tells a very twisted tale of the band’s efforts to record its tenth studio album (which in reality was 2021’s Medicine at Midnight) in a scary haunted house in Encino, California.

Once in the drafty, distinctly disturbed dwelling, weird things start happening, and before long a LOT of blood is shed (visual homages to classic horror films are the name of the game here). But the carnage also a highly amusing and comedic tone, thanks to the mostly improvisational comedy stylings of Grohl and his colleagues.

Directed by B.J. McConnell and written by Jeff Buhler and Rebecca Hughes (based on Grohl’s story), the film also stars comedian Whitney Cummings, Will Forte, Jenna Ortega, Leslie Grossman and Jeff Garlin.

So what’s up with Studio 666? Is there any truth to the creepy story that unfolds in the film?

We looked to none other than Dave Grohl for answers, and in an exclusive one-on-one interview, he was game to shine a bit of light on the madness that is Studio 666, his latest unpredictable and highly entertaining chapter in a career full of them.

Enjoy the full video interview below, followed by a transcript.

Rock Cellar: Thanks to your book, my wife and I realized that she shares a bond with you — because you both vomited at the same Soundgarden concert in LA [at the Forum in 2011].

Dave Grohl: Listen, I got really excited for that show. Maybe a little too excited. And then afterwards, I was so inspired that I took it to the next level and wound up in my front yard, throwing up all over the place.

Here’s the thing. I have thrown up — since I was 12 years old — three times. I’m physically incapable of vomiting. That’s how good the fucking Soundgarden show was.

Rock Cellar: That was a very good show. On the topic of vomiting, you’ve only done it three times in your life, like you say, but you do it a lot in the movie, kind of as a nod to old horror movies.

Dave Grohl: I mean, what could be more disgusting than rivers of vomit coming out of a musician’s mouth? It’s just fucking gross. It was written into the script and then when we were filming it, and I saw the volume of fake puke that was coming out of this hose, I thought, you know, it’s very reminiscent of the Monty Python movie, The Meaning of Life, where there’s the man in the restaurant bar or whatever.

So, I mean, I was laughing as we were doing it. I’m like, “Ah, this is gonna be so good. This is this is gonna be so disgusting.”

Rock Cellar: I remember I laughed at it because it kept going, too.

Dave Grohl: Yes, it’s always funnier when it keeps going. It’s disgusting.

Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl, 'Studio 666' (Courtesy of Open Road Films)

Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl in ‘Studio 666’ (Courtesy of Open Road Films)

Rock Cellar: Also, on that note, you’ve acted and directed a bunch of things, you’ve acted in all your videos, but now you’re in an actual movie. What’s more challenging, acting or directing?

Dave Grohl: Well, you know, the things that I’ve directed, the documentaries I’ve directed, there’s a whole other intention, you know. Whether it’s Sound City or Sonic Highways or What Drives Us. As I’m interviewing the people, or directing, and sitting in the edit, it’s really meant to inspire other people to discover music and play music themselves, by humanizing the whole process. So there’s not a lot of fantasy there.

We’re basically lifting the veil on everything and saying, “This is how simple and human it really is.” Even with the most iconic artists, it’s very much a human endeavor.

With the horror film, it’s like, you’re reaching way outside of reality in an attempt to entertain, or disgust, someone, you know. So it’s very, very different. And different process, too, I mean, like, if we’re doing a documentary, when I sit down to interview someone, they say “action,” and I just have a conversation, I very rarely hold questions.

And I’m learning as much as the viewer as I’m doing this. With the film, oh my god, there’s so much, like, hurry up and wait, and the prosthetics and makeup and the scripts, and the take after take. A very, very different process, but both really fun.

These are things that … we wouldn’t do these things if they weren’t enjoyable to the band. We don’t do anything unless it’s enjoyable for the band.

Band meeting. (Photo: Open Road Films)

Band meeting. (Courtesy of Open Road Films)

Rock Cellar: There are a lot of prosthetics in the film … the attention to detail with the music — I know John Carpenter was involved — the set design, the statues, I noticed the creepy statues in all the rooms, the little Foo Fighters ray gun [the cover image on the 1995 self-titled album) in the raccoon dungeon. You guys — you and [director] B.J. McConnell and the whole crew, [it was pretty clear] you were going for the “horror movie” angle versus just a silly thing with the Foo Fighters.

Dave Grohl: Yeah. Originally, none of us imagined we were going to make a full-length feature film. We thought, in true Foo Fighters fashion, it would just be some low-budget run-and-gun thing, maybe a longform video that would make people laugh, you know. But we made the mistake of hiring the most talented people in town to make the film. B.J. is a legitimate badass, he’s worked on some really, really amazing films.

And Tony Gardner did the special effects. I mean, that guy, he’s he’s full fucking Hollywood legend. And then the entire crew.

The crazy thing is, you know, most of these people are used to working on actual films, legitimate, fuckin’ blockbuster movies, but they were called and said, “Hey, do you want to do a horror film with the Foo Fighters?” And they all knew, “Okay, this is gonna be fun.” So all of us were there, really, just to have fun. And it turned out great.

I think we were surrounded by a like-minded group of people that were there just to fucking have a good time.

Rock Cellar: Jenna Ortega is one of the actors in the film. She’s been in everything I’ve seen recently. I turned on the Foo Fighters SiriusXM channel this week and she’s a guest DJ and she’s playing “Summer’s End” and “Floaty” and “Weenie Beenie.” I was like, “Okay, now there’s a real Foo Fighters fan in the cast.” She wasn’t on screen a lot, but what was it like working with her?

Dave Grohl: Honestly, I felt really bad for Jenna because in a lot of her scenes, she was in that sort of demonic ghoul costume. And in order to do the special effects and CGI afterwards, they were wearing these kind of, almost a full-body suit which covered their face as well. They had these little blinking red lights on the eyes. They had to be led to set because they couldn’t see what was going on. I felt terrible for them, all of them.

But Jenna, the scene at the end — the pool scene where we actually had a chance to act together — when I was there with her and watching her do this, I’m like, “Okay, she knows what she’s doing. Yeah, this one … She’s real.”

When you’re on screen with someone or on set with someone that actually knows what they’re doing? You’re just crossing your fingers hoping, “I hope I don’t fuck this up. There’s a real professional, I’m just a jackass here.”

Rock Cellar: Are we going to hear the doom-y heavy metal riffs you and the band cut in the movie released at some point?

Dave Grohl: I’ll just say that we have found the lost Dream Widow record that they were making before the singer killed the band.

Rock Cellar: Intriguing!

Dave Grohl: The tapes have been unearthed.

Rock Cellar: Okay. So this Encino house wasn’t actually haunted. I found that out recently in another interview you did — but did you base any of the moodiness of the film’s house on your Seattle experience in the 1990s? That house you had that was haunted.

Dave Grohl: Not so much as all of our favorite horror films from when we were kids. I mean, if you look at the premise of the movie, take the rock and roll out of it. There’s a gateway to hell in the basement. That’s fucking Amityville Horror.

Someone becomes possessed and starts killing everyone? That’s The Exorcist. Everyone’s isolated in this house and someone goes insane? That’s The Shining. So we took a lot of these simple ideas from our favorite films and just kind of stirred them around in the pot and added a little bit of rock and roll.

The thing that sets this one apart from all of those movies is that it’s a rock and roll movie.

Pat Smear and Nate Mendel searching for answers. (Courtesy of Open Road Films)

It’s a band movie, and people stopped making those a long time ago. It’s a shame. Because as you know, as an ensemble onstage you’re used to your favorite band making music. But take them and put them in this other medium, and all of a sudden it shines a new light. And it’s meant to entertain.

We grew up watching those rock and roll movies, and now we have our own.

Rock Cellar: Shifting a bit to music, what’s a song you wish you wrote?

Dave Grohl: Like, for real wish I wrote? Oh my gosh. Well, I was actually just talking about this song not long ago. There’s a song by an artist from the ’70s, Andrew Gold. He wrote a song called “Lonely Boy,” he wrote “Thank You For Being a Friend.” He was kind of like an AM 70s’ radio god, right?

Well he had this song called “Never Let Her Slip Away,” that is one of the sweetest love songs I’ve ever heard, but musically it’s on par with fucking Beethoven, I promise you. Melodically, it’s one of the most complex arrangements I’ve ever heard in my life.

Still to this day, I listen to it and I’m like, “God, how did he do that?” That being said, I could say the same thing for 100 other songs.

Let’s just say this: Any song that’s not a Foo Fighters song? I wish I fucking wrote it.

Rock Cellar: Two last things, real quick. I think “Come Back” is one of your most underrated and underappreciated songs and I would love to see it played live at some point.

Dave Grohl: Noted.

Rock Cellar: And lastly, I’ve had your BBQ, Chris was rude to say [in the film] it was charred and dry.

Dave Grohl: Well, listen. You’re allowed to be critical of my BBQ. I promise I will not stuff you in the grill and stab you to death. I won’t.

But I take pride in my BBQ, I gotta be honest. I work hard on that shit.

Rock Cellar: Best of luck with the movie. It’s bananas.

Dave Grohl: It is bananas. Thank you.

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