Foo Fighters Live

The (currently hypothetical) Foo Fighters box set - what could it contain?

By Simon Kilmore

Dave Grohl has many times teased the idea, we take a look at what one might feature

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Let’s be clear from the outset here. There is to our knowledge no Foo Fighters box set releasing in the near future. Dave has alluded to one in many interviews over the years, sometimes jovially, but when or even if one will actually come, we don’t know. Nothing has been announced, leaked, or rumoured. Sorry folks.

That being said, we always enjoy any reason to dive into the recording history of the band and exploring just what a Foo Fighters box-set could contain was as good an excuse as any.

Foo Fighters have now been a band for over 24 years and Dave recorded demos for several years before that, so to say there would be a lot of content to choose from would be quite the understatement. Whilst we know about most of what was put to tape in the first 10 or so years of their history, after that things do get a little patchy.

So whilst we can put together a mouth-watering list, do consider that any real collection could be even more jam-packed full of content we don’t even know exists.

So, let’s get started. Whilst the CD format seems to be slowly dying a death, and may be gone before any box set is released, nevertheless we’re going to base this hypothetical box-set on the format. Just because.

CD1 – Early Dave Grohl demos

  1. Gods Look Down (Laundry Room demo, 1988)
  2. Friend Of A Friend (home demo, 1990)
  3. Marigold (home demo, 1990)
  4. Throwing Needles (Laundry Room demo, 1990)
  5. Friend Of A Friend (Laundry Room demo, 1990)
  6. Pokey The Little Puppy (Laundry Room demo, 1990)
  7. Just Another Story About Skeeter Thompson (Laundry Room demo, 1990)
  8. Hooker (Laundry Room demo, 1990)
  9. Marigold (Laundry Room demo, 1991)
  10. Petrol CB (Laundry Room demo, 1991)
  11. Hell’s Garden (WGNS Studio demo, 1991)
  12. Winnebago (WGNS Studio demo, 1991)
  13. Bruce (WGNS Studio demo, 1991)
  14. Milk (WGNS Studio demo, 1991)
  15. Rent (Jerky Boys) (Laundry Room demo, 1992)
  16. Floaty (Laundry Room demo, 1992)
  17. What I’m About (Laundry Room demo, 1992)
  18. Butterflies (Laundry Room demo, 1992)
  19. Back In Treatment (Laundry Room demo, 1992)

CD2 – Early Dave Grohl demos continued

  1. Pretty Girl (Laundry Room demo, 1992)
  2. Podunk (Laundry Room demo, 1992)
  3. Make A Bet (Laundry Room demo, 1992)
  4. I Don’t Want Your (Laundry Room demo, 1992)
  5. Watered It Down (Laundry Room demo, 1992)
  6. Slackers Password (Laundry Room demo, 1992)
  7. For All The Cows (Laundry Room demo,1993)
  8. Good Grief (Laundry Room demo,1993)
  9. Exhausted (Laundry Room demo,1993)
  10. Weenie Beenie (Laundry Room demo,1993)
  11. Gas Chamber (Laundry Room demo,1990s)
  12. February Stars (Robert Lang Studio w/ Krist Novoselic, 1994)
  13. Exhausted (Robert Lang Studio w/ Krist Novoselic, 1994)
  14. Big Me (Robert Lang Studio w/ Krist Novoselic, 1994)
  15. Butterflies (Robert Lang Studio w/ Krist Novoselic, 1994)
  16. Mountain Of You (Laundry Room demo, 1994)
  17. I’ll Stick Around (Laundry Room demo, 1994)
  18. This Is A Call (Laundry Room demo, 1994)
  19. Oh, George (Laundry Room demo, 1994)
  20. Wattershed (Laundry Room demo, 1994)

Dave and Barrett listen to some of his early demos
Dave and Barrett listen to some of his early demos

The release of ‘Songs From The Laundry Room’ in 2015 set a precedent for Dave Grohl’s old demos, in that any released would be under the Foo Fighters name, even for songs that were never recorded or played as an actual band, like ‘Empty Handed’.

We therefore packed these first two CDs full of the known Dave Grohl demos that are yet to see official release, or in the case of Pocketwatch, in CD quality for the first time.

The discs cover all of the demos that Dave would record given the chance, usually with Barrett Jones at his Laundry Room Studio. Demos of just about every song from the first album would be included, as well as many songs that would never be recorded ever again (that we know of!).

CD3 – The Colour And The Shape demos, out-takes and alternate versions

  1. My Hero (Dave Grohl solo demo, July 1995)
  2. Enough Space (demo, Jan 1996)
  3. Butterflies (demo, Jan 1996)
  4. I’m Alone Again (demo, Jan 1996)
  5. My Hero (demo, Jan 1996)
  6. New Way Home (Laundry Room demo, 1996)
  7. Untitled (Laundry Room demo, 1996)
  8. The Colour And The Shape (Bear Creek Sessions, 1996)
  9. Hey, Johnny Park! (Bear Creek Sessions, 1996)
  10. My Poor Brain (Bear Creek Sessions, 1996)
  11. Wind Up (Bear Creek Sessions, 1996)
  12. My Hero (Bear Creek Sessions, 1996)
  13. Monkey Wrench (Bear Creek Sessions, 1996)
  14. Enough Space (Bear Creek Sessions, 1996)
  15. February Stars (Bear Creek Sessions, 1996)
  16. New Way Home (Bear Creek Sessions, 1996)
  17. Dear Lover (Bear Creek Sessions, 1996)
  18. Comfortable (Bear Creek Sessions, 1996)
  19. Everlong (Dave Grohl solo demo, Dec 1996)
  20. Carry On Wayward Son (Recorded for BBC Radio 1, April 1997)
  21. Damn You, Damn Everyone (Demo, 1998)

Now, whether much of this CD could or would happen is highly debatable. The issues that occurred during this time between Dave Grohl and now former drummer William Goldsmith are well-known, with Grohl deciding to re-record almost all of Goldsmith’s work, causing him to leave the band.

In the years since Goldsmith has continued to express his issues with everything surrounding the situation, including several claims against Grohl, producer Gil Norton and the record label about what went on.

It’s therefore quite the unknown as to whether Grohl would choose to release any of these early demos featuring Goldsmith, but for the sake of completeness, and given that this is only hypothetical, we went ahead and included them anyway.

Also included would be the unreleased song ‘Comfortable’, as well as a cover of the Kansas classic ‘Carry On Wayward Son’, although with reports that Dave couldn’t get the lyrics right during recording, this may be instrumental only.

The final track on the disc would be a song that was played live only once, in May 1998. ‘Damn You Damn Everyone’ is likely to have been demoed by Dave at the very least.

CD4 – There Is Nothing Left To Lose out-takes, demos

  1. Gimme Stitches (demo, 1999)
  2. Breakout (demo, 1999)
  3. Generator (demo, 1999)
  4. Next Year (demo, 1999)
  5. Stacked Actors (demo, 1999)
  6. Learn To Fly (demo, 1999)
  7. Ain’t It The Life (demo, 1999)
  8. Headwires (demo, 1999)
  9. MIA (demo, 1999)
  10. New Wave (TINLTL out-take, 1999)
  11. Fuck Around (TINLTL out-take, 1999)
  12. 7 Corners (TINLTL out-take, 1999)
  13. Oh Yeah (TINLTL out-take, 1999)
  14. Virginia Moon (TINLTL out-take, 1999)
  15. Fraternity (December 1999 session)
  16. MIA (December 1999 session)
  17. Jet (December 1999 session)
  18. Baby Hold On (December 1999 session)
  19. Lonely Boy (December 1999 session)
  20. Invisible Sun (December 1999 session)
  21. Untitled #1 (December 1999 session)
  22. Untitled #2 (December 1999 session)
  23. Butterflies (Dave Grohl solo acoustic live, March 2000)

We make a bit of an assumption here, that demo recordings for many of the songs from TINLTL exist. It seems like a pretty confident bet, as like any band, songs almost always originate as a demo.

In the studio, summer 1999
In the studio, summer 1999

The middle of the disc features out-takes from the main recording sessions, including previously unreleased songs ‘Fuck Around’ and ‘Oh Yeah’. More on those later.

Also no, that isn’t a typo. The band really did record a very early version of ‘Virginia Moon’ during the session. Naturally it wouldn’t have been titled that back then, but it was indeed a very early acoustic version of the song that would feature on 2005s ‘In Your Honor’.

The CD ends with a collection of songs the band recorded at Christmas 1999, the first time Chris Shiflett recorded with them. We know thanks to an engineer at the session that two new songs were recorded here, as well as several cover songs.

Chris Shiflett during his first session with the band, December 1999. Photo by Curtis Mathewson
Chris Shiflett during his first session with the band, December 1999. Photo by Curtis Mathewson

CD5 – One By One demos, out-takes and alternate editions

  1. All My Life (First ever demo by Taylor & Dave, Mar 2001)
  2. Halo (early demo, Apr 2001)
  3. Knucklehead (early demo, Apr 2001)
  4. Lonely As You (early demo, Apr 2001)
  5. Tears For Beers (early demo, Apr 2001)
  6. Halo (Instrumental solo demo, Sep 2001)
  7. Come Back (Instrumental solo demo, Sep 2001)
  8. Lonely As You (Instrumental solo demo, Sep 2001)
  9. All My Life (Studio 606 demo, Nov 2001)
  10. Halo (Studio 606 demo, Nov 2001)
  11. Gun Beside By Bed (Studio 606 demo, Nov 2001)
  12. New Wave (Studio 606 demo, Nov 2001)
  13. Tired Of You (Studio 606 demo, Nov 2001)
  14. Walking A Line (Studio 606 demo, Nov 2001)
  15. Have It All (Studio 606 demo, Nov 2001)
  16. Come Back (Million Dollar Demo, 2002)
  17. Halo (Million Dollar Demo, 2002)
  18. Have It All ((Million Dollar Demo, 2002)
  19. Burn Away (Million Dollar Demo, 2002)
  20. Lonely As You (Million Dollar Demo, 2002)
  21. Overdrive (Million Dollar Demo, 2002)
  22. Knucklehead (Million Dollar Demo, 2002)
  23. Low (early instrumental demo by Taylor & Dave, Apr 2002)
  24. Disenchanted Lullaby (early instrumental demo by Taylor & Dave, Apr 2002)
  25. Times Like These (early instrumental demo by Taylor & Dave, Apr 2002)

The ‘One By One’ era. Most fans are by now well aware of the struggles that surrounded the recording of this album, almost breaking up the band. The most well-known of “demos”, the Million Dollar Demos, were really not demos at all.

Instead an album was fully completed and almost released, pulled at the last minute. That version of the album would be released in full quality for the first time, but so would many other lesser known, actual demos.

The band started work in Spring 2001 with demos for several songs being recorded. Whilst Taylor Hawkins was recovering from his overdose later in the year, Dave Grohl went into a studio and recorded further instrumental demos.

Finally after the initial album was scrapped Dave and Taylor went into a studio and recorded demos of new songs, like ‘Low’. All of these demos would be featured, allowing fans to really see the troubled development of songs during these years, including the previously unreleased ‘Knucklehead’.

CD6 – In Your Honor demos, out-takes and alternate editions

  1. In Your Honor(Pre-production demo, 2004)
  2. White Limo (Pre-production demo, 2004)
  3. Best Of You (Pre-production demo, 2004)
  4. You Can’t Fix This (demo, 2005)
  5. End Over End (demo, 2005)
  6. No Way Back (demo, 2005)
  7. The Last Song (demo, 2005)
  8. Free Me(demo, 2005)
  9. Resolve (Alt. Take, In Your Honor Sessions, 2005)
  10. DOA (Alt. Take, In Your Honor Sessions, 2005)
  11. 7 Corners (Out-take, In Your Honor sessions, 2005)
  12. World (Final version, 2005)
  13. Cold Day In The Sun (Rock version, In Your Honor sessions, 2005)
  14. White Limo(Out-take, In Your Honor sessions, 2005)
  15. That Ass (Out-take, In Your Honor sessions, 2005)
  16. Razor (Live debut, Jan 2005)
  17. Skin & Bones (Live debut, July 2005)
  18. Acoustic #1 (Out-take, In Your Honor sessions, 2005)
  19. Acoustic #2 (Out-take, In Your Honor sessions, 2005)
  20. Acoustic #3 (Out-take, In Your Honor sessions, 2005)
  21. Fuck Around (Out-take, In Your Honor sessions, 2005)
  22. Oh, Yeah (Out-take featuring John Paul Jones, In Your Honor sessions, 2005)

The disc starts out with some early pre-production demos from Mates Rehearsal Space, in Los Angeles. Footage from this time period is featured on the DVD which came with special editions of the album, with fans able to hear most of ‘In Your Honor’.

In the background of that DVD was also an early version of what we now know as ‘White Limo’, although at this time it was known as ‘Flagger’, the band believing it to have a Black Flag sound.

We then move onto demos of some tracks from the rock disc, and we’re hypothetically including these as a mixture of tracks Dave demoed himself at home, and also those demoed by the band.

These would include a demo of the track released on the Sound City album, ‘You Can’t Fix This’. Yup, Dave recorded a demo for this song during this time period, but shelved it for sounding too much like Fleetwood Mac!

Following this the disc would move onto content from the cutting room floor of the final album sessions. We know several vastly different versions of ‘Resolve’ were recorded, as well as ‘DOA’.

The ever present ‘7 Corners’ is here, as is a rock version of ‘Cold Day In The Sun’, a fully finished version of ‘World’, previously released in demo form, and the less than serious track ‘That Ass’.

A couple of live tracks are included for their significance, as both were debuted live. This disc would be the first time both would be officially released, in A+ quality.

The disc ends with the five out-takes we know exist from the main acoustic sessions. Three of them are unknowns in regards to their title, the other two were new versions of out-takes from earlier years, ‘Fuck Around’ and ‘Oh, Yeah’. The latter was one of three songs John Paul Jones performed on during recording.

CD7 – ESP&G demos, out-takes and alternate editions

  1. The Ballad Of The Beaconsfield Miners (First demo, 2006)
  2. The Pretender (early demo, 2007)
  3. Erase, Replace (early demo, 2007)
  4. Come Alive (early demo, 2007)
  5. Statues (early demo, 2007)
  6. Let It Die (early demo, 2007)
  7. But, Honestly (early demo, 2007)
  8. Home (early demo, 2007)
  9. Stranger Things Have Happened (early demo, 2007)
  10. Long Road To Ruin (early demo, 2007)
  11. Summers End (early demo, 2007)
  12. Unknown #1 (early demo, 2007)
  13. Unknown #2 (early demo, 2007)
  14. Unknown #3 (early demo, 2007)
  15. Unknown #4 (early demo, 2007)
  16. Unknown #5 (early demo, 2007)
  17. White Limo (Out-take, Echoes session, 2007)
  18. Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make Up Is Running) (Pre-production demo, 2007)

Not much too special here, all we really know is that there are extensive demos of all the final songs, plus maybe 10-15 more, of either unfinished or unused song ideas. There are also likely to be further pre-production demos, ‘Come Alive’ already being released in this form as a B-Side.

We know of an unfinished version of ‘The Pretender’ from early in the recording process which was slower in tempo as well as a later demo which was closer to the final version. We’ve just included one of these, whichever the band would deem most interesting.

CD8 – Wasting Light demos, out-takes and alternate editions

  1. Word Forward (demo, fall 2008)
  2. Rope (demo, fall 2008)
  3. Wheels (demo, fall 2008)
  4. Walk (demo, fall 2008)
  5. New Wave (demo, fall 2008)
  6. Back & Forth (demo, fall 2008)
  7. Fuck Around (demo, fall 2008)
  8. White Limo (demo, fall 2008)
  9. Bridge Burning (demo, fall 2008)
  10. These Days (demo, fall 2008)
  11. Miss The Misery (demo, fall 2008)
  12. A Matter Of Time (demo, fall 2008)
  13. To No End (demo, fall 2008)
  14. Arlandria (demo, fall 2008)
  15. I Should Have Known (Dave Grohl home demo, 2010)
  16. Dear Rosemary (demo, March 2010)
  17. 7 Corners (demo, March 2010)
  18. Better Off (demo, March 2010)

In Fall 2008 we know the band went into an LA studio to record demos of 14 songs that they then “put away”. The identities of just three of those songs are known, the first versions of songs ‘Word Forward’ and ‘Wheels’, later re-recorded for their Greatest Hits album and ‘Rope’, featured on ‘Wasting Light’.

We can once again only assume that demos were recorded of most, if not all songs featured on ‘Wasting Light’ as well. Dave Grohl also shared some notes during recording of ‘Wasting Light’, showing which songs they planned to “re-do” or record for real, having already demoed.

Some further tracks we do know about are pre-production demos recorded to test out the garage recording studio, so those would be included. Also featured are the very few out-takes we know of from the final recording session.

We also know that ‘I Should Have Known’ is a song that didn’t happen until during recording, but that Dave did record a demo in his bedroom which he took to the band. So that’s on here.

CD9 – Sonic Highways era

  1. Something From Nothing (instrumental demo, Fall 2013)
  2. The Feast and The Famine (instrumental demo, Fall 2013)
  3. Congregation (instrumental demo, Fall 2013)
  4. What Did I Do? / God As My Witness (instrumental demo, Fall 2013)
  5. Outside (instrumental demo, Fall 2013)
  6. In The Clear (instrumental demo, Fall 2013)
  7. Subterranean (instrumental demo, Fall 2013)
  8. I Am A River (instrumental demo, Fall 2013)
  9. Unknown #1 (instrumental demo, Fall 2013)
  10. Unknown #2 (instrumental demo, Fall 2013)
  11. Unknown #3 (instrumental demo, Fall 2013)
  12. Unknown #4 (instrumental demo, Fall 2013)
  13. Unknown #5 (instrumental demo, Fall 2013)
  14. The Feast And The Famine (Recorded at Maida Vale Studios, Sep 2014)
  15. Something From Nothing (Recorded at Maida Vale Studios, Sep 2014)
  16. Congregation (Recorded at Maida Vale Studios, Sep 2014)
  17. Outside (Recorded at Maida Vale Studios, Sep 2014)
  18. In The Clear (Recorded at Maida Vale Studios, Sep 2014)
  19. Two Headed Dog (Recorded at Studio 6A, University of Texas at Austin, 2014)
  20. Fuck Around (Recorded at Hotel Saint Cecilia, Oct 2015)

This would be an interesting disc. As we know, Dave Grohl wrote the lyrics to each song on ‘Sonic Highways’ whilst he was in each City the songs were recorded, drawing inspiration from the interviews he undertook. So what does that mean for demo’s?

Well, we know that the music was indeed worked on and demoed extensively so that they would be prepared, but as far as we know no lyrics were ever written at this stage, as it would obviously be a waste of time.

So whilst Dave may have recorded some simple phonetics or nonsense to help shape the songs or as placeholder for real lyrics, as far as we know demos for all of these songs would all be instrumental.

As well as the eight final songs we know the band were working on five further ideas before final recording, so assuming those were relatively fleshed out the demos of those would also be included here.

Photo: Andrew Stuart
Photo: Andrew Stuart

To pad the disc out a little we’d also throw in some of their radio sessions, which whilst have previously been heard via broadcasts, would be released officially for the first time.

Also on the disc is their recording of ‘Two Headed Dog’, which was previously only released in poor quality on a cardboard flexi-disc.

Finally whilst being from a little later in the timeline, the disc would close out with ‘Fuck Around’, the only track recorded at Saint Cecilia Hotel in 2015 not to be released.

CD10 – Concrete And Gold demos, out-takes and alternate editions

  1. T-Shirt (Early demo, 2016)
  2. Run (Early demo, 2016)
  3. Make It Right (Early demo, 2016)
  4. The Sky Is A Neighborhood (Early demo, 2016)
  5. La Dee Da (Early demo, 2016)
  6. Dirty Water (Early demo, 2016)
  7. Arrows (Early demo, 2016)
  8. Happy Ever After (Zero Hour) (Early demo, 2016)
  9. Sunday Rain (Early demo, 2016)
  10. The Line (Early demo, 2016)
  11. Concrete and Gold (Early demo, 2016)
  12. Unknown #1 (Early demo, 2016)
  13. Unknown #2 (Early demo, 2016)
  14. Unknown #3 (Early demo, 2016)
  15. Unknown #4 (Early demo, 2016)
  16. Unknown #5 (Early demo, 2016)
  17. The Sky Is A Neighborhood (BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, Sep 2017)

Information around this era is quite limited, so we again just assume that there are demos or pre-production versions of each song on the final album.

It also seems safe to assume there are a handful of other songs which didn’t make the album, but beyond that we’re a little limited for what we can include here.

So there you have it. Our (sadly for now) hypothetical 10-CD, Foo Fighters box-set. In total it contains 200 tracks, with over 140 of those being previously unheard, the rest having only circulated among fans in varying quality levels, or released officially in lower quality.

But remember, this is just a box-set containing the stuff we know about.

It’s mouth-watering to consider what a real box-set might contain, with the sheer number of home demos, out-takes and unreleased songs we simply don’t know about that are likely to exist. A 90s demo of Congregation? A cover of ‘Dancing Queen’? Who knows!

So Dave, if you wanna get on that…..