Whilst on tour in Europe in the summer of 2011, supporting their seventh studio album, Dave Grohl hit upon an idea for a viral video to promote the North American leg of the tour later in the year. During a home tour many years earlier the band and crew had rested at a truck stop which among other amenities featured shower facilities. Whilst sitting in the dining area Grohl noticed that “big, burly truckers” were going in to take showers with a lady behind the counter calling out numbers to alert them when it was their turn, like a deli counter. Equal parts fascinated and amused by the experience he decided it was perfect for parody and mid-tour it was planned to quickly record a humorous song to accompany the video.
On August 21st, 2011 the band were booked to appear at the Highfield Festival in Erfurt, Germany and two days later at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne. The day in between was a day off for the band and touring member Rami Jaffee mentioned to Dave Grohl that he planned to use the day to visit a local recording studio owned by a friend to record some of his own material. Sensing an opportunity, Grohl decided this could a great chance for the whole band to have a little fun. Art Farm Studios, part of a larger complex that includes a club, restaurant and hotel is in Drabenderhöhe, a small locality of the city of Wiehl, 40 kilometers east of Cologne. Rami Jaffee had been friends with owner Robert Schuller for several years, even having a hotel suite in the room named in his honor.
The band were invited to the studio for the day and quickly got to work on their Tenacious D-esque ditty, ‘Keep It Clean’. The lyrics of the song roughly followed the experience Grohl intended to parody, with such lines as “Driving all night, Got a hankering for something, Think I'm in the mood for some hot-man muffins”.
According to Schuller the track was recorded and finished in just five hours, the band offering him backstage tickets to the Cologne show the next night by way of thanks. Two distinct vocal takes were recorded for the chorus of the track, one with the line “Maybe if we're lucky just a little butt fucking” and a second more PG version featuring “a little bear huggin'“ instead.
Just six days later, August 27th, the ‘Hot Buns’ promo video was released online. The main part of the video saw the band lathering up in a truck stop shower to the soundtrack of the Queen track ‘Body Language’ but during the introduction, whilst the band was waiting their turn, ‘Keep It Clean’ was played in the background. The full PG-friendly version of the song was also shared via foofighters.fm, a now-defunct official website which made various Foo Fighters recordings available for fans to listen.