Dave Grohl spent much of 2009 and 2010 on tour with Them Crooked Vultures, his side project supergroup with John Paul Jones, Josh Homme, and Alain Johannes. In January 2010 the band was touring Australia and it was there Grohl conceived a grand plan for the next Foo Fighters record. The main aspect of that plan was to record the entire album using classic analog equipment whilst the sub-plot was that rather than use their state-of-the-art Studio 606 facility to do it, they would occupy the garage of Dave Grohl’s home in Encino, California.
On March 1st, 2010, with a short break in his Vultures touring commitments, Grohl and the rest of Foo Fighters convened at his house for some exploratory recordings. The garage had already been set up in the past for Grohl to record simple demos but for a full album recording, more serious equipment was required. Butch Vig had as promised joined the band to produce the eventual album and along with engineer James Brown everyone got to work at the house. To record these early demos Brown set up a Studer A827 24-Track tape recorder along with with a rack of Neve preamps removed from an old BCM 10 console previously installed in the old Studio 606 in Virginia.
Over the course of three days the band recorded three tracks. Each of the songs only took around three hours according to Brown, using just 16 of the 24 available recording tracks. “I threw up eight microphones, just to get a feel for what we were gonna be dealing with,” he said, speaking of the investigative nature of the session.
The first of the three tracks was at this stage titled simply ‘Rosemary’, an early version of the song later known fully as ‘Dear Rosemary’. The second song to be tracked was the now almost fabled ‘7 Corners’. The band had been attempting to record the song since 1996, for the album ‘The Colour And The Shape’, but just weren’t able to craft a song they liked around a riff that they did. They’d worked on it in some form during production and recording of each subsequent album, but still, it remained on the back burner. It was demoed once more during this session in the hopes that ‘7 Corners’ might finally be ready for the public to hear on album seven.
The final track to be recorded on this day was titled ‘Better Off’ and in listening back to rough mixes of all three songs, the band, producer, and engineer were all suitably impressed with the sonic quality of the garage recordings, although a lot of work was still needed before the ‘studio’ would be ready for recording a full album.
Grohl soon went back out to finish off his duties with Them Crooked Vultures whilst work continued to prepare his garage and family home for full-blown recording, planned for later in the year.
None of these early test recordings have ever been released publicly although Grohl did tease fans by posting an image on social media platform Twitter which showed a CD containing all three songs.