With the 18-month world tour for the first album complete and Dave Grohl’s side project ‘Touch’ also finished focus turned back to Foo Fighters recording their first full album as a band. By late 1996 Grohl had many new ideas for songs, with several of them having already been demoed or played live. Before booking time in a costly professional studio to record the album for real Foo Fighters headed to Grohl’s old haunt – Barrett Jones Laundry Room Studio in Seattle. Grohl had last visited his friend’s studio in the summer of 1994, recording demo versions of then-new songs which he’d then re-record.
Demo versions of most, if not all songs later featured on ‘The Colour And The Shape’ were recorded as well as many tracks that were thrown in the bin. An early version of ‘My Poor Brain’, a song that was given a live debut in April 1996, featured a slightly longer intro and also ran at a slower tempo, but was otherwise a completed song at this stage, including almost final lyrics.
Three distinct takes of ‘New Way Home’ were recorded with one instrumental version featuring the louder, faster part as an intro rather than being towards the end. The basic melody was in place but the whole song structurally was very loose at this stage, at least in one of the three takes recorded.
‘February Stars’ is a song Grohl had first recorded way back in 1994 with Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic and this demo version followed the same basic structure as the final recorded version, a soft intro gradually increasing in ferocity until the song fully came to life three-quarters of the way in. No vocals were recorded for the song during this session.
‘Monkey Wrench’ was another song already well advanced, with lyrics fully written. The song again simply lacked a final polish at this early stage. The joins in the screamed vocal section were far more obvious in this version of the song, Grohl not too concerned about it sounding like one complete take at this stage.
Recording took place in the last week of October 1996 with everything wrapped up by Halloween night. With a demo tape in hand, the next step for the band was to shop around for a producer to help them make their final album.