With no live shows booked between April and August 2001 Foo Fighters went into productivity mode, working towards what would be their fourth studio album. Throughout their extremely busy touring schedule of 2000 the band had still managed to find time to work on new songs and ideas, even teasing some riffs during a show in Germany.
Dave Grohl preferred recording away from large, commercial recording studios and having converted the basement of his house in Virginia into a recording studio, he later convinced Taylor Hawkins to do the same thing.
“The whole idea of building a home studio is just to be in complete control of everything,” explained Grohl. “I will never work another way again. There’s just no way. There’s no clock on the wall, it's your fucking house, which also means that you decide who’s allowed to come by the studio and who’s not.”
The renovation work at Hawkins’ house got underway in early 2001 and by April the basement studio was in a state suitable for the band to get to work. Fourteen tracks were recorded over a fortnight, most of which only had descriptive, working titles at this stage. Journalist Joshua Sindell of Kerrang! magazine was invited to the home studio during recording and he observed some of these titles scribbled on a piece of paper taped to the floor. The band have long had a habit of giving songs a working title that simply references the artist or musical style they believe the track most resembles - two such examples during this session being ‘Tom Petty’ and ‘Tears For Beers’, the latter being a play on the English pop-rock band ‘Tears For Fears’. The track they believed resembled Tom Petty musically was, in fact, the song later released under the title ‘Halo’.
Two further descriptive working titles listed on the paper were ‘Spooky Tune’ and ‘Full Mount’, the former being a clearer description than the latter. Two further titles listed were more familiar, ‘Lonely As You’ and ‘Knucklehead’, the latter title remaining attached to an unreleased song in later recording sessions.
The demos from this session were taken forward for further pre-production sessions later in the year.