With the Foos album, Sonic Highways, out today, it’s probably a good time to look at Sunday’s New York Times feature story on Dave Grohl called “Rock Star on the Quest for Heroes.”
Dave Grohl, the great drummer, inspirational songwriter, former member of Nirvana and current leader of the Foo Fighters, recently discovered the extent to which he is an American musician. He found out by visiting recording studios in eight cities during the production of “Sonic Highways,” an eight-part HBO series that he directed, about the common threads of popular music in this country.
As with “Sound City,” his 2013 feature-length documentary, the new series started with the notion that the great predigital studios are sacred spaces and natural through-lines for storytelling. But then it became something more ambitious: a basically likable, quietly agenda-driven investigation of traditions within American music — including punk, the one that Mr. Grohl came from — backed by a plausible thesis. Which is: The only way to understand the music of such a big country is to break it down into regions and the individuals formed by those regions, and start connecting the dots.