To mark the release of their eighth album Sonic Highways, part-time Queens drummer Dave Grohl’s “other band” Foo Fighters have been documenting their creative process in a weekly HBO show of the same name. The fact that each of the album’s eight tracks was inspired by a different American city has given viewers an opportunity to follow the band as they travel the USA and uncover the rich musical history of each of their stops. This week was, according to the episode title at least, an exploration of the world-renowned Los Angeles music scene – however, to the joy of many of the frequenters here, much of the hour was spent in a cluttered little recording studio about 150 miles further inland.
Set just on the outskirts of California’s Joshua Tree National Park (and just across the road from where another Joshua grew up), the Rancho De La Luna recording studio has become a Meccah for artists who seek inspiration from its beautifully barren surroundings. Rancho was founded in 1993 by Fred Drake and Dave Catching and has played an integral part in the Palm Desert Scene, hosting bands such as Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age, earthlings? and Fatso Jetson. Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions, an entire catalogue of genre-spanning jams and future hits, was borne of the lack of distraction offered by the setting and the versatility that arose from the restricted equipment available in the studio. This week it was Foo Fighters’ turn to experience the magic of the Mojave desert as they wrote their new track, Outside.
Regardless of your feelings toward Foo Fighters, if you have any interest in the musical context surrounding Queens Of The Stone Age (or in seeing some amusing shots of Josh as a fifteen year old) then with a bunch of interviews from important Desert Scene figureheads and a touching tribute to the late Fred Drake, the episode is definitely worth catching up on.