Foo Fighters

 What’s in your closet? Your signature shoe complemented by a pair of your signature surf trunks, or perhaps a mess of platinum plaques bestowed upon you by record labels?  Probably not, but for Chris Shiflett, Foo Fighters guitarist, this is a reality.  Just remember, rockstars put their shoes on one at a time, just like the rest of us – even though yours might not have your initials embroidered on them.

I hate to put rockstars up on a pedestal because we all know they’re guys just like you and me. Shiflett proves just this. He has a job, and although it might not be like your nine to five, it’s still a job.  He has a family, a family he’ll never have any trouble providing for, but a family nonetheless.  He has a passion - and that’s surfing.  Even today’s biggest rockstars don’t always get what they want and in this case it’s a good swell on a day off from work. Is that too much to ask for?

Life is what you make it, although you’ll never be able to do everything you want, even when you might like to. Having spoken with countless rockers who’ve experienced ungodly amounts of success I’ve learned to appreciate what’s been given to me. To suck it up, live it up and never look back. Tomorrow has something exciting in store for each and every one of us.

SS: What can you tell us about the new Foo Fighters album, Echoes Silence Patience & Grace?

CS: In the past we’ve had a disc that was kind of hard while others were mellower. The latest album is definitely a combination of both on one disk. It’s probably better than any of the last few albums.

SS: What is it about this album that you believe makes it better than those before it?

CS: We did a lot more pre-production on this album before we started recording. That always makes a huge difference when you’re making a record. We have our own studio so we’re able to go in there and flesh out all of Dave’s ideas and then re-record three times before we get it to where we want to be. This time we really got the songs right before we began recording. When you’re a spoiled rockstar like we are, you pretty much get to do whatever the fuck you want which is nice.

SS: Sounds like you’re living a life of the hard knocks, haha. So, are you still playing with Me First And The Gimme Gimmes?

CS: When we do Gimme Gimme albums it’s always the same five guys it’s always been. As of the last few years my brother has been filling in on all the tours for me, but I’m still in the band.  

SS: What do you typically do with your time when you’re not off being a rockstar – touring, recording and that whole bit?

CS: Are we considering time away from the wife and kids? Cause that takes up most of my spare time.
SS: Sure, why not?

CS: When I have my own little moments I try to go surfing. This has been a tough year though because the surf has been pretty horrendous and the swells always seem to come through when I’m out of town with the Foo Fighters. I wish I’d been able to do more surfing this past year but it’s been rough between the music, the swells and the lack of spare time.

SS: Whereabouts do you typically surf?

CS: I usually make my way out around Manhattan Beach and down to the county line. Taylor, our drummer, also surfs whenever time allows.

SS: Do you longboard or shortboard?

CS: Started off longboarding and then progressed to short boarding years ago. I grew up along the coast of Santa Barbara. I didn’t actually start surfing until my late twenties.

SS: How did you fall in love with music growing up and eventually become a musician?

CS: My dad turned my older brothers on to music and I picked it up from them. We were always into it from the beginning -  music is a part of my earliest memories. Some kids fall in love with sports, I don’t know what the fuck most kids were into - music was my football. When I started playing with other people, that was it, it was all I wanted.

SS: How hard was it for you to leave No Use For A Name back in ‘99 with hopes of landing a spot with the Foo Fighters?

CS: It didn’t really work that way actually. I was sneaky and tried out for Foo Fighters before I left No Use For A Name.  It wasn’t an easy decision to make cause I’d been playing with those guys for about four and a half years and we’d just recorded a new album.  Then the opportunity came up to play with Foo Fighters and I had to take it.  I was already a huge fan.  It’s all good now and I still talk to the guys when I see ‘em at shows.

SS: Now that fame and fortune are all yours, I see that you’ve got yourself signature boardshorts made by Billabong.  I also heard you might have a signature shoe coming out with Macbeth, any truth?

CS: That’s very true and it’s almost finished. It should be coming out next spring. As for the boardshorts, that was great.  I think Billabong makes the best boardshorts out there. We’d been looking to source out a manufacturer to make our own boardshorts at the time. I mentioned that to a friend of mine who’s a rep for Billabong and that’s how it all came to be.

SS: In all honesty, are you still as passionate about music as you once were, or has the novelty of it worn off? Is it a living or is it all just fun and games?

CS: Being in a band and doing this for a living is not always fun and games. Most of the time you’re not even playing music. Half the time we’re out there trying to sell our CD through various promotions.  Being on tour is a lot of waiting around too, which can drag. I don’t care what you do – even a pro surfer probably complains about his gig from time to time. Musicians are no different. The big picture is obviously that we’re unbelievably lucky and we’re all very aware of that and we do have a lot of fun.  No matter what you do, you’re going to have good days and bad days. Doing this for a living definitely changes your view of music though. There are some days when I get absolutely burnt out and choose to listen to audio books.  The older I get the more I like to go back and listen to the older stuff.

SS: What do you think you would’ve done had you not fallen for music and followed the path of the rockstar?

CS: I probably would’ve paid more attention in school and actually graduated from high school and gone to college. Who knows? Music has defined my life since I was a baby, so it’s really hard to say what would’ve been.
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