Foo Fighters discussed how “Love Dies Young,” the closing track on their latest album, Medicine at Midnight, started out as a joke among the band members before they realized it was a worthwhile song.
In a recent interview with Guitar World, frontman Dave Grohl said “Love Dies Young” started out as the kind of “strummy sort of song we’ve done a million times” and was unlikely to appear on an album that was all about doing things differently – until drummer Taylor Hawkins asked a question.
“Taylor was like, ‘What drum beat should we do? How about a 16th-note thing?’” Grohl said. “And I went, ‘Fuck that! What about an Abba side-high-hat-disco thing? We’ve never messed with that before!’ And then the guitar riff turned into a [Queen’s] ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ type of thing.”
Guitarist Chris Shiflett said he added a Survivor element, too. “The galloping rhythm part that I did in that song, it’s like ‘Eye of the Tiger,’” he explained. “It was almost like a joke. But we listened back to it and we were like, ‘Hmm … that actually sounds pretty good!’”
Grohl continued: “Each instrument we put on, we were just sitting on the couch laughing, because we’re doing the things we’re not supposed to do. We’re not supposed to do the galloping flange guitar! We’re not supposed to do the Abba beat! But we’re just like, ‘Fuck, load it up, man!’ And then at the end of the day, we had something we’d never done before.”
Listen to Foo Fighters’ ‘Love Dies Young’
He went on to say that, as a drummer, his songwriting process usually begins with the rhythm section, but that the melody was the “most important part” of any composition.
“That comes from growing up with Beatles records and sitting down with a chord book, trying to understand why those harmonies do what they do and why the melody moves the way it does,” he said. “That’s the Rubik’s Cube, right? Screaming bloody murder and playing as many notes as you can, that’s fun. But to me, the complicated puzzle of braiding those things together in a way that seems simple is the greatest challenge. It’s like, ‘Okay, great, I’ve got a groove – that’s cool. I’ve got riffs – that’s cool. But none of it’s going to work unless there’s a fucking melody.”