Dave Grohl announces documentary 'Play,' including epic 23-minute track where he plays all seven instruments live
The two-part mini-documentary celebrates "the rewards and challenges of dedicating one's life to playing and mastering a musical instrument".
Dave Grohl is probably one of the most ambitious artists out there today. As Foo Fighters wind down another leg of the massive Concrete and Gold tour with a doubleheader at Wrigley Field, Chicago that rocked more than 75,000 faithful fans, the multi-faceted frontman has announced a new two-part mini-documentary centered around his one-man recording of a 23-minute instrumental played live on seven instruments.
Simply titled 'Play', the project celebrates “the rewards and challenges of dedicating one's life to playing and mastering a musical instrument,” according to a press release. “Part one opens with narrated behind the scenes footage featuring discussion of the love of playing music and the lifelong relationship with an instrument, and detailing the process and challenges of recording and filming this unique performance.”
The challenges Grohl created for himself in creating 'Play' mirror those taken on by music students every day. Fittingly, as the press release points out, “the film is intercut with young musicians from the Join The Band music school in the San Fernando Valley practicing their craft, working relentlessly to get it right, and always coming back to the conclusion that, in Grohl’s words, ‘just like any kid, the reward is just to Play.'”
'Play' then segues into the titular 23-minute instrumental recording, where Grohl plays live all the instruments himself - Drums, guitar, bass, keyboards among others.
“The entire song was played by Grohl, each time on a different instrument, live for 23 minutes. Beginning with the recording of the entire drum track purely from memory, with no sheet music or guide tracks, followed by guitar, then bass, then keyboards, and so on… Grohl tasked himself with a one-man-band recording session that was forced to start from the very beginning of the 23-minute song any time the slightest mistake was made or if Grohl felt he could do a better take.”
Talking about the unprecedented new project born out of the most challenging performance of his storied career, Grohl adds in the statement: “Watching my kids start to play music and learn to sing or play drums, it brings me back to the time when I was their age listening to albums, learning from listening… and when I take my kids to the place where they take their lessons, I see these rooms full of children that are really pushing themselves to figure this out. And even now, as a 49-year-old man, I’m still trying to figure it out… it’s not something that you ever truly master. You’re always chasing the next challenge, and you’re always trying to find a way to improve on what you’ve learned.”
The film was self-directed by Grohl alongside Sound City/Sonic Highways collaborator Mark Monroe, with assistance from cinematographer Brandon Trost ('The Disaster Artist', 'This is The End') and engineer Darrell Thorp (who also produced the Foo's latest album, 2017's 'Concrete and Gold'). 'Play' will be presented as an online interactive experience where fans will be presented the options of watching the mini-doc and Grohl’s performance as is; focusing on one particular instrument; and/or downloading the corresponding sheet music. The website will also a list of organizations “where time, money, and instruments can be donated to the cause—and places where musicians young and old alike can have the opportunity to play live music.”
The song itself will also be available for digital download beginning August 10, with a limited edition vinyl release following on September 28. You can pre-order here. Check out the teaser trailer for 'Play' below: