Dave Grohl Makes Surprising Foo Fighters Album Ban

Record producer and mixer Chris Sheldon has a lengthy resume to his career including working for artists such as Foo Fighters, Garbage, Pixies, and many others. On a recent edition of Produce Like A Pro, Sheldon discusses what Foo Fighters frontman, Dave Grohl was adamant about banning from the recording process of their iconic studio album – The Colour and the Shape. Alternative Nation reporter Mike Mazzarone transcribed Sheldon’s comments.

Sheldon: The one thing that super important about making this record and Dave [Grohl] was adamant about – no compression on drums. This is a big thing for Dave, he didn’t want any compression on the snare drums so I’m guessing everything. Normally it was the default setting. Particularly on the SSLs, like boom, up goes the compressor at the end of the channel. That was verboten, we weren’t allowed to do that.  I had to sort of find a way around it and sort of make the drums sound as punchy as possible without using compression. Which is fine, no problem. No samples we used on the kits, it’s just, I mean that’s just a drum kit. Expertly recorded by Bradley [Cook]. I mean, it sounds great, we killed producing it and it was always going to be a great starting point. 

During the same show, Sheldon discusses the first time he met one of his clients – Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl. It was with Sheldon listening to one of Grohl’s most iconic albums and with the man himself standing right behind him.  

Sheldon: I was trying to remember, twenty-two years ago and I was trying to remember some of the things that happened so we could talk about it. The funniest thing that happened was the first time that I met Dave [Grohl]. I was in the studio and I was thinking: “right, I haven’t been in the studio for a long time, I’ll check out the monitors” I hadn’t actually heard any music. I heard the first album but I didn’t know what the music was going to be like. So, I was listening to [Nirvana’s] Nevermind – classic rock record and of the time, I was checking it out in the studio, blasting it, yes, great kind of thing and as I turned around there’s Dave sitting behind me. Dave’s like: “Oh God, well this is embarrassing.” I said: “Oh man” and he said: “Don’t worry, it’s a great sounding record, carry on.” So that’s how I met Dave while I was listening to Nevermind with him sitting behind me.


Sheldon continues:

Sheldon: Yeah, it was embarrassing but it was great and he was just the nicest guy. I mean Dave is just what he is. I mean he is exactly what you think he is gonna be like. He is a really, terrific, straight-talking guy, he’s great.