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Chris Shiflett On How COVID-19 Affected Foo Fighters’ New Album

The Foo Fighters guitarist also discusses their first post-lockdown performances and potential future plans for their new album.

Image of the Foo Fighters

The Foo Fighters will release their tenth studio album, 'Medicine at Midnight', in February of 2021.

Brantley Gutierrez*

The Foo Fighters‘s musical appearance on Saturday Night Live over the weekend was undoubtedly a special one, with the group not only performing their new single, “Shame Shame”, for the first time, but revealing that their tenth studio album, Medicine At Midnight, would be arriving in February of 2021.

It goes without saying that this album cycle is quite unlike any other previously as Medicine At Midnight, which was completed at the start of 2020, was delayed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with things only now starting to inch back towards some version of normal in terms of promoting new music and live performances.

Having said that though, Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett notes that he managed to make the most of this difficult situation as lockdown meant that the band were forced to go on the longest break they’ve had in quite some time.

“It’s certainly been the longest break of just being home consistently since I had kids,” Shiflett tells Rolling Stone. “It was a really good time to be at home a lot with my kids.

“Once I came to the realisation that this was really happening that we were really cancelling plans, that we were really postponing the record, that lockdown was real and there was no way around it, I just embraced it!”

But despite being forced to shelve Medicine At Midnight for several months, the Foo Fighters guitarist says there was no urge to tinker on any of the completed songs or record new material for the album with all the unexpected extra time that was afforded to the band.

“Not that I know of! I feel like we were really proud of this record and we just wanted to get it out,” says Shiflett. “I think that’s just been the strangest thing is to have a whole record finished just sitting there waiting and you can’t play it to anybody for months and months. But no, I don’t think there was any thoughts about going back in and re-cutting stuff or changing anything.”

The time spent away from the album turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the band as they were able to listen to Medicine At Midnight after so many months and still be proud of everything. As for where it ranks in the Foo Fighters’ discography though? Well, the guitarist says it’s not up to him to decide that.

“It’s interesting because we made it and then just sat on it for months, and then we just started rehearsing recently to get ready to do some promo stuff and started working on playing the songs since, you know, we never played them live ever,” recalls Shiflett.

“It was nice to listen to the album with fresh ears and still really like it and still feel good about it. As far as where it sits in the history of the band, that’s not really for me to say, that’s for other people to decide. But I think it’s a strong record and I like it a lot.”

After all that belated rehearsing, Foo Fighters finally played their first post-lockdown show at the Save Our Stages Festival back in October before debuting their new single, “Shame Shame“, on SNL and it came as something of a welcome relief for the band to be able to finally perform live again.

“It was strange, it was fun, a lot more fun than I was expecting [considering] we didn’t have a crowd and there were no fans or anything,” says Shiflett. “But even just being in front of our road crew, a couple guys from our management, and the film crew that were filming it, it was pretty fun!”

“It’s been a long break and I don’t know what the future holds with how we’re going to get back on tour or what that’s going to look like, but whatever it is I’m sure we’ll make the best of it.”

While the pandemic scuppered Foo Fighters’ plans to celebrate their 25th anniversary, Shiflett is hopeful that the band can make it up in 2021 – if touring is a possibility.

“I imagine when we ever get to go back on the road next year we’ll be celebrating the 26th anniversary,” laughs the guitarist. “It’s not as good of a number but what can you do?”

“We’ll just have to wait for the 50-year, that’ll be the big one!”

Foo Fighters will release Medicine at Midnight on February 5th, 2021, with pre-orders available now.