“I wanted to do nothing, actually. I didn’t do other things. I just wanted to do nothing (and) I accomplished it for a really long time,” he says good-naturedly, before noting that he eventually realized how good he had it in the band. “I started missing it … when the next record came out. And then every time a new record would come out I would really miss it and I’d be like, ‘Aw I wish I played on that.’ So that’s how it started.”
He dipped his foot back in as an unofficial touring member of the band over the past five years also contributing some guitar to 2007’s Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace, but one again became a full-time Foo last year before the recording of Wasting Light
In some ways, it would seem the perfect record and the perfect time for Smear to rejoin the fold, considering it’s at-times heavy sound and the punk-like spirit. It was actually recorded in a garage with producer Butch Vig (Nevermind) and Smear’s guitar is allowed to roam freely, including on the gnarly first single White Limo, which was originally written for Echoes — at that time Smear knew it as Flagger, named after the Black Flack feel of the song — but was more suited for Light.
“I think I’m probably definitely better playing the hard rock kind of stuff,” says Smear, while admitting there are many casual Foo and Nirvana fans who may not know that. “I was laughing one day when … somebody was talking to me about the [Foo Fighters’ live acoustic] Skin and Bones DVD that they saw, and this was before we made the new record, and I was thinking, ‘Wow, I’m mostly probably known for Nirvana’s Unplugged and Foo Fighters’ Skin and Bones,’ ” he laughs.
“That’s so weird that there’s a lot of people that only know me with an acoustic guitar. It’s so rare. When we did the Skin and Bones tour I didn’t even own an acoustic guitar, I had to borrow one from my friend. I probably own 100 guitars and all of them are electric.