Here is an excerpt from Butch Vig’s new interview with HotPress.
A lot of people have picked up on ‘I Should Have Known’ as one of the rawest Foo Fighters songs in terms of subject matter.
You know, that was the most difficult song to record. We tracked it about halfway through the recording process. I loved the song and kind of obsessed on it a little bit, and I think Dave thought I was making it sound too pristine. He kept saying, “It’s too parted out”, which meant every section was very carefully arranged. And we went back and listened to a rehearsal that we did, which was a complete train wreck, because it was the first time Dave showed the band the chords and stuff, no one really knew what to do. Taylor was playing all these wild fills and Pat Smear was playing noise and feedback, but I remember listening to it going, “The vibe on that is really exciting.”
So we went and re-cut the song and left everything much rawer and looser. We set Dave up with a hand-held mic run into a guitar amp with tape echo, with a really thick distorted sound that bled into all the tracks. It definitely has that John Lennon solo album vibe, dirty and mucky, but really primal sounding. The end of that song is all from the first take he did. He was sitting about four feet away from me and when he finished it nobody said anything for a few seconds and I could see tears welling up in his eyes and he had sung so hard he couldn’t even catch his breath. He was channeling something there. It was real. No one knew what to say. To me that is sort of the cornerstone of the record. Dave won’t say that’s specifically about Kurt. He’s lost some friends to other illnesses and accidents too. It’s about dealing with things in the past, and Kurt is definitely a big part of that, trying to make peace with it and move forward in some way. Still when I hear that the hair on the back of my neck goes up.