Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways (2014) s01e01 Episode Script


20 years.
We've been doing this for exactly 20 years.
October 17, 1994, I walked into a studio in Seattle and recorded a bunch of songs by myself.
These songs eventually became the Foo Fighters.
Over the last 20 years, we've been all over the world, but it's always a day here, a day there.
We never really get a chance to get a feel for the places that we're in, or what they have to offer.
So, for our 20th anniversary, we decided to do something to make the creative process new again, something we've never done before.
This all started with one idea: that the environment in which you make a record ultimately influences the end result.
Not just the studio, but the people and the history.
When I listen to our records, I remember everything about the experience.
It's like I hear memories.
I feel like if everyone knew more about the people and the places where this music is made, they would feel more connected to it.
So we set out looking for inspiration from all of these great cities.
We wanted to talk to musicians, to producers, to studio owners, and find out what inspires them.
Because it all comes from somewhere.
I got to Chicago from my-- If I'd have known then what I know now Well, Chicago is a real hub.
Large, but very working-class, rougher around the edges.
I was a kid of the times of Beatles, the Stones, falling in love with the blues, and all my blues heroes are from here in Chicago.
The middle of the country; midway, just philosophically, between New York and California; but there's a tempo to it.
Chicago has always been a Mecca for music of all sorts.
Well, it started with Muddy.
Muddy Waters was our Beatles or Rolling Stones.
Muddy was the magnet, and one by one, they came to Chicago.
I went to Chicago, September 25, 1957.
That's when the season had changed, and birds, they was getting the hell out of there as well, and I'm coming this way.
And I look up and I said, "The birds got more damn sense than I got.
" You know, they going where the weather suits their clothes, you know? I was a New Orleans boy, you know, picking cotton on the farm.
- Was your family musical? - No! I didn't know what a radio was until I was about 16-17 years old.
I do know the story, and I've heard it from other people; when they couldn't afford a guitar, they strung a nail up and just, you know I was running around with rubber bands, put 'em up to my ear, long as I could hear something.
I could take a button on a string, make it go zoo-zoo, like a Zulu or something like that.
And they used to look at me and say, "I don't know where you get it from.
" Everything that Buddy adds is like nobody else would play.
I was afraid of him when I met him.
I don't want to say he was mean, but he played a mean guitar.
He's a very sweet guy, but his playing is so intense that it sounds mean.
Nobody I know in the blues circles ever played like that.
You go way, way back, after black emancipation, a lot of those guys walked out of Mississippi.
Chicago was the great stopping spot.
You cross that river, and, okay, I'm gonna lay my burden down.
Chicago had this mix of immigrants: Poland, Ireland, Italy And then a million people from the South.
All these immigrants came to Chicago for one thing.
It wasn't to make music; it was to make money.
Plantation style didn't work anymore.
Put a loud amp and a loud drum in a small location and people would get moving and grinding.
The first blues was really live music to pick up women.
Cities are changed by the people that go there, but then the cities change them as well.
The music that Muddy Waters recorded for the Library of Congress on Stovall's Plantation is very different from the blues that he made in Chicago when he settled there.
He was fundamentally changed by that.
Muddy and my father were good friends.
First time I met him, Cadillac pulls up, a guy walks out, I'm in the front yard, he's got a bright green suit I mean, glowing green.
I look down at his shoes, and they had cow-skin, the hair of cow, and he had this really high, big hair.
And he said, "You must be young Chess; your papa here?" That was my first meeting with Muddy Waters.
I was walking down 47th Street one day, and I told a guy He said, "Can you play?" I said, "Yeah, I'll play if you buy me a hamburger.
" He said, "Man, you know if you feed a dog he won't hunt.
" He took me by the hand like a little kid, and he took me to this famous blues club at that time in Chicago called 708 Club.
And I went up, and I was doing a Bobby Bland tune called Further On Up the Road.
And the owner was on his way out the door; he said, "I don't know who the hell he is, but hire him.
" When I walked outside the door, somebody said, bam, "I heard you can play the guitar.
I'm Muddy Waters.
I heard you was hungry.
" I said, "Not if you're Muddy Waters.
" And from that until he died, we was the best friends.
When I went to Chicago, you know, I put it like this: I was looking for a dime and I found a quarter.
I don't have any personal history with Chicago.
I love Chicago; the girls are really hot and the weather fucking sucks.
What's up? Nate, bass in here.
- You, drums in here.
- Yeah.
- Rad! - It's fucking bitchin'.
- It's sick! - Yeah.
I think that there's something about a city that influences the way people play music in that city.
It used to be that just throwing your gear in a van was an adventure, but after 20 years, you look for ways to change the process and make it more of a challenge.
- So what are we doing? - Just walk and talk! Steve Albini.
He's one of the world's greatest producer recording engineers.
Steve's reputation is just that he's a cynical prick.
I don't see any real triumph in selling a record to someone who won't appreciate it.
He had that personality that was sort of "take it or leave it.
" It's very clear about what he likes and what he doesn't like.
When a band is thrust at me and wiggled in front of me like a severed head, it makes me hate them.
He thought that his opinion was fact.
All the pomp and circumstance that surrounds music and rock stars could give less than a shit about.
I'm sure that everybody in town wanted to kick that guy's ass at least once.
The music we make is intended for a select audience, you know? People who will appreciate it and other people shouldn't try.
He makes great records.
I don't know how.
Go to Chicago, get to Steve's house.
There's a bunch of bands that he's done all these famous records for.
As a drummer, recording with Steve was a huge deal.
That is one of my life's greatest gifts.
I got to record with Steve Albini and listen back and hear his drum sound on my drums.
This is the control room.
Inside here is where all the technical stuff goes on.
This is a Neo-tech recording console made by the Neo-tech company.
A Chicago company.
We bought this building in December of 1995.
Carpentry and construction was done by a crew that we assembled, a very small number of actual professional tradesmen.
Like this This room is a pretty good example.
Some of the adobe was laid by professional masons and you can see that they have The grout joints are very even and very regular.
And then some of it was laid by my punk rock friends possibly after a three martini lunch.
- And so - That maybe that area there.
This room is really cool.
This is the Kentucky room.
Beneath this floor, there's another room exactly the same shape.
As we've separated the floor from the wall, which allows us to couple the air volume in those two rooms together that gives you much better and linearity and low frequencies because you have a larger air volume.
- The larger the air volume - He's brilliant.
- the longer a wave you can process.
- So, he sort of affords that reputation of being a cynical prick.
There's a whole other studio on the other side of that wall, which you're not going to get to see because fuck you guys.
We're kind of spoiled coming to Steve's studio.
It's a really nice studio.
It's kind of like Chicago.
Really basic, but the rooms sound great.
The gear is good and there's space.
I love Chicago.
This is the first place I ever played a professional gig.
But I don't care about the blues, really.
When I think of Chicago, I think of Cheap Trick.
That's about as deep as I go.
You'd always read the back of records and I saw that Cheap Trick recorded at Pumpkin Studios.
So, I would go over there and just wait.
And this one time this band starts coming out.
I'm like, oh, fuck, oh, oh.
Oh! Oh, shit, it's Styx.
We were waiting for Cheap Trick.
This next one is the first song on our new album.
If you listen to Rick Nielsen's playing, you can hear the roots of blues and rock and roll, but there's also an evolution into the world of punk rock.
You know, in the '60s, believe it or not, I was a blues guy.
I mean, I loved the blues stuff and I didn't even know who they were, but I liked the feel of it.
I got my first record deal when I was in high school.
We were called the Grim Reapers, but the record company changed our name to Fuse.
Later on, I was the guitar player with Bo Diddly, Del Shannon, Freddy Cannon, The Shirelles, Chuck Berry.
He started playing at such an early age with so many different people that he's very much a blues based rock and roll guitarist.
There's something wonderfully Midwest about Cheap Trick.
My first concert was Cheap Trick.
Rick Nielsen flicking out the picks.
I have Cheap Trick picks still at home and they had that Beatles pop sensibility.
It's a little more dangerous.
It was a little bit more, you know, flick of the nose.
You have to come from somewhere.
And our roots were Chicago-based.
So, you know, any influence was drawn from here.
I moved to Chicago to go to college at Northwestern University.
I'm originally from Missoula, Montana.
I studied journalism.
I made it all the way through, but I've never worked as a journalist.
One of the reasons I was excited about coming to Chicago was I assumed that there'd be a music scene here that I could get involved in.
It was kind of scary to be a punk rocker in Chicago back then.
You'd walk down the street with your leather jacket on and your short hair and the heavy metal people felt this was their doom.
They'd say, "What the fuck are you doing, you fags? We'll kick your ass you punk rockers.
" There was no scene in Chicago.
How can there not be anything happening in a city this big? There was a rag tag group of people who were into punk music, but there really wasn't really an infrastructure.
I was giving people cassettes of my music that I'd recorded and seeing if anybody was interested and introducing myself.
Steve Albini was this kid who hung around.
He was annoying.
And that's how I met Naked Raygun.
Naked Raygun was the first band that I saw where they were totally content to just be the freaks and weirdos that they were naturally.
We were very exciting on stage.
We did a lot of screaming, a lot of crashing into stuff.
I was a mess back then.
I had a lot of anger and the music was the outlet for that.
Who came up with the name? It was a play on the Sex Pistols.
Sex, Naked.
Raygun, Pistols.
Man, I hated that name.
All's we'd ever get was Naked Regan? By far, my favourite band.
If someone was playing punk rock music in the early '80s, they weren't doing it to get the attention of girls.
Girls weren't listening to punk rock.
They were listening to Duran Duran or whatever.
No one got famous playing punk rock.
You were doing it 'cause you had to.
One, two, fuck you! I really wanted to be in a band.
It was almost unbearable that I wasn't in a band.
I started doing recordings on my own.
I had made a demo and I gave it to Jeff Pezzati at a Naked Raygun show.
I said to Steve, "I will gladly play something in your band.
I can play bass.
" And I was like, fuck me.
This is like the best thing that's ever happened.
I went over to the house where Jeff lived, basically every band in Chicago practiced in the basement.
Santiago shared a coach house with us.
He heard us playing.
The rehearsal space was right below my bedroom.
I wanted to watch a football game.
He had a little black and white television.
He couldn't hear the football game.
They were making a racket.
Big Black would be lease breaking music.
You want to break your lease? You play Big Black really loud at 3:00 in the morning.
You're out of your lease.
He went down to the basement and put on his guitar and said Would you guys mind if I joined? My favourite guitar player in the world was now in my band because I had prevented him from watching a football game.
That's how I got the band together, was by irritating Santiago.
Steve Albini was Big Black and the cover of the first album.
One side they were dressed up like Cheap Trick, and the flip side they were dressed up as the German band Kraftwerk.
Steve definitely has a strong musical identity.
Whatever he does sounds like no one else.
I don't think Steve really cares what people think about him.
I was worried about the first song we were tracking because it's a complex song.
For us, it's a new feel.
It's kind of groovy.
And we're not really like the groovy band.
It gets a little fucking like '70s porno music in the middle and I love it.
It's totally shaft.
It's totally shaft.
The way that we're recording this record logistically we need to do a song a week.
So, usually when you make a record you do all the drums up front for the whole record and that takes weeks usually.
Then you do all the bass tracks.
Then you do all the guitars.
So, you know, for me as a guitar player, we start a record, I might not do anything for a month.
Hearing it in context, seems like it could be something more special, - you know what I mean? - Right.
I think that the tone is cool, just the sound is cool.
I think you're cool.
We're all in the studio almost the entire time.
You're experiencing the process with your band mates.
It just makes it feel more of like a, you know, a team effort, I think, when you do it this way.
- That's pretty good.
- Close.
Let's hear it.
Maybe instead of a raa-ir, could you click in with a feedback, like, ah! I also want to kind of hear the jack go After that one, two, three, four.
Just make sure you're in on that second time around.
One more.
Let's do one more.
We can save that one.
- Let's save that one.
- Do it again! Do it again! One, two, three, four.
One, two, three.
That was fuckin' bad ass.
- You know what I'm dreading right now? - Live? The idea of having to play this on television.
1964 is when I arrived in Chicago.
I had heard about this place, the old Jewish neighbourhood.
It was called a Jew town then but it's Maxwell Street.
Chicago was really the epicenter of people with tin cans to get spare change for playin' blues.
A lot of the blues stuff that came out, you never heard that stuff on the radio.
You could count the record companies back then that would, I guess would even listen to blues.
My father was an immigrant from Poland.
In 1947, he went to work for a label called Aristocrat.
They had Muddy Waters signed to them.
And in 1950, he bought out the partners and started Chess Records.
Chess brothers, they just took a chance on it and it exploded.
We bring you a gentleman by the name of Little Walter.
Just like all those other guys, Buddy was a young hot guitar player.
Everyone said, this boy can play, this boy can play.
They started using him in sessions, next thing, record him.
When I first went into Chess they say well, Buddy Guy is not a stage name, you got to be Buddy King.
I said wait a minute now, I know BB King.
Matter of fact, everybody back then, jazz, blues, whatever kind of musician you was you was MF.
- You know what that is, right? - MF.
You want me to tell you what it is? That is motherfucker.
It doesn't mean what it says.
It's not about fucking your mother, it's just a slang expression, you know.
So when I got to Chess, they didn't say good morning Buddy, but good morning motherfucker, I was about to get offended.
That was about going down together.
You don't fuck up, you idiot motherfucker.
I was all about laughing together, becoming one.
Do you know three weeks later when you said hey motherfucker, I said what, because everybody was doing it.
I only went to Chess Studios once in my life.
It was probably '68, '69.
I said to Mitchell, I need to remember this.
This is part of something that's really important, you know, in our heritage.
Years later we did a show that was called Blues Summit in Chicago and that became Soundstage.
One of the most fun memories I have is when I asked those guys if they would play on the show with me.
At that time, it was Buddy Guy and Junior Wells' band.
Buddy Guy! It was really hot in the studio and Buddy had this giant big checked wool maxi-coat with a turtleneck on.
They came in dressed as Superfly and did not change the whole time even though it was so hot.
You know, that's commitment.
One summer when I was about 13 years old, we took a family vacation up here to Chicago to visit our relatives.
They lived in this beautiful house that was just down the street from the lake.
It was marble and staircases and it had a fountain in the living room.
We rang the doorbell, Aunt Sherry opened the door, hugs and kisses and then says, Tracey, they're here.
And Tracey comes down the steps, she has bondage pants, Doc Martin boots, her head is shaved.
She's a punk rocker.
Who could persuade a kid to act like that? Maybe the greatest persuader there is: Music.
I'd only seen that on television shows like Quincy or Chips.
When you see that in real life, I mean, it's like seeing a UFO or Bigfoot.
I remember coming downstairs like, alright, you know, I'm all punk now, you know, and you guys being Oh my God.
I met your cousin Tracey when I was 9.
I was 10 years old when we started that band.
Punk rock was ours.
Punk rock was our scene even though we were so fucking young.
The first guest today got together and formed a band, four young folks from Evanston.
They call their group Verboten.
They're going to play an original song they wrote called My Opinion.
And now here they are, Verboten.
It was Jason, Chris and Zach and all three were younger than I was.
I was 14, you know.
I just believed that we could do whatever.
Like, at one point I was like well let's just summer tour at one point and Jason says like, my son's 10.
I'd like him to finish 5th grade! Now, what do you remember about our family coming to your place? I remember I was going out that night.
I was meeting my friends.
I was probably meeting my boyfriend and I remember thinking I was going to have to take you guys.
And I remember looking at you two and me being like, oh man, they are going to get their ass kicked.
We took the 'L' from Evanston into Chicago to a show.
And I think you guys were getting kind of nervous once we were on the train and everything, excited but also kind of like, oh my god, what's going to happen? I remember being kind of nervous walking up to Cubby Bear and seeing a bunch of punk rockers, like, oh my god, I'm dead, I'm fuckin' dead.
The Cubby Bear is across the street from Wrigley Field where The Cubs play.
The Cubs only played in the daytime back then.
At night it was just dead.
Nobody would there, just bums.
You might be tempted to think that the Cubby Bear caters exclusively to the Chicago sports fan but every once in a while this place pulls a real chameleon act and changes its colours from Cub blue to punked-out purple.
This place is gaining a lot of fans, especially under-aged people.
There had been a punk club called La Mere Vipere.
But it burned down.
There was a kind of a spate of clubs that tried to open.
There was a club called C.
that had burned down suspiciously.
Misfits, I think that place burned down.
A club called Ann Arkee's.
If I'm not mistaken, the owner of that club was found beaten to death with a microphone rammed up his ass.
If you had a band playing original music there was no place to play.
The scene was probably 90 people and you saw 60 of them each night.
Including band members.
So I thought, let's try to build a scene.
The Cubby Bear offered to give us any weekend night that we wanted, so I said we'll do it if you let us do an under-age show.
Let's see if we can bring some more kids into the scene.
Cubby Bear was the first real show I played.
I was 11 or something.
I'll never forget the first time my dad and I pull up in front of Cubby Bear and a drug deal was going down.
And cops came in and busted the kids.
And we just sat in the car and waited 'cause we weren't going to get out while that was happening.
Now I remember thinking, 'This is fucking great.
' Naked Raygun at the Cubby Bear was my first live music experience.
My stomach was up against the stage and the singer was, like, on top of my head.
Right there.
People diving all over the place, it was loud as fuck and it was out of tune and there was spit.
Well, that's what made it so exciting.
I was just a kid with an Izod.
It just turned my world upside down.
I loved how it was dark and fast, It's like, wait a minute.
That's catchy, that's melodic.
They had a great combination of energy and piss & vinegar, but beauty kind of buried in there.
For me, that night changed everything I knew about music.
Just like, 'oh my god.
' - 'Why can't we do this? - 'ls this happening where I live?' 'Why can't I do this?' Wow, and Tracy took care of her records.
Pull it out.
Yellow vinyl! I mean, really? This was my favourite part about the whole punk scene was you got the lyrics to all the bands.
When you first showed me your record collection They all had this.
They all had this and it looked like it was so homemade.
When I first started buying underground punk rock records, I would see these addresses and I'd write to them, - and then, like, become pen pals.
- They'd write back, right.
And like, I would send them flyers from DC and they would send stuff from wherever they were from.
So this was the kind of record that you would buy at Record Exchange or Wax Trax? Oh yeah.
That's if I was going to show off, I'd take you to Wax Trax.
And it was like a two-story record store.
I know I took you there.
That was the place.
Wax Trax! Records, they were critical Critical to building the underground scene.
Jim Nash and Danny, the two partners that ran the store, they had very strong personalities, very large international group of friends.
So they had tendrils out into the club music scene all around the world.
Danny was my dad's partner.
I think they were together for 27 years.
What they created is pretty fucking amazing.
Whenever you went in there, they always had some great record playing.
Even the record stores where you could get punk rock records, they didn't play the punk rock.
You never know who might walk in and be offended by it.
They didn't give a fuck at Wax Trax Records.
No longer going into record stores and being called an idiot for your record choice.
It's a little sad.
There's a trial by fire of being, like, "Uh, I'd like to buy this Siouxsie & The Banshees record.
" "Oh, really, you like this lame crap? You ever heard of Suicide?" "Yeah, I want to get that too.
" That day I bought Naked Raygun's Flammable Solid 7-inch, it instantly became the most important thing in my entire life.
They've really changed music here.
They influenced a lot of people.
Gave a lot of people hope and an outlet and a whole new feel for, you know, creating.
That'll do.
It's Rick Nielsen, the guy with the hat.
Hey Rick, do you want to play baritone on this song? - Well, I can, yeah.
- Okay.
But you know, you guys got ample people here.
No, we don't have enough guitar players.
Well, there's a part where it gets really heavy with these big chords.
We could just mic you.
It would be great if you did that on a baritone.
So I better learn it then.
Go teach the guitar player from Cheap Trick how to play something.
- 'No, you do it like this.
' - Try harder.
You know, I gave a few people lessons, and this is me giving lessons.
"Why can't you just fucking do it?! God, just do it!" So it's, 1, 2, 3, 4: Stop.
Every time.
That breath.
- I I'm nervous.
- There you go.
I got a metal chill! When I first joined Foo Fighters, we played Chicago.
I think it was Halloween and we dressed up as Cheap Trick.
You know, I got to be Rick Nielsen.
So fast forward and Rick Nielsen's hanging out.
He's in the studio with us and playing on our song.
Like, that's a pretty surreal experience.
- Whoo! - Sound good.
Good job, Rick.
We got Rick Nielsen on our record! Sound bad-ass.
- Does that mean good? - Yes.
It sounds like that hat.
It sounds like that hat looks.
You know, this entire project is a challenge, but even more so when you enter a legendary studio like Electrical Audio.
There's a weight on your shoulders that is the responsibility to do something worthwhile.
I had worked on other bands that were sort of attracting a lot of attention, were You know, had "hit records" in finger quotes and that kind of stuff.
But Nirvana was the biggest band I mean, they're the biggest band that I will ever work on, is Nirvana, clearly.
Um my In the beginning of the '90s, there were these sort of tendrils of rumor going out that I had been asked to work on the new Nirvana album.
And I had had no interaction with the band whatsoever at that point.
But I remember I had gotten a couple of drunken phone calls like, you know, in the middle of the night, the phone rings and it's some impaired person droning about records but I didn't know that I was talking to Kurt Cobain from Nirvana at that point.
One of the concerns from everybody was that they wanted to prevent a relapse into abuse on Kurt's part.
So I actually had the idea of doing the record out in the woods.
Do it, Manny! My name's Dave, I'm the drummer of Nirvana.
Walked in there with these really noisy dark songs.
We recorded them in about a week with Steve Albini's legendary, infamous, signature sound.
I was just knocked out by how great everything sounded.
The record was really powerful and really captured the sensation of hearing the band play.
It goes too far to say that it was emotional, but it was a striking moment when we were listening to playback.
When we came back from In Utero, the first thing the record company said after hearing it was, "You're joking, right? This is the follow-up to Nevermind?" And I think that was the reaction we were looking for.
The session I did with Nirvana was conducted under essentially the same terms that I'd do any session with any band, then or now.
We'll figure out how much it's worth to do the session, you pay me, and Bob's your uncle.
Within the music industry, my business practices are somewhat unusual.
Normally, bands would be paying a royalty to their producer/engineer or whatever.
From an ethical standpoint, I think it's an untenable position for me to say to a band that I'm going to work for you for a couple of weeks, and then for the rest of your fucking lives you're going to pay me a tribute.
Steve is such a righteous dude that he honestly feels that the band deserves all the goods for the record, music they make.
And the guy recording it is just documenting it.
Very righteous, but to a fault.
If I spend a certain amount of time on a record, and I'm paid for the time that I work, then I'm content.
I just don't see any reason to extend the band's obligation to me beyond that.
That's an unusual position within the music industry.
Totally normal if you're a fucking plumber or a carpenter.
You know, you spend X number of hours working on a house, you get paid for your time.
You know, 'Oh, look, the house is still standing in 20 years.
Maybe I should get a little bonus for that, uh?' You know what he's leaving on the table more than anybody.
I can only imagine what Steve Albini could have made had he taken points on that record, but rather he decided to be paid like a plumber.
A fucking hot-shit plumber, but a plumber.
My monthly nut on this place is about 30 grand, meaning come hell or high water, I have to make $1000 every day.
I've gone broke a couple of times.
I've sold my house and I've had to sell off a bunch of guitars.
There was a very glorious period of about six months or eight months where I didn't owe anybody a fucking penny.
Now I'm up to my balls in debt again, but, you know.
Playing cards is a pastime of mine, but it is also a second income, and there have been times when I've been able to pay the salaries of the people that work here because I had a good week playing cards.
Owning a studio is much more gambling than I do when I'm playing cards.
I love him, Steve Albini.
He's one of the most important influences on me.
As a punk rock kid I went to one studio in Brooklyn where someone told me that the way we wanted to record wouldn't work and the way I was playing was wrong.
I wrote Steve a letter from an address I got somewhere and I said, "Hi, I'd like to build a recording studio and I don't know how to do it.
" Just proceeded to send me letters and drawings and facts, details on how to install the windows.
When I wrote him a letter, he sent me designs on how to build a studio! I was a kid! Like, that's not a dick.
That changed my life.
It's actually since been a real guide to me of like genuine generosity to other people.
That was the first of many studios that I've built.
It's really nice that now in Steve's world there is some grey.
In the old days it was just black and white.
He would never use words like love or anything like that.
And now he'll use that word in conversation.
Time has been kind to Steve, as his elbows rounded out.
I'm very pleased we were able to make a studio that has survived as a resource for all the people in the music scene that I consider my brothers.
We all started listening to punk rock together.
And I think in a strange way punk rock music was that generation's folk music because it was so easy to play and they were sort of talking about what was going on around them.
It spoke to us.
When I first started playing punk rock I had no commercial aspiration at all because that would have been completely ridiculous.
There was no way anyone was gonna pay to listen to this type of music.
When you listen to the Blues, it's so real it's hard to imagine that it's for sale.
Muddy Waters, Harlem Wolf, Buddy Guy; all these guys had legendary stories, you know.
They're probably all true.
You really did live in the shadow of Muddy and these guys for an awful long time.
Now Buddy Guy is the last of the living legends.
He's the survivor.
The Kennedy Center Honors in Tribute to Buddy Guy Ladies and gentlemen, 2008 Kennedy Center honoree Morgan Freeman.
Buddy Guy, here's what you did.
You found a new music that no one ever heard before.
And you made a bridge from Roots to Rock and Roll.
Your Blues brought us together.
You know what I think? I think that's something to sing about.
Buddy Guy's story is so unbelievable.
A young boy making instruments from buttons and strings becoming a Blues legend.
One thing I realized in talking with all these people is that we've made something from nothing.
It's that fire or that inspiration that moves you through life.
This is the first song we're making for the album.
It'll be the first song on the record.
And it's all coming to me through these people.
It's important to have this history be living.
They really changed music here.
They were some of the best shows I've seen in my life.
Every album in here gave you power and strength and like, yeah.
We're still doing it.
We're still here, still making music.
We're all in this one big cultural fight together.
Don't be intimidated by your heroes.
Be inspired by them.
My parents told me, "Whatever you do, son, don't be the best in town.
Just be the best until the best come around.
" - Ha! That's a good one.
- Yeah.
There's a line, a story.
This is a musical map.
You can tie all of these people and places together with these sonic highways.
And it's been generation after generation of musicians that have put us here today.