In 2020 MOJO went to visit the Foos in LA as they were putting the finishing touches to their tenth album, Medicine At Midnight. While writer Tom Doyle was there, Dave Grohl told him about some alleged strange happenings at the house where they were recording – a story which only now makes sense with the release of the Foos’ horror film, Studio 666. Here’s Grohl’s story – the first stirrings of Studio 666…
“THE ENCINO HOUSE WAS BUILT, I BELIEVE, IN THE '40s. In the ’60s and the ’70s, it was somewhat of a party house. Like, Joe Cocker would go there and party. We heard that a band recorded there 25 years ago. We hadn’t heard any of the recording, but apparently the sound in the living room was fucking amazing.
When we first came to see the house, the vibe was definitely off. We knew that it was a bit creepy. Y’know, some people believe in ghosts, some people don’t. Some people are receptive to bad vibrations, some people aren’t. But when you walked into this place, it was undeniable that there were cold spots. You had that feeling in the back of your neck like someone was standing behind you or watching you.
I lived in a house in Seattle that actually had a ghost in it. Things would move, you would hear footsteps. But the worst part was when you were downstairs in the house, you always felt like someone was right fucking behind you. And at night when you’d close your eyes, you felt like someone’s face was right here next to yours. That really fucked me up.
Back in the summer of 1992, I’d hung out at the house where Sharon Tate was killed by the Manson Family. Nine Inch Nails was making their masterpiece there [1994’s The Downward Spiral, recorded at singer Trent Reznor’s then-home at 10050 Cielo Drive]. Nirvana was doing nothing so I came to LA to hang out with my friend Pete [Stahl, Scream singer] in his house. He had no air conditioning, in the Valley, in the summer.
So, my friend Bryan Brown and I decided we were just gonna go look for swimming pools. One day, Bryan said, ‘Guess where we’re fucking swimming today?’ I mean, I’d read all the Manson books when I was a teenager. I’d seen a million pictures and all of a sudden, I was there. And, absolutely, there were bad vibes. No question.
Anyways, so when we walked into the house in Encino, I knew the vibes were definitely off, but the sound was fucking on. So, we started working there and it wasn’t long before things started happening. We would come back to the studio the next day and all of the guitars would be detuned. Or the settings that we’d put on the board, all of them had gone back to zero.
We would open up a Pro Tools session and tracks would be missing. There were some tracks that were put on there that we didn’t put on there. But just like weird open mike noises. So, nobody playing an instrument or anything like that, but just an open mike recording a room. And we’d fucking zero in on sounds within that. And we didn’t hear any voices or anything really decipherable. But something was happening.
It got to the point where I brought one of those nest cams that I still have at home, for when my kids would sleep in their cribs. I set it up overnight so that we could see if there was anyone there or anyone was coming to fuck around with us. At first, nothing. And right around the time we thought we were ridiculous and we were out of our minds, we started to see things on the nest cam that we couldn’t explain.
Then when we found out the history of the house, I had to sign a fucking non-disclosure agreement with the landlord because he’s trying to sell the place. So, I can’t give away what happened there in the past. But these multiple occurrences over a short period of time made us finish the album as quickly as we could.”
Studio 666 is out now. You can buy the special limited edition cover of MOJO's Foo Fighters issue here