Foo Fighters Leave Their Fingerprints on Record Store Day
This past Saturday, Duff McKagan appeared at Easy Street in Seattle, while My Chemical Romance signed records at Vertigo Music in Grand Rapids, MI, and Halestorm performed at Ralph's Records in Lubbock, Texas.
However, it would be difficult to match the wall-shaking thunder of Foo Fighters at Fingerprints in Long Beach, CA.
Two hundred lucky fans received wristbands for the secret showafter pre-ordering the band's new "Wasting Light" album at the store earlier this month. Representatives of the band had approached Fingerprints recently and made the request that band be able to play there.
Fingerprints owner Rand Foster, who recently moved from his nearby Belmont Shore location into a new, much larger space, is no stranger to hosting live music in his record store. Since opening in 1992, the legendary shop owner has featured many notable appearances, some of which are immortalized on "Live at Fingerprints" EPs.
Former Fingerprints manager Jim Rainwater traveled down from San Francisco to help his former boss run interference on what he knew would be a crazy day.
"I live in San Francisco now," Rainwater told Noisecreep, "But I come down every year for Record Store Day, just to get back in touch with all the music. But this year was obviously special."
Rainwater, who was at the very first Fingerprints in-store show in 1992, said it was a bit different than the Foo Fighters gig, which had electrified the entire Long Beach area.
"Freedy Johnston played for 20 people. To top it off, he got a parking ticket outside. Over the years we also had Patti Smith, Iron & Wine, and many others. Great shows, but one's a bit ... unique."
The evening of the show, 200 fans whooped it up as the white limo, driven by Lemmy in the new Foo Fighters video "White Limousine," pulled up to the store's curb.
First in line to get in was 35-year-old Matt Reamers. "This is my band," he told Noisecreep. "I live here in Long Beach. Fingerprints is my record store. I cannot believe this."
One by one, the band arrived, posed for a few photos, then headed inside to get ready.
A small stage, with a large PA and wall of amps, had been set up that morning. In front of the set up, about 30 minutes before showtime, Foo Fighter founder and singer/guitarist Dave Grohl spoke to Noisecreep about what Record Store Day means to him.
"I wouldn't be here if it weren't for record stores," he said. "I still go to the record store, thankfully there's one right by my house, and it reminds of the place I bought records growing up in Virginia. Just as there is an art to making music, there's a lot of art and craft that goes into making records. Records are the tangible part of rock and roll -- you hold them in your hands. You have the front cover, the back cover, and the imagination in between."
Grohl also reminisced about how some of his favorite early albums came loaded with bonuses like posters and lyrics sheets.
"There was an album when I was coming up called 'Not so Quiet on the Western Front.' It was one of my favorites, featuring all these Bay Area punk bands. It came with this big magazine, and each band got to design a page from it. It was so cool, how much they put into the art of packaging."
[Note - the red-hot new Foo Fighter album includes its own artifact: an actual piece of the album's master tape, recorded all-analog in the Grohl family garage].
Grohl added, "I put out my first record when I was 15. I was in a lousy neighborhood punk band. We went to a place to have it pressed, then Xeroxed our own cover for it and finally took it to our local record store where they sold it on consignment. I told you, I wouldn't be here if weren't for record stores. Look at how cool this place is."
Soon after, the doors opened and the fans quickly gathered up against the stage. At 5 p.m. sharp, the crowd erupted as the band took the stage. Grohl greeted everyone, and then they were off: Foo Fighters, live at Fingerprints. The Foos ripped, roared, and rocked for about an hour; a thrashy garage band pouring it on for the faithful.
Grohl was as ferocious and intense as usual, in jeans, t-shirt and sneakers, sweating buckets in a whiplash frenzy. The rest of the band (Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendel, Taylor Hawkins and Pat Smear, with Rami Jaffee on keyboards for several numbers) also delivered their typical rock-steady, no-nonsense, powerhouse punch, thrilling the crowd with a complete playing of "Wasting Light" followed by an encore of "All My Life" from the "One By One" album.
At the end of the show, Grohl thanked everyone profusely, saving his biggest praise for Fingerprints and all the other record stores that are managing to survive (and in some cases, even thrive) in today's complex musical marketplace.
Rand Foster, something of a rock star himself to his long-time customers, took the stage to add his own thanks to the band and those in attendance. Foster mentioned the Foo Fighters' special Record Day release, a collection of covers and b-sides called 'Medium Rare.' Then he graciously told the crowd he had a gift for everyone as they left - a beautiful commemorative poster honoring the band's historic appearance at Fingerprints.
Throughout the store, among the blissfully exhausted, the shared feeling seemed obvious --why can't every day be Record Store Day?