Foo Fighters’ Chris Shiflett Finds His Truth in Latest Solo Effort, ‘Born & Raised’ [Interview]
Life has been a whirlwind of late for Chris Shiflett.
“I flew home to Los Angeles from London, woke up the next morning, ran to my studio, grabbed my acoustic guitar and flew back out to Nashville,” the Foo Fighters’ guitarist says in an interview with Taste of Country mere days after taking part in the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium in September. “The Grand Ole Opry performance was kind of the cornerstone of the whole thing.”
Indeed, while Shiflett continues his run as a member of the iconic rock band, he has also spent several years in Nashville crafting music for his solo career. And sometimes, those two worlds collide.
“It's such a wild difference between stepping out on stage in that [Grand Ole Opry] circle and stepping out on stage at Wembley [Stadium], but I was really happy they did,” Shiflett explains. “It was really nice to just have a scene change, you know?”
His remark is certainly understandable, as Shiflett and his Foo Fighters bandmates continue to mourn the loss of their beloved drummer, who died in March at the age of 50. Nevertheless, when the Grand Ole Opry called to ask for him to return to their famous stage, Shiflett was determined to make it work.
“This one felt like maybe the best one so far,” he gushes of the performance that had him collaborating with mandolin player Sierra Hull, bassist Mike Bub and fiddle player Michael Cleveland. “It was just wild. I really enjoyed it.”
The love of Americana and roots-heavy country music has long been a passion for Shiflett. In fact, he has stepped on that Grand Ole Opry stage several times already. And yes, Shiflett undoubtedly has enjoyed his time in Nashville, having completed his "last several records" filled with Americana sounds and roots-heavy country ideals.
“It’s a city I love where I come to create more music that I love,” he says. “For the kind of music I make on my solo records, it's the best place in the world to go. I love going there. It always feels really comfortable.”
And certainly, Shiflett sounds like he couldn’t be more in his comfort zone with his latest solo release, "Born & Raised," an authentic ode to how home can look different as the years go by.
“My songs that always mean the most to me are the ones probably that skew the most autobiographical,” he says of “Born & Raised,” which is the second single he's recorded with six-time Grammy Award winning record producer Vance Powell. “Lyrically, it almost got to the point that I was like, 'Should I put this out? Maybe it's treading a little too close.' But yeah, the song is about Santa Barbara and how it's always going to be my hometown, but in some ways, I feel like a stranger.”
Or maybe, Shiflett is just still growing up.
“This year just feels like a very transitional year for me,” he says quietly. "Taylor [Hawkins] passed away and my stepdad passed away and my oldest son went to college, and it's years like this that put you in a reflective mood. You're old enough to maybe think you have a little wisdom about the way the world works, but who knows. That's the shifting sands of life, you know?”
“I feel like there's so much I still want to do musically, but yeah, you begin to notice the clock on the wall.”