Soundcheck at Safeco Field/ The Joy Formidable with Foo Fighters. Photo by: Timothy Hiatt
From beyond the AAARTH, thank you, Foo Fighters
2018 has been quite a busy year for both Foo Fighters and The Joy Formidable. In addition to Dave Grohl’s jaw-dropping, 23 minute “Play”, and curating, hosting and rocking the second annual Cal Jam, the Foo Fighters embarked on a 66-show Concrete and Gold world tour — spread across 13 countries. (The entire Concrete and Gold tour consisted of 114 shows dating back to 2017).
For The Joy Formidable, their fourth studio record, AAARTH was released on September 28th, and since June, they too have taken on a rigorous tour schedule, bringing their new rock to the masses.
This past September, the Foo-Joy worlds would collide, as The Joy Formidable were asked to open for the Foo Fighters on the west coast run. Two of those shows (Edmonton and Calgary) would get postponed and as a result, serve as the last two shows on the epic Concrete and Gold experience.
With that, I recently caught up with Rhydian Dafydd Davies of The Joy Formidable, who takes us inside the thrill.
How has it been for you to tour with Foo Fighters?
This is the second time touring with the guys (we are currently in Edmonton doing the two rescheduled Canadian dates) and the gigs have been fantastic as always. They and the crew are great people who treat you with decency and respect and know how to have a laugh, the crowds have been superb and open and to top it off we get to see them play every night.
Dave Grohl handpicked The Joy Formidable to join the band on the road. How did that process happen?
From all accounts it happened organically which is beautiful. He heard us on the radio and went to find out who we were and bought the album. Next thing we were on tour with them. Pretty pretty fuckin sweeeeet!
You’ve been on arena tours before, but obviously this tour was massive. Did the Foo Fighters give you any words of wisdom beforehand?
Not at all. There is mutual respect which is another testament to them. We have been in bands for years and wouldn’t be doing this without self belief and a clear direction. The words have been saved for good banter which is good by us!
Any memorable backstage moments?
Giggling with Dave And Krist Novoselic backstage at Safeco Field in Seattle was sweet and surreal. Ritzy was discussing her love of goats and caught Krist’s attention so much that he contemplated flying one back home that night on his private jet!
What about memorable moments performance-wise?
That Seattle gig was special. The crowd was fantastic and ‘well up for it’ all night and Krist came on to play with the Foos.
What did you learn/take away from this tour?
That live music is alive and well (including guitar music everybody!), that there are decent people in music and that the art and craft of playing needs to be continually celebrated. There is nothing like it.
Did you join the Foo Fighters on stage at all?
No YEEEET! Come on chaps 🙂
With the release of your new record AAARTH, what did this tour mean to you as a band? Did it build the excitement and make you want to tour more?
We have always loved touring. That is where the truth lies and that won’t change. So, damn right we are excited for our album tour (and the dates so far have been great)!
As far as the Foos tour… I think it is a beautiful thing to play to different audiences as I believe it is really important to expose people to all kinds of music all of the time. I believe we are sometimes in danger of boxing genres too much, probably because of ease and excessive data. So mixing and matching of all sorts, exposing the great talent out there and keeping ears open is so important. And as big as the Foos are I am glad to say that their audiences have had those ears open. Thanks guys, thank you Foos and see you all on the road very soon.
Will you listen to the artist’s music prior to starting or during the process to embody the person?
I absolutely listen to not only his music, but interviews as well as hearing from loved ones — this really helps create the right look for the sculpt.
What are the final dimensions of such a sculpture like Cornell’s in terms of height, weight, etc?
Since this piece was life-sized , Chris was rather tall (6–3 ) with the pose his right hand thrusting upward was approximately 7 feet at the tip of his fingers.The bronze was weighed at the foundry and cane in around 385 lbs.
What are you working on now? What’s on tap for you?
I’m working on a huge bronze project for the Tolerance Museum in Israel (Ronald Reagan and Netan Sharansky on a bench). And I have an Alice Cooper (silicone hyperreal)piece in the works for Monsterpalooza 2019 ( Pasadena ).
When you your work will be donated to MoPop — Seattle and it represents an icon in Chris Cornell, with a legendary body of work, planted in the middle of the mecca, Seattle (+ knowing it will mean a lot to so many fans) how does that make you feel? What does it mean to you?
It’s actually indescribable, it’s still a surreal experience, at the unveiling ( Oct 7th ) standing in front of the piece, knowing all the pain, blood, sweat and tears that went into it’s creation — it was an incredibly emotional moment. I’m just hoping the fans appreciate the care and love that went into it’s creation. It’s a great honor for me to be involved, and huge thanks to Vicky Cornell for offering this gift to the city of Seattle, and fans all around the world to make their pilgrimage to pay their respects to this legendary voice of a generation.
For more information visit: NickMarraStudios.com