Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett on Barrowlands memories and clubbing with Motorhead's Lemmy in Glasgow
As the guitarist for the world's biggest rock band, Foo Fighters, Chris Shiflett has topped the bill at some of the world's premier festivals and stadiums. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 2021, he's become one the most-recognisable faces in the world of music.
Playing the amount of life-changing shows Shiflett does regularly, it would be easy for them all to become a bit of a blur. But his first experience of a Scottish crowd is something that has never really left the 52-year-old.
Detailing his bizarre first ever experience of Glasgow's East End, a Chesire cat grin appears on his face. The rough and ready rock and roll swagger of Glasgow's nightlife is right up his street. It's clear to see why he wanted to include a Scottish date to his solo tour with the March 23 gig at Glasgow's Queen Margaret University.
"I've played so many great gigs in Scotland. I remember playing Barrowlands - I think it was my first time - not long after I joined Foo Fighters. I don't mean to stereotype but this illustrates the intensity of the Scottish fan for me," explained the guitarist.
"This kid came to the back door and he had a big welt across his face, super swollen, and he told our tour manager that he had a ticket in his hand on the way to the gig at the train station and somebody smashed his face with a bat and pinched his ticket.
"He turned up at the gig anyway - presumably the guy who took his ticket did too - and we let him in. At Scottish shows, it's always this big mass of people jumping up and down, singing songs and going crazy. Scotland is different" he laughs.
'Singing for your supper'
Responsible for some of the world's most well-known rock tracks, the level of success the California born axeman has reached in his career can leave see the up close and more personal shows become less frequent as the year's go by and there's a visible excitement in Shiflett's voice when he discusses bringing his new album 'Lost At Sea' across the pond.
There'll be new songs, new music and a new faces in crowd and there's an admission that the tour brings around his a challenge that he can really sink his teeth into.
"Even with Foo Fighters, we regularly do underplays and sneaky shows so even with Foos, it is not something we've ever gotten to far away from. But I love it, it's just different. You can see the whites of peoples eyes. It is great playing a big huge festival but you are very far away from the crowds and these shows you can feel the hot breath of the crowd - whether you want to or not.
"UK crowds are just different to everyone else. It feels there's a lot of people over there who like country music, whether that be Americana, modern country or something like that. I'm really looking forward to it. We did a run of dates last year almost to the day. The last couple of tours over in the UK really have been some of the best I've ever done with my solo stuff.
"The crowds have been great over there and we build on it each time. I always time going to the UK at the same time each year, it is always during my kids spring break! It seems to happen that way.
"I always assume most of the people in the crowd are curious Foo Fighters fans but not people who have necessarily heard my solo music. So you're kind of singing for your supper and trying to win them over. For people that haven't heard my music at all, I'd describe it as country rock. It definitely has a lot of rock and roll in it but country is a big influence to."
Glasgow clubbing with Motorhead legend Lemmy
"At this point, I put out a new record last year so we've been incorporating more and more of those songs into the set. It is different playing songs people are not used to in a live environment - I love it, that is sort of the crackle and excitement of it. You're trying to entertain people who have plonked down their 30 bucks or whatever and you want to make sure they've got their money's worth" says Shiflett.
It isn't just the shows that hold a place in the heart of Shiflett though with Scotland's biggest city being the place he first ever came into contact with rock and roll legend and the dearly missed Lemmy of Motorhead.
"The first time I ever went to Glasgow was with No Use For A Name. We drove overnight, slept on the bus as you do. We had an off night and on that night we went to some crazy disco club, full on dance music, multi-tiered. We were drinking weird s**t we had never drank before and somebody told us Lemmy (Motorhead) was on the top floor and we went up and hung out with Lemmy - first time I ever met him. I have many fond memories of Glasgow.
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