When Foo Fighter lead man Dave Grohl comes up with an idea, trust that it will be bad-ass and filled with surprises. And his video concept for White Limo, the first single off their Grammy-winning album, Wasting Light, did not disappoint. Dave wanted to direct, and he had a killer idea – keep it analog, just like the record. In the spirit of old-school Black Flag videos and other punk rock classics shot on VHS, Dave wanted a gritty, analog look and a bitchin’ 1980’s white Cadillac limo to star alongside the band in the video.
Shooting and editing the video on VHS was Dave’s request. The latest Foo Fighters album had been laid down to tape in Dave’s garage, and the no-bullshit approach had energized the band. So when it was time to make the first video, it was important to keep that spirit alive. Instead of a grueling and boring shoot over the span of several days, Dave and NuContext conspired to make this production like a punk song: short, fast, snotty, and a hell of a lot of fun.
In order for VHS production on White Limo to begin, we needed two things: a white limo and some VHS equipment. Our production team jumped right in and turned up the car in no time at all. The VHS cameras, editing equipment, and tape stock took a bit more doing. Our production coordinators sent LA-area tape stock suppliers rooting through their inventories for whatever dusty S-VHS stock they could find. Cameras turned up on Craigslist. In a short time, we had an production set-up that was state-of-the-art. For 1985.
Shooting was hysterical. Dave cast metal legend Lemmy from Motorhead as one of the main characters. Foos pal Wiley Hodgsen was stunt Lemmy, doing the daredevil driving and pretend drinking. Dave’s wife Jordyn even made a Whitesnake-worthy cameo as the hot girl at the end. Things went off without a hitch as we spent two days shooting the on the street and performance segments in and around the Foo Fighters recording studio, 606. The band fell hard for that ridiculous white Caddy. So much so, in fact, that they bought it after the shoot and took it out for parts of their tour.
Our editor, Chad Peiken, had to dust off his old (high) school VHS tape-to-tape linear editing skills, per Dave’s mandate to keep the project free of computers. We managed to find a 1980’s non-linear edit system in New Jersey, had it shipped to our LA office, and got to work. Dave wanted a super cheesy title to kick off the video – and Executive Producer Angela Guice dug into her attic back home in Mississippi and found her old analog title generator from the 90’s. Magically, it still worked!
The rough cut was presented to Dave on VHS at Studio 606, and it was approved on the first cut. In his own words: “The White Limo video is so f*cking good. It’s perfect. It’s exactly what I hoped it would be. Wanna know how many times that’s happened in the 20 years that I’ve been making videos? Not once. You guys nailed it so hard. Honestly. After watching it once, I said ‘yep. we’re done.’ And THAT sure as f*ck hasn’t happened in 20 years.”
- Live Action
- Analog Finishing