Chris Shiflett has been the lead guitarist of Foo Fighters — one of the world’s biggest rock bands — for over 15 years. Prior to joining Dave Grohl and company, Chris played guitar in No Use For A Name and Me First & The Gimme Gimmes. While the touring schedule of the Foos would be enough for most musicians, Chris always has a project in the works. Earlier this year, Chris released his third solo album, West Coast Town, via SideOneDummy Records.
In support of West Coast Town, Chris makes a return to New York on Apr. 6 at Rockwood Music Hall. Chris spoke to Downtown about his Rockwood gig and plenty more via e-mail. In the meantime, you can listen to Chris every other Monday as the host of the Walking The Floor podcast, which has hosted Dierks Bentley, Mike Ness, Brad Paisley, Matt Skiba, and Dwight Yoakam among its 57 episodes. Chris can be visited online at www.chrisshiflettmusic.com.
Where was the first gig you ever played in New York? Was it with No Use For A Name?
In New York, you have played both the smallest and largest venues over the years. Are New Yorkers different to play for than other city crowds?
Chris Shiflett: Well, New York is unlike any other city in the world, so yeah, I guess the shows there can be intense. Coming from California, I was always a little scared of New York when I first started going there but intrigued at the same time.
I remember your first solo EP came out under the name Jackson, which later evolved into Jackson United. Why did it take so long for your solo material to come out under the name Chris Shiflett?
Chris Shiflett: I never wanted to have it appear that those were solo records, but this time I just figured might as well. My friend Mitch Marine made me do it.
Who’s in your touring band?
Chris Shiflett: For this run of dates I’ve got Brian Whelan on guitar, Luke Adams on drums, and Muddy Stardust on the bass — a solid group of guys!
What should be expected from your live show at Rockwood? Entirely material from your latest album?
Chris Shiflett: We’ll probably play my entire new record and throw in a few covers to round it out. It’s kind of hard for people to have to sit through a whole show of songs they’ve never heard!
After your tour wraps, what’s coming up for you?
Chris Shiflett: Not sure exactly. There’s some summer Foo Fighter gigs. Gonna try to squeeze in a few more solo shows before things get too busy.
How has the experience of doing a podcast been for you? Is that something you can see yourself doing for years to come?
Chris Shiflett: I love doing the interviews. When else am I going to get a chance to sit down with Lucinda Williams or Merle Haggard and ask ‘em a bunch of fanboy questions? I’ll do it for as long as people want to listen.
I really enjoyed your podcast episode with Aaron Lee Tasjan. Are you aware that Aaron was in a band with sometimes-guitarist Rich Hinman called the Madison Square Gardeners?
Chris Shiflett: No! Small world.
When not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
Chris Shiflett: I’ve got three young sons and they keep me pretty busy. I try to squeeze in a little surfing, boxing, soccer, and what-not when I can.
Do you have a favorite podcast beyond your own?
Chris Shiflett: There’s a bunch that I listen to: Jimmy Dore Show, WTF?, Intercepted With Jeremy Scahill, So That Happened, Ralph Nader Radio Hour, KPFA – Economic Update, Scheer Intelligence, Guardian Football Weekly — just to name a few!
Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York?
Chris Shiflett: Not anymore, ’cause every time I go there, my favorite restaurants have closed and there are a bunch of new ones. I tend to just go where my wife says we should go.
Finally, Chris, any last words for the kids?
Chris Shiflett: Keep the faith, boys and girls!