Faux Fighters open River Rock season with Dave Grohl tribute

Creating the look to play Dave Grohl in the Foo Fighters tribute band Faux Fighters came easy to S. Chelsea Scott.

Everything else was a challenge.

Scott already had long dark hair and a beard like the Warren native and Foo Fighters frontman when the band started in 2012. In fact, it was his resemblance to Grohl that fueled the idea.

Scott had played in bands before, but he primarily was working behind the scenes, operating his own recording studio near San Diego. He was interviewing to do some additional engineering work at another studio when he ran into some musicians he knew who were in a Cure tribute band, and they told him everyone there who walked by thought it was Grohl sitting in the lobby. They also asked if he’d considered starting a tribute band.

“That (being mistaken for Grohl) was happening quite often,” Scott said. “Maybe doing a tribute to Foo Fighters would be really cool. I wasn’t a huge fan at the time, but I knew the hits.

“I took a look at the idea some months earlier and realized it would take a considerable amount of work. I wasn’t prepared for it, nor did I have those singing chops down. The guy is a phenom — an awesome singer, a talented person and an overall nice guy. I kind of gave up on it.”

The conversation rekindled his interest. He agreed to give it a shot if his friends from The Cured helped him assemble a band.

That was only the first step.

“I’d been playing guitar off and on for a number of years, but I’m a lefty. Dave Grohl plays right-handed,” Scott said. “I had to learn how to play guitar all over again.”

He also realized that Grohl keeps the beat while playing guitar by tapping his left foot while Scott uses his right, so he changed that as well. It’s a small detail, but it’s the kind of thing hardcore fans notice.

Then came learning the catalog of a band that released its first album 24 years ago. Scott said Grohl’s diverse musical tastes — he has an appreciation for pop music and has played in punk bands like Scream and heavy metal side projects like Probot — are reflected in the Foo’s music.

“The material is harder than I thought. It isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination,” Scott said. “The newer material has gotten more complex, how the chords are placed. There are different timings, different melodies and arrangements.

“They’ve kept growing. Some artists when they wind down, their material becomes kind of a mimic of their earlier material. They’re trying to capture lightning in a bottle over and over again. Foo Fighters keep growing and their music changes. They’ve definitely grown as artists without outgrowing their edginess … Dave definitely has put his voice out on the edge on almost every single album.”

Musicians who’ve auditioned for the band over the years have discovered the same thing.

“We’ve had players come in, ‘Oh, yeah, I can pull this off, no problem,’ then they try to play with the band. We’re playing at a certain level and they’re trying to play catch-up. A few have crumbled under the pressure.”

One thing Scott doesn’t do when Faux Fighters plays a show is take a turn behind the drum kit. Grohl first gained fame as the drummer for Nirvana.

“I’ve played drums before, but not anywhere near the greatness of Dave Grohl,” he said.

Scott wanted to keep the setlist a surprise for Saturday but said the band will play many of the expected hits as well as some of the cover songs Foo Fighters often play live. Faux Fighters also has been adding some tracks from those earlier releases to its repertoire, and the band may include some of them as well if time permits.

River Rock at the Amp promoter Ken Haidaris said that a Foo Fighters tribute band was the perfect way to open the 10th anniversary season of a concert series that takes place only a couple of blocks from David Grohl Alley, and Scott said the band is looking forward to checking out the alley and the birthplace of the Foo Fighters founder.

“When we got the opportunity to come to Warren, the band was all like, ‘We definitely have to go.'”