Foo Fighters’ Chris Shiflett says going solo is “challenging”: “Guitar playing is my comfort zone”

“But to be the singer and then also have to talk to the crowd, I had to work at that.”

Chris Shiflett

Image: Harry Durrant / Getty Images

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Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett has opened up about the challenges of going solo and taking centre stage as the frontman of his own music.

Shiflett, whose third solo album, Lost At Sea, arrived earlier this year, told Classic Rock that the transition from sideman to frontman didn’t come easy.

Describing the process as “challenging,” Shiflett says that “guitar playing is my comfort zone. But to be the singer and then also have to talk to the crowd, I had to work at that.”

“What you realise is that people want to have a good time,” he explains. “They’ve hired a sitter, bought tickets, bought a few drinks, maybe bought a T-shirt, they’ve invested in the evening. So that’s my job up on stage, to provide them with a good time. Once I figured that out, things got a lot better.”

Outside of Foo Fighters and his solo music career, Shiflett is also the host of two podcasts Walking The Floor and Shred With Shifty, a decision the 52-year-old attributes to his inability to enjoy time off.

“To be honest, I’m not good at downtime,” he says. “I have to be playing, learning something new all the time.”

The musician adds that “The older I’ve gotten, I’ve been sort of gripped by this feeling of: ‘Damn, I wasted so much time when I was younger!’ And you never get that back.”

“I’m lucky that I have been able to do music full-time. And I want to keep doing it.”

During the interview, Shiflett also shares his approach to songwriting, saying: “I think we’re all nostalgic, and kind of overly sentimental. With songwriting, I’m constantly digging into earlier periods in my life. And I find myself pushing back against that because too much nostalgia is a dangerous thing.”

“I try to write in the present. I have a pretty happy life, but I’m not comfortable with happy-go-lucky, zip-a-dee-doo-dah songs. There’s real-life stuff that happens over time – friends dying, thoughts of mortality – and some of these songs really sort of speak to that.”

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