On the songs that Foo Fighter Taylor Hawkins’ latest side group the Birds of Satan have released so far, the band collages together bits of power pop and prog with a whole lot of hard rock. The title of their latest, “Pieces of the Puzzle,” is a fitting metaphor for the whole project, which musically echoes Queen, Queens of the Stone Age and Hawkins’ main squeeze and fittingly contains guest appearances by fellow Fighters Dave Grohl and Pat Smear. Hakwins told Billboard, which premiered the song here, that his band was “a cover band making a record of original songs.” It releases its self-titled debut on April 15th.
“Pieces of the Puzzle” finds the Birds of Satan skanking in the verses, playing some big pop-rock choruses about necessary evil and wielding authentic-sounding Seventies-style AOR riffs. Lyrically, it’s a quasi-love song, as Hawkins sings “In the middle of emotion/ I lay my head on you/ It’s the best thing I can do until everything is through,” but then a nefarious-sounding metal guitar solo creeps its way in.
“It’s all a mélange,” Hawkins said of the group’s approach. “I don’t really sit there and go, ‘Let’s do a Van Halen-style song’ or ‘Let’s do a Queen-style song’ or ‘Let’s do a Jane’s Addiction-style song. . . ‘ but it’s all there. I hope it’s not so on-the-nose that people go, ‘Oh, they’re just trying to sound like Van Halen’ or ‘They’re trying to sound like Queen.’ But it’s there. I’m under the influence, no question. It’s in my DNA.”
After announcing the group with a creepy one-minute video, Hawkins shared the Birds of Satan song “Thanks for the Line” in March. Hawkins told Billboard that he would like to perform some The Birds of Satan songs live, but that the logistics of singing and drumming at the same time might make that difficult. One solution, he said, was to play some of the songs with another one of his bands, Chevy Metal – which shares bandmates with The Birds of Satan.
In the meantime, Hawkins has a Foo Fighters album to record. In his interview, he kept mum on what the project is – Grohl has told Rolling Stone that it will be something no other band has done – but he was positive about the project. “As a band we’re playing better than we’ve ever played,” he said. “I just know it. I can feel it. I can hear it, and that’s the most important thing. We’re playing with utmost confidence, and Dave’s writing and thinking of millions of ideas on an insane level. That’s the really exciting part.”