Classic Chords #18 – Times Like Foo

Fellow C5 band member Andrea had a suggestion for a classic chord, one she’s not found a satisfactory resolution for in “Times Like These” by Foo Fighters. As Andrea points out, there are two versions: the original Rush-influenced album version with the following riff that sounds a lot like a Lifesonesque version of The Cult’s “She sells sanctuary” and a softer, less discordant acoustic/unplugged/laidback version that lends a little bit more to R.E.M.

I had a quick look at videos of Dave Grohl playing both versions just to get a measure of what he’s doing in both settings. The simpler way to play the intro to this song is to fret a conventional D major chord but lift off your (index) finger from the G-string to create what is technically a G major 9 (GM9) and then hammer-on back to the normal note of A on the G-string to give you the Dmaj. So far, so conventional. It’s a nice trick and it’s a nice sound, but it’s not the sophisticated discordancy we’ve all grown to love of the album version of the track.

On the album though that heavy intro is much more discordant and it looks like he’s playing an interesting chord at the fifth fret and shuttling between an open D-string for the root note and hammering-on to the fifth fret on the A string, essentially muting that D-string but keeping the top three strings ringing a note, keeping a Dm13 (D minor 13) as a Dm13 played at the fifth fret with two different slightly different fingerings. I doubt that open D string rings much as the hammering-on to the 5th fret of the A-string is happening.

For those who don’t know, foo fighters is term that was used by Allied pilots in WWII to refer to unidentified objects in the sky.

I recorded an approximation of the riff using the Dm13 and the AM9, thos chords…they’re almost jazz…but then Grohl’s guitar hero Alex Lifeson (more him in the Hemispheres and Limelight classic chords) uses a lot of what you might term jazz chords (as if chords are interested in genre, anyway!) I should do the chords from Rush’s Lakeside Park next given that it’s the 24th of May, a day on which everyone would gather.