It’s been an emotional couple of weeks for Fabio Zaffagnini and his 999 band mates since their cover of the Foo Fighters classic Learn To Fly went viral.
Zaffagnini is the brains behind the video and the campaign that preceded it, having spent the better part of a year gathering 1000 musos – that’s 250 singers, 350 guitarists, 150 bassists, 250 drummers – who together serenaded the Foo Fighters with their 1999 There Is Nothing Left To Lose hit, all in the name of convincing them to play in their town.
He pulled it off in spectacular fashion too. “I started crying like a baby,” Zaffagnini told The Guardian after he saw the final video. “I’m not an emotional person, but so much went into it.”
Not only did they create a beautifully shot and moving mass cover, they also achieved their objective when last week Dave Grohl posted a video message thanking them for the tribute and promising the Foos will visit Cesena soon. Except he said it in Italian.
“I thought it was a joke when I first saw it,” Zaffagnini said of Grohl’s homemade video. “When I realised it was him, I started crying again! I don’t cry often, but it’s been very hard to contain the emotions I’ve had.”
Interestingly Zaffagnini, who first announced his plan back in December of last year, said his inspiration for the project came from an unlikely source – the 2003 Jack Black comedy School of Rock.
“On the DVD, there’s a bonus feature where he says if you really want something, you have to ask – and it works better if there are a thousand people screaming behind you.”
He took the advice literally, first by putting together a team that could help with logistics, then launching a crowdfunding site to pay for expenses and finally recruiting musicians by asking prospective participants to send in audition videos.
“Making something like this in Italy is very hard,” explained Zaffagnini. “We think these kind of things can happen in other countries, but not Italy. The US is a place where dreams come true and Italy’s not, so every time we’d tell sponsors or musicians about the idea, they’d say it was cool but it’d never happen.”
“We didn’t sleep in the days leading up to it trying to prepare,” he added. Still they persevered and he says once everyone got into place and the 250 drummers began rehearsing in unison with a click-track, “we looked at each other and said, ‘Hey, this will actually work.’”
Not only did it work, it’s garnered world-wide attention, a Guinness World Record and good will in his town. “Every time I go outside and walk down the street, everyone’s coming up to me with hugs and thanks for what me and the rest of the team did.”
“I’ve been completely overwhelmed by everything. I feel very proud and I would like to thank everyone that gave us a hand,” he continued. “This is something that could be life changing for all of us.”
Check out the legitimately incredible 1,000 person cover of Foo Fighters’ Learn To Fly, below along with Davide Grohl’s response.
Watch: Foo Fighters Rockin1000 – Learn To Fly
Watch: Per Cesena & #Rockin1000