Walking After You is a 1998 single from the Foo Fighters and appears on The X-Files: The Album, the soundtrack to the original X Files movie. An earlier version of the song first appeared on the band’s 1997 album The Colour and the Shape.
While none of the X-Files album songs are prominently featured in the movie itself, Walking After You is played during the end credit sequence, following Noel Gallagher’s Teotihuacan. The single’s B-side is Ween’s Beacon Light. The Foo Fighters had previously contributed a cover of Gary Numan’s Down in the Park to the compilation album, Songs in the Key of X: Music From and Inspired by the X-Files. Grohl is an avid fan of The X-Files.
Before the song’s release as a tie-in to the movie, another song from The Colour and the Shape, Hey, Johnny Park!, had been slated to be that album’s fourth and final single from that album but Walking After You was released instead. The writing credit for the version of Walking After You on the The Colour and the Shape album is attributed solely to Dave Grohl, unlike most of the other songs on the album, which are attributed to the band as a whole.
Walking After You was a hit in the UK and was performed live on the chart show Top of the Pops. The song, along with the rest of The Colour and the Shape album was released as downloadable content for the Rock Band series of video games on November 13, 2008.
The original album version was created in December 1996 at WGNS Studios in Washington, D.C., in between recording sessions for The Colour and the Shape. It was performed by Grohl on vocals (in one take) and all instrument parts (except bass, which was performed by the band’s bassist Nate Mendel), and was recorded by Geoff Turner.
The soundtrack/single version was performed by the full band, including then-recent additions Taylor Hawkins and Franz Stahl, with guest backing vocals from Shudder to Think’s Craig Wedren. It was recorded in early 1998 at Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood, and was produced by Talking Heads member Jerry Harrison. As a result of trying to muster as much emotion as possible, Grohl broke down during the recording of the vocal take which ended up being used in the final mix.
The new version also utilizes the addition of a piano part during the bridge, performed by Harrison. Stylistically, it employs more intricate drumming and guitar work than the original, which is much more sparse and runs about a minute shorter.
Dave Grohl has described spoken of the song, saying:
“It’s an emotional, sappy song about getting dumped.”
The song’s music video (see above) features a nattily-attired Grohl interacting with a woman (played by Spanish actress Arly Jover) in what appears to be an asylum or prison, where the two are separated by plate-glass windows. A stack of vintage television sets displays clips of retro fare such as Bela Lugosi films and Betty Boop cartoons.
It was directed by fashion photographer Matthew Rolston, who has also done videos for artists such as Janet Jackson, Madonna, and Lenny Kravitz. Grohl, the only band member to appear in the video, has since jokingly described it as “embarrassing”.
Before Rolston’s involvement in the video, X-Files star David Duchovny had expressed an interest in directing it, but was quick to admit his inexperience, saying “I wouldn’t know what the hell I’m doing.” The concept was also initially considered to have more of a direct relation to The X-Files in some way, which the finished video does not bear.
In an interview on the MTV2 show 24 Hours Of Foo, Grohl said he hated the video for this song, which doesn’t have the fun, quirky tone of many Foo Fighters videos.
Editor’s Note: I have recently picked back up a novel I have been writing off and on, putting aside the one I have been struggling on (I need a break from it). This song weighs in heavily in a character development way for one of the characters. I had never seen the video before, until today, and was taken aback by how much the woman in it resembles the character I associate this song to. I love synchronicity like that in art and music, and inspiration.