is an American rock band formed in
1995. Singer and guitarist Dave Grohl
formed the group as a one-man project after the dissolution of his
previous band, Nirvana
, in 1994.
Prior to the release of Foo
in 1995, Grohl drafted Nate Mendel
as bassist, William Goldsmith
as drummer, and Pat Smear
as guitarist to complete the group. The
band was small, young, and they first began with performances in
Portland, Oregon before expanding. Goldsmith left during the
recording of the group's second album, The Colour and the Shape
(1997), and Smear's departure followed soon afterward. They were
replaced by Taylor Hawkins
, respectively, although
Stahl left prior to the recording of the group's third album,
There Is Nothing Left
joined as the band's
second guitarist after the completion of There Is Nothing Left
. The band released its fourth album, One by One
, in 2002. The group followed that
release with the two-disc In Your
(2005), which was split between acoustic
songs and harder-rocking material.
Foo Fighters released its sixth album, Echoes, Silence, Patience
, in 2007. Over the course of the band's
career, three of its albums have won Grammy Awards
for Best Rock Album
, and all six have been
nominated for Grammys.
Formation and debut album (1994–1995)
Dave Grohl joined the grunge
as its drummer in 1990 after the
break up of Grohl's previous band: Scream. In order to occupy
himself during tours, he took a guitar with him and wrote songs.
Grohl held back these songs from the band; he said in 1997, "I was
in awe of frontman Kurt Cobain
And intimidated. I thought it was best that I keep my songs to
myself." Instead, Grohl occasionally booked studio time to record
demos, and even issued a cassette of some of those songs called
pseudonym "Late!" in 1992.
Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home on April 8, 1994, and
Nirvana subsequently disbanded. Grohl received offers to work with
various artists including the Melvins
which Grohl accepted, however this never came to fruition. He also
almost accepted a permanent position as the drummer in Tom Petty and the
. Ultimately Grohl declined and instead entered
Robert Lang Studios
1994 to record twelve of the forty songs he had written. With the
exception of a guitar part on "X-Static" by Greg Dulli
of the Afghan
, Grohl played every instrument and sang every vocal on
the tracks.. "I was supposed to just join another band and be a
drummer the rest of my life," Grohl later said. "I thought that I
would rather do what no one expected me to do. I enjoy writing
music and I enjoy trying to sing, and there's nothing anyone can
really do to discourage me." Grohl completed an album's worth of
material in five days and handed out cassette copies of the
sessions to his friends for feedback.
Grohl hoped to keep his anonymity and release the recordings in a
limited run under the title "Foo Fighters", taken from the World War II
," used to refer to unidentified flying objects
However, the demo tape circulated in the music industry, creating
interest among record labels. Grohl formed a band to support the
album. Initially, Grohl talked to former Nirvana band mate Krist Novoselic
about joining the group, but
both decided against it. "For Krist and I, it would have felt
really natural and really great", Grohl explained. "But for
everyone else, it would have been weird, and it would have left me
in a really bad position. Then I really would have been under the
microscope." Having heard about the disbanding of Seattle-based rock
band Sunny Day Real Estate,
Grohl drafted the group's bass player, Nate
Mendel, and drummer, William
Grohl asked Pat
, who served as a touring guitarist for Nirvana after the
release of its 1993 album In
, to join as the group's second guitarist.
ultimately licensed the album to Capitol Records, releasing it on his new record label, Roswell
The group played its debut show at a keg party in February 1995.
Foo Fighters made their live debut on March 3, 1995 during a show
at The Satyricon
They followed that up with a show at the Velvet Elvis in Seattle on
4 March (this one witnessed by a mere 150 people, although over 500
were left outside). The first show had been part of a benefit gig
to aid the finances of the investigation into the rape and murder
of ex-The Gits singer Mia Zapata. Grohl refused to do interviews or
tour large venues to promote the album. Foo Fighters undertook
their first major tour in the spring of 1995, opening for Mike Watt
. The band's first single "This Is a Call
" was released in June 1995,
and its debut album Foo
was released the next month. "I'll Stick Around
", "For All The Cows
" and "Big Me
" were released as subsequent singles. The band
spent the following months on tour, including their first
appearance at the Reading Festival
in England in August.
The Colour and the Shape (1996–1997)
touring through the spring of 1996, Foo Fighters entered a studio
Washington with producer Gil Norton
to record its second album.
While Grohl once again wrote all
the songs, the rest of the band collaborated on the arrangements.
sessions nearly complete, Grohl took the rough mixes with him to
Angeles, intending to finish up his vocal and guitar
While there, Grohl realized that he wasn't happy with
how the mixes were turning out, and the band "basically re-recorded
almost everything". During the L.A. sessions, Grohl played drums on
some of the songs. Goldsmith said Grohl did not tell him that he
recorded new drum parts for the record and, feeling betrayed, left
In need of a replacement for Goldsmith, Grohl contacted Alanis Morissette
's touring drummer
to see if he could
recommend anybody. Grohl was surprised when Hawkins volunteered his
own services as drummer. Hawkins made his debut with the group in
time for the release of its second album, The Colour and the Shape
May 1997. The album spawned the singles "Monkey Wrench
", "My Hero
", and "Everlong
Pat Smear announced to the rest of the group that he wanted to
leave the band to pursue other interests. Four months later in
September 1997 at the MTV Video
, Smear simultaneously publicly announced his
departure from the band and introduced his replacement, Grohl's
bandmate Franz Stahl
. Stahl toured with the band for the
next few months, and appeared on two tracks that the band recorded
for movie soundtracks, a re-recording of "Walking After You
" for The X-Files
" for Godzilla
There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1998–2001)
In 1998, Foo Fighters traveled to Grohl's home state of Ohio to
write music for its third album. However, Grohl and Stahl were
unable to co-operate as songwriters; Grohl told Kerrang!
in 1999, "in those few weeks it just
seemed like the three of us were moving in one direction and Franz
wasn't". Grohl was distraught about the decision to fire Stahl, as
the two had been friends since childhood. The remaining trio of
Grohl, Mendel, and Hawkins spent the next several months recording
the band's third album, There Is Nothing Left to
, in Grohl's Virginia home studio. The album spawned
several singles, including "Learn to
", the band's first single to reach the US Hot 100.
Before the release of the album, Capitol president Gary Gersh was
forced out of the label. Given Grohl's history with Gersh, Foo
Fighters' contract had included a "key man clause" that allowed
them to leave the label upon Gersh's departure. They subsequently
left Capitol and signed to RCA
later acquired the rights to the band's Capitol albums.
After recording was completed, the band auditioned a number of
potential guitarists, and eventually settled on Chris Shiflett
, who previously performed with
No Use for a Name
and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Shiflett initially joined the band as touring guitarist, but
achieved full-time status prior to the recording of the group's
That same year, Foo Fighters established a relationship with rock
, of whom the band
(particularly Grohl and Hawkins) are fans. Guitarist Brian May
added a guitar track to Foo Fighters'
second cover of Pink Floyd
's "Have a Cigar
", which appeared on the soundtrack
to the movie Mission:
. When Queen was inducted into the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame in March 2001, Grohl and Hawkins were invited to
perform with the band on "Tie Your
Mother Down", with Grohl filling in on vocals for Freddie Mercury.
In 2002, guitarist
May contributed guitar work to "Tired of You" and an outtake called
"Knucklehead". The bands have performed together on several
occasions since, including VH1 Rock
Honors and Foo Fighters' headlining concert in Hyde
Park, as well as the band's concert at the O2
arena in London in November 2007.
One by One (2001–2004)
Near the end of 2001, the band reconvened to record their fourth album
. After spending four months in a Los
Angeles studio completing the album, Grohl spent some time helping
Queens of the Stone Age
complete their 2002 album Songs
for the Deaf
. Once the Queens of the Stone Age album was
finished, Grohl, inspired by the sessions, decided to reconvene Foo
Fighters to rework a few songs on their album. Instead, they
re-recorded nearly all of the album (save "Tired of You") in a
ten-day stretch at Grohl's studio in Virginia.
final album was released in October 2002 under the title
One by One
. Singles from the
album included "All My
", "Times Like
"Have It All
". The band later expressed
displeasure with the album. Grohl told Rolling Stone
in 2005, "Four of the songs
were good, and the other seven I never played again in my life. We
rushed into it, and we rushed out of it."
For most of its history, the band chose to stay away from the
political realm. However, in 2004, upon learning that George W. Bush
's presidential campaign was using "Times
Like These" at rallies, Grohl decided to lend his public support to
's campaign. Grohl attended
several Kerry rallies and occasionally performed solo acoustic
sets. The entire band eventually joined Grohl for a performance in
Arizona coinciding with one of the presidential
In Your Honor, Foozer Tour, and acoustic tour
Foo Fighters performing an acoustic
Having spent a year and a half touring behind One By One
Grohl did not want to rush into recording another Foo Fighters
record. Initially Grohl intended to write acoustic material by
himself, but eventually the project involved the entire band.
its fifth album, the band shifted to Los Angeles and built a recording studio, dubbed Studio 606
Grohl insisted that the album be divided into two
discs–one full of rock songs, the other featuring acoustic tracks.
In Your Honor
was released in
June 2005. The album's singles included "Best of You
"No Way Back
", and "Miracle
Between the months of September and October 2005, the band touring
on what was billed as the 'Foozer
Tour' as the two bands co-headlined the tour. On June 17, 2006, Foo
Fighters performed their largest non-festival headlining concert to
date at London's Hyde Park.
The band was supported by Juliette and the Licks
, Angels & Airwaves
, Queens of the Stone Age
. Motörhead's Lemmy
joined the band on stage to sing "Shake Your
Blood" from Dave Grohl's Probot
Also, as a surprise performance, Brian May
and Roger Taylor
jammed with Foo Fighters, playing part of
"We Will Rock You" as a lead into "Tie Your Mother Down".
In further support of In Your Honor
, the band decided to
organize a short acoustic tour for the summer of 2006. The tour
included former member Pat Smear
rejoined the band as an extra guitarist, Petra Haden
on violin and backup vocals,
on percussion, and Rami Jaffee
on keyboards/piano. While much of the setlist
focused on In Your Honor'
s acoustic half, the band also
used the opportunity to play lesser-known songs such as "Ain't It
The Life", "Floaty", and "See You". The band also performed
"Marigold", a Pocketwatch
-era song that was best-known as
a Nirvana B-side.
November 2006, the band released their first ever live CD,
Skin and Bones, featuring
fifteen performances captured over a three-night stand in Los Angeles.
An accompanying DVD was released, and
featured tracks not available on the CD.
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, Greatest
Hits, and hiatus (since 2007)
For the follow-up to In Your Honor
, the band decided to
call in The Colour and the Shape
producer Gil Norton.
Silence, Patience & Grace
was released on September
25, 2007. The album's first single, "The Pretender
", was issued to radio in
early August. In mid-to-late 2007 "The Pretender" topped
Rock chart for a record 18 weeks; it also gave the band their third
consecutive year at the top (a record). The second single,
"Long Road to Ruin
", was released
in December 2007, supported by a music video directed by longtime
collaborator Jesse Peretz
In October 2007, Foo Fighters started their world tour in support
of Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
. The band performed
shows throughout the United States, Europe,
Australia, Canada and Asia, including headlining the Virgin Mobile Festival in Baltimore on August 9.
The band finished its world
tour in September 2008 at the Virgin
at Toronto Island Park in Canada.
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
was nominated for
five Grammy Awards
in 2008. The Foo
Fighters went home with Best Rock
and Best Hard Rock
(for "The Pretender"). The album was also nominated
for Album of the Year, while "The Pretender" was also nominated for
Record of the Year and Best Rock Song.
On September 17, 2008, Grohl announced on The Chris Moyles Show
band would be taking a long break from music so that they could
return with a new sense of purpose, and also informed fans not to
expect any new music for a while. "We've never really taken a long
break, I think it's time," Grohl commented. "After doing Wembley,
we shouldn't come back there for 10 years because we've played to
everybody. We're over in the UK every year, every summer, so I
think it's time to take a break and come back over when people
really miss us." On February 11, 2009, Hawkins denied the band was
planning on taking a break of that duration. "We've gotten together
and minced ideas already," he said. "Just basic ideas and we'll
probably do that over the next year until we have a log of ideas.
We'll take our time and let everybody else enjoy other things --
their families and stuff. I'd say maybe by summer we'll get in the
studio and start getting serious about a record."
On July 4, 2009, at an exclusive concert, the band announced that a
compilation would be released on November 3, 2009, and they debuted
a new song from the compilation, "Wheels", which premiered on radio
on September 23, 2009. The album also includes a new track, "Word
Forward", and an acoustic version of "Everlong
". In support of this new release, the Foo
Fighters played a live performance on Facebook and Livestream
from their Studio 606 complex in Los Angeles on Friday 30 October 2009 at 7:00 PM Pacific Time
(10:00PM Eastern Time, 2:00AM on Saturday 31st, UTC/GMT.
It was the first
internet-only live concert including real-time interactivity with
the fans on Facebook
. Streamed live on
Livestream, fans were able to ask questions directly and request
songs using Facebook
chat. It is currently
the last performance of the band before their announced
On November 3, 2009, the band released a compilation album,
, which features two new songs, "Word Forward" and the
". However, on November
4th, 2009, Dave Grohl announced that the Greatest Hits record marks
the end of a phase and the beginning of a real hiatus. "This
greatest hits record, that's the end of something... It's time to
move on into this next chapter or another phase. Maybe it will be
different in whatever way. I don't know. It's nice to not know
what's going to happen next. We're going over to do some shows in
Europe, but, after that, it's like I don't even know when I'm going
to see these guys. So it's kind of weird," he added.
The band have been entered for the MOJO awards show where they will
be performing 'Long Road to Ruin' and 'Learn to Fly' bidding to
become February 2010 champions.
When Grohl first started the band, its music was often compared to
that of his previous group, Nirvana. Grohl acknowledged that
Nirvana singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain was a major influence on his
songwriting. Grohl said, "Through Kurt, I saw the beauty of
minimalism and the importance of music that's stripped down." Foo
Fighters also utilize the Pixies
of shifting between quiet verses and loud chorus, which Grohl said
was influenced by the members of Nirvana "liking the Knack
, Bay City
, and ABBA
as much as we liked Flipper
and Black Flag
, I suppose". Writing and
recording songs for the first Foo Fighters album by himself, Grohl
wrote the guitar riffs to be as rhythmic as possible. He approached
the guitar similar to how he approached playing a drumkit,
assigning different drum parts to different strings on the
instrument. This allowed him to piece together songs easily; he
said, "I could hear the song in my head before it was finished."
Once Grohl assembled a full band, his bandmates assisted in song
The members of Foo Fighters meld melodic elements with harder
sounds. Grohl noted in 1997, "We all love music, whether it's the
Beatles or Queen
or punk rock
. I think the lure of punk rock was the
energy and immediacy; the need to thrash stuff around. But at the
same time, we're all suckers for a beautiful melody, you know? So
it is just natural." Grohl said in 2005, "I love being in a rock
band, but I don't know if I necessarily wanna be in an alternative
rock band from the 1990s for the rest of my life. It might be nice
to broaden our range, open up the dynamic, so we can go out and
just make music". Grohl noted that the band's acoustic tour was
such an attempt to broaden the group's sound.
Campaigning and activism
In 2000, the band generated controversy through their public
support of Alive
, an organization that denies
the link between HIV
, questions the validity
of HIV tests, and advises against taking medication to counter the
disease. Foo Fighter bassist Nate Mendel learned of Alive &
Well through What If Everything You Thought You Knew about AIDS
, a self-published book written by Christine Maggiore
, the organization's
founder. Mendel passed the book around to the rest of the band, who
supported his advocacy.
In January 2000, the band played a benefit concert for the
organization, which Mendel helped to organize. The band also
contributed songs to The
Other Side of AIDS
, a controversial documentary film
by Maggiore's husband
Robin Scovill, which questions whether HIV is the cause of AIDS.
The band's position caused alarm in the medical community, as Alive
& Well's advice ran contrary to established medical wisdom
about HIV and AIDS. In a 2000 interview, Mendel spoke of using Foo
Fighters' popularity to help spread the group's message and of
holding more benefits for the organization. No further benefits
have taken place, and is no longer listed as one of the supported
causes on their website.
- Current members
- Former members
Foo Fighters first received a Grammy
for their music video for "Learn
" in 2000 and have won six in total.
- di Perna, Alan. "Absolutely Foobulous!". Guitar World.
- Bryant, Tom. "Alien Parking". Kerrang! Legends: Foo
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Biography". Allmusic.com. Retrieved on April
- Strauss, Neil. " The Pop Life". The New York Times.
March 5, 1995. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
- Mundy, Chris. " Invasion of Foo Fighters". Rolling
Stone. October 5, 1995. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
- Bryant, Tom. "Breakout". Kerrang! Legends: Foo
- Roberts, Michael. " Bring Back That Sunny Day". Miami New
Times. December 3, 1998. Retrieved on May 28, 2008.
- Johnson, Lisa. "Classic interview: October 1997". Kerrang!
Legends: Foo Fighters. 2007.
- Beebee, Steve. "Burn Away". Kerrang! Legends: Foo
- Greenwald, Andy. "The Chosen Foo". Spin. August
- Scaggs, Austin. " Foos Reclaim Their Honor". Rolling
Stone. April 29, 2005. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
- Greenblatt, Leah. " No 'Foo'ls". Entertainment Weekly. June 17,
2005. Retrieved on May 26, 2008.
- Foo Fighters debut new song 'Wheels' for Barack Obama -
- Foo Fighters Greatest Hits sparks live Facebook
- Foo Fighters Draw 440,000 Live Streams to Web-Only
- Chick, Steve. "Foo Fighters: 'Touring the UK? It Feels Great
Every Time!'". Kerrang. December 2005.
- Talvi, Silja J. A. " Foo Fighters, HIV Deniers". Mother Jones.
February 25, 2000. Retrieved on August 21, 2007.
- Tara C.
Smith and Steven P. Novella (2007). " HIV Denial in the Internet Era", PLoS Med
4(8): e256. Retrieved on August 21, 2007.