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Fighters, Foo

Foo Fighters

Rock group

Although the Foo Fighters came out of the ashes of the same fire that incinerated the grunge rock scene, their sound more closely resembles popular, less hard-hitting rock groups. Led by Dave Grohl, the former drummer from Nirvana, the Foo Fighters rely on simple, energetic pop-rock tunes to get their point across. Although there was a lot of turnover in the band initially, the band finally formed a cohesive group after a few album releases.

Grohl grew up in Washington, DC, the son of a single working mother. Too poor to buy a record player, Grohl listened to his Minor Threat and Bad Brains albums on a record player borrowed from the public school where his mother taught English. Moreover, he did not even own a drum kit when he started playing with DC hardcore bands like Dain Bramage, Freakbaby, and Mission Impossible. By the time he was seventeen, Grohl had joined a lauded punk ensemble called Scream, leaving high school before completing his senior year when the opportunity to tour Europe arose.

Rock Phenomenons

After Scream disbanded in 1990, a friend (Buzz Osbourne of the Melvins) put Grohl in touch with an up-and-coming Seattle band in need of a drummer. Grohl joined Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic in Nirvana in the fall of 1990, and a year later he was part of one of the biggest phenomenons in rock history. With a slew of successful releases and album sales in the tens of millions, Nirvana built a bridge between punk and rock. That winning streak ended in April of 1994 when Cobain committed suicide, a subject Grohl has been obviously reluctant to discuss. He does confess to still being haunted by his friend's death. "It's hard not to think about something that everybody wants to talk about all the time," he told Mike Rubin in Spin.

After the dissolution of Nirvana, Grohl toyed with the idea of joining Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and toured with them for a time. But instead, Grohl went into a recording studio by himself and began setting to tape a couple dozen of the songs he had written over several years. His only help came from his friend Barrett Jones, who produced the album, and Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs, who played guitar on one song. The result was 1995's Foo Fighters, which was also the name of Grohl's memberless band. The name came from an archaic 1940s-era slang term for flying saucers, and the debut was released on Roswell Records, a label on which Capitol Records had set Grohl up, named after the famed New Mexico site that some believe extraterrestrials to have crash-landed in 1947.

A Solid Line-Up

Grohl assembled a band in order to go out on the road in support of the record, which was receiving a healthy advance buzz. His first pick was Pat Smear, a beloved eccentric who had been a founding member of the Germs, the first Los Angeles punk band to record an entire album. Smear, facing hard times financially, had made ends meet by playing punk rocker roles on television during the 1980s, as well as adding some verve to the last days of Nirvana. Joining Smear and Grohl in the Foo Fighters line-up were two members of a much-lauded and recently disbanded Seattle act, Sunny Day Real Estate. Drummer William Goldsmith and bass player Nate Mendel found themselves adrift after Sunny Day Real Estate's lead singer had become a born-again Christian.

For the Record …

Members include William Goldsmith (left group, March, 1997), drums; Dave Grohl (born on January 14, 1969, in Warren, OH; married Jennifer Youngblood, c. 1994 [divorced, 1997]; married Jordyn Blum, 2003; children: Violet Maye), guitar, vocals; Taylor Hawkins (born on February 17, 1972, in Laguna Beach, CA; joined group, 1997), drums; Nate Mendel (born on December 2, 1968; children: one son), bass; Chris Shiflett (born on May 6, 1971, in Santa Barbara, CA; married; children: Liam; joined group, 1999), guitar; Pat Smear (born Georg Ruthenberg on August 5, 1959, in Los Angeles, CA; left group, 1997), guitar; Franz Stahl (group member, 1997–99), guitar.

Group formed in 1995; previously, Grohl was a member of the bands Nirvana, Scream, Dain Bramage, Freak-baby, and Mission Impossible; as a solo artist he recorded an album, playing all instruments; released Foo Fighters on Roswell/Capitol, 1995; Grohl recruited band members for a tour, 1995; Smear was a founding member of the Germs; Goldsmith and Mendel were former members of Sunny Day Real Estate, and Mendel was earlier a founder of Product of Rape and Christ on a Crutch; Hawkins spent 1995 and 1996 touring as Alanis Morissette's drummer; Shiflett was a member of No Use For A Name and Me First & the Gimmie Gimmies; recorded first album as a group, The Colour and the Shape, 1997; released There Is Nothing Left To Lose, 1999; toured with Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2000; released One By One, 2002; toured worldwide, 2002–03; released In Your Honor, 2005; toured United States and Europe, 2005–06.

Awards: MTV Video Music Award, Best Group Video for "Big Me," 1996; Grammy Award, Best Short Form Music Video for "Learn To Fly," 2001; Grammy Award, Best Rock Album for There Is Nothing Left To Lose, 2001; Grammy Award, Best Hard Rock Performance for "All My Life," 2003; Grammy Award, Best Rock Album for One By One, 2004.

Addresses: Record company—Roswell/RCA, 810 Seventh Ave., 4th Fl., New York, NY 10019. Website—Foo Fighters Official Website: http://www.foofighters.com.

The Foo Fighters toured as an opening act for Mike Watt in the spring of 1995. However, the band was headlining after only a few months as record sales took off. Critics often made much of the odd, abstruse lyrics in songs like "Big Me" and "This Is a Call." Given Grohl's ties to Nirvana, reviewers looked for hidden meanings everywhere, but he later admitted they were purposefully nonsensical. "It was for fear of writing something that might reveal too much," Grohl told Rubin in Spin in 1997, "or actually reveal something at all…. I don't want to let everyone else in on my problems or my personal crisis or my misery. They're mine." He also pointed out that many of the songs had been written long before Nirvana became famous.

Sweet Success

The Foo Fighters also exhibit a decidedly non-grunge demeanor on stage, in their playing, and in interviews. They shot a video for "Big Me" that spoofed the inane Mentos commercials and then were pelted by the candies at shows for months. As the Foo Fighters record issued one well-charting single after another, and they toured for over a year-and-a-half, the band grew increasingly reticent about the fame that came with their success. "There does come a point where it's totally out of your control," Grohl told Rolling Stone's Chris Mundy, "but I learned a lot of lessons from Nirvana. We don't want to spend too much time whoring ourselves around because not only does it make everyone else sick of you, eventually you get sick of yourself."

While Grohl appreciates his privacy, Smear appeared well-suited for the limelight. The guitarist, who loves to wear dresses and often outfits himself in outlandish stage gear, began appearing on MTV's House of Style. "That's the difference between being famous and not being famous," Smear explained to Spin. "Now people yell 'Pat!' out the window, where they used to yell out 'Fag!' and it doesn't even sound that much different." Despite the band's success and popularity, Goldsmith left the Foo Fighters' vaulted orbit after a falling-out with Grohl. In recording their second album, Grohl expressed dissatisfaction with Goldsmith and re-recorded the drum parts himself. He was replaced by Californian Taylor Hawkins, the former drummer for Alanis Morissette's world tour, after the Foo Fighters record was completed in early 1997.

The Colour and the Shape was recorded in both Los Angeles and Seattle with Gil Norton as producer. Released in May of 1997 on Roswell/Capitol, it took a slightly different path away from the light power-pop mood of Grohl's first record. This was a concept album, and its subject was the death of a relationship. Not surprisingly, Grohl's marriage to his high-school sweet-heart dissolved around the time of the record's release. The songs sounded the same, but the lyrics were suddenly trenchant—a marked contrast to the tracks on their debut. The Foo Fighters' development as a band, wrote Entertainment Weekly's David Browne, "is clearly evident throughout The Colour and the Shape, but it isn't always a pretty sight or sound."

Though its subject matter was definitely more weighty, Grohl's penchant for building songs along the soft-verse/rocking-chorus structure hadn't changed on cuts like the first single, "Monkey Wrench." Chuck Crisafulli of Request noted that "Grohl is turning out to be something of a master builder when it comes to constructing pop hooks," and the musician admitted to loving pure pop music like Abba, as well as punk rock bands. Christina Kelly, reviewing The Colour and the Shape for Rolling Stone, asserted the record "has a big, radio-ready, modern-rock sound."

New Members, New Label

At an awards show in September, Smear announced that he was leaving the group and that guitarist Franz Stahl (formerly of Scream) would replace him. The Foo Fighters tried to regroup with Stahl, but he left the band before they could record their next album. The band decided to record their next album as a three piece, and after major changes at their label Capitol, the band signed with RCA to release their 1999 album There is Nothing Left to Lose. They then hired former No Use For A Name guitarist Chris Shiflett to even out their live sound.

The Foo Fighters began 2001 by winning two Grammy Awards for There is Nothing Left To Lose. That summer, the four-piece began a tour in the United Kingdom, which was quickly cancelled when Hawkins became hospitalized for a drug overdose—he had a history of drug addiction. The band decided then and there that it was a good time to take a break from being in the Foo Fighters. In the fall, Grohl began to work on new songs for an upcoming album in October, but as he told Billboard, after a few months, he dissatisfied with the results. "… I realized it didn't sound familiar," he said. "It didn't sound like the band does live; it didn't feel right. With our band, the most important thing is that he songs feel right and the recordings feel good. It's more about the feel than anything. We were so focused on production because out intent was to make this big rock record. But your energy tends to wane after three months. Spontaneity and energy have a lot to do with rock, and rock records shouldn't take long to make."

Grohl took some time off, stepped away from the songs, and decided to go on tour with rock group Queens of the Stone Age in the summer. The tour was in support of the Queens' new album, Songs for the Deaf, on which Grohl played drums. The other members of the Foo Fighters kept busy with their own musical projects. "It just made sense," Grohl continued to Billboard. "We'd never taken a substantial break. We've never been away from the band. It only made sense that after seven or eight years we do that—to step back and look at the big picture, especially when you're lost in the process of making a new album that seems like it's going nowhere."

After he scrapped L.A. recordings, Grohl went to work at his home studio in Virginia to strip down the new songs. He and Hawkins spent two weeks recording an entire new album. They laid down all the basic tracks and then called Shiflett and Mendel in to lay down their parts. In October of 2002, RCA released the new Foo Fighters album, One By One, which Billboard called "straightforward and relentless."

One By One was jettisoned by the throttling single "All My Life." The record as a whole was top notch. "… It's all about arena-sized hooks, whispering-to-a-scream song structures and the unmistakable feeling that Grohl rocks out because, well, it's still fun," wrote E! Online. At the start of 2003, the band took home yet another Grammy, this time, "All My Life" won Best Hard Rock Single.

After exhaustive tours with the Foo Fighters, Grohl recorded drum parts on a few albums released in early 2003, including the self-titled Kill Joke reunion album and Cat Power's You Are Free, as well as Nine Inch Nail's 2004 album. Grohl extended his musical arms at the end of the 2003 to produce an album for the band Rye Coalition. He also started a metal side project called Probot and released an album in February of 2004. The album was a tribute to his favorite metal icons from the '80s, many of whom sang on the album.

A Strong Return

In September, the Foo Fighters began work on new songs at their new L.A. studio. The recording sessions resulted in the double album, In Your Honor. Released in June of 2005, In Your Honor contained one CD of hard rock songs and one of acoustic pop tracks. On the band's website, Grohl explained the reason for two albums. "I thought since I'd just been all around the world for a year and a half screaming my ass off, I'd make a solo acoustic record but disguise it as movie score. We've always had acoustic songs. Most of our rock songs were written on acoustic guitar … I had this little studio up at my house and started recording all this music…. It was really beautiful, really coming out well then I listened to it and I was like 'Wait a second: It sounds like the Foo Fighters. It sounds like the band.'" Grohl said he felt that the band had more to offer than just loud songs and contemplated releasing an entirely acoustic Foo Fighters record. He realized though that probably wouldn't work. "This band has to make some rock music so I thought, 'OK, why don't we do this? Why don't we make a double album?'" Eye Weekly wrote that the first half of the record, pumped up by the radio single "Best of You," "does indeed deliver the most intense, dynamic jolt of Foo Fighters material to date."

Conceived as two separate listening experiences, One By One was an entirely new recording experience for the band. This time around, plenty of special guests showed up to record including Norah Jones, Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Petra Haden, and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. On their web-site, the band members agree that One By One is one of their best albums. "In 20 years, when some kid asks his dad, 'You ever hear of Foo Fighters? Which record should I get?,'" Grohl said. "They should say In Your Honor. Like if you wanna hear some Led Zeppelin? Get Physical Graffiti. That's exactly what I want to happen with this record. I want people to say, 'Wow, that's the album they'll be remembered for.'"

Selected discography

Foo Fighters, Roswell/Capitol, 1995.
The Colour and the Shape, Roswell/Capitol, 1997.
There Is Nothing Left to Loose, Roswell/RCA, 1999.
One By One, Roswell/RCA, 2002.
In Your Honor, Roswell/RCA, 2005.

Sources

Periodicals

Alternative Press, June 1997.

Billboard, May 3, 1997; May 17, 1997; October 19, 2002.

Entertainment Weekly, May 9, 1997; May 23, 1997.

Eye Weekly, June 16, 2005.

Guitar World, July 1997.

New York Times, May 18, 1997.

Request, July 1997.

Rolling Stone, October 5, 1995; March 21, 1996; May 29, 1997.

Spin, July 1997.

Us, July 1997.

Online

E! Online, http://www.eonline.com (February 26, 2006).

"Foo Fighters," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (February 26, 2006).

Foo Fighters Official Website, http://www.foofighters.com/bio.html (February 26, 2006).

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Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters

Alternative rock band

For the Record

Not Your Typical Grunge Band

Selected discography

Sources

Although the Foo Fighters came out of the ashes of the same fire that incinerated the grunge rock scene, their sound more closely resembles popular, less hard-hitting rock groups. Led by Dave Grohl, the former drummer for Nirvana, the Foo Fighters energize listeners with their infectious, pop-rock tunes.

Grohl grew up in Washington, DC, the son of a single working mother. Too poor to buy a record player, Grohl listened to his Minor Threat and Bad Brains albums on a record player borrowed from the public school where his mother taught English. Moreover, he did not even possess his own drum kit when he started playing with DC hardcore bands like Dain Bramage, Freakbaby, and Mission Impossible. By the time he was seventeen, Grohl had joined a lauded punk ensemble called Scream, leaving high school before completing his senior year when the opportunity to tour Europe arose.

After Scream disbanded in 1990, a friend (Buzz Os-bourne of the Melvins) put Grohl in touch with an up-and-coming Seattle band in need of a drummer. Grohl

For the Record

Members include David Grohl (born c. 1969, Washington, DC; married Jennifer Youngblood, c. 1994; divorced, 1997), guitar, vocals; Taylor Hawkins (born in Laguna Beach, CA; joined band in early 1997), drums; Nate Mendel, bass; Pat Smear (born Georg Ruthenberg c. 1960, Los Angeles, CA; father was an inventor/photographer and mother was a teacher/opera singer; companion of Jena; left band, 1997), guitar; Franz Stahl (joined band, 1997), guitar. Former members include William Goldsmith (left band, 1997), drums.

Band emerged with Grohl (former member of Nirvana, Scream, Dain Bramage, Freakbaby, and Mission Impossible) recording his songs in the studio, playing all instruments; released Foo Fighters on Roswell/Capitol, 1995; Grohl then recruited band members for a 1995 tour; Smear was a founding member of the Germs; Goldsmith and Mendel were former members of Sunny Day Real Estate, and Mendel was earlier a founder of Product of Rape and Christ on a Crutch; Hawkins spent 1995 and 1996 touring as Alanis Morissettes drummer.

Addresses: Record company Roswell/Capitol Records, 810 Seventh Avenue, 4th floor, New York, NY 10019.

joined Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic in Nirvana in the fall of 1990, and a year later he was part of one of the biggest phenomenons in rock history. With a slew of successful releases and album sales in the tens of millions, Nirvana built a bridge between punk and rock. That winning streak ended in April of 1994 when Cobain committed suicide, a subject Grohl has been obviously reluctant to discuss. He does confess to still being haunted by his friends death. Its hard not to think about something that everybody wants to talk about all the time, he told Mike Rubin in Spin.

After the dissolution of Nirvana, Grohl toyed with the idea of joining Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and toured with them for a time. But instead, Grohl went into a recording studio by himself and began setting to tape a couple dozen of the songs he had written over several years. His only help came from his friend Barrett Jones, who produced the album, and Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs, who played guitar on one song. The result was 1995s Foo Fighters, which was also the name of Grohls memberless band. The name came from an archaic 1940s-era slang term for flying saucers, and the debut was released on Roswell Records, a label on which Capitol Records had set Grohl up, named after the famed New Mexico site that some believe extraterrestrials to have crash-landed in 1947.

Grohl assembled a band in order to go out on the road in support of the record, which was receiving a healthy advance buzz. His first pick was Pat Smear, a beloved eccentric who had been a founding member of the Germs, the first Los Angeles punk band to record an entire album. Smear, facing hard times financially, had made ends meet by playing punk rocker roles on television during the 1980s, as well as adding some verve to the last days of Nirvana. Joining Smear and Grohl in the Foo Fighters line-up included two members of a much-lauded and recently disbanded Seattle act, Sunny Day Real Estate. Drummer William Goldsmith and bass player Nate Mendel found themselves adrift after Sunny Day Real Estates lead singer had become a fervent born-again Christian.

The Foo Fighters toured as an opening act for Mike Watt in the spring of 1995. However, the band was headlining after only a few months as record sales took off. Critics often made much of the odd, abstruse lyrics in songs like Big Me and This Is a Call. Given Grohls ties to Nirvana, reviewers looked for hidden meanings everywhere, but he later admitted they were purposefully nonsensical. It was for fear of writing something that might reveal too much, Grohl told Rubin in Spin in 1997, or actually reveal something at all. I dont want to let everyone else in on my problems or my personal crisis or my misery. Theyre mine. He also pointed out that many of the songs had been written long before Nirvana became famous.

Not Your Typical Grunge Band

The Foo Fighters also exhibit a decidedly non-grunge demeanor on stage, in their playing, and in interviews. They shot a video for Big Me that spoofed the inane Mentos commercials and then were pelted by the candies at shows for months. As the Foo Fighters record issued one well-charting single after another, and they toured for over a year-and-a-half, the band grew increasingly reticent about the fame that came with their success. There does come a point where its totally out of your control, Grohl told Rolling Stones Chris Mundy. [B]ut I learned a lot of lessons from Nirvana. We dont want to spend too much time whoring ourselves around because not only does it make everyone else sick of you, eventually you get sick of yourself.

While Grohl appreciates his privacy, Smear appears well-suited for the limelight. The guitarist, who loves to wear dresses and often outfits himself in outlandish stage gear, began appearing on MTVs House of Style. Thats the difference between being famous and not being famous, Smear explained to Spin. Now people yell Pat! out the window, where they used to yell out Fag! and it doesnt even sound that much different. Despite the bands success and popularity, Goldsmith left the Foo Fighters vaulted orbit after a falling-out with Grohl. In recording their second album, Grohl expressed dissatisfaction with Goldsmith and re-recorded the drum parts himself. He was replaced by Californian Taylor Hawkins, the former drummer for Alanis Morissettes world tour, after the Foo Fighters record was completed in early 1997.

The Colour and the Shape was recorded in both Los Angeles and Seattle with Gil Norton as producer. Released in May of 1997 on Roswell, it took a slightly different path away from the light power-pop mood of Grohls first record. This was a concept album, and its subject was the death of a relationship. Not surprisingly, Grohls marriage to his high-school sweetheart dissolved around the time of the records release. The songs sounded the same, but the lyrics were suddenly trenchanta marked contrast to the tracks on their debut. The Foo Fighters development as a band, wrote Entertainment Weeklys David Browne, is clearly evident throughout The Colour and the Shape, but it isnt always a pretty sight or sound.

Though its subject matter was definitely more weighty, Grohls penchant for building songs along the soft-verse/rocking-chorus structure hadnt changed on cuts like the first single, Monkey Wrench. Chuck Crisafulli of Request noted that Grohl is turning out to be something of a master builder when it comes to constructing pop hooks, and the musician admitted to loving pure pop music like Abba, as well as punk rock bands. As Spins Rubin pointed out, Foo tunes are more hummers than bummers. Christina Kelly, reviewing The Colour and the Shape for Rolling Stone, asserted the record has a big, radio-ready, modern-rock sound. In the New York Times, Jon Pareles opined that timing, ingenuity, and conviction can be all it takes to make rocks common materials ring with passion. Thats what happens on The Colour and the Shape, as Grohl balances power and tenderness, whipsaw riffing and wistful tunes.

The Foo Fighters embarked on another lengthy tour for The Colour and the Shape, and Grohl directed his first video for the Monkey Wrench single, an assignment that grew out of his penchant for amateur film making. Grohl remains the definitive anti-grunge poster boy. Ive covered a lot of ground, but I still feel like a pathetic 17-year-old dropout, Grohl told Spin. My spirit is still young.

Selected discography

Foo Fighters, Roswell/Capitol, 1995.

The Colour and the Shape, Roswell/Capitol, 1997.

Sources

Alternative Press, June 1997.

Billboard, May 3, 1997; May 17, 1997.

Entertainment Weekly, May 9, 1997; May 23, 1997.

Guitar World, July 1997.

New York Times, May 18, 1997.

Request, July 1997.

Rolling Stone, October 5, 1995; March 21, 1996; May 29, 1997.

Spin, July 1997.

Us, July 1997.

Carol Brennan

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Foo Fighters

FOO FIGHTERS

Formed: Seattle, Washington, 1995

Members: David Grohl, guitar, vocals (born Warren, Ohio, 14 January 1969); Taylor Hawkins, drums (born El Paso, Texas, 17 February 1972); Nate Mendel, bass (born Seattle, Washington, 2 December 1968); Chris Shiflett, guitar (born Los Angeles, California, 6 May 1971). Former members: William Goldsmith, drums; Pat Smear, guitar (born Georg Ruthenberg, Los Angeles, California, c. 1960); Franz Stahl, guitar.

Genre: Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: The Colour and the Shape (1997)

Hit songs since 1990: "This Is a Call," "My Hero"


Although Dave Grohl never intended to have his home demo recordings released, the dissolution of Nirvana following the 1994 suicide of the group's leader, Kurt Cobain, offered the world's most famous drummer an opportunity to step out into the spotlight. The resulting string of power pop/rock albums from Grohl's band, the Foo Fighters, made Grohl a rock star all over again, proving to the world that Cobain had not been the only talented songwriter in Nirvana.

Grohl was raised near Washington, D.C., by a single mother and was steeped in the city's politically charged music scene via a record player he borrowed from the public school where his mother taught. A teenage member of local punk bands such as Dain Bramage and Freakbaby, the seventeen-year-old Grohl quit high school to tour Europe with the group Scream.

Following that band's breakup in 1990, Grohl was introduced to the members of Nirvana, joining the band in the fall of 1990 just as Nirvana prepared to record the album that made them the most lauded rock band of their generation, Nevermind (1991). Grohl provided backing vocals and a monster presence behind the drum kit during Nirvana's precipitous rise to fame.

Though Nirvana had been the artistic vision of Cobain, Grohl had been recording his own compositions for several years, working on his own songs during the long spells of enforced idleness resulting from Cobain's struggles with drugs. In 1995, Grohl needed only one week to record the self-titled debut album by his new band, Foo Fighters, with help from his friend Barrett Jones. The Foo Fightersnamed after a 1940s-era slang term for flying saucerswere a band in name only, since Grohl sang and played all but a single guitar part on the album. The flying-saucer theme extended to Grohl's label imprint under Capitol Records, Roswell Records, an homage to the New Mexico site where aliens were purported to have crash-landed in 1947.

Foo Fighters is a daring debut from Grohl, harnessing the power and energy of Nirvana's most raucous rock songs while focusing on sunnier, more power pop-oriented music. Though the album bears some of the fuzzed-out power chords of Nirvana's grunge sound along with Grohl's aggressive, athletic drumming, tracks such as "This Is a Call" and "Big Me" are notable for Grohl's slightly hoarse but melodic singing and an occasional evocation of the music of the Beatles.

In order to tour in support of the album, Grohl put together a band that included his Nirvana band mate, guitarist Pat Smear, and two members of the disbanded Seattle group Sunny Day Real Estate, drummer William Goldsmith and bass player Nate Mendel. The group, with Grohl singing and playing lead guitar, undertook a sold-out spring 1995 tour with the former Minutemen member Mike Watt and Hovercraft, an ambient rock project led by the wife of Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder.

Fans could not help searching for meaning in the lyrics to songs such as "Alone + Easy Target" ("Tear at the seams / He don't feel so good / Don't feel bad / Not that he should") and "Exhausted" ("If it could be undone / Will it have costed? / It's taught and lost"), but Grohl insisted the words were nonsense. The album sold 1 million copies, and Grohl further demystified his image by appearing in a video for "Big Me," which spoofed the inanely cheery ads for breath mint Mentos.

Though The Colour and the Shape (1997) was the first Foo Fighters album recorded by the group, the lineup soon changed. Goldsmith left the band because of creative tensions during the sessions, forcing Grohl back behind the drum kit to finish the remaining rhythm tracks and to re-record many of Goldsmith's parts. Taylor Hawkins, a onetime drummer for Alanis Morissette, replaced Goldsmith after the album was completed, at which time Smear announced his resignation as well. Franz Stahl, a former band mate of Grohl's in Scream, replaced Smear.

The concept album about the death of a relationship coincided with the end of Grohl's marriage to his high school sweetheart. From the fragile ballad "Doll" ("You know in all of the time we've shared / I've never been so scared") to the blast-furnace punk pop of the album's break-out single, "Monkeywrench," The Colour and the Shape is a more emotionally engaging, diverse, and slick album. Grohl indulges in his love of the soft/loud musical dynamic made famous by Nirvana, in which the song's verses are calm but explode into furious strumming and singing on the choruses. But he is also unafraid to mix crooning with crunchy guitars on songs such as "Hey, Johnny Park!" and another one of the album's signature hits, the rock ballad "My Hero."

Stahl did not stick around long enough to record There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999), a powerful, dark album that swings from Grohl's guttural screaming ("Stacked Actors"), to sunny crooning on the arena pop single "Learn to Fly." Chris Shiflett, previously a guitarist with No Use for a Name, joined the band after the album's release. During a promotional tour date in Europe, Hawkins was hospitalized in serious condition after what was termed "overindulgence" in substances.

Once healed, the group hit the studio to work on One by One (2002), their most cohesive album to date. Unsatisfied with the songs halfway through, Grohl scrapped the entire album and began the sessions anew after a break. In between, Grohl played drums on an album by the Queens of the Stone Age, later touring the world with them as the group's drummer. One by One, the first Foo Fighters album with a returning band, blends the intensity of The Colour and the Shape with the clean, straight-ahead pop rock song craft of There Is Nothing Left to Lose. Grohl was able to indulge a childhood fantasy by inviting former Queen guitarist Brian May to play a ghostly guitar solo on the ballad "Tired of You."

Through endless personnel shifts and persistent comparisons to his former band, Nirvana, Dave Grohl steered the Foo Fighters through a series of finely crafted power pop albums as he laid to waste the trite jokes about the dim-wittedness of rock drummers. Grohl re-created himself and achieved a rare feat for a rock drummer: coming out from behind the kit and proving himself an adept songwriter and bandleader.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Foo Fighters (Roswell/Capitol, 1995); The Colour and the Shape (Roswell/ Capitol, 1997); There Is Nothing Left to Lose (Roswell/RCA, 1999); One by One (Roswell/RCA, 2002).

WEBSITE:

foofighters.com.

gil kaufman

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"Foo Fighters." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Foo Fighters." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/foo-fighters

"Foo Fighters." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved October 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/foo-fighters