Foo Fighters Biography
The Foo Fighters are an American rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington in 1994. It was founded by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl as a one-man project following the dissolution of Nirvana after the death of Kurt Cobain. The group got its name from the UFOs and various aerial phenomena that were reported by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II, which were known collectively as “foo fighters”.
Prior to the release of Foo Fighters’ 1995 debut album Foo Fighters, which featured Grohl as the only official member, Grohl recruited bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith, both formerly of Sunny Day Real Estate, as well as Nirvana touring guitarist Pat Smear to complete the lineup. The band began with performances in Portland, Oregon. Goldsmith quit during the recording of the group’s second album, The Colour and the Shape (1997), when most of the drum parts were re-recorded by Grohl himself. Smear’s departure followed soon afterward, though he would rejoin them in 2006.
They were replaced by Taylor Hawkins and Franz Stahl, respectively, although Stahl was fired before the recording of the group’s third album, There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999). The band briefly continued as a trio until Chris Shiflett joined as the band’s lead guitarist after the completion of There Is Nothing Left to Lose. The band released its fourth album, One by One, in 2002. The group followed that release with the two-disc In Your Honor (2005), which was split between acoustic songs and heavier material. Foo Fighters released its sixth album, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, in 2007. The band’s seventh studio album, Wasting Light, produced by Butch Vig was released in 2011, in which Smear returned as a full member. In November 2014, the band’s eighth studio album, Sonic Highways, was released as an accompanying soundtrack to the Grohl-directed 2014 miniseries of the same name. On September 15, 2017, the band released their ninth studio album Concrete and Gold which became their second to reach #1 in the United States.
Over the course of Foo Fighters career, four of its albums have won Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album. As of 2015, the band’s eight albums have sold 12 million copies in the U.S., and 30 million worldwide.
Foo Fighters have been described as alternative rock, post-grunge and hard rock. 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 utilized the technique of shifting between quiet verses and loud choruses, which Grohl said was influenced by the members of Nirvana “liking The Knack, Bay City Rollers, Beatles, 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 in a similar manner to his 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 band mates assisted in song arrangements. Pitchfork described Grohl and the band as “his generation’s answer to Tom Petty—a consistent hit machine pumping out working-class rock”.
The members of Foo Fighters meld melodic elements with heavier ones. 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.” Grohl noted that the band’s acoustic tour was an attempt to broaden the group’s sound.
Over their career, Foo Fighters have gone to influence bands of their respective genres, including several emo bands such as Saves the Day and Brand New, and is now considered as a reputable force in the post-grunge movement in the late-1990s to early-00s
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