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Joined: 11/17/08
Posts: 303
Full Access
Joined: 11/17/08
Posts: 303
11/12/2009 11:37 pm

Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters

Smack on the heels of the release of their Greatest Hits album last week comes word that Foo Fighters are going on an indefinite hiatus. According to Dave Grohl, who founded the band back in 1995, the Greatest Hits album closes a chapter on the group. Grohl feels the breather will give Foo Fighters a renewed sense of purpose and direction, not to mention make them one hot reunion ticket somewhere down the line.

It was just last year about this time, after the wrap of their world tour, that Grohl made a similar announcement, though that hiatus didn’t quite stick. Foo Fighters continued to kick ideas around, played an exclusive concert this past July, and eventually headed back into the studio to record two new songs for inclusion on the Greatest Hits record. But Grohl maintains that this time is the real deal. He expects the break to be a lengthy one and sees the uncertainty of the band’s future as a positive in terms of opportunity for growth.

Dave Grohl is inclined to such leaps of faith. At 17 he lied about his age to score an audition with the local Washington, D.C. punk band Scream, whose drummer had recently quit. Surprised when he landed the gig, Grohl promptly dropped of high school in his junior year and set out to see the world. For the next four years, he toured extensively with Scream. The band recorded a couple live albums as well as two studio albums on which Grohl both wrote and sang vocals. The experience would prove invaluable for what was to come.

Grohl began learning to play the guitar at age twelve, and when he tired of lessons, turned to playing in various local bands to further develop his skill. He also taught himself to play drums while in high school by banging on various items in his bedroom.

While out on the road with Scream in 1990, Melvins’ singer and guitarist Buzz Osborne brought along a couple of his friends to catch the band. Those friends, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, were so impressed with Grohl’s drumming that when Scream unexpectedly disbanded just a few months later, they auditioned and subsequently hired Grohl as drummer for their band Nirvana, who, at the time, had just released their first album, Bleach. What came next for Grohl and Nirvana was the groundbreaking Nevermind, a record credited for bringing alternative rock to the mainstream and catapulting Nirvana to worldwide fame. Nevermind is widely regarded as one of the best rock albums of all time.

While touring with Nirvana, Grohl relieved the boredom of the road by playing guitar and writing songs that he would keep to himself, so in awe and intimidated was he of Cobain’s immense talent. In 1992 Grohl recorded his songs, playing all the instruments himself, and released the material on a cassette called Pocketwatch under the pseudonym Late!. He gradually began branching out as a songwriter in Nirvana, contributing the song “Marigold” to the B-side of “Heart-Shaped Box” and the main guitar riff for “Scentless Apprentice”, a song which appeared on the band’s third and final studio album in 1993, In Utero.

Following the death of Kurt Cobain in April 1994 and the disbanding of Nirvana, Dave Grohl considered offers to drum for various bands including the Melvins and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but opted to take another route entirely. “I was supposed to just join another band and be a drummer the rest of my life,” Grohl said. “I thought that I would rather do what no one expected me to do.”

In October 1994, Grohl recorded a demo of twelve of the forty songs he’d written and, with the exception of the guitar part on one song, played every instrument and sang every vocal on the tracks. He released the recordings in a limited run under the name Foo Fighters, a World War II term that meant unidentified flying objects. When his music caught the ear of record labels, Grohl assembled a band to help support the album.

Foo Fighters’ first gig was a kegger in February 1995. In the spring of that year, the band set out on their first major tour behind their debut album, Foo Fighters, opening for bass guitarist/singer/songwriter Mike Watt, himself a key figure in the development of American alternative rock. Foo Fighters made their first appearance that summer at England’s annual Reading Festival.

After touring through the spring of 1996, the band entered the studio to record their second album, The Colour and the Shape. Released in May 1997, the album went to #3 in the UK and #10 in the US and included the singles “Monkey Wrench,” “Everlong,” and “My Hero.” The Colour and the Shape was a Grammy nominee for Best Rock Album in 1998.

Next up for Foo Fighters was 1999's There Is Nothing Left to Lose, which produced the band’s most successful and recognized single, “Learn to Fly.” The song peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on Hot Modern Rock Tracks.

Foo Fighters began work on their fourth album, One by One, near the end of 2001. Before the album’s release, Grohl spent time helping the band Queens of the Stone Age complete their 2002 album Songs for the Deaf, a process that inspired him to reconvene Foo Fighters to rework a few songs on One by One, which was finally released in October 2002. The album, with the singles “All My Life," “Times Like These,” “Low,” and “Have It All,” is considered by Grohl to be the lowlight of the band’s oeuvre. He feels they rushed the album and would only play four songs from the release while out on tour in support of the record, pledging never to play the other seven again in his life.

With One by One behind him, Grohl had no intention of rushing the next album. His initial idea was to release a solo acoustic album, but the project eventually expanded to include the entire band. In Your Honor, the double disc that’s part rock/part acoustic, was released in June 2005 and included the singles “Best of You,” “DOA,” “Resolve,” “No Way Back,” and “Miracle.” After a co-headlining tour with Weezer that fall, Foo Fighters headlined a show in London’s Hyde Park in June 2006 where they were joined onstage by Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen to jam to the Queen classic, “We Will Rock You.”

Foo Fighters were soon back in the studio recording their sixth album, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. Released in September 2007, the album included the single, “The Pretender,” which topped Billboard’s Modern Rock chart for a record 18 weeks. Echoes was nominated for five Grammy Awards in 2008 and scored the band a win for Best Rock Album and Best Hard Rock Performance for “The Pretender.” Then, in September of that year, while appearing on the UK’s The Chris Moyles Show, Dave Grohl dropped the H-bomb, stating that Foo Fighters would be taking a very long break and that fans shouldn’t expect to hear any new music from the band for quite some time.

And now, a year after that announcement, Grohl is looking to make good on his word. After 23 years in the business, the past 15 spent driving Foo Fighters, and as a husband and new father of two daughters, Grohl is embracing the unknown, trusting the future to take care of itself. As it always does.