Back in the '40s the World War II term “foo fighter” was a reference to a mysterious aerial phenomenon. In 1995, the phenomenon crossed over into the musical world and was mystifyingly linked to Dave Grohl. The first time I heard the Foo Fighters was very early on in their career. It was part of a movie soundtrack and the song was called “Walking After You.” I can’t remember the movie, but I will never forget that beautiful song and what would then begin my vast collection of their CDs.
In the wake of Kurt Cobain’s tragic death in 1994, Dave Grohl, the former Nirvana drummer, surprised us all with an incredible voice and implausible talent to play every single instrument. Unbeknownst to most Nirvana fans, Grohl had been writing and recording his own songs for years. Brought to Capitol Records from the president himself, Gary Gersh, (as well as former Nirvana A & R) these demo recordings were professionally mixed and would become the core of Foo Fighters’ self-titled debut album.
Grohl, however did not want to be a one-man show, so he worked quickly to complete a line-up for his new band - a band that would go through tumultuous changes throughout the next ten years. In a conscious effort not to create a Nirvana spin-off, Grohl avoided taking on former bandmates. Instead, he drafted dismantled band members from the Seattle-based band, Sunny Day Real Estate with Nate Mendel on bass and William Goldsmith on drums. Pat Smear, an unofficial member of Nirvana (playing only on occasion) was recruited as second guitarist, leaving lead vocals and guitar to Grohl; a role the public had never seen him in before. He would not disappoint them.
The critics were pleasantly surprised, yet the Foo Fighters were in for some surprises of their own - both good and bad. After touring extensively in 1996 to promote their debut album, it went platinum in the U.S. Singles such as “This Is A Call” and “Big Me” would put them on the map and become signature classics. However, in the midst of starting their second album, they would experience their first major setback. Drummer, William Goldsmith, would quit, citing creative differences. Determined to finish the album, Grohl completed all the drumming himself. He then filled the void with ex-Alanis Morrissette drummer, Taylor Hawkins, who would remain loyal to the Foo.