- This article is about the band. For the aerial phenomenon, see Foo fighter
Foo Fighters are a post-grunge band formed by musician Dave Grohl in 1994 after the demise of the grunge band Nirvana, in which he played drums. They are named after the World War II term "foo fighter", used to refer to mysterious aerial phenomena.
Foo Fighters have earned a strong worldwide following, and their hits include "I'll Stick Around", "Big Me", "Monkey Wrench", "Everlong", "My Hero", "Learn to Fly", "Breakout", "All My Life", and "Times Like These". On top of their four studio albums, they have also contributed to several movie soundtracks, including the song "A320" on the 1998 "Godzilla" soundtrack.
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Foo Fighters began as a studio solo project for Grohl. Unbeknownst to most of Nirvana's fanbase, Grohl had slowly written a stockpile of songs that he had held back from the band for fear of ruining their chemistry. Following Cobain's death, Grohl entered Barrett Jones' Seattle studio to put many of his new songs to tape. With the exception of a guitar part on "X-Static" by Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs, Grohl played every instrument and sang every vocal on the tracks. Lured to Capitol Records by former Nirvana A&R (and then-Capitol president) Gary Gersh, Grohl had the demo recordings professionally mixed, and the results became Foo Fighters' self-titled debut album.
However, Grohl didn't want Foo Fighters to be a one-man studio project, so he worked to try to put together a band. Initially, former bandmate Krist Novoselic was a main candidate for the band, but both were concerned that it might portray Foo Fighters as a reincarnation of Nirvana. Having heard through the grapevine about the disbanding of Seattle-based Emo band Sunny Day Real Estate, Grohl drafted SDRE's bass player, Nate Mendel, and drummer, William Goldsmith. Pat Smear, who was an "unofficial member" of Nirvana after the release of In Utero, was added as a second guitarist, completing the band.
The band's first single "This Is a Call" was released in June of 1995, and their eponymous debut album was released the next month to enthusiastic fan response. "I'll Stick Around" and "Big Me" were released to radio and MTV in the months that followed.
After touring through the spring of 1996, the now full band Foo Fighters entered a Seattle studio with producer Gil Norton to record the band's second album. However, conflict erupted between Grohl and Goldsmith, resulting in Goldsmith's decision to leave the band. The band regrouped in Los Angeles and almost completely re-recorded the album with Grohl on drums. The album, The Colour and the Shape, was released in May of 1997.
In need of a drummer, Grohl contacted Alanis Morissette's touring drummer Taylor Hawkins to see if he could recommend anybody. Grohl was surprised when Hawkins volunteered himself. Hawkins made his Foo debut in time for the album's release.
In September of 1997, in front of a crowded street outside the MTV Video Music Awards, Pat Smear simultaneously announced his departure from the band and introduced his replacement, former Scream guitarist Franz Stahl. Following the recording of the band's third album There Is Nothing Left to Lose, Stahl departed the band, and was eventually replaced by Chris Shiflett.
Before the release of There Is Nothing Left to Lose, Capitol president Gary Gersh was forced out of the label. Foo Fighters' contract had included a clause that allowed them to leave the label upon Gersh's departure. They subsequently left Capitol and signed to RCA.
American late-night talk show host David Letterman invited Foo Fighters to perform on his first show after undergoing heart bypass surgery in 2000, where the band played "Everlong". Letterman introduced them by proclaiming: "my favorite band, playing my favorite song".
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 the 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 completely re-recorded the album in a ten-day stretch at Grohl's studio in Virginia. The final album was released in October of 2002 under the title One by One. (Hawkins jokingly refers to the first version of the album as the "Million Dollar Demos".)
The band's newest recording is a double LP, "In Your Honor", due for release on June 24, 2005. Singer Dave Grohl says that the two-disc release – one full of rock songs, the other featuring acoustic tracks – is a perfect memorial for band's 10th anniversary. Grohl hinted about the release in an interview with NME magazine: "It's really amazing. The good thing about doing it is that you split it up so that there's no middle ground. So the rock stuff is the most rocking stuff we've ever worked on, ever."
- Dave Grohl – Vocals, Guitar
- Nate Mendel – Bass
- Taylor Hawkins – Drums, Percussion (1997-present)
- Chris Shiflett – Guitar, Backing Vocals (1999-present)
- William Goldsmith – Drums, Percussion (1995–1997)
- Pat Smear – Guitar (1995–1997)
- Franz Stahl – Guitar (1997–1999)
|Image||Release date||Title||Label||Highest chart position|
|July 4, 1995||Foo Fighters||Capitol||#3 (UK)|
|May 20, 1997||The Colour and the Shape||Capitol||#3 (UK)|
|November 2, 1999||There Is Nothing Left to Lose||RCA||#10 (US), #10 (UK)|
|October 22, 2002||One by One||RCA||#3 (US), #1 (UK)|
|June 14, 2005||In Your Honor||RCA|
- 1995 "This Is A Call" #5 UK
- 1995 "I'll Stick Around" #18 UK
- 1995 "For All The Cows" #28 UK
- 1996 "Big Me" #19 UK
- 1997 "Monkey Wrench" #12 UK
- 1997 "Everlong" #18 UK
- 1998 "My Hero" #21 UK
- 1998 "Walking After You"/"Beacon Light" (with Ween) #20 UK
- 1999 "Learn To Fly" #21 UK
- 2000 "Breakout" #29 UK
- 2000 "Next Year" #42 UK
- 2002 "All My Life" #43 US, #5 UK
- 2003 "Times Like These" #65 US, #12 UK
- 2003 "Low" #21 UK
- 2003 "Have It All" #37 UK
- 2005 "Best of You" #35 US