Friday, December 26, 2014

Dave Grohl Week: Foo Fighters

This week I've been blogging about Dave Grohl and the various bands/projects that he was/is involved with. On today's docket  -  Foo Fighters

After the death of Kurt Cobain and dissolution of Nirvana in 1994, Dave Grohl set out to do a one-man project. 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.

The debut album is unique in that Dave Grohl played and recorded each of the instruments for the entire album. Before the album was released, Grohl recruited bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith (both formerly of Sunny Day Real Estate), as well as guitartist Pat Smear (who formerly toured as a bandmate with Nirvana) As a band, they began 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.

Goldsmith and Smear were replaced by Taylor Hawkins and Franz Stahl, although Stahl was fired before the recording of the third album. The band briefly continued as a trio until Chris Shiflett joined as the band's lead guitarist after the completion of the third album.  During 2006 and 2009, Pat Smear toured with the band as an unofficial member, but in 2010, it was confirmed that he had re-joined the band in an official capacity.

Over the course of the band's career, four albums have won Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album. Dave Grohl likes to keep the band fresh with new ideas and innovations. For example, the Wasting Light album was recorded in Dave's garage using only analog equipment. For their latest album, Sonic Highways, the band visited 8 cities. They met with local musicians and various landmarks in the cities and then sat down and recorded a song inspired by their visit to that city, They often invited a local musician to collaborate and join in the recording of each song. They also documented this album making with an HBO TV series aptly named, Sonic Highways.

Between the Wasting Light and Sonic Highways albums, Dave Grohl directed and produced a documentary about the history of recording studio Sound City Studios. Sound City Studios was located in the San Fernando Valley, amidst rows of dilapidated warehouses. The little-known recording studio housed a unique analog Neve recording console and had a reputation for recording drums. Artists such as Nirvana, Kyuss, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty and Slipknot recorded groundbreaking music at the studio. The film tells the story of the studio from its early days in 1969 until its closing in 2011. It then follows Dave Grohl's purchase of the studio's custom analog Neve console, which he moved to his personal studio, Studio 606. Rupert Neve is an English engineer who founded Neve Electronics in 1961, designed and manufactured the Neve 8028, "one of four in the world", and is interviewed by Grohl in the film. Famous musicians who recorded at Sound City reunite at Studio 606 for a jam session and to make an album of "all-new all-original songs, each one composed and recorded exclusively for the film within its own 24-hour session on that console." It also shows album covers by some bands: Red Hot Chili Peppers's One Hot Minute, Nirvana's Incesticide and Nevermind, Rage Against The Machine's self-titled album and many others.

It's no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Dave Grohl. Not only is he multi-talented, he also has a great sense of humor. Sometimes you get to see this in the music videos. But usually, you see the humor in various sound bites found strewn about the internet.

As I write this, I'm trying to narrow down my favorite Foo Fighters song. And I have to be honest and tell you that this is a difficult task. So many of his songs speak to me and bring out the emotions. Some make me laugh, some make me sad, some make me ponder the meaning of life.

Breakout - is a song about a young boy who has fallen for a girl, but he is so nervous that every time he is near her, he breaks out in hives.

Wheels - reminds me of a certain friend whose husband had been working hard at trying to make a better life for them, but was killed in a small aircraft accident.

Hey Johnny Park - Not sure what it is about this song, but it gets me emotional. Perhaps it's not so much the words as the overall mood of the song.

New Way Home - a song about Dave Grohl's divorce from his first wife, Jennifer Youngblood. And he's found a new way home (the lyrics refer to passing boats and the King Dome - which was a dome shaped stadium just outside of Seattle - the King Dome was demolished in 2000, 3 years after the song was released)

Best of You - "I've got a confession to make... I'm your fool. Everyone's got their chains to break... Holdin' you. Were you born to resist, or be abused? Is someone getting the best of you?" Powerful lyrics.

Everlong - "And I wonder... If everything could ever feel this real forever...If anything could ever be this good again...The only thing I'll ever ask of you...You've got to promise not to stop when I say when" Just a straight up awesome song.

Walk - "To keep alive a moment at a time, but still inside a whisper to a riot, To sacrifice but knowing to survive, The first to climb another state of mind. I'm on my knees, I'm praying for a sign. Forever, whenever, I never wanna die. I never wanna die. I'm on my knees, I NEVER wanna die. I'm dancing on my grave, I'm running through the fire. Forever, whenever. I never say goodbye. I'm learning to walk again. I'm learning to talk again.I believe I've waited long enough, Can't you see I've waited long enough." I think perhaps this one is my most favorite to date of the Foo Fighters song catalog. It reminds me that when times are tough to never give up.

Do you have a favorite Foo Fighters song? Tell me about it in the comments.