Foo Fighters’ 11th studio album provides insights into the soul of the band’s founder, Dave Grohl. The band recorded 10 songs about goodbyes, letting go and moving on, sadness and optimism. It seems to be a catharsis for Grohl, a spiritual cleansing after personal tragedies. The death of Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins, in March 2022 was hard to take. But then Grohl’s mother, who was one of his biggest supporters, died just a few months later, in August 2022.
The remaining band members may have decided that Hawkins’ sudden death was the end of the Foo Fighters. Such was the extent of their pain at the loss of their bandmate and friend. But Grohl decided the band would first pay tribute to Hawkins with memorial concerts in London and Los Angeles, before confirming late last year that the Foo Fighters would continue under that name, with Josh Freese joined as the new drummer.
But here we are
The band returned to the studio and the resulting album, “But Here We Are,” was released to rave reviews from critics and fans alike. The death of Taylor Hawkins. “The Teacher,” with a guitar sound reminiscent of The Cure, is an ambitious, ten-minute, psychedelic rock epic that sees Grohl grappling with the death of his mother, who was a teacher.
Sound-wise, the album is reminiscent of their previous albums. It’s straightforward rock, rough-edged but with Dave Grohl’s trademark warm guitar harmonies, which provide a pleasing tension to all tracks.
But Grohl wasn’t always a songwriter. He got his musical start as a drummer, first in the hardcore band Scream, then joined Nirvana, where he helped create the sound that would make the band famous. Grohl also found a friend and musical soulmate in the band’s singer, Kurt Cobain. He was greatly affected by Cobain’s suicide in 1994 and the aftermath of Nirvana as a result. But he soon channeled his grief into a new project.
The Foo Fighters fly
Armed with the outlines of songs he’d recorded on tapes or jotted down on scraps of paper over the years, Dave Grohl went into the studio in October 1994, and – except for a guitar part on the song “X- Static” played by Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs — recorded all the instruments and vocals himself. In his 2021 autobiography, “The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music,” Grohl said the recording sessions were a form of therapy, comparing them to a defibrillator that shocked his heart back into a normal rhythm. rhythm The result was the Foo Fighters’ first album, which was an instant chart hit, even reaching Number 3 in the UK.
Grohl was not alone for a long time, soon gathered other musicians for his project, which continued its route to success with honest, earthy, hard-but-melodic rock. Taylor Hawkins joined in 1997, becoming Cobain’s successor as Grohl’s friend and musical soulmate. Each album was a hit, spending hours on the charts, but the most successful to date was their seventh studio album, “Wasting Light.”
One song on that album particularly stands out: “White Limo” is a crazy, hard, punk-slash-rock’n’roll track, a nod to Lemmy Kilmister’s Motörhead. And Lemmy himself gets in on the action too: In the video, he sits smoking and drinking whiskey at the wheel of a stretch limousine, with the Foo Fighters in the back as a typical rock band with guitars, beer, champagne and joints.Fun fact: Lemmy doesn’t even have a driver’s license.
A throne for Dave Grohl
In June 2015, Foo Fighters played a stadium gig while on tour in Gothenburg, Sweden. During the second number, a headbanging Dave Grohl ran from one side of the stage to the other. Suddenly, his foot caught on a cable, he tripped and fell off the stage, in front of 50,000 fans, breaking his leg. After getting a temporary cast and drinking a lot of whiskey, Grohl was carried on a stretcher back to the stage, where he sat in a chair and finished the concert with the rest of the band.
Not wanting to cancel the band’s North American tour while his leg heals, the Foo Fighters frontman designed a sort of elevated throne on which he can sit and perform shows until he can stand and walk again .
The miracle of Cesena
The tour featured a very special appearance: In late July 2015, 1,000 musicians gathered in a field near the Italian town of Cesena and simultaneously played the Foo Fighters’ song “Learn to Fly. ” The organizer of the “Rockin’ 1,000” project then asked the Foo Fighters to play in Cesena. The video went viral, and Dave Grohl, still recovering from his fall in Sweden, was moved by it, and promised that the band would appear in Cesena – which they did, in November 2015, with Grohl’s throne among their road use.
Loaned to Axl Rose
The throne gained its own fame, and when Dave Grohl no longer needed it, it went its own way. In April 2016, it was rolled onto a stage in a Las Vegas venue, where Axl Rose, the singer of Guns N’ Roses, sat on it. Rose broke her foot before her band toured and didn’t want a relatively minor injury to stop her from performing.
In 2018, Foo Fighters returned to Gothenburg. The band started playing and Grohl ran in his usual way – falling off the stage again. But the shock didn’t last long for the audience: The band mocked them, hiring a stunt double to recreate Grohl’s accident. The real frontman jumped back on stage and rocked the stadium.
But Grohl, in fact, suffered another fall a year later. At a gig in Las Vegas, he passed the audience a can of beer, part of which he spilled on an amp, stuffed the rest and then went on stage – where he promptly fell. Fortunately, that episode was much lower, so Grohl was unharmed and went on with the concert as planned.
You can’t stop a good person
Always positive, Dave Grohl deals with personal setbacks the same way he deals with falling off the stage: taking it all in stride, getting back up and doing the best things. He was known for his sense of humor and joy, his unquestionable love for music and his friends and family.
The world famous rock star is not above joining in a drum battle with Animal from The Muppets or participating in James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” shenanigans. He encouraged the musical talents of his three daughters and proudly invited them on stage to play with him.
When the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill in spring 2020, and concerts everywhere were canceled, Grohl used his downtime to write “The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music.” In the memoir, he wears his heart on his sleeve, writing frankly about good and bad times, about love, sadness and optimism – the topics he covers in his music. Grohl’s unique way of telling stories is once again on full display.
This article was originally written in German.