Prior to the release of Foo Fighters’ 1995 debut album Foo Fighters, which featured Grohl as the only official member, Grohl recruited bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith, both formerly of Sunny Day Real Estate, as well as Nirvana touring guitarist Pat Smear to complete the lineup.
Foo Fighters released its sixth album, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, in 2007.
In November 2014, the band’s eighth studio album, Sonic Highways, was released as an accompanying soundtrack to the Grohl-directed 2014 miniseries of the same name.
On September 15, 2017, the band released their ninth studio album, Concrete and Gold, which became their second to reach number one in the United States and was the band’s first studio album to feature longtime session and touring keyboardist Rami Jaffee as a full member.
Dave Grohl (pictured in 2006) founded Foo Fighters after his previous band Nirvana ended in 1994
Ultimately, Grohl declined and instead entered Robert Lang Studios in October 1994 to record fifteen of the forty songs he had written. With the exception of a guitar part on “X-Static”, played by Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs, Grohl played every instrument and sang every vocal on the tracks. “I was supposed to just join another band and be a drummer the rest of my life,” Grohl later said.
However, the demo tape circulated in the music industry, creating interest among record labels. Grohl formed a band to support the album.
Grohl asked Pat Smear, who served as a touring guitarist for Nirvana after the release of its 1993 album, In Utero, to join as the group’s second guitarist. Grohl ultimately licensed the album to Capitol Records, releasing it on his new record label, Roswell Records.
Grohl refused to do interviews or tour large venues to promote the album. Foo Fighters undertook its first major tour in the spring of 1995, opening for Mike Watt.
The band’s first single, “This Is a Call”, was released in June 1995, and its debut album Foo Fighters was released the next month.
Four months later in September 1997 at the MTV Video Music Awards, Smear simultaneously announced to the public his departure from the band and introduced his replacement, Grohl’s former Scream bandmate Franz Stahl. Stahl toured with the band for the next few months, and appeared on two tracks that the band recorded for movie soundtracks, a re-recording of “Walking After You” for The X-Files and “A320” for Godzilla.
In 1998, Foo Fighters traveled to Grohl’s home state of Virginia to write music for its third album.
Shortly after that, Mendel called Grohl to say he was quitting the band to reunite with Sunny Day Real Estate, only to reverse his decision the next day. The remaining trio of Grohl, Mendel, and Hawkins spent the next several months recording the band’s third album, There Is Nothing Left to Lose, in Grohl’s Virginia home studio that he bought and built.
Shiflett initially joined the band as touring guitarist, but achieved full-time status prior to the recording of the group’s fourth album.
Around 2001, Foo Fighters established a relationship with rock band Queen, of whom the band (particularly Grohl and Hawkins) were fans.
In March of that year, Grohl and Hawkins inducted the band into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and joined them on stage for a rendition of the Queen 1976 classic “Tie Your Mother Down”, with Hawkins playing drums alongside Roger Taylor, while Grohl was playing rhythm guitar and handling vocal duties. Guitarist Brian May added a guitar track to Foo Fighters’ second cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar”, which appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Mission: Impossible 2.
The bands have performed together on several occasions since, including VH1 Rock Honors and Foo Fighters’ headlining concert in Hyde Park.
Once the Queens of the Stone Age album was finished, and touring had started for both Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age, the band was on the verge of breaking up entirely as the animosity grew amongst the members.
Grohl reconvened with Hawkins, Shiflett and Mendel to have them play at the Coachella Festival, with Queens of the Stone Age playing one day and Foo Fighters the following.
The group re-recorded nearly all of the album (save “Tired of You”) in a ten-day stretch at Grohl’s home studio in Alexandria, Virginia. The original version of One by One, referred to by the band as “Million Dollar Demos”, has never been heard in its entirety, except for fragments that were leaked.
Having spent a year and a half touring behind One by One, Grohl did not want to rush into recording another Foo Fighters record.
Initially Grohl intended to write acoustic material by himself, but eventually the project involved the entire band. To record its fifth album, the band shifted to Los Angeles and built a recording studio, dubbed Studio 606 West.
During September and October 2005, the band toured with Weezer on what was billed as the ‘Foozer Tour’ as the two bands co-headlined the tour. Foo Fighters also played a headline performance at the 2005 Reading and Leeds Festivals.
As Page and Jones left the stage before a final encore of “Best Of You”, an ecstatic Grohl shouted “Welcome to the greatest fucking day of my whole entire life!”. Throughout the tour for Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, Foo Fighters had been writing and practicing new songs at sound checks.
After Foo Fighters had completed this tour in September 2008, they recorded 13 new songs in studio 606, shortly after announcing a hiatus from touring (which would last until January 2011).
While the members of Foo Fighters had initially planned for their new album (composed of songs from this recording session) to have come out in 2009 with almost no touring support, they ultimately decided to shelve most of the songs from these sessions.
On November 3, 2009, the band released a compilation album, Greatest Hits, which features two new songs, “Word Forward” and the single “Wheels”. These songs were recorded during a session which occurred between Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace and Wasting Light coming out.
In order to promote their greatest hits album, Foo Fighters performed a show at studio 606 in October 2009 (which was broadcast online), during which the band took fan requests.[not in citation given]
In August 2010, the band began recording their seventh studio album with producer Butch Vig, who had previously produced the two new tracks for the band’s Greatest Hits album. The album was recorded in Dave Grohl’s garage using only analog equipment.
The recording was analog to tape and used no computers, not even to mix or master. Vig said in an interview with MTV that the album was entirely analog until post-mastering. Pat Smear was present in many photos posted by Grohl on Twitter and a press release in December confirmed Smear played on every track on the album and was considered a core member of the band once again, having initially left as a full-time member in 1997 before returning as a touring guitarist in 2006.
The first single from Wasting Light, “Rope”, was released to radio in February 2011. On April 16, 2011, Foo Fighters released an album of covers, Medium Rare, as a limited-edition vinyl for Record Store Day. The promotion for the album has been highly praised for its originality. Wasting Light debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, being the first Foo Fighters album to do so. Other singles for the album included “Walk”, “Arlandria”, “These Days”, and “Bridge Burning”
The film, entitled Back and Forth, chronicles the band’s career, from the dissolution of Nirvana due to the death of frontman Kurt Cobain to the formation of Foo Fighters as Dave Grohl’s “one-man band” to the status of the band in 2011.
Despite initially announcing a break after supporting Wasting Light, Grohl later stated in January 2013 that the band had started writing material for an eighth studio album. On February 20, 2013, at the Brit Awards, Grohl said he was flying back to America the following day to start work on the next album.
On September 6, 2013, Shiflett posted a photo to his Instagram account that indicates 13 songs are being recorded for the new album and later described the album in an interview as “pretty fucking fun”. Rami Jaffee has recorded parts for three songs, one of which is entitled “In the Way”. Butch Vig, who worked with the band on Wasting Light, confirmed via Twitter in late August 2013 that he is producing the album. The band confirmed that it would end its hiatus by playing two shows in Mexico City, Mexico, on December 11 and 13, 2013.
On October 31, 2013, a video appeared on the official Foo Fighters YouTube channel showing a motorcyclist, later shown as actor Erik Estrada, delivering each of the band members an invitation to play in Mexico.
On January 16, 2014, a picture was posted to Foo Fighters’s Facebook page with several master tapes with some labeled “LP 8”. On May 15, 2014, it was announced that the band’s eighth album would be released in November 2014 and that the Foo Fighters would commemorate the album and their 20th anniversary with an HBO TV series directed by Dave Grohl entitled Sonic Highways. Eight songs were written and recorded in eight studios in eight different American cities.
The series shows them doing this as they try to capture the history and feel of each town for the song dedicated to that area. On July 30, 2014, Butch Vig revealed that the Foo Fighters had finished recording and mixing the new album and that it was slated to be released a month after the premiere of the TV show.
The band played 23 songs over the course of two and a half hours. Foo Fighters announced their tour would include performances in Cape Town, South Africa, on December 10, 2014, and Johannesburg on December 13.
The band played three performances under the alias “The Holy Shits” in September 2014; the first at the Concorde 2 club in Brighton, England, where Dave Grohl invited lead singer Jay Apperley of “UK Foo Fighters” tribute band on stage to sing, then at the “House of Vans”, and lastly at “Islington Assembly Hall”.
On August 11, the band announced that the new album would be titled Sonic Highways and released on November 10, 2014. The Foo Fighters also announced an international tour, dubbed the Sonic Highways World Tour, with performances in South Africa in December 2014 and South America in January 2015. Their tour continued to Australia and New Zealand in February and March 2015.
On June 12, 2015, Grohl fell from a concert stage in Gothenburg, Sweden, during the second song of the Foo Fighters’ set and broke his leg. The band played without Grohl while he received medical attention, and Grohl then returned to the stage, sitting in a chair to perform the last two hours of the band’s set while a medic tended to his leg. After the concert, Grohl was flown to London for surgery, where doctors inserted six metal pins into his leg. As a result of Grohl’s injury, on June 16 the band announced it was cancelling all of its remaining European tour dates.
The Foo Fighters planned to follow their international tour with a North American tour to promote Sonic Highways, beginning with a special Fourth of July event in Washington, D.C., that would commemorate the band’s 20th anniversary. This all-day event, to be held at Washington’s RFK Stadium, was advertised as featuring performances by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Heart, LL Cool J, Gary Clark Jr., and Buddy Guy. Dave Grohl’s leg injury initially led to speculation that the band would drop out of the event, but they later confirmed they would still perform; however, the injury did prevent them from headlining the 2015 Glastonbury Festival (although they would return and headline in 2017).
Beginning with the show on July 4, the Foo Fighters re-branded the North American tour as the Broken Leg Tour. The band continued to use the new tour name at later North American performances. During the tour, prior to a concert at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 21, 2015, the Foo Fighters staged a counter protest against members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who were protesting their concert, rickrolling them from the back of a pickup truck.
Grohl announced that the band would spend much of 2017 recording their ninth studio album. On June 1, 2017, their new single “Run” was released. “Run” topped the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart the following month.
With the new album release, the Foo Fighters also confirmed that touring keyboardist Rami Jaffee is officially the sixth member of the group. The Foo Fighters announced on June 20, 2017, that their new album, Concrete and Gold, would be released in September.
Foo Fighters have been described as grunge, alternative rock, post-grunge and hard rock. When Grohl first started the band, its music was often compared to that of his previous group, Nirvana.
Foo Fighters also utilized the technique of shifting between quiet verses and loud choruses, which Grohl said was influenced by the members of Nirvana “liking The Knack, Bay City Rollers, Beatles, and ABBA as much as we liked Flipper and Black Flag, I suppose”. Writing and recording songs for the first Foo Fighters album by himself, Grohl wrote the guitar riffs to be as rhythmic as possible.
These include four Grammys in the Best Rock Album category for There Is Nothing Left to Lose, One by One, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace and Wasting Light, and three awards for Best Hard Rock Performance for the songs “All My Life”, “The Pretender” and “White Limo”. The band also received three Kerrang!
The band was nominated for six Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Best Rock Performance, Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Rock Album and Best Long Form Music Video (for Back and Forth).
Source: Foo Fighters