Foo Fighters have cleared the air on rumors about what the press had labeled and imminent break up. In a satiric video posted to their web site they have announced that in fact they are keeping their initial promise and are not splitting up. You can watch the video below.
The band clearly mocks the internet drama which was started after Dave Grohl performed solo at the Grammy awards in a tribute to Lemmy of Motorhead. News articles were frantic about a band conflict between Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins which was going to lead to Grohl going solo. In light of this, the Foo Fighters reported they were to offer an important band announcement on their web site. Music web sites speculated that it would be the announcement of a break up or hiatus. We now know that this was not the case. As Grohl had stated previously in Rolling Stone “People should never be afraid that Foo Fighters are ever going to break up. It’s like your grandparents getting divorced – it’s not gonna happen.”
In the video Grohl is seen “going Hollywood” and working with producer Butch Vig on solo material. Vig convinces Grohl to drop playing an instrument and instead do it electronically. He tells him he just needs to use one finger on a synth to get a new sound popular with the masses. The band is meanwhile searching for a replacement singer. Nominations range from Billy Corgan or Chris Cornell to Sammy Hangar and even Phil Collins (the original drummer to step from the drum kit to the mic). The video ends with the statement reinforcing the fact that the Foo Fighters don’t have any intention to break up.
What is also interesting about the news was the intensity with which a lot of die hard or casual fans were ready to receive it. Of course, if you are a major fan of the Foo Fighters, the news that your favorite band is to break up is bound to make you upset. But this also showed just how many casual fans the Foo Fighters have. And in a time when rock and especially alternative rock are not necessarily extremely popular genres this is quite significant.
For the most part the Foo Fighters is one of the only remaining rock bands that almost everyone likes or are at least very few are annoyed by. Perhaps since the late 90’s their popularity has grown slowly but consistently. Their albums themselves have always received good reviews (perhaps not stellar, but certainly good) and they’ve always had singles on the radio. So much so that it is now hard to imagine modern rock programming without Foo Fighters songs. Because they have been consistent with their music and have stuck around for a long time, they are now regarded as a sort of “alternative-classic rock”.
The Foo Fighters play to stadium audiences and while their sound is certainly not out of place for large venues, their music has not changed drastically from their post grunge, melodic punk inspired sound of their first two albums. Foo Fighters win awards not only at the Grammys, but they win MTV awards and at times it seems that they’re the only rock band MTV is still aware exists. Other than that, Dave Grohl is featured in some form or another on many other musical projects that get a lot of attention.
Of course, Dave Grohl first become well known as the drummer with Nirvana. The Foo Fighters were a project that he used as therapy in dealing with Kurt Cobain’s death. The first album was also an exercise in trying to record practically every instrument himself. Since then Grohl has played with Queens of the Stone Age, did an album with heavy-metal musicians with Lemmy Killmister and Mac Cavalera that was called Probot, played in Them Crooked Vultures (with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age), toured with Cage the Elephant and made a note-worthy movie about recording artists Sound City in 2013. He’s been a busy guy. Other than that he holds a rare “nicest guy in the world, who happens to be a rockstar” distinction.
Foo Fighters have indeed earned mass appeal, but they have not changed much to earn it. If anything the band has kept it’s sense of humor (as exhibited in the aforementioned video) and have become better musicians. They have the respect of peers and musicians that carry legend status, like Brian May or Jimmy Page, who they’ve played with. Unlike bands like Coldplay and U2 that seem obsessed with creating music under specifications that will ensure them a large public, the Foo Fighters have stuck to being an alternative rock band, granted one that is enjoyed by many. For those reasons we might just be much better off with the Foo Fighters continuing to exist and make music.