Dave Grohl started the Foo Fighters as a one-man project during the aftermath of friend and Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain’s death. There were rumours that Grohl would join Pearl Jam, and was even offered a permanent position in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Instead, he went the solo route, recording his first record almost entirely by himself, and choosing the name Foo Fighters as a pseudonym as he circulated the demo around the music industry.
The demo quickly generated interest among record labels, and its success led Grohl to form a proper band. He hired bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith of Sunny Day Real Estate, plus Nirvana touring guitarist Pat Smear. While touring in support of the first record, the band wrote new material during soundchecks. These songs would find a home on their sophomore album The Colour and the Shape, their first album as a full band.
The band brought in producer Gil Norton to record, and the process was extremely grueling for everyone in the band. Grohl was never content with Goldsmith’s drumming, and after days of recording drum tracks he decided to record the parts himself in secret. Once Goldsmith caught wind of this, he quit the band. He was replaced by Taylor Hawkins, who was then the drummer in Alanis Morissette’s band.
Much of the content of Grohl’s lyrics on the record was inspired by his recent divorce. “Everlong,” the band’s biggest single on the album and considered by many their greatest song, was written after Grohl had gotten over his heartache and fallen in love again with Louise Post of Veruca Salt. A spontaneous acoustic performance of the song during an interview on the Howard Stern Show went viral, and helped push the band into the mainstream.
Over twenty years later, the Foo Fighters remain one of the most important rock bands of their era. They’ve won four Grammys in the Best Rock Album category, and earned twenty-six major awards in total. They have sold more than 12 million copies in the United States alone. They are currently on an international tour with their ninth studio album, Concrete and Gold.