The Foo Fighters: Saviors of Music or not?

By ALEX HUROWITZ | October 18, 2012

On Oct. 2, Dave Grohl, the founder of the Foo Fighters, announced via their website that the band would be going on hiatus for an undetermined amount of time. Obviously, after winning 5 Grammy’s with their album Wasting Light, going on a massive world tour and just being one of the most popular rock bands around, this is terrible news for a fan to hear. Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters were the saviors of music; they are that one rock band that is as, if not more, popular than the big names within the current electronic dance (EDM) trend in music. But upon further analysis, are the Foo Fighters really the saviors of music? Are they actually bringing anything new to the table?

It all started in 1990. Dave Grohl joined the Washington-based grunge band Nirvana. Their previous drummer, Chad Channing, was frustrated from not being involved in songwriting for the songs that would appear in their album Nevermind. The hardcore band Grohl was with, Scream, had just disbanded. Looking for a new band to play with, he met Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic through a mutual friend. Immediately impressed with his drumming when auditioning, Kurt and Krist asked Grohl to join the band. This would be the major and final line-up for Nirvana. In 1991, they released Nevermind, an album that is arguably considered to be one of the best alternative albums of all time. It was the major factor that pushed alternative music into the mainstream in the 1990s. Kurt Cobain became the spokesperson of a generation, and he is still revered by many today. Nirvana was considered to be the band of Generation X. In 2005, the Library of Congress, for its obvious cultural and historic significance, added the album to the National Recording Registry.

Unfortunately, Nirvana did not last for much longer. A year after releasing their third album, In Utero, Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994. With the “genius” of the band dead, Nirvana was dead as well. Krist Novoselic went on to form other bands that never reached the popularity of Nirvana. On the other hand, Dave Grohl went on to record an entire album on his own under the moniker Foo Fighters as a sort of catharsis in coming to terms with Cobain’s death. With the eponymous album gaining substantial major label interest, Grohl recruited other band members. In 1997, they released their second album, The Colour and the Shape, which is considered to be their magnum opus. The rest is history.

So now, 18 years after Cobain’s death, have the Foo Fighters/Dave Grohl added anything new to music? While Dave Grohl is a talented musician, he has shown only that he is good at doing the same alternative and hard rock sound over and over. Grohl has been recycling the same formula ever since Nevermind. In very plain terms: the Foo Fighters practically replaced Nirvana. With Cobain’s suicide prematurely ending Nirvana, the success got carried over to the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl fit into a niche the major labels had made within alternative/hard rock thanks to the incredible success of Nevermind. Adhering to a music formula does not make one a savior of music. It just makes them phony.

So when the Foo Fighters/Dave Grohl talk about how it’s “us versus them,” with “them” being EDM, this is not an accurate portrayal. While different genres, both are just the products of the major labels taking advantage of popular trends within music. So, even if the Foo Fighters never play or record again, they are either going to be replaced by another band, or a new trend will start.

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