Foo Fighters
Album Released

There Is Nothing Left To Lose

The Colour and The Shape
Foo Fighters

The emergence of the Foo Fighters in 1995 as one of rock's great new hopes should have given drummers everywhere a reason for optimism. Consider the story of Dave Grohl. The former drummer of the Washington, D.C. punk band Scream joined a trio called Nirvana in 1990, only to see them become the most important band of the '90s and then self-destruct with Kurt Cobain's suicide.

Lesser men would have disappeared from the pop music landscape, but rather than fade away, Grohl mentally regrouped and emerged as Foo Fighters. In Nirvana, Grohl's drumming was a powerful element but his songwriting was limited to the obscure b-side "Marigold." With Foo Fighters, Grohl was allowed to take what he learned from Cobain and give it his own spin. He wrote, sang and played everything on the "band"'s 1995 self-titled debut, save for some additional guitar added by the Afghan Whigs' Greg Dulli. Naturally, some of the album, including "This Is A Call" and "I'll Stick Around," sounds incredibly Nirvana-like, but if anyone has a right to ape the Mighty K.C., it's Grohl. Elsewhere, Grohl showed his pop smarts on the wonderfully Beatlesque "Big Me." In all, Foo Fighters was a knockout punch few could have expected from Grohl. Following the completion of the album, Grohl rounded up a band to bring Foo Fighters to life--former Nirvana touring member and Germs guitarist Pat Smear, and bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith, both formerly of Sunny Day Real Estate.

With The Colour & The Shape, the record company propaganda machine attempted to spin a story that this was the Foo Fighters' real "band" album. No doubt, the album sounds like more of a band effort, with Grohl and Smear engaging in pyrotechnic guitar duels. But there was little doubt who was calling the shots. In fact, Goldsmith left the band during the making of the album reportedly because Grohl refused to give up the drum stool in the studio. Lyrically, on The Colour And The Shape Grohl opted to let Cobain rest in peace, except for the tribute "My Hero," and instead focused on the dissolution of his marriage.

Between Colour and the November '99 release of There Is Nothing Left To Lose, the Foo Fighters hired a new drummer (Taylor Hawkins, who used to be in Alanis Morissette's band), lost Pat Smear, hired Grohl's old Scream mate Franz Stahl to replace him, then lost Stahl too. By now, it was pretty clear that all this personnel rotation was purely secondary to the group's central creative force, Grohl, who seemed more interested than ever in moving his music away from anything resembling punk and towards a style much more closely resembling the mainstream classic rock that he grew up on.


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