Foo Fighters carry the torch of rock authenticity with infectious hooks, in-your-face guitar riffs, monster drums, and boundless energy. When Nirvana disbanded in 1994, Dave Grohl had years of original songs ready to go and recorded the self-titled Foo Fighters debut album in one week. Few artists in rock history have recorded every track on an album, from drums to vocals (save for one guitar track), and few drummers have stepped down from the throne into the role of singer-songwriter-bandleader.
Foo Fighters churn pop, prog, metal, punk, and hard rock into a polished – but still raw – version of modern rock. Some consider Foo Fighters a “guitar” band, because over time, they have expanded into a thick wall of guitar sounds, with Grohl playing straightforward chords, Pat Smear adding large atmospheric sounds, and Chris Shiflett crafting melodies that complement the vocals. Others consider them a “drums” band – after all, they do have Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins, two hard-hitting monster drummers with a keen sense of musicality and ability to construct the perfect drumbeat for each song’s needs.
Foo Fighters continually reshape their production techniques. They recorded There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999) as a trio in the basement of Grohl’s Virginia home with no record company to oversee the process or inhibit the flow of creativity. 2005’s In Your Honor became a double album – one filled with the classic, heavy Foo Fighters sound, and one that showed the band’s softer, acoustic, introspective side. They recorded Wasting Light (2011) on analog tape to recapture the feel and sound of tiny imperfections and to track everything “live” – without the slickness of computer-based production. Through these studio innovations, they updated the classic rock values of authenticity and rawness for modern ears.
Foo Fighters have become the go-to rock band of the 21st century, performing two sold-out, back-to-back nights at London’s Wembley Stadium, multiple Grammy award ceremonies, David Letterman’s final Late Show episode, and President Joe Biden’s 2021 inauguration celebration.
“This Is a Call,” Foo Fighters (1995) • “Everlong,” “Enough Space,” The Colour and the Shape (1997) • “Learn to Fly,” There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999) • “All My Life,” “Times Like These,” One by One (2002) • “Best of You,” “Miracle,” In Your Honor (2005) • “Walk,” Wasting Light (2011) • “Something From Nothing,” Sonic Highways (2014)
Nominees: Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Rami Jaffee, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett, Pat Smear
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