Foo Fighters | Band, Members, Albums, & Facts (2024)

American musical group

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Kirk Fox Kirk Fox is a content writer who has been involved in the music scene in the Chicago area for a long time. He is the DJ/host of The Power Pop Shoppe radio show, cohost of the podcast Best...

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Foo Fighters, American alternative rock band, one of the world’s most popular rock bands of the 21st century. Foo Fighters appeal to a wide audience, owing to their likable blend of heavy guitars and arena-ready anthems, which make for exciting live performances. By the early 2020s, the band had sold more than 30 million records worldwide.

Formation and debut

Foo Fighters originated in 1994 in Seattle as a one-man project, created by Dave Grohl, who had been the drummer for the iconic alternative grunge rock band Nirvana. While touring with Nirvana, Grohl had written multiple songs, though he did not share them with his bandmates because he was uncertain of the quality of his work and enjoyed the band’s existing dynamic. Following the death of Nirvana singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain, however, Grohl decided to pursue his interest in songwriting. In 1994, with producer Barrett Jones, Grohl recorded Foo Fighters’ self-titled first album, on which he sang vocal parts and played the instruments for every song but one, “X-Static,” on which Greg Dulli from the band Afghan Whigs played guitar. Grohl settled on the name Foo Fighters, which references the World War II term for unidentified flying objects.

More From BritannicaDave Grohl: Foo Fighters

Grohl formed a live band to support his debut album on tour, featuring himself on lead vocals and guitar, with bassist Nate Mendel, drummer William Goldsmith from the band Sunny Day Real Estate, and guitarist Pat Smear, who had toured with Nirvana. Foo Fighters made their debut performance on February 19, 1995, in Seattle. Grohl subsequently licensed the Foo Fighters album to Capitol Records and released it in 1995 on his own label, Roswell Records. The album featured the singles “This Is a Call,” “I’ll Stick Around,” and “Big Me.” Critics mostly praised the album, noting its catchy punk-pop sound, which adapted the quiet-loud dynamics of Nirvana. The album was an international success, and in 1996, with one million copies sold, it was certified platinum.

Albums of the late 1990s

Foo Fighters began recording their second album, The Colour and the Shape, in November 1996. Grohl and producer Gil Norton were unhappy with the drumming parts recorded by Goldsmith, and Grohl replaced them with parts played by himself. Goldsmith subsequently left the band, and Taylor Hawkins, who had been the touring drummer for Canadian musician Alanis Morissette, took his place. The Colour and the Shape, released in May 1997, featured the popular singles “My Hero,” “Monkey Wrench,” and “Everlong.” Shortly after the album’s release, however, Smear left the band; he was replaced by guitarist Franz Stahl, who had been one of Grohl’s bandmates in Scream, a 1980s punk band based in Washington, D.C.

In 1998, while working on the band’s third album, There Is Nothing Left to Lose, Grohl fired Stahl, as the pair seemed to be out of sync. There Is Nothing Left to Lose was released in 1999; the single “Learn to Fly” became the group’s first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The album, which featured stronger melodies than those on the band’s previous albums, was recognized with a Grammy Award for best rock album in 2001. The year the album was released, the band picked up Chris Shiflett to play lead guitar for live performances. Grohl, Hawkins, Mendel, and Shiflett formed the band’s core lineup.

Later albums and lineup changes

Foo Fighters released more albums in the following years, including One by One (2002) and In Your Honor (2005). The latter was a double album, in which one disc featured the band’s usual electric sound and the second featured acoustic songs. The album’s single “Best of You” was the band’s highest charting single, reaching number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2005 Smear rejoined Foo Fighters, giving the band a unique three-guitar lineup. The group began recording new albums, releasing Skin and Bones (2006), Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (2007), Wasting Light (2011), Sonic Highways (2014), and Concrete and Gold (2017). In 2017 Rami Jaffe, who had been a touring keyboardist for the band, became an official member. In 2021 Foo Fighters released Medicine at Midnight and Hail Satin (released under the band’s alter ego, the Dee Gees). That same year, the band was inducted into the .

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Loss of Hawkins and But Here We Are

In 2022 Hawkins died while the band was on tour in Bogotá, Colombia. Hawkins reported having chest pain, and emergency responders found him unresponsive in his hotel room; it was later reported that he died from cardiac arrest associated with the use of antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and heroin. After Hawkins’s passing, the band stated on Twitter (now X) that “his musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever.” The band won three Grammy Awards later that year, bringing its total number of Grammy victories to 15.

In May 2023 Foo Fighters announced that Josh Freese would be their new drummer for live performances. They released their 11th studio album, But Here We Are, in June that year. The album was essentially an emotional outpouring, a reflection of Grohl’s processing the grief associated with the loss of both his mother and Hawkins in the same year. The album received positive reviews from critics, who appreciated Grohl’s honesty accompanied by the band’s continued expertise at punchy pop rock.

Kirk Fox

Foo Fighters | Band, Members, Albums, & Facts (2024)

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