My Name Is The Human Furnace and I Love Foo Fighters
Ringworm’s grizzled, head-banging singer makes the case for the long-running Dave Grohl project.
Everybody assumes that they have great taste in music, right? Whether you listen to Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Creed and Coldplay, or Slayer and Anal Cunt, you think you know your shit. That's cool, listen to whatever the fuck you want. Who cares what I think, right? Last I heard, the new pop star who can't really sing and that new hip folk-rock band sold a couple million. Whatever floats, dude. I'm going to listen to what I want as well. But if you're here at Noisey reading this, I can guarantee that we'd all agree that popular music isn't always good and good music isn't always popular and I’ve got my opinions, that's for sure. So, when the dudes at Noisey asked me what I think of Foo Fighters, I felt compelled to oblige the request.
Just to save everybody the suspense, because I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat, I love Foo Fighters. Why is this a big deal? I don't know. Millions of people like this band. I'm thinking Noisey thought it strange that a grizzled, pissed off headbanger like myself would be so into a mainstream rock band. So I guess they're interested in a metalhead’s point of view. Here goes.
I guess I'll start with a quick pre-Foo story. When Nirvana came out with Bleach, I got it just like a lot of my other buddies did. Eh, pretty decent Sub Pop stuff. Not earth shattering, but I dug it OK. (I was always more into Tad but thats a different story all together.) I've still got the cassette somewhere. When Nevermind came out, none of us really gave a shit. I like the record but it didn't change my life. It's no Killing Technology or Streetcleaner. (That's Voivod and Godflesh for you young'ns.) Anyway, me and two of my buddies went to see them when they came through Cleveland. Of course, we drank heavily and each polished off a family size bottle of Robitussin, probably some weed and/or rubber cement before the show, par for the course. The show was totally packed and we were able to work our way right to the front. Well, at some point during the set, Krist Novoselic was playing right in front of us, so my buddy reached up and grabbed ahold of all four of his bass strings and yanked on them real hard. We thought it was hilarious. Well, dude pretty much almost stopped the show, crying about how "that ain't cool, man." Of course, being the little fucks we were, we laughed and screamed, "Every set, you try to break your bass and jump into the drums! YOU AIN'T PUNK!" Maybe you had to be there, or maybe it was the Robitussin, or rubber cement, but it was pretty funny. Anywho, moving on to the task.
Foo Fighters. I didn't really care about the first record. Didn't hate it, just didn't care about Nirvana's drummer's new band. I guess, like many, it wasn't until the second record, The Color and the Shape, came out did I actually take notice. Call it pop punk or pop rock, I dunno, but there's really no denying how fucking catchy the hooks and melodies are. But underneath all the bubblegum catchiness, there's some solid fucking song writing. That's what got me hooked, I think. Especially when I found out that Dave did all the playing on the first record and half on the second, I thought, "That's fucking cool." They're just really great songs. And in my opinion, from record to record, they have never really stopped writing them.
I could go into an album by album review of their catalog but that's not really necessary. Their catalog speaks for itself. But what I will comment on is when the "second stage" of my appreciation for Foo Fighters, or in particular, Dave Grohl, kicked in: the Probot record. It gave me a little more insight as to where Foo Fighters' songs come from. Some roots, if you will.
If you are a musician of any kind, it's of the utmost importance to appreciate and be influenced by music of all sorts, even if you hate some kinds. But really, first of all, who the fuck does this guy think he is?! Putting a record together with pretty much all of my favorite bands growing up? Who is this dude and how does he know what I listen to? Who would abuse their rockstar power to write songs for all of their favorite bands and then have the balls to just call up the singers and say, "Hey, I'm Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters and I wrote a song that sounds like your band so you're gonna sing on it"? Dave Grohl would.
At first, I was pissed that someone could just do that. Then I realized that I was just jealous as fuck. Then I realized how awesome it was. You see, because of that record, the careers of some of my favorite bands of all time were resurrected. I mean, you've got to think Trouble, Corrosion of Conformity and others might not have had a resurgence if not for getting the deserved new attention this record brought them. Hell, Voivod has been going strong ever since. Plus, he put it out on Southern Lord Records, which I'm sure helped them out quite a bit. That's pretty fucking cool. If any metalhead doesn't think they could sit at a bar with Dave, get hammered, and talk music for hours, he's a raging moron.
Then, this asshole goes on to play drums on an awesome Queens of the Stone Age record, then a great Killing Joke record, then a Them Crooked Vultures record with John Paul Jones. WTF? And the whole time continuing to put out great records from his own band? Then I saw that the Foos did a tour of fans' garages? Then he puts out a movie? And it's a great movie? The guy gets to jam with fucking everybody. Lee Ving, Page, McCartney, Forgerty, and on and on. Now I hear he's doing some really cool eclectic covers with Ghost? Has Lemmy in their videos? Come on, let's face it, the guy gets to do cool shit and you'd do the same fucking thing if you could. Who cares if he looks like Micheal Stanley? OK, I'm drifting away from the topic and into the land of musical envy. But as much as I can be jealous, shit like this motivates me as a "musician" more than anything. It just makes me want to do cool shit too. But anyway, I'll try to wrap this up, if I can.
Cool life, bro.
I've been screaming bloody fucking murder for my band for the better part of 24 years and as much as I love metal, I love rock music. It has to rock. So we have to face some facts here, folks. Because, and I hate to even mention it, Alice Cooper and Motörhead aren't going to be around forever, unfortunately. Now that the Ted Nugents, the KISSes, the Blue Öyster Cults, the ZZ Tops, and the countless other bands that managed to put out amazing records but never came close to standing the test of time are well into their golden years, somebody has to take up the mantle (amongst all the mainstream radio garbage) and keep rock and roll music alive for the next generation.
For me, in my humble opinion, Foo Fighters and their music represent one of the few bands that can carry the torch for rock and roll into these next five, ten, fifteen(?) years. Sure, they're not "metal." They're a matured rock and roll band and they carry that torch by writing great and timeless songs, amazing live performances, doing cool shit, and not taking themselves too seriously. Of course, I know there are a zillion other bands out there that rock but none at this level of commercial success. I think in the Foo Fighters' case, we have popular music that is also good music. I feel just as comfortable wearing my Celtic Frost, Hellwitch, or Neurosis shirts as I do a Foo Fighters shirt.
This band is in constant rotation for me, just as much (if not more at times), than any of my metal, classic/punk rock, country, weirdo or any of the rest of my eclectic music collection. And that doesn't bother me one bit because, as I said at the beginning, I have great taste in music.
The Human Furnace is the singer of Ringworm. Follow Ringworm on Twitter - @RNGWRM13