Foo Fighters: Circa 1995-1996

by Josh Robbins

102821D-300x157 Foo Fighters: Circa 1995-1996With the recent release of Dave Grohl’s autobiography, The StorytellerI thought it would be fitting to look back on the beginning of Foo Fighters circa 1995-1996.

The book outlines Grohl’s young life in the DC area. He dropped out of school to play in the punk band Scream, replacing long-time drummer Kent Stax. Grohl would tour with the band from 1986-1990. He is featured on their last two albums, No More Censorship & Fumble.

Finding Nirvana

Scream suddenly broke up mid-tour when bassist Skeeter Thompson left the band. Dave briefly considered joining Gwar, but instead called his friend Buzz Osbourne (of Melvins), who told him Nirvana was looking for a drummer.eyJidWNrZXQiOiJnb2NvbGxlY3QuaW1hZ2VzLnB1YiIsImtleSI6ImE5MTMxMjc3LWUyNjQtNDdiMS1iYzQ2LTBiMmQ4NjkxMWYzYi50aWZmIiwiZWRpdHMiOnsibm9ybWFsaXNlIjp0cnVlfX0-e1635443573642-179x300 Foo Fighters: Circa 1995-1996
At the time, the band was on the verge of breaking big and was spending a lot of time going to different record label meetings before ultimately signing to DGC. In September of 1991, the band released Nevermind, and, as they say, the rest is history.
The band followed up Nevermind with 1993’s release of In Utero. Before that, in 1992, Grohl had been working on his own songs under the title Late! He quietly released Pocketwatch, which combined newer songs he had worked on with six other tracks from another session in 1990.
Following Kurt Cobain’s death in April 1994, Grohl wasn’t sure what to do musically. He scheduled studio time in October 1994 and recorded all of what would become the first Foo Fighters album. He performed all of the recording himself, save for a couple touches by Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs.

Foo Fighters is Born

So here we are at the official genesis of Foo Fighters. Any collector wants to start at the very beginning, so if you’re looking, this is the place. But not so fast; Grohl assumed his true future would be drumming for other bands.
During the recording sessions for the album, Grohl was invited by Tom Petty to sit in with the Heartbreakers on SNL. Petty then asked Grohl to join the band.  He would rescind the invitation when he heard about Foo Fighters, feeling that he would be holding Grohl back from bigger things by tying him down.eyJidWNrZXQiOiJnb2NvbGxlY3QuaW1hZ2VzLnB1YiIsImtleSI6Ijc4YzgxM2Y3LTY2YzEtNDRlOC04NjY2LTIwYTkzYjNmY2ZlYS5qcGVnIiwiZWRpdHMiOnsibm9ybWFsaXNlIjp0cnVlfX0-195x300 Foo Fighters: Circa 1995-1996
Dave Grohl decided to focus his energy on getting his own project off the ground. It was rumored that he was also offered a spot on drums in Pearl Jam, but that was taken by Jack Irons (previously of Red Hot Chili Peppers). Grohl soon asked Nate Mendel and William Goldsmith of Sunny Day Real Estate to join the band, rounded out by Pat Smear (formerly of The Germs). This first Foo Fighters tour featured the band BEFORE the release of their debut S/T album.
This was also the first tour Dave Grohl had been on since the death of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. Mike Watt of fIREHOSE was touring in support of his solo album “Ball Hog or Tugboat?” — the tour lineup featured members of Foo Fighters and Eddie Vedder (of Pearl Jam) as his all-star band. Pictured: Foo Fighters / Mike Watt @ The Palace poster (5/19/1995) w/ Hovercraft.
Additionally, Eddie Vedder was playing drums for the experimental band, Hovercraft. Due to his role as frontman of Pearl Jam, he would perform in a wig to keep his identity secret. Of course, the word got out. It led to a frenzy at later tour gigs, so the gimmick was dropped.

Fighters, Assemble eyJidWNrZXQiOiJnb2NvbGxlY3QuaW1hZ2VzLnB1YiIsImtleSI6IjIxMGExODU4LTNhMWMtNGM5NC1hZjExLTc1MmEzYTgxNmIyYi5qcGVnIiwiZWRpdHMiOnsibm9ybWFsaXNlIjp0cnVlfX0-192x300 Foo Fighters: Circa 1995-1996

Interestingly enough, in regards to this show, Wool features future member of Foo Fighters, Franz Stahl. Stahl and Grohl previously played together in Scream. Wool also features Chris Bratton (drums) of Inside Out and Chain of Strength, two influential hardcore punk bands of the 1980s.
Stahl replaced Pat Smear but was kicked out of the group before he was able to record with the band. He’d spent two years with them touring on their 1997 album, The Colour and the Shape.
Shudder to Think is also a very interesting band in their own right that has ties (like Scream) to Dischord Records. Around the time of this show, STT had released their major label debut, Pony Express Record, on Epic Records.

Nathan Larson and Craig Wedren have gone on more recently to very expansive careers in music for television and film. Pictured: Foo Fighters @ La Luna (7/24/1995) w/ Shudder to Think & Wool poster – MXP-113.1

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The Foos Fight On

Dave Grohl has since gone on to play in so many projects including Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures and he has been featured in almost every rock documentary.
Foo Fighters released their most recent tenth album, Medicine at Midnight, in 2021, and they show no sign of stopping.
While a lot of rock historians like Mark Azzerrad may singularly focus on the stories of Nirvana, there are a lot of great collectible gems from early Foo Fighters ripe for the picking.
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000080221A_Posters-Footer Foo Fighters: Circa 1995-1996

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