Self –indulgence is good and makes me feel happy. As the dark days of January and February are almost behind me, and we are edging ever closer to spring, combined with a very exciting March, I have decided that I will dedicate a post a month to a musical meme based on my favourite artists.
I know that you may cringe, dear reader, if you think my musical taste leaves a lot to be desired but hopefully you will carry on reading and expose yourself to a new slice of musical pie.
I’ve decided to journey through my music considering artists who have made an impact on my life, and whose albums fill my upstairs cupboard.
You may even learn a little bit about what makes me tick (or what makes me weird!).
This month’s band are the Foo Fighters.
1. How long have you been a fan?
I have been a fan since the beginning. The band rose from the ashes of Nirvana and, initially, I didn’t connect the two.
A mate persuaded me to see Nirvana in Manchester and, since I had a couple of their albums I thought it might be a good gig.
Sadly, Kurt Cobain committed suicide, which was an absolute tragedy, particularly at such a young age.
Nirvana had achieved a musical paradigm shift and the pressure of fame finally got to him. I was really sad when I heard the news.
Foo Fighters appeared a year later and I had no idea that the lead singer, Dave Grohl, was the drummer of Nirvana until I read it in a rock magazine.
2. Do you remember the first song of theirs you heard?
The first song I heard was their one of their first singles, I’ll Stick Around and I loved it. I watched the video and thought to myself, that guy looks familiar but I couldn’t recall where I had seen him before.
Nevertheless, I loved the song. It was similar to Nirvana in some ways but different enough to be a little more appealing to my taste. I bought their eponymous first album on the strength of that song alone. It is only when I looked into the band members that it clicked who Dave Grohl actually was – and I was delighted that he was not just a drummer; he could sing and play a decent guitar too.
3. What’s your favourite album(s)?
My favourite albums is Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace simply because it has some of my favourite songs by the band. It coincides with the first time I saw the band live and that was a special moment.
4. What’s your favourite song(s)?
Top five songs are:
At 5: Something From Nothing from Sonic Highways (2014):
I love songs that build up from a mild beginning to an extremely loud, fast sonic masterpiece. The first single from the band’s latest album does just that, reaching a fabulous crescendo just before it finishes.
At 4: Still from In Your Honour (2005):
This is a beautifully mellow song that is totally unlike any other track by the band. The acoustic guitar and haunting keyboard are simply mesmerising and Dave Grohl’s vocals are fantastic. This is a truly wonderful song that will appeal to many people. It has a lofty position in the chillout playlist on my iPod.
At 3: But Honestly from Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (2007):
This is another song that slowly builds up from a beautiful acoustic start to a more traditional rock song. When I saw the band for the first time at the Manchester Arena, they seemed so far away on the main stage. However, they had constructed a smaller stage a lot closer to us and used it about half way through the show to perform a couple of acoustic numbers. This song was one of them and for me it was a highlight.
At 2: The Pretender from Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (2007):
I absolutely love this song. The chorus is a complete earworm and I have embarrassed myself many times bellowing in the car while waiting at traffic lights. It’s one of those songs that are all encompassing and makes me forget where I am, particularly when the challenging:
I’m what’s left, I’m what’s right – I’m the enemy.
I’m the hand that’ll take you down and bring you to your knees.
So who are you?
Yeah – who are you?
Yeah – who are you?
YEAH – WHO ARE YOU?
That appeals to the anarchist in me.
At 1: All My Life from One by One (2002):
This is the song that has embarrassed me most in the car, causing me to be stared at and laughed at as I pull a face and scream:
And I’m On To The Next One
If you need an injection of pure rock – look no further than this song.
5. Have you ever seen them live? (How often?)
Dave Grohl is a great frontman and holds the audience in the palm of his hand for the entire show.
After the second time I saw them, I decided that sitting down was safer than standing up.
I watched them at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester and I was so far away from the stage that I suggested to my mate perhaps we could get closer. He agreed – but it was a mistake.
The band started playing and a mosh pit erupted around me, quite literally lifting me off my feet and propelling me forward. I turned around in desperation and as I was carried towards the stage I looked around and saw my mate, who is about six inches taller than me, waving at me as the distance between us increased. It took me three songs to fight my way back to him. The other two times I have watched them from the safety of a seat and enjoyed the music rather than doing an impromptu tour of the audience.
6. Have you ever met them?
No – but Dave Grohl is one of the few musicians I would love to meet. He is one of my rock heroes.
7. Do you have a favourite era of their career?
No. The band continue to move from strength to strength.
8. Is there a song or album of theirs you dislike?
All of their albums are fine pieces of work but there are a couple of songs that I am not too keen on.
9. What do they or their music mean to you?
Foo Fighters are a band that appeals to a wide range of people of all ages and they keep me in touch with the youth. My eldest son loves the band and he is going to see them later this year. I have decided against it, based on cost but believe me I was sorely tempted.
10. Do you get annoyed when other people don’t like them?
Not at all. Foo Fighters are one of the most popular bands on the planet and even Mrs PM likes the odd song.
11. Which artist do you want them to collaborate with?
Dave Grohl has already collaborated with a couple of my favourite artists. The most notable is Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, another hero of mine.
Here is a song featuring Dave Grohl (drums and vocals), Josh Homme (guitar and vocals) and Trent Reznor (keyboards and vocals):
12. Are they underappreciated/unknown?
Absolutely not. They are massively appreciated.
13. Is there a song of them that everybody likes but you dislike?
Not really. Most of the songs they have released as singles have universal appeal.
14. Do people think you are too obsessed with the artist?
No. While Foo Fighters are one of my favourite bands, there are many more that I share my obsession with.
15. Do you preorder their new albums without having heard any music from it?
Yes – sadly I do. The good news is that when I hear about a new Foo Fighters album, I have usually heard the lead single from it – so I know what to expect. They haven’t let me down yet.
And Finally ...
Thanks again for allowing me to indulge myself.
I would apologise - but, hey, I enjoyed delving into my Foo Fighters collection so I don't care.