On July 4, 1995, the debut album of the Foo Fighters was released, marking a momentous day for us and the world of music.
This is a story about one person's album, which started following the death of another person, sounds like a beginning of a dramatic bestseller or a script for a Hollywood movie, but that was indeed the reality.
After the death of Kurt Cobain Dave and Krist's worlds crashed to pieces, "Nirvana" launched into the sky, touched the clouds, even crossed the atmosphere, and then... unexpectedly... from lack of oxygen, and heavy atmospheric pressure, it exploded. Exploded into many shards that landed back on Earth, with no sense of belonging. The two experienced severe trauma from Cobain's death, especially because they did not expect it. True, he always had problems, mostly with drugs but suicide, they did not dream of it.
The two spent a lot of time together after Cobain's death and tried to support each other, but it was not easy. Dave went into depression and began to develop a phobia when it came to music. He refrained from listening to music or possessing musical instruments let alone returning to creating or performing. He said that in order to break away from everything he went on a trip to the UK where he simply drove a car all around, miles upon miles. He also wanted to disconnect from the media and the environment that threatened him, not to return to playing, or even think about a new musical ensemble after the fall of the Golden Egg.
After returning from the trip he started getting calls from colleagues and various bands offering him to come to play with them, but Dave was too scared to get on stage or even sit on the chair behind the drums. But in 1994 he received an offer from "The Afghan Whigs" singer Greg Dulli to join the band that recorded the soundtrack to the movie "Backbeat". The band was a supergroup and included some of the special talents of that period including bassist Mike Mills (REM), guitarist and singer Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), guitarist Don Fleming (Gumball), and singer Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum). This supergroup restored his confidence and passion for music when the decisive moment was Dave's appearance with the band at the MTV Movies Awards in 1994.
Dave, who regularly writes material for himself at every break "Nirvana" took between shows and recordings, decided to go home and consolidate his material into something more meaningful. He felt confident in starting an independent musical project, he also felt it was his therapy, his way of recovering from the trauma.
He closed for himself for six days at Robert Lang Studios in Seattle, took producer Barrett Jones with him, and began recording his music.
(Photo: Mick Hutson)
The two would walk into the studio in the morning, start recording at noon and finish about four songs a day, with Dave running from booth to booth to record all the parts of the song on all the instruments, and then he would record the singing. Except for a guest appearance by Greg on the song "X-Static," the entire album was recorded by Dave. The only song where the two lingered on the recordings was "I'll Stick Around". Dave felt very uncomfortable with the singing in general, he was never in that position. In order to hide the possibility that there is a flaw in Dave's singing (which of course stemmed only from low self-confidence, he has a great voice), they used the Double Track technique which is mainly used in guitars to create a thicker and fuller vocal, just double the recording. So if we go back for a moment to this song, here Dave said that they not only doubled but dressed the song four times, the so-called double-double track.
With many concerns about the reaction of listeners/fans and insecurity about his abilities to create and perform music by himself, Dave decided to release the album anonymously, without any affiliation with him or Nirvana. He went alone and made 100 copies of the album on tape and distributed them to friends and relatives, to anyone who approached him and told him he admired "Nirvana".
There is a rumor that in January 1995 one "anonymous" guy named Eddie Vedder played two songs from the album on his radio show Self-Pollution and from there, the sound began to spread.
The record companies that followed him and listened to the tape he distributed began to woo Dave. At the time, Dave received two very tempting offers, at least offers we know of. One is to join as a drummer for Tom Petty and his band, he appeared with them once on the SNL show. The second offer was to be the Pearl Jam drummer. In light of the positive feedback Dave received from his close acquaintances, friends of art, and record companies, Dave decided to embark on a new path and signed a record contract with "Capitol Records".
Dave did not want to keep this project as a solo but wanted to turn it into a band, he always expressed in interviews about the love he has to be a part of a band. He enlisted Pat Smear with whom he played in "Nirvana" and two other friends who came from "Sunny Day Real Estate", Nate Mendel on bass, and William Goldsmith on drums.
Dave did not want to go out loud, start as an opening act for huge bands or try to sneak into some big festival, but start everything from scratch. Like in the days of "Nirvana", they just took a small and red van loaded all their gear, and started wandering from club to club trying to spread their music, just poetic !! Dave said that for a long time, it was difficult for him to get used to the role of the singer on stage or as the interviewee, he was very young and insecure and did not know so much about how to behave and what to do with himself.
After signing the record deal, the album went through the mix and mastering only, and came out with no more than 100 copies and not just on tapes. The first single to come out was "This Is a Call", which is one of the few songs written after the dissolution of "Nirvana", Dave said he wrote it during his honeymoon in Ireland.
The second single that came out was "I'll Stick Around", we didn't open it here but Dave had (still has) a very difficult and charged relationship with Cobain's wife Courtney Love, especially after his death. She strongly objected to Dave embarking on his own project and harshly criticized him for taking advantage of Cobain's death and "Nirvana's" success to his personal advantage, to embark on a successful solo career. This song was written about her, for years Dave denied it (like his denial of other songs written about certain people), but in the end, he made sure, to read the lyrics and understand.
The third single from the album was "For All the Cows", it is also a song where Dave shares how he felt with all the pressure of the environment and what it made him do.
The fourth single from the album was "Big Me", it is a touching ballad that Dave wrote for his wife Jennifer, but this song broke and made its way to the headlines mainly thanks to his video clip where the band members use Mentos candies which they gave the name Footos.
This album marks the beginning of a huge band, in our opinion in the great era of the modern age that provides amazing albums, great music, and crazy performances, we hope to get to see it in Israel soon !!