Tuesday’s release of the self-titled Foo Fighters album marks the first time that a member of Nirvana has issued a project since Kurt Cobain’s suicide. But the roots to Foo Fighters, for which Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl sings and plays guitar, date back to the making of Nirvana’s “In Utero.”
In 1993, when Nirvana was completing what was to be its final studio album - “In Utero” - Geffen records was considering a project by Grohl, says Gary Gersh, president of Capitol Records. Gersh was a Geffen executive at the time.
“He kept recording songs, and I would listen to them. At the point at which Nirvana ceased to exist, after a while, he really started talking about what he wanted to do on his own,” says Gersh. “After he recorded a bunch of songs, he came to see me and gave me a tape. I listened to it and fell in love with it from day one.”
Accompanying Grohl on the debut album is Nirvana sideman and former Germs guitarist Pat Smear and a rhythm section of bassist Nate Mendel and drummer Willaim Goldsmith, from Sunny Day Real Estate.
The album was recorded Oct. 17-24, 1994, in Seattle. Grohl sang and played all the instruments, except on the track “X-Static,” in which guitar was handled by the Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli. (Grohl and Dulli both performed on the “Backbeat” soundtrack album.)
Not surprisingly, Foo Fighters’ sound is often reminiscent of Nirvana, although Grohl’s vocals lack Cobain’s distinctive edge. Musically, the album has the urgent rage, shifting dynamics and pop sensibilities found in Nirvana’s recordings.
While several cuts, including “This Is A Call,” “I’ll Stick Around” and “Alone And Easy Target,” rock hard, “Big Me,” which features a sweet, Beatlesesque melody, wouldn’t be out of place on a Lemonheads or Jayhawks album. Another track, “Floaty,” sports a hypnotic, psychedelic feel.
The band toured the United States in April and May, opening for Mike Watt. Grohl and Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder (who sometimes played with opening act Hovercraft) also appeared on stage with Watt.
The band will kick off its first U.S. headlining tour July 20 in Vancouver. After the U.S. dates conclude in late August, Foo Fighters will fly to England to play the Reading Festival.