The concert was great. Almost equally as entertaining were the responses I received when telling someone we were going to see Foo Fighers.
These exchanges served as another reminder of the gap between my generation and older ones. In this instance, the confusion was less about the band itself and more about the words coming out of my mouth.
“Foo Fighters” sounds vaguely like gibberish. Dave Grohl, the band’s frontman, has said that had he known how popular the band would become, he would have come up with a better name because Foo Fighters is a terrible one.
Still, for those older folks, it didn’t really matter if they understood what I was saying or not. They don’t know Foo Fighters.
Equally disheartening, however, is that there’s another generation of Americans not much younger than me who think Foo Fighters is an old-person band.
I’m only 31, thank you very much.
For those of you who are utterly confused yet still hanging on for this train ride, here’s some info:
Dave Grohl recorded the first Foo Fighters album by himself in the mid 1990s after his previous band, Nirvana, ended with the death of its leader, Kurt Cobain. Hopefully, that bit of info at least rings a bell.
Grohl didn’t attach his name to the album because he didn’t want his previous association with the most popular grunge band of all time to have an impact on the success of his newest project. He wanted to succeed on the merits of Foo Fighters, not on the coattails of Nirvana. A decade and a half later, it’s fair to say he pulled it off.
I don’t think it would be much of a stretch to call Foo Fighters the most popular rock band today. I’ll leave room for debate, but not much.
What’s interesting, though, is that they sell out venues across the planet, including the 80,000-plus-seat Wembley Stadium in England, yet “Foo Fighters” isn’t necessarily a household name.
Again, I think that has something to do with a generation gap, but it clearly is also a product of the wide variety of interests held by people in general. Around here, I imagine country music is still king. I’m a fan of older, country music – Johnny Cash and such – because I believe it exemplifies what country music was intended to be. What passes for country today is not country to me.
There’s a parallel to rock music there, as well. One could argue that the kind of rock Foo Fighters play doesn’t mesh with the music being produced by younger bands. And rock in the mid-90s, when Foo Fighters began, was certainly different from rock of the 1980s. Just as 80s rock differed from 70s, 70s from 60s, etc.
It’s rare that any musical act spans multiple decades at a similar level of popularity. Foo Fighters, I think, is the most notable of these acts because they’ve been so active since they began. They’ve produced seven albums since 1995, and their tours are the stuff of legend. I witnessed that first-hand Saturday during a set that began just after 9 p.m. and ended just before midnight. And they barely ever took a break.
It’s impressive they’ve been able to do that for over 15 years. I’ll be more impressed if they’re able to do it for even five or 10 more. I hope they can.
I guess it all comes back to technology. Everyone knew the Beattles in the 60s, but (no offense) there was nothing to do back then. We’re in the Internet age now. Maybe we’re past the days of one band changing the world.
Justin McGill is general manager of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.