I just realized that my first American band on this list is the Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl’s project that grew from the collapse of Nirvana after Kurt Kobain’s suicide. Having spent his Nirvana years behind the drum set, with Foo Fighters he steps up as a multi-talented guitarist, front-man, and lyricist.
His first album, eponymously named Foo Fighters, was just Grohl and a friend singing back up. But eventually, Grohl was able to form a band and record the breakout album “The Colour and the Shape,” which gave us the trio of hits, Monkey Wrench, My Hero, and Everlong.
In my opinion, everything about Everlong is ground-breaking. The song itself is a total surrender of heart and mind, one that borders on self-destruction. It bridges the break-up of Grohl’s marriage to his wife, and the courtship of his new girlfriend at the time. And torn between these two, Grohl writes what has to be the most creepy and yet romantic line ever, part surrender, part obsession: “The only thing I’ll ever ask of you/ You gotta promise not to stop when I say when.” Grohl admits that love is an addiction, and despite what we know is best, we sometimes do what we know is wrong.
The original video for Everlong was a Michel Gondry production, which I own on DVD from a collection of Gondry videos. Gondry’s video is ground-breaking for it’s creepy story line, the disturbing huge-hands (which he claims came from a nightmare he once had), and finale, so creepy as the band members literally climb from out of their own bodies. It was nominated for Best Video at the 1998 MTv Music Video awards.
However, the Foo Figher’s line up was tumultuous from the start. Members came and went – especially the charismatic and problematic Pat Smear (I once found myself in a Banana Republic dressing room next to Smear in downtown Seattle, where he told the sales woman “I USED to be a member of that band Foo Fighters, but not anymore,”). But Grohl would still perform hits, sometimes playing acoustic versions of the complex rock songs that made Foo Fighters famous. Here is he playing an acoustic version of Everlong, which shows that the song, even in its most basic form, is still endearing and unnerving.